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Castle Waiting: What's It Waiting For?

Well, for you of course.

That was awful. Please don't stop reading because of that.

From the Fantagraphics website: The 456-page Castle Waiting graphic novel tells the story of an isolated, abandoned castle, and the eccentric inhabitants who bring it back to life.  A fable for modern times, Castle Waiting is a fairy tale that's not about rescuing the princess, saving the kingdom, or fighting the ultimate war between Good and Evil - but about being a hero in your own home.

The castle in question was the home of Sleeping Beauty. She leaves with her prince to get married right after being woken up (she never did get the gift of Wisdom at her birth). The castle's stunned inhabitants go on without her, giving refuge to those in need. We meet a young pregnant woman with a secret, a nun from a strange order who is hiding a much less serious secret, and a friend of dwarves.

There is not a lot of action, or drama even that keeps you glued to the page. Instead Linda Medley has created a quiet book that just hangs onto you until it lets you go on the last page. She gives us a glimpse at what happens after the fairy tale bits are over and "real life" takes over again. Medley gives an equal effort to the visual look of the book. Her artwork is simple when it needs to be and highly detailed when it needs to be.

The hardcover volume that I have is a stunning book with high grade paper with a hint of beige to it, a classic looking binding, and one of those ribbon thingies attached to use as a bookmark. Once again, stunning, and at 29.95, pricey, but with 456 well written and drawn pages to get through, worth every penny.

But, who is this book for? There is little in this book that would bother readers of any age. In one flashback we see the husband of one of the supporting characters raise his hand to strike her. He doesn't, but we see the fear on her face and it is clear that this is a regular occurance (pg 301). It is a powerful scene – a flash of near violence surrounded be the compelling calm of the rest of the book, but should not be a reason to keep it away from readers. There is some religious imagery, but it never gets real specific, if that causes you any concern. I think if your child is a grade appropriate reader, then by grade four he/she could handle Castle Waiting (younger with a little help). To again quote the Fantagraphics site: "Castle Waiting can be read on multiple levels and can be enjoyed by readers of all ages." Boys will like it, but I think girls will be drawn to it. The leading men and most of the supporting men are shown as strong, upstanding characters, but it is the large cast of powerful women who drive the stories.

This book belongs on your shelf and on the shelf of your local and school library.

BY THE WAY! There is a new ongoing Castle Waiting series out now. I have not read it yet, but if it is anywhere near as good as the graphic novel you shouldn't be disappointed .

Here is what the Fantagraphics site has to say about it.

Castle Waiting Vol.2 #1
The award-winning series returns! The first issue of volume II, #1 is a giant oversized issue that includes the last two, long out-of-print self-published issues of Castle Waiting (#s 15 and 16), which began a new storyline, as well as the third chapter, 24 brand new pages, in a 64-page extravaganza, at the low, low price of $5.95! Before deciding on her living quarters in the tower of Castle Waiting, Lady Jain receives a tour from “the Beakster” of every sprite-filled corner. In the counting room, she is transported, through a series of flashbacks, to her childhood. Sister Peace looks for a housewarming gift while Chess gets a shoe repaired. Future issues will be 32 pages for $3.95 every six weeks.

64-page B&W comic $5.95

You can order both books HERE or ask your local comic shop to order it in for you.

-Scott Tingley, September 24, 2006

By the way again, I got that “quiet” bit from a review on the Amazon page linked above. I liked the sound of it.

Any questions or comments, contact me at comicsintheclassroom @ gmail.com


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