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#31 [Apr. 26th, 2010|09:00 am]

100 COMICS TO READ BEFORE YOU DIE (or grow out of them)

#31 CASTLE WAITING – Linda Medley

“Taking care of babies isn’t the stuff of legend. It’s not heroic.”

Castle waiting is a fairytale that begins after the point where the story normally ends. Happily ever after hasn’t turned out the way it should for Lady Jain, who flees her home and her marriage, pregnant and covered in bruises, for the safety of Castle Waiting. The castle provides sanctuary for a cast of characters who are refugees from stories of their own. Simple Simon, Iron John, Dr Fell, the goose – well, hen – that laid the golden egg and a variety of misfits of Linda Medley’s own invention live together in the castle that was once home to Sleeping Beauty. Here they can be safe from the ups and downs inflicted on them by the Brothers Grimm and other sadistic authors.

Castle Waiting is all about the wonder of the mundane. The characters raise a child, renovate a home, tell each other stories and play skittles. The child is only half human, the home is a castle full of secret passages and infested by mischievous sprites, the stories are about bearded nuns – the skittles are just skittles, though. In spite of the fantastic trappings, Castle Waiting is so civilised you can forget it’s medieval. It’s a comic that can spin entire plotlines out of finding clothes to fit a foundling and replacing a staircase that’s unsafe for a young mother to climb. Although the characters aren’t all human and the magical is everyday, Castle Waiting focusses on a kind of cheery domesticity that’s a pleasant reminder of why the word ‘homely’ was once meant as a compliment.