Castle Waiting is an Eisner Award winning comic book series created by Linda Medley. It is in a world of fairy tales and mythology featuring a mix of old-fashioned storytelling and more ironic, modern touches. The series brings together characters from several classic fairy tales, such as Simple Simon and Iron Henry, as well as referencing several others such as Jack and the Beanstalk and Sleeping Beauty. The story focuses predominantly on the daily lives of the characters and their interactions with one another, as well as their complicated pasts.
The story begins with a stand-alone, prologue tale, Castle Waiting: The Curse of Brambly Hedge, which retells the story of Sleeping Beauty mostly from the perspective of those at the periphery of the action. The book then picks up many years later, after the castle, long abandoned by Sleeping Beauty, has become a home for another group of fairytale characters, many of whom have rather troubled pasts. The castle's daily workings are now overseen by Rackham, a stork-headed dandy, and the place has become somewhat run-down and is beset by mischievous but generally friendly sprites and poltergeists. This story originally focused on Lady Jain, a pregnant woman fleeing her abusive husband. The series details backstories for some of the characters, such as elaborating on how the bearded nun Sister Peace arrived at the castle. Later chapters show Jain settling in to the castle's keep with her baby with the help of some Hammerlings and the fellow residents of the castle.
Medley initially self-published the series as a series of individual chapters beginning with The Curse of Brambly Hedge through Olio Press using a 1996 grant from the Xeric Foundation. She continued self-publishing, releasing eight issues until the series went on hiatus in 1999. The series was picked up by Jeff Smith's Cartoon Books the following year, during which point Medley released four more chapters. The sales through Cartoon Books was disappointing and Medley returned to self-publishing in 2001. She released five more issues, bringing the total issues for the series to sixteen. Castle Waiting was again picked up by a publisher in 2006, Fantagraphics Books, who proceeded to release a hardcover collection of the first nineteen chapters. The 2010 release of Castle Waiting Vol. 2 did not include a credit to Linda Medley as creator on the cover or any interior pages. The only mention of her name was in the fine print of the copyright notice on the last page, and on a retro-actively affixed sticker on the back cover. The sticker read "FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS \ STORY AND ART BY L. MEDLEY" and was placed over the "Fantagraphics Books" logo. Fantagraphics has stated that this was at Medley's request. This edition included 11 chapters and the story ended abruptly. In 2013, Fantagraphics Books released a "Definitive Edition" of volume 2 which included an additional 60 pages in 7 chapters and epilogue, to complete the volume. Fantagraphics stated in 2010 that Medley was currently taking a break from writing any additional chapters for the series.
|Title||ISBN||Release date||Collected material|
|Castle Waiting||ISBN 1-56097-747-7||May 31, 2006||Vol. 1 Chapters 1-19|
|Castle Waiting Vol. II||ISBN 1606994050||December 6, 2010||Vol. 2 Chapters 1-11|
|Castle Waiting Vol. II Definitive Edition||ISBN 1606996339||May 17, 2013||Vol. 2 Chapters 1-18|
Critical reception for the series has been positive, with Publishers Weekly naming Castle Waiting as one of the best comic books of 2006 in a critics' poll. Comic Book Resources praised the final chapter of the second volume for the series, stating that it was "both open ended enough so that Medley can do whatever she likes, but complete enough that it feels finished if need be".
- Eisner Award for "Best Graphic Album - New" for The Curse of Brambly Hedge (1997)
- Eisner Award for "Best New Series" (1998)
- Booker, Keith (2010). Encyclopedia of Comic Books and Graphic Novels. Greenwood. p. 89. ISBN 0313357463.
- "Review: Castle Waiting". AV Club. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- Reha, John. "CCI: CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF "BONE"". CBR. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- Fantagraphics page for Castle Waiting Volume 2.
- "Linda Medley Removes Name From Castle Waiting". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
- Thompson, Kelly. "She Has No Head! – Linda Medley’s Castle Waiting Volume II". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
- "Castle Waiting Vol. 2: The Definitive Edition [Hardcover]". Amazon.com. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
- "Fantagraphics tweet about status of series". Twitter. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- Edgar, Sean. "Review: Castle Waiting Volume 1". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- "Review: Castle Waiting". Booklist. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- "Review: Castle Waiting". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- "The First Annual PW Comics Week Critic's Poll". Publishers Weekly Online (Publishers Weekly). 2006-12-19. Archived from the original on January 23, 2007. Retrieved 2006-12-19.
- Thompson, Kelly. "CASTLE WAITING: VOLUME 2 #18". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
- "1997 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees and Winners". Eisner Award. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- "1998 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award". Will Eisner Comic Industry Award (archived). Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- List of Medley's comics at the Comic Book DB