Yesterday School Library Journal published Roundtable: Books We Wish We Could Have: Good Comics for Kids online. It's an interesting article but only a small part of it connects to this blog's theme. Since it gives me the opportunity to highlight an obscure book, I'll share this quote:
Along the lines of more plausible requests, I would adore it if Fantagraphics would collect Castle Waiting II, of which there are currently fifteen issues, into a collected edition. It would make sense to continue with a matching hardcover to sit alongside their beautiful first collection, but at this point I'd settle for just a trade paperback collection. Castle Waiting was on Publisher's Weekly's Best Comics of 2006, and while it does not leap off the shelf like Naruto, it has a strong and loyal following. The charming blend of original and well-known fairy tale characters into one slightly dysfunctional castle household only gets better as it progresses. There is a "starter pack" available through Fantagraphics, but we cannot stock that in libraries -- give us a bound book, please!
Well, Castle Waiting is one of the underground favorites of fairy tale fans and comics fans, especially those who are both.
Here's a lengthy description from the publisher:
"The multiple Harvey and Eisner award-winning fantasy is now collected in one volume!
"The 450-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.
"For the first time, Fantagraphics' Castle Waiting collects the entire story into one mammoth volume—and includes the concluding chapter written and drawn especially for this volume.
"Wittily reinterpreting the Grimm Brothers classic tale "Briar Rose" (Sleeping Beauty) as a story of love, enchantment, and sibling rivalry, the opening chapter "The Curse Of Brambly Hedge" sets the stage for the story.
"In the second chapter, "The Lucky Road," Lady Jain's fairy-tale life turns out not-so-happily ever after, as she leaves to search for Castle Waiting, a wondrous, mythical refuge where "all are welcome." Jain soon finds the castle is very much a home as well as a refuge, and learns to fit in with its eccentric inhabitants as she discovers how she can help them bring the lonesome, dilapidated place back to life.
"The third chapter, "Solicitine," tells the story of Peaceful Warren, a young woman destined and determined to live an unconventional life. From the barroom to the circus to the convent and beyond, this chapter is a tale of an extraordinary adventure, an extraordinary friendship, and of making a place for oneself in the world.
"An artist with 20 years' experience in comics and children's books, Linda Medley lavishly illustrates Castle Waiting in a classic visual style reminiscent of Arthur Rackham and William Heath Robinson. Blending elements from a variety of sources—fairy tales, folklore, nursery rhymes—Medley tells the story of the everyday lives of fantastic characters with humor, intelligence, and insight into human nature. Castle Waiting can be read on multiple levels and can be enjoyed by children and literate adults."
Here are some more images and links. If you are interested, I recommend just going for the compendium of the entire first volume. (The images below are issues collected in the first volume.) Then if you become a fan, collect the Castle Waiting II issues which have not been collected into a single volume, thus inspiring the above article and this post.
You can also learn more at author Linda Medley's official site which isn't working as I write this post, but I'm including it in hopes that it will be running when this publishes.
Here's a link to all the Castle Waiting volumes available on Amazon.