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03 May 2009 @ 11:12 am
The Lucky Road, by Linda Medley  
Linda Medley's Castle Waiting collects her first two graphic novels (The Curse of Brambly Hedge and The Lucky Road into one beautifully designed volume. It's a hardcover with a ribbon bookmark and 457 pages of glorious black and white illustration. The individual issues that make up this book ran over ten years and several different publishers.

The Brambly Hedge section is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. What happens to all the rest of the inhabitants of the castle when the princess takes off to marry the prince? In this case, they turn the castle into a sanctuary, the eponymous Castle Waiting. Medley is more interested in exploring what happens after the fairy tales are over. (The three little pigs open the Wolf's Head Inn, for example.)

The next section introduces Jain, who has heard of Castle Waiting from her late father, a merchant, and sets off to find it. She's pregnant and on the run from her abusive husband. When she gets to the castle, she meets its eccentric inhabitants, including the steward, Adjutant Rackham, and a nun from the Order of Solicitines (motto: "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof"), Sister Peace. The story of how she became a nun makes up the third section, told to Jain on a rainy day.

The artwork is absolutely charming, hearkening back to older pen-and-ink styles, but with a cartoony touch to it. The characters are individually realized, both by the art and the writing. The characters drive the story. The story doesn't, however, wrap up in this one volume; Fantagraphics is publishing volume 2 as individual issues. I hope they collect it in a single book like this one at the end of this run, as it is both lovely and convenient.

This would be a good comic book to give to younger people, perhaps especially if you know a girl who likes comics but is turned off by more mainstream fare. There are a few scenes of violence, but most of it occurs offstage. The twining of th fairy tales with the story is deftly and delightfully done.

I love this series. I have read and re-read it over the years. (The book came out in 2006, but I have the previous graphic novels, and a few of the individual issues, too.) It's one that I come back to every few years because I love the characters and the world, and want to visit them again. I hadn't been following volume 2, but I see that Fantagraphic has a bundle of the first ten issues, so I probably won't wait for the collection to come out before catching up.
Current Mood: awakecaffeinated
celikyxika on October 31st, 2011 04:57 pm (UTC)
keep posting like this it’s really very good idea, you are awesome!