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Saturday, November 27, 2010

CASTLE WAITING v2 by Linda Medley

Well, this is kind of an odd thing. On the merits of the work, the newly released CASTLE WAITING VOLUME 2 deserves as high a recommendation as I'm likely to give. I've been a fan of Linda Medley's series since I first encountered it in a short preview in Charles Vess's BALLADS AND SAGAS back in 1997, which insured I picked up the first issue of CASTLE WAITING when I saw it a few weeks later (and went back to pick up the CURSE OF BRAMBLY HEDGE one-shot I'd missed from the previous year). I was thrilled in 2006 when the series returned with a gorgeous hardcover reprinting the completed storylines and a new on-going series reprinting and then continuing the story begun back in 2002. That new series was on of the few serialized comics I continued to buy in the last few years, and came out fairly steadily until early last year, with 15 issues in all. This new book collects all 15 issues of that series, which is quite a bargain at $30, less than half the cover price of those issues.

Unfortunately, right now I can't recommend it, since as you can see it sort of lacks a certain something, that being Linda Medley's name on the cover. In fact, her name only appears in the copyright notice and a sticker on the backcover. The only information I can find on that on-line is here, where the omission is just noted as being at Medley's request. I probably wouldn't have bought it if I had heard about that first, unless Medley said publicly that she was okay with it. Unfortunately, her own website vanished quite a while ago.

The other thing the book lacks is an ending, as the 15 published issues don't complete the story begun in #1. I'd say that it was at least two, maybe more, issues from a conclusion. Hopefully in the near future we'll get some news on when and where Medley will continue the story (presumably not from the same publisher), but I can't really recommend the book if there's the possibility that it'll be re-released in a proper edition with the full story. I mean, I've already bought it all twice (three times in the case of the first two chapters), and I'd probably buy it a fourth if need be, but that's just me.

But as I said, on the merits of the work, this is a great book, as good as comics get.  Medley continues her exploration of the denizens of Castle Waiting, characters from fairy tales and folklore living their lives after the famous adventures are over. Medley continues with her rather unique structure, where she has a leisurely pace for the main story but a very dense narrative overall as she explores the pasts of the characters.  And of course her art is beautiful, full of great character designs, body language, facial expressions and some of the best renderings of architecture in comics since Gerhard at his peak.

Anyway, a great book despite the misgivings above.  Hopefully we'll get some news about the future of the series and I can clarify if I actually recommend the book or not.  Until then, see if your local library gets this, and the first book.

(2012 update, see here for news on the long-delayed continuation of the story, which will eventually lead to an updated VOLUME 2 book)


  1. I concur that this is unfortunate. Not only is it a wonderfully written and drawn series, but as a devotee of book arts, I have to say that this book (as well as its predecessor) is a handsome volume!
    First she has issues with Jeff Smith, now Fantagraphics. I wonder what's up.

  2. Oh, I had no idea... and I'm so dumb I hadn't noticed the missing name on the cover.

    This is most unfortunate. I absolutely love Castle Waiting.

    I did ask Fantagraphics about the next issue on Twitter a while ago and this is what the answered:

    "Linda's taking a break from CW after Vol. 2, so issue 16 (or Vol. 3 #1 as the case may be) doesn't exist yet."

    I hope they'll sort things out!

  3. That's a shame. Hopefully we'll hear something from Medley soon. At the very least I hope this break from CASTLE WAITING results in some other published work. The first break was for a BOOKS OF FAERIE series which never materialized (other than one short story). The second I think I read she worked on some Wizard of Oz related project that hasn't been published yet.

  4. I think it's incredibly lame of Fantagraphics to publish this book without Linda's name on it -- after years casting themselves as a champion for creators' rights, it seems ridiculous for them to publish as creator-oriented a volume as this and not give credit where it's due. I've got to wonder whether the "change" of adding a sticker mentioning Linda's name was the only concession Fantagraphics was willing to permit as compared to not mentioning her anywhere at all other than the copyright.

  5. It is a bit unfair to attack Fantagraphics about this when the author herself requested the lack of name on the published book. They do seem to be continuing to champion creators' rights... in this case, the creator's right to (admittedly oddly) not have her name on the cover.

  6. As someone who never finished a planned opus (TYRANT) for a variety of reasons, we can only hope Linda's reasons aren't grounded in some terrible life event or crisis. For many of us, it simply became financially impossible to continue planned longer works; my own situation was unique (divorce coupled with the 1996 distribution implosion), but the end result was termination for TYRANT.

  7. Dymphna6:07 am

    Linda,if you would read this...please just let the world know if you're continuing yes or no with cw...i just dream every day of waking up and holding volume IIIof CW in my hands. You are truely my hero,and to many others so please continue....

  8. Anonymous4:29 am

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