cover image Castle Waiting

Castle Waiting

Linda Medley, Author , intro. by Jane Yolen. Fantagraphics $29.95 (457p) ISBN 978-1-56097-747-6

A set of linked nouveaux fairy tales, this graphic novel extends the story of Sleeping Beauty into a modern, feminist Chaucer for happy people. After Sleeping Beauty leaves with the prince, the three ladies in waiting, Patience, Prudence and Plenty, stay on in the castle, a hobgoblin-infested structure that becomes a refuge for those in need: a pregnant woman fleeing her abusive husband; Sir Destrier, a horse-headed knight who wants a place to rest between adventures; Beakie, a kindly bachelor merchant; and Sister Peace, a bearded nun. The ladies do things like dye their hair red with henna, but mostly they tell stories of their lives. The art is full of humor; we know each character as soon as we see them. The faces are particularly expressive. The stories of the bearded nuns go on a mite too long, but there's still plenty of humor in their invention of a whole order of nuns dedicated to showing up the idiocies of men. Medley's art is both exquisitely detailed and fantastically lighthearted. Though appropriate for all ages, this one-of-a-kind graphic novel is likely to appeal most to smart women in their 20s and older—much older—and to any man who believes in feminism and knows how to laugh. (May)