Lady Jain and her horse, Rosa, on the road to Castle Waiting. Artist: Linda Medley.


Original medium: Comic books
Published by: Olio Press
First Appeared: 1996
Creator: Linda Medley
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Castle Waiting grew out of an interest, on the part of cartoonist Linda Medley, in the myths and legends that make up our cultural heritage. But Medley's fascination with the subject didn't concern the royal movers and shakers who starred in such stories. She focused more on the milkmaids and townsfolk who gave the stories humanity, and on the magical places and artifacts the action took place in and around. Castle Waiting itself …

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… was the one-time setting of the Sleeping Beauty story, now shown many years later, after it had become a refuge for displaced persons of various types.

Castle Waiting goes back to ideas and characters Medley started playing with in 1984, when she was a student of folklore, and looking at children's book illustration as a possible career. A few years later, she was freelancing in the comics industry, on titles such as Doom Patrol and Justice League, but still hadn't done anything with her own creations.

A 1996 grant from The Xeric Foundation, which, funded by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles money, encourages promising comic book self-publishers, made it possible for Medley to bring the work to fruition. Olio Press, the name Medley gave to her self-publishing ventures, put out the first Castle Waiting story, The Curse of Brambly Hedge (the name of the thicket that grew around the castle while Princess Aurora slept) that same year.

The regular title began in 1997. It opened with Lady Jain, Countess of Carabas, embarking in the dead of night, on a journey of unknown length and hardship, in search of a place her father had once visited, where strangers seeking refuge are never turned away. Her reasons for abandoning her home weren't mentioned but it was implied they had something to do with the fact that she was in the early stages of pregnancy. Jain's journey, and the early months of her residence at Castle Waiting, her destination, were described in the first seven issues, which is as many as Medley was able to put out in the year or so she was able to keep the self-publishing operation going.

By allying herself first with Jeff Smith's self-publishing venture, Cartoon Books (Bone) and later with Fantagraphics Books (Usagi Yojimbo), combined with spurts of self-publishing, Medley has been able to keep Castle Waiting coming out, at least spradically, ever since. So far, it's explored the back-story of several of the castle's eccentric inhabitants.


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Text ©2009 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Linda Medley.