Castle Waiting
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Last updated: 3 October 1997
The Curse Of Brambly Hedge and issues #1-2, by Linda Medley, © 1996-97, Olio Comics
Writer/artist Linda Medley says in the afterward to The Curse of Brambly Hedge that she was interested in Grimm's fairy tales, and that "What really fascinated me were the background characters - their unexplained pasts, and their often unresolved fates. Just where did the Goose Girl get a talking horse? And whatever became of the sixth Swan Prince (who, when restored to human form, ended up with a wing in place of his left arm)? One assumes he lived somewhat less than happily ever after."

The Curse of Brambly Hedge is a slightly skewed retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, but the princess is a rather peripheral character, who abruptly leaves when she's woken by her True Love. The story instead focuses on the witches (both good and bad) involved in her curse, and on her handmaidens and the castle in which she lived. When the castle is woken after a hundred years' sleep, they decide to turn the castle - now without a king or queen - into a sanctuary.

Castle Waiting, then, is about this castle. The first two issues follow a young woman named Lady Jain who makes her way to the castle, pregnant, and apparently running from being beaten by someone in her home castle. From such grim beginnings comes a rather charming (so far) tale of various misfits and oddballs.

Medley's script is a strange mixture of medieval backdrop and quasi-modern speech patterns (like the imp who asks his boss-lady, "Heard the news?" Or characters who exclaim, "Jeez!"). It actually works quite well, coming across as neither crass nor cynical (although sometimes a bit overly-conspicuous). Her art (black-and-white) tends towards the simplistic, but her framing shots of the castle or countryside are sometimes stunning.

It's too soon to tell where this is going, but apparently it's become fairly popular and I find it interesting, so far.

Reviewed October 1997

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