Castle Waiting is a comic book series created, written and illustrated by Linda Medley and published by Fantagraphics. It was originally self-published by Medley, and picked up by the publisher after achieving success. The first volume was published in serialised form in 1996-2001, and the second volume by Fantagraphics in 2006-12.The story combines many Fairy Tales and fairy tale tropes together to form a cohesive world. Characters include the enigmatic plague doctor Dr. Fell of the I do not love thee, Dr. Fell epigram, Simple Simon, and a gold-egg laying hen (a reference to "Jack and the Beanstalk"). The eponymous Castle Waiting is the castle of "Sleeping Beauty" fame. Many years have passed since the dim-witted princess left the castle with her prince without a second thought. Only the wall of thorns and three handmaidens remain. Since then, the castle has become a refuge. The main story begins with Lady Jain, a pregnant woman seeking sanctuary at Castle Waiting to escape her horrible husband.The comic was ranked as one of the best comic books of 2006 in a critics' poll in December, 2006, by Publishers Weekly.
To be fair, we don't know that the marriage Jain runs from is the one her father arranged with Tylo. Tylo's family is another merchant family, as Jain's is; however, she runs from a castle/keep at the beginning, one that has guards & fortifications. Considering that part of medieval life was that only nobles were allowed to build castles, one possibility is that the marriage was with the Prince we see in flashback in Book Two.
Delivery Stork: Peace badgers Rackham into posing like this when Jain's son is born.
Does Not Like Shoes: Simon is usually barefoot, although he does wear shoes occasionally in bad weather. Might be Barefoot Poverty, but then we hear that he's actually quite well paid for his work as a handyman.
Domestic Abuse: Jain's backstory and what drives her to Castle Waiting.
Even Evil Has Standards: In the retelling of "Sleeping Beauty", Leeds is disgusted with Mald cursing a baby and implies that even Satan would disapprove — and given that it's heavily implied that the false Opinicus that ends up carrying Mald to hell is actually Satan himself, he'd seem to be right. In the second volume, we find that Leeds has a serious discomfort with "the sick stuff" that comes with torturing sinners.
Familiar: Leeds was the familiar of Mald, the evil witch from the "Sleeping Beauty" retelling, until she got taken to Hell for cursing a baby.
Fantastic Slurs: Referring to a Hammerling as a "dwarf" can apparently be offensive, but only in certain situations and with a certain manner. Since Hammerlings appear to relate to humans as members of a separate, equally-powerful nation rather than an oppressed minority, this is probably more like British people calling Americans "Yanks" than a serious racist insult.
Fluffy Tamer: Abbess Clarisse. Widow of a lion tamer, but his lions are still alive...
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Tylo. Portrayed from the first as a Jerkass little boy, in the second book he gives Jain her racing horse, Rosa, just to make her happy. As he and Jain get to know each other better, they get along a lot more
The Lad-ette: Sister Peace. Some of the other Solicitines even more so.
Master of Unlocking: Tolly is a Hammerling "doorman", which means that he has a near-supernatural talent to sense the stresses and flaws in stone and make holes through walls with ridiculously little effort.
Meaningful Name: At first. Sister Peace was a well-behaved baby when she was born. That only lasted up until her christening. Too late to change it.
Mix-and-Match Creatures: The Opinicus, with the body of a lion, the wings of an eagle, the head of a camel, and the tail of... in its most recent appearance, it looks like a lion's tail, but early on it seemed a little snakier.
Leeds: head of a man on top of the feet/hooves of a satyr.
Orphaned Punchline: At some point, Chess is shown to be telling Pindar jokes, but we only get to read the ending of one and the beginning of the next.
Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Averted with the Hammerlings. Yes, they're miners and metal workers with big beards and few women, & are called dwarves (though one character in the story thinks the term is degrading), but without the Scottish accents, heavy drinking, and bad tempers. They also love ninepins and have a reputation as spies and manipulators: they're arms dealers who are sometimes suspected of promoting wars for profit. This is because Castle Waiting takes its precedents mostly from fairy tales rather than Norse mythology via Tolkein.
Overly Long Name: Skeeter's real name is Solicitous Kummernis Eutropia Dignifortis Uncumber Hulfe Reginfledes Liberata.