Another Castle is a new comic book series from the editor-in-chief of Comics Alliance and the illustrator of Zodiac Starforce, about a hero with her priorities in the right place. Princess Artimesia is inarguably the kingdom’s greatest warrior, but her greatest asset isn’t her birthright, or her magic sword.
It’s her compassion.
Andrew Wheeler and Paulina Ganucheau have something really special here. I love the aesthetic, I love the time put into expert storytelling, and I love love love the female lead character. Another Castle is the book for all of us who loved playing as Peach in Mario 2, all of us who thought Emeraldas was the best part of Captain Harlock, for all the progressive fans who want their Disney Princesses to be feminine and ferocious in equal measure.
Ganucheau’s aesthetic (the colors!!) for Another Castle totally does it for me. It’s not just the title that reminds me of Nintendo, the book’s look distinctly reminds me of the rainbow, lively, androgyne sticker books and school supplies that fleshed out the pixelated world of video games in my young mind’s eye. There is a Thundercats vibe at play here, something that reminds me of the Voltron Castle of Lions playset I grew up with. Very She-Ra.
Which is to say, the heroine is in a dress and a tiara, not a jumpsuit like the rest of the boys. She gets her nails did and has to put up with suitors in addition to killing goblins and vexing demon-kings. Plus, she isn’t Lady Thor, she isn’t Lady Conan, she is an original creation, nobody’s foil, beholden to no franchise, no expectations. Simply put: she rules.
When I said expert storytelling, I don’t just mean delightful stuff like making the snake-hair of Misty’s gorgon handmaiden bite the shit out of some thrown scones. Another Castle bears the stamp of a writer who has spent a lot of time reading comics and thinking about what makes them good. The use of the titular line, for example. There are many “another” castles in this book, not just the the seats of power in Beldora and Grimoire. There are visual story beats that are subtly repeated and referenced throughout the book. The structure is there. And the writing? Unflinching and sweet at the same time, like Jeff Smith’s all ages and thoroughly legendary fantasy comic, Bone.
So maybe the best thing about the comic is Misty is a role model for all of us. She won’t let her obligations as a Princess get in the way of her dreams of being a hero, but she will not shirk them, either. Misty is presented with a conflict that means compromising her personal desire for the good (and to save the lives) of the many. She has the wisdom to make Arthurian decisions. She has the vitality to swing the sword and the smarts to know when not to. I started Another Castle thinking what a great idea and finished it thinking what an amazing comic.
Look at that! Are you not in love already? Why not?? Give it to your kids. Give it to your friends. At the very least, give it a read.