Ladycastle Issue #1
I've always loved medieval fantasy. It may have started with The Fellowship Of The Ring, it may have started with my grandmother's love of the royal family and English history, or perhaps there is just something appealing to everyone about riding horses, fighting monsters and saving princesses. Doesn't being the hero appeal to everyone in some way? To be the one that slays the beast, defeats the bad guy and saves the princess? I was always a little disappointed as a child in the lack of women running around killing dragons and fighting with swords and that's what drew me to Ladycastle. Ladycastle is written by Delilah S. Dawson, Illustrated by Ashley A. Woods, Lettered by Jim Campbell and published by Boom!.
Princess Aeve is the eldest child of King Mancastle and sings of her life locked away in a tower while her father searches for a suitable prince for her to marry. She has been locked away to be kept pure since she was twelve with a promise that she can leave once she is married to a prince she has never met. As the King searches for a suitable prince he takes all of the men in the castle with him, leaving the women in the castle alone to follow the rules set by the King. One day the last knight Sir Riddik returns to the castle and informs the women that the King and all the men have been eaten by a dragon and that a curse has been placed on the castle and its inhabitants. Upon hearing this tragic news Sir Riddik agrees to take upon the mantle of King but the Lady of the lake has other ideas and names Merinor, the blacksmith's wife, instead.
Often when attempting to portray female characters as strong and independent there seems to be a thought that all femininity must be removed from the character, implying that femininity is weak. This is why I love the designs of many of the characters in Lady Castle, as it doesn't follow this trope at all. While some characters are designed with a more masculine style many of the characters still wear dresses and do traditionally feminine things such as making their new flag a pink unicorn. Feminism is about choice, be it choosing to cut your hair short and dress in a masculine style or wear your hair long and wearing the daintiest feminine dress possible. This is something Ladycastle gets very right, in that presenting yourself in a masculine or feminine way doesn't make you less of a strong and independent woman.
|time to knight up or shut up|
The character I find most interesting is Princess Gwyneff. She is a tomboy and takes full advantage of her freedom while expecting her sister to give up the same things she takes for granted. Gwyneff is neither malicious nor spiteful, however she is perfectly okay with encouraging her sister to marry a man she has never met simply because it would stop her father forcing her to do the same. This is a perfect example of people that "just want feminists to stop complaining" but are completely willing to take advantage of the freedoms this "complaining" has accomplished for them. Gwyneff is not bad just misguided in her thinking that things will get better if others make sacrifices so she doesn't have too.
Ladycastle is an fun comic with an important message and manages to maintain an interesting story while not diluting the ideas of feminism and sisterhood. This is a great comic for little girls to be shown that they can be whoever and whatever they want and a great comic for everyone else who enjoys the occasional shout of "Girl Power!".
I give Lady Castle 3.5 out of 5 magical swords
Find out more about Ladycastle here.