By Arpad Lep. In Another Castle, we have a princess who lives to be a hero. She has the skills. She has the spirit. Don Diego’s Book of Conduct be damned, she has the wisdom to rule. And she most definitely should; we so need to see some wise leaders right now, real or fictitious. “We’ll finish my nails later,” says Princess Artemisia (call her Misty). “I’ve got to defend the kingdom.”
Misty is très formidable. Her duty and station may be at odds with a warrior’s life, but Artemisia is an uncompromising combination of Romantic femininity and courageousness. At no point is one side allowed to invalidate the other. Princes get the battle glory as well as the ballroom pomp, so why not princesses? “And I like dresses and dances and carriage rides. But is that all I get?” No, Misty, in Another Castle, you get it all. Suitors and captors may try to control you, but you cannot be stopped.
You won’t be satisfied until you change the world. Good.
The book’s look is a dream. A clean, colorful, better-than-Nintendo retro aesthetic takes the girly and makes it androgyne. Not with pixels, but with a rainbow Zelda sticker book. Another Castle is heavy channeling the cereal box simplicity of Saturday morning cartoons from the 80s — and I want an action figure of Gorga, the blue-skinned, Medusean handmaiden with the golden (and scone eating!) corn snake hair so badly.
Bad boyfriends. A ludicrously oversized magic sword. Goblins and a witch and a dragon named Brutus. It’s all quite a bit of fun, and yet Another Castle’s greatest asset is inarguably Princess Artemisia. Her queenly insight leads her to make personal sacrifices for the benefit of her kingdom. That is how one should rule, and Misty totally rules.
Her predicament is a rather effective way to get us to examine the tragedy of holding on to traditions without considering their impact in the real, modern world. It hurts to see Misty trapped in a role she hates because she is so much more than merely a princess. But then every one of us, monarch or marginalized, deserves a life of their own choosing. When both good and evil aim to use the same rules to come to power, it is time for those rules to change. This is the cornerstone of Another Castle, a beautiful argument that the old rules need no longer apply.
Written by Andrew Wheeler.
Art and colors by Paulina Ganucheau.
Retailer incentive variant cover by Irene Koh.
Letters by Jenny Vy Tran.
8 out of 10