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Saga: A Comic You Need To Read

Saga: A Comic You Need To Read

A best seller and critical smash, Brian K. Vaughan’s and Fiona Staple’s Saga has been beloved since its release in 2012. Yet despite the accolades, I am surprised how many people I’ve come across who haven’t heard the series or are afraid it’s too late to get onboard the hype train. As a response, I’ve decided to give you fence sitters an overview of the series, and what you’re missing from one of the best comics in years.


What’s It About?


saga

Photo Credit: Fiona Staples

A blend of science fiction, fantasy and capital-A Adult content, Saga tells the story of Alana and Marko, two alien soldiers from opposite sides of a war that decide to desert, get married, and have a baby. Naturally, their respective governments don’t take kindly to this and dispatch assassins to deal with the fledgling family. That summary covers maybe Volume 1 (the first 6 issues) before everything proceeds to go crazy in the best possible way. From scorned ex-lovers to a Nietzschean bounty hunter—plus the struggles of parenthood and marriage—Alana and Marko find their work cut out for them.


What’s So Great About It Then?


Have you seen the artwork?

saga_004_cover

Photo Credit: Fiona Staples

Fiona Staples is a master, and what makes her work on Saga (and as a whole) stand out is that she is able to accomplish so many things with her art. Naturalistic, human-like characters one moment, utterly grotesque monsters the next, Staples is able to call back to classic Star Wars space opera with a sleek, stylish flare, all the while still having her pictures carry the emotional beats and tone of the story. Regardless of how normal or bizarre her creations look, Staples’ art could easily carry Saga alone, but luckily, it has a lot more going for it than just pretty pictures.

Like Brian K. Vaughan’s razor sharp writing for one. To fans of Y: The Last Man and Pride of Baghdad, this should be no surprise but amidst war, assassins, alien worlds, and quests to steal medicine from a pharmaceutical company, Vaughan isn’t afraid to deal with true to life issues like family, marriage, or loss. You could rip characters like Alana or Marko out of their sci-fi/fantasy setting and they’d fit right at home in a drama—the duo are a real couple, whose passionate love is only matched by their borderline tragic flaws. Other characters show similar amounts of depth and complexity, yet the story doesn’t ever feel too melodramatic or grimdark. The drama bombs are mixed in with some great one-liners and gags, and it makes me excited to pick up each new issue.

But Saga isn’t just loved because it’s the comic book equivalent of Oscar bait. Saga is weird.


How Weird, Though?


 

Seal-Dude

Photo Credit: Fiona Staples

Really, really weird. Both visually and narratively, this series does not shy away from breaking boundaries many lesser series avoid or handle in a clumsy way. Primarily, Saga is a series that isn’t afraid to show or talk about sex, and it isn’t afraid to show or talk about sex with an armless spider woman, either. (Don’t even get me started on the black hole that turned out to be a giant space fetus.) I won’t deny that part of what makes Saga great is its transgressive, trailblazing attitude. I may stay for the great characterization and plot, but it was Saga’s strangeness—and complete fearlessness towards its content—that roped me in the first place. It’s easy to be weird; it’s much more difficult to be weird and consistently good.

To surmise, Saga is great. It’s won awards, earned tons of acclaim, and now even has my glowing recommendation.  With only five volumes of backlog (with the first volume only five bucks on Amazon!), there’s never been a better time to break into this smash hit series.

Love Saga? Hate Saga? Want to recommend series like Saga? Feel free to discuss in the comments below. Until next time. 

 Featured Image: Fiona Staples/Image

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