Saga has grown from a small underground comic to one so big, the characters are now Funko Pop figures. And it is, for many, the comic that got them into contemporary graphic novels, myself included. While not the first I read, it is responsible for my continued love of the genre and format.
Saga is an epic space opera/fantasy comic book series created by writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples, published monthly by Image Comics. The series is heavily influenced by Star Wars, and based on ideas Vaughan conceived both as a child and as a parent. It depicts two lovers from long-warring extraterrestrial races, Alana and Marko, fleeing authorities from both sides of a galactic war as they struggle to care for their newborn daughter, Hazel, who occasionally narrates the series.
As a routine graphic novel reader for two+ years at this point, I’ve come to the conclusion that, like books, not all graphic novels are created equal. I don’t know why I didn’t realize this from the get go – perhaps it’s my constant need to finish what I’ve started, but there have definitely been comics I’ve started reading that, for one reason or another, I lose interest in and abandon. And then, there are those glorious comics that I wait with baited breath for the next volume to come out. Saga defines the latter category.
I think every girl has had a crush on an animated character at some point in their lives – most Disney princes – and most obsessive readers have their own list of book boyfriends and literary crushes – Mr. Darcy usually tops that list. Therefore I don’t think it’s too out of the ordinary to say that Marko is quite possibly my favorite comic boyfriend. The characters of Saga, all of them, are just wonderfully created and brought to life through both Vaughan’s writing and Staples’ art.
Brian K. Vaughan has been known in the comic circles for close to two decades now but he really hits his stride with his world building, plot pacing, and character development in Saga. You feel for these characters, you cry over their pain and you hope, you just hope, that eventually he’ll let them catch a break. But even when running for their lives, they still find moments of hilarity and relaxation along the way.
I have never read a book before where I wanted poster-sized prints of just about every page and panel, but that’s how I feel about Fiona Staples’ artwork. Her ability to convey deep emotions through a single expression puts her right on par with some of the greatest traditional artists of the century. While that might sound like overly high praise, I have a family of artists and art historians to back me up on that claim.
Rating: consistently 10 out of 10 stars, volume after volume
Recommended for: Readers 16+, lovers of science fiction, excellent storytelling and story arcs.
So Far: 8 bound volumes, 50 issues, published by Image Comics
First Bound Volume: Paperback • $9.99 • 9781607066019 • 160 pages • published October 2012 by Image Comics