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Things You Should Know About Saga

Saga: Alana and Marko with baby Hazel, text: 'Marko, what the hell are you doing?' 'Cutting the umbilical?' 'You have a sword! You are wearing a sword!'

Everyone and their dog who reads comics has heard about this comic already, so this post is mostly for the rest of you. Alternate title: "Please read this awesome thing I am reading so I can talk about it with you!"

Let me tell you about Saga:
  • Surrealist star-crossed romance/family adventure comic IN SPACE. Alana and Marko are fleeing from opposing sides of a very old war, trying to keep themselves and their newborn alive without getting killed by either side.

  • Written by Brian K. Vaughan (author of Y: The Last Man and the Faith arc of the Buffy S8 comics) and art by Fiona Staples. Ongoing with 14 issues so far; it looks like there are scheduled hiatuses every six issues? There are now two volumes collected the first 12 issues.

  • Definitely an adult-content book. There is violence, sex, nudity, and bits.

  • Gorgeous artwork. The use of color, the expression and individuality of the faces, the visual concept work - Staples does wonderful stuff.

  • Gonzo worldbuilding. One of the people after us is Prince Robot IV, who comes from a race of people with TV sets for heads. Another of the people after us travels with a giant blue hairless cat which, whenever anyone lies in its presence, says, "Lying." There's a significant character with one huge eye in the middle of his face and a minor character that is a human-sized, air-breathing seahorse in a suit. And I will let you discover The Stalk for yourself, but she is possibly my favorite of all.

  • Easy to read – all the pages are left-to-right, top-to-bottom. No panels overlapping with other panels, no following panels all up and down the page. It's always extremely clear what panel to look at next. (This bullet point is aimed specifically at my friends who say they're not sure how to read comics. Saga will start you off very gently!)

  • Lots of awesome women! Specifically Alana and the infant daughter (who narrates), but we also have, uh, various spoilery other people. We frequently have more women than men in a scene.

  • First issue caused a minor hullabaloo for having Alana breastfeeding on the cover.

  • Racial diversity – almost none of these people are actually human, much less of a particular identifiable ethnicity, but Alana is noticeably browner than Marko, and [spoilery other characters] are both much darker still. It's not by species, either; Marko has horns and is light-skinned, but [spoilery character] also has horns and the darkest skin of any of the humanoids we meet.

  • The storytelling makes me trust it. It keeps returning to the elements and events it's introduced, so that a character who's a topic of discussion shows up in person six issues later, and a scene that is referenced in passing is seen in full flashback further down the road. There is no waste here.

  • It's hopeful. There's death, and it's sad, and the war is terrible and the environment in which we are trying to survive is terrible, and yet the story itself seems to be an act of building up, rather than tearing down, if that makes any sense – for the reader and for the characters.

  • The first issue is free! You can pick up the whole 6-issue volume for pretty cheap, either digitally or in hard copy, and the second for not too much more. Or, you know, Amazon. Alternatively, the library! (I'm sure there are also other, less reputable ways of acquiring it, but I can't help you with those.)

So, clearly this is something you want to investigate further, yes? Yes? :D

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comment here or there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 25th, 2013 10:12 pm (UTC)
"You have a sword! You are wearing a sword!"

Ahahahahahaha. XDD
Oct. 25th, 2013 10:21 pm (UTC)
:DD There is frequent humor, also. I guess I neglected to mention the fact that the characters have very silly moments. But the excerpt illustrates this well enough, IMO. :D
Oct. 26th, 2013 01:56 am (UTC)
YES THIS IS AN EXCELLENT POST. And I hope it convinces more people to read Saga, because it's hands down my favourite comic I've ever read and it should have all the fans.
Oct. 26th, 2013 04:24 am (UTC)
It should have all the fans! What's more, I figure it should be a great gateway drug intro to comics for people who haven't explored them much before. I tell you, I'd have gotten into comics a whole lot faster if someone had handed me this instead of Sandman years ago. (Not that Saga existed years ago, but.)
Oct. 26th, 2013 06:47 am (UTC)
Oh, absolutely! My boyfriend first tried to get me into comics by giving me Ultimate X-Men (before the Ultimate universe was everything wrong with the world), which, while technically good for a comics newbie, wasn't really my thing. And then one day I picked up Fray and I was hooked.
Oct. 26th, 2013 05:06 pm (UTC)
I loved Fray! For years it was my standard to remind that, oh yes, it was possible for me to love grown-up comics.
Oct. 26th, 2013 04:18 am (UTC)

Today I attempted to describe it for a friend and the first thing I came up with was "it's like Romeo and Juliet in space, but not." Then I went into more detail because I realised how stupid that sounded. :P
Oct. 26th, 2013 04:32 am (UTC)
HA HA. I had "Romeo/Julie IN SPACE," and replaced it with "star-crossed lovers" because I was afraid Romeo/Juliet would turn people off - the play has lots of other connotations that aren't really analogous, and also there's the aspect of them both still being alive. But yes, basically, that's exactly what we have here. :D
Oct. 26th, 2013 06:32 am (UTC)
I went to amazon and checked out the sample there. The next panel after the one you post: I wasn't expecting that much gristle

LOL! OK, you've convinced me! I'm ordering now!
Oct. 26th, 2013 05:07 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 26th, 2013 05:08 pm (UTC)
:D I failed to mention in the post that the comic is funny, but hopefully that panel spoke for itself.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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