I’ve decided that I should try to share some of the many comics that I read each and every week. In my Comic Book of the Week feature, I’ll select my favorite comic from the week that I read it and not necessarily the week that the comic was released – although I will try to pick comics that are recent enough to be available at your local comics shop.
I have a small confession to make. Every Sunday morning – when most people are either going to church or nursing hangovers; or in some cases doing both – I am relaxing in bed with a cup of my favorite coffee and reading comic books. I buy on average twelve to eighteen comics every six weeks, which I pick up from my subscription service at New England Comics (Hi, Doreen and Tom!). I then read two or three of these comics every Sunday morning. Because I gave up reading superhero comics published by Marvel, DC or any other company, I read a lot of horror, science fiction and fantasy comics that have nothing to do with men-in-tights. I’m always looking for something new and exciting, so that means I buy a lot of new comics series. My latest new series that I’m trying out is Saga.
COMIC BOOK OF THE WEEK! SAGA #1
Saga is a continuing series published by Image Comics that the company describes as a “Star Wars-style action collides with Game of Thrones-esque drama in this original sci-fi/fantasy epic for mature readers.” It is written by Brian K. Vaughan, whose best known for his sci-fi Vertigo series Y: The Last Man, a post-apocalyptic science fiction series about the only man to survive the apparent simultaneous death of every male mammal on Earth. Saga is drawn by Fiona Staples, who previously worked on The Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor with writer Mike Costa for Wildstorm and Mystery Society with writer Steve Niles for IDW Publishing. I have never read any Vaugugh’s books, except for his four issue stint on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight for Dark Horse comics, so I had no idea what to expect stylistically from him. My only exposure to Fiona Staples’ artwork was her work on The Mystery Society for IDW that ran as a five issue miniseries, which I did thoroughly enjoy. The combination of the concept and the art was enough for me to give Saga a read.
Saga #1 is a real bargain, as it is forty-two pages of full-color comic story with no advertisements for just $2.99! It tells everything you need to know about the main characters and the galactic-wide world that they inhabit. The story centers on Marko and Alana, who are a man and woman that are on opposite sides of an interstellar war that find each other and end up having a child together. This causes them no end of trouble and they end up being chased by both warring factions. These factions are the supporters of the planet Landfall and its opposing side the supporters of its satellite Wreath. Now a mercenary has been hired after Marko and Alana’s initial escape, to hunt them down and kill them, but take their child back to the Wreath. Meanwhile, the Robot Kingdom’s King has sent a prince to find and kill Marko and Alana as well. In the midst of all this, Marko and Alana are given a map that discloses a location that may or may not lead to their freedom… or something more!
WARNING: Explicit language on this page of SAGA #1!
I absolutely loved Saga! Vaughan has done something incredibly difficult: he has merged the hardware of science fiction and the magical elements of fantasy and combined them into an epic space opera adventure series! In this first issue alone we see robot-head people, winged people, horned people, a giant “lying cat” and a vast assortment of other fantastical creatures and people. All these things are wonderfully realized by the art of Fiona Staples. Her work is somewhat reminiscent of the more realistic Manga artists, but her loose brushed line work and dynamic cell-style coloring make it very much her own unique style. A word of caution for people who assume comics are for readers of all ages: Saga is rated by Image M for Mature. If Saga was a movie, it would definitely be rated R. Saga uses explicit language, features graphic violence, complete nudity and even open sexual scenes. As an older reader, these elements did not bother me and in many ways contributed the reality of fantastic elements in the story. However, if you are sensitive to these adult depictions and situations, then Saga is probably not for you.
If you like something that combines the best qualities of science fiction and fantasy, give Saga #1 a read!