Comics

Recommendation: Saga, an utterly compelling comic series

Have you ever had something–a movie, an author, a TV series, or similar–repeatedly mentioned in passing, over a period of time? And despite its repeat presence in conversations or videos or internet browsing, you don’t bother to look it up? I experienced this situation with the comic series Saga, and now that I’m completely wrapped up in it, I wish I had looked it up sooner.

Saga follows Alana and Marko, lovers from opposite sides of a giant war taking place on multiple planets. As they journey through space with their daughter Hazel, they meet unique creatures and characters, and find themselves in situations of distress, desire, and duplicity.

It’s a vague summary, but I don’t want to give away any more than that. What I will say is that it’s a wonderfully written and illustrated series. Written by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Fiona Staples, the graphics plus the story keeps you captivated as you feverishly turn every page. Each monthly issue introduces a concept that is equal parts shocking and compelling, and you’re constantly put on the edge of your seat.

According to Image Comics, the publisher of Saga, the series is “heavily influenced by Star Wars, and based on ideas Vaughan conceived both as a child and as a parent.” (Source) This is very apparent in the story, which takes place in an entirely imagined universe, both beautiful and terrifying simultaneously. Alana and Marko as characters not only grow and evolve, but Mr. Vaughan peels back the layers of their personalities through flashbacks, drug trips, and confrontations, giving the reader an intimate view into these characters’ true cores.

Some of the most tender moments in the series are narrated by Hazel, offering an innocent perspective on what can occasionally be very horrific events. She seems to reach through the page directly to the reader, until your heart feels intricately linked to this small family.

When I first looked up Saga, I ordered the first Volume (available online here or here). As soon as it arrived, I began to read it . . . and completely devoured it, very quickly. Suddenly, I was ordering all of the available volumes. Once I had raced through those, I went to my local comic book shop and set up a box for the monthly issues.

Of course, not everyone has the same reaction to the same things, but I do recommend Saga for anyone who likes comics, enjoys stories in space, or wants to have their imagination stretched. It’s for adults, i.e. there are drugs, sex, and violence. However, it’s never gratutious and it always supports the story in full. (Which is not to say the drug trips or sex scenes aren’t completely and totally fun.)

I think my favorite quote comes from Entertainment Weekly, which called Saga “[the] kind of comic you get when truly talented superstar creators are given the freedom to produce their dream book.” (Source) It’s high praise that is very much well deserved.

Check out Saga, and see if it captures you the way it has for so many other readers!