FEATURE: Why you should be reading Saga

I’m always on the lookout for new and exciting things to read and last year when a fellow geek pal on Twitter posted about her recent comic purchases, there was something straight away that caught my eye. That something was Saga. After a few tweets back and forth, Saga came highly recommended and went top of my hit list for my next purchase and I’m here to tell you why you should be reading it too.

Saga isn’t new to the comics scene. It’s first single issue was published in March 2012 and first collected volume in October of the same year. The fact that readers are still highly anticipating the next volume during its fourth anniversary is testament to the enduring story line that writer Brian Vaughan has created. So, if you’re yet to discover this epic tale, now is the time to jump right in. Volume 6 is due for release next month (5th July, 2016) so there has never been a better time to start on your Saga journey.

I’m tempted to say that Saga is a classic love story. I’m tempted to say that it’s a classic war story. But it’s neither of these things and both of these things at the same time. Like a big ball of intergalactic space wars involving the planet Landfall and the people who inhabit it’s moon, Wreath. The war is intertwined with a controversial relationship between two young lovers (Alana and Marko) from opposing sides of the conflict. Throw in a race of royal militant robots (humans with TV screens for heads is slightly more accurate) and a gang of mutant freelance mercenaries and you’re almost there. Almost. Oh, and did I mention just a splash of giant arachno-human erotica? Saga succeeds as an ultimate science fiction escapism whilst also tackling issues that are very much in the spotlight at the moment. Gender equality, sexism and race wars are all woven into the story line. If reading super-hero comics was meant to reach out and rekindle the child in us, then reading Saga reaches back out to the adult in us, ignites the spark and then sits back and watches the ensuing fireworks.  

The story is narrated by Alana and Marko’s ill-conceived child, Hazel, as she recounts her parent’s attempt to flee the never-ending conflict. However, finding somewhere they can live out the rest of their lives without being shrouded in violence is proving difficult now that Hazel is the most wanted child in the galaxy. Here is a tale that is quite clearly standing the perilous test of comic book time. Saga is quite literally its namesake. A saga. An epic. There is a story here that I would quite happily read as a novel. The characters are so well crafted and the story arcs paced fast enough that this could easily be fleshed out into a novel. But here are two little words which make me glad that Saga is in fact a graphic novel. Fiona Staples.

Saga Vol 1 CoverStaples is responsible for the amazing artwork in the books. From the very first page to the last, each scene has crisp lines and bold inks. The background of each frame is kept simple which really brings the characters to life. But Staples doesn’t just draw these books (she is co-creator with Vaughan). She breathes life into them. She has taken Vaughan’s story and literally designed it from the ground up. There’s something extremely emotive seeing graphic content as opposed to just reading it and the world of Saga is at times so surreal, in a good way, that it needs the artwork to tie it all together. It’s this graphic tie in that makes it hard not only to have a connection with the main characters but also feel a compelling regard for peripheral characters which have become part of almost a cult following. I’m specifically talking about Lying Cat and Prince Robot IV here, quantified by my sitting and typing this blog in my Prince Robot IV T-Shirt. 

In just a few more weeks, the next volume in this epic story is released and who knows just how long it can continue? What I do know is that Saga has broken boundaries in the world of graphic novels.

But just don’t take my word for it, go and discover Saga and see for yourself.

Title: Saga

Publisher: Image Comics

GS Blogger: Jackie Coysh

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