Greetings from Sunny California and a Saga Review! By Melodie F.
Greetings from Temecula, CA and welcome to my very first blog and review as a Graham Crackers Comics employee and manager!
As many of my regulars already know, I am a huge fan of Saga from Image Comics and I’m here to tell you why. The one and only Book Club I was privileged to host at the shop before we became Graham Crackers Comics was one discussing Saga Deluxe Edition HC Vol. 1, which collects the first 18 issues of this uniquely entertaining sci-fi fantasy space opera. (PSA: It is recommended for MATURE READERS only, so if you lost your composure over Bruce Wayne junior in Batman Damned #1, this may not be the comic series for you…)
However, if you’re looking for an out of this world, Romeo & Juliet-Star Wars inspired, jaw dropping, and heart wrenching experience in comics expressed through amazing artwork and story telling you picked up the right book! For starters, Saga is a tale of two star-crossed lovers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war. When these two soldiers fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe, and as the description says, science fiction and fantasy are wed like never before in a sexy, subversive drama for adults. Saga is written by Eisner Award-winning “Best Writer” BRIAN K. VAUGHAN (Y: The Last Man, The Private Eye) and drawn by Harvey Award-winning “Best Artist” Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40)- two sickeningly talented individuals with an even longer string of awards between the two of them. Saga is a monthly ongoing series that has left us off on a tear jerking issue #54. We are currently amidst a hiatus that the creators have announced will be AT LEAST a year long. This hiatus began in July 2018, and while Vaughan and Staples continue to torture me with suspense of an awaited issue #55, they have given you lucky readers that have not delved into it a chance to catch up. So let’s get started..
My thoughts on narration: Saga is occasionally narrated by Hazel, the love child of the star-crossed lovers I had mentioned earlier- Marko and Alana. Vaughan’s choice to narrate his story through the eyes of the child seems well thought out as I am left on the edge of my seat to see what fates lie ahead for every weird and unique character we are introduced to throughout the series. It is also interesting to see a story about war and violence told through the innocent perspective of a child that has never lived in a world without it. The only solace I have is knowing that Hazel survived the terrible war long enough to tell us her story. Thank you for surviving, Hazel!
My thoughts on the plot: It is obvious that the plot is inspired by the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet. Two lovers from opposite worlds that are forcefully being ripped apart from each other- but with a twist! These two can’t commit suicide because they have just become parents. Uh-oh! What will they do and how long can they run? I won’t tell you. You must read it to find out.
However, I can tell you that Alana is from the winged planet called Landfall and Marko is from Landfall’s moon and home the horned magical creatures, called Wreath. These two don’t speak the same language, but they wear rings that translate for each other using magic from Marko’s planet. Along the way, we meet a ghostly babysitter with her bottom half blown off, a rocket ship tree that becomes their home, a cat that can tell us when anyone is lying, a spider lady who doesn’t know how to put a shirt on, TV heads aka the royal Blue Bloods, and so many more lovable and hatable characters that I wish I thought of first. Vaughan explores the themes of family and diversity while keeping us entertained with his galaxy of seemingly endless races. This comic is definitely weird, but weirdly entertaining at that.
My thoughts on the artwork and story telling: I’m a huge fan of origin stories and where ideas came from, so I was impressed to learn that Vaughan invented Saga’s universe as a child calling it, “a fictional universe that I created when I was bored in math class. I just kept building it.” It wasn’t until his wife became pregnant with his second daughter, that he conceived the idea of the protagonists. He said, “I wanted to write about parenthood, but I wanted to Trojan-horse it inside some sort of interesting genre story, to explore the overlap between artistic creation and the creation of a child.”
The cover of the first issue (which is also the cover of the the first trade paperback volume in the series) shows us this is a book about a family. However, we are quick to find out this family is not our typical Norman Rockwell painting family. After picking up the first issue, I was immediately sucked into the introduction by the rawness of Vaughan’s story telling. He does not hold back and neither does the artist, Fiona Staples. Profanity, nudity, blood, explosions, shock value- it’s all there and I can’t get enough. Staples’ artwork is beautiful and she does a magnificent job of communicating feelings and expressions through her drawings. Together, this dynamic duo is a force to be reckoned with.
Thoughts on relatability to the characters: If you’re still saying to yourself, “Oh whatever.. It’s your job to hype up comics because you sell comics,” then take a look at these matching tattoos my boyfriend and I have of our favorite Character, Ghus. Isn’t he cute! Don’t be fooled by his cuddly appearance. I’ve seen his weapon closet. Tattoos may seem a bit obsessive to some out there, but while I still have your attention I’d like to share that not only has this series provided me with entertainment, it has also created a stronger bond between my boyfriend and I. We read this series together, taking turns reading the dialogue and narration out loud. The characters seem far fetched, but the story itself manages to remain real and relatable. When Marko and Alana go through trials and tribulations, we do too! The two of us love reading indy comics and we ALWAYS recommend this comic to anyone that asks for a recommendation. Whether this genre is your jam or not, I still suggest it be read to open your eyes to see what kind of comics are out there. Plus, Image Comics does this thing where they sell the first paperback volume in a series for just $9.99 as a sort of try us out kind of thing.
My overall review: I love everything about this comic. If you ask me how many stars out of 5 I’d give it, I confidently give it 6. With multiple years of reading indy comics and over 2 years of comic book retail experience under my belt, I have yet to come across another series to top this one in my books. It is action packed with the perfect amount of romance, sex, comedy, tragedy, suspense, and oddness all bundled together in one. Vaughan and Staples allow me to get know the characters and I grow more attached to them as I get to learn more and more about every one I meet along the way. I can’t wait for the Saga to continue!
MELODIE FIGUEROA: GCC Manager at our new location in TEMECULA, CALIFORNIA!
With years of comic book retail experience, Melodie knows how to run a bright, clean, well stocked store! A former atelier art student, Melodie often paints the things she loves the most- Star Wars! Her upcoming projects include a painting to remember Golden Age Comic writer William Woolfolk for Alter Ego Magazine and another painting for Alter Ego Magazine featuring Captain Marvel. Melodie enjoys reading, watching, and creating all things horror and sci-fi and is always up to talk about anything pop culture related.