“It doesn’t take a village to raise children, it takes a whole galaxy — friends, random acquaintances, complete strangers… even other children”
If you are searching for comics with superheroes and villains, noble heroes fighting an empire, absolute good standing up to absolute evil, then Saga is not the comic you are looking for.
Written by Brian K. Vaughan, and illustrated by Fiona Staples, Saga is an epic space opera/fantasy comic book series, about parenthood. The story focuses on Hazel, a newborn girl, and her parents’ struggles to protect themselves and their child in desperate circumstances.
The story, often narrated by Hazel, takes place in a universe where a never-ending war that started between the largest planet in the galaxy and its moon, has spread in every other world, with each species forced to pick a side. Planet or moon.
Alana (Hazel’s mother), comes from the technologically advanced planet Landfall whose people are winged humanoids, and Marko (Hazel’s father), is from Wreath, Landfall’s one and only satellite, whose people are horn-headed warriors who wield magic.
Alana and Marko met on the planet Cleave, where he was held as a war prisoner and she was assigned to guard him. She helped him escape and ran with him twelve hours after meeting.
Saga Main Plot & New Characters
At the beginning of the first comic issue, Alana gives birth to Hazel, while we learn that they are being pursued by both Landfallians and Wreathers, as she and Marko are both military deserters and Hazel is considered to be an abomination.
Another reason is to protect troop morale as if the news of them living in harmony spread, will affect people views on the war and realize peace is possible.
As the family tries to escape Cleave to a safer place, we are introduced to new characters such as Prince Robot IV. A humanoid robot with a television screen for a head, tasked by his father King Robot to eliminate the thread on behalf of their Landfallian allies. Along with others hired by the Wreathers, a mercenary named The Will accompanied by his sidekick Lying Cat, who possess the ability to target lies when they are deliberate and responds by simply saying “Lying”.
As the story progress, we get to learn more about this rich and diverse universe.
Some of the other characters we get to meet along the way are crocodile butlers (or are they alligators?), a topless spider woman (resembling nothing like Spider-man), ghosts, magic, laser-firing tortoises, torsoless sex workers, Ghüs a seal-like creature (one of our favorites!) and many more.
We learn about Sextillion, a planet which as you guessed specializes in sex services, a forest that has wooden spaceships growing on trees and underwater cities.
According to Fiona Staples’s interview “the world of Saga is about as broad as reality itself, so pretty much anything goes”. So alongside the rocket ships and magic swords, there are smartphones and ATMs and in a way, this world seems familiar to the readers.
There is even a mentioning of fidget spinners!
Fiona has designed every cover of every book, including every character, planet and alien race. She has also painted the covers for each issue and hand-lettered Hazel’s narration on more than 50 consecutive issues.
Diversity in the Saga Universe
Diversity is central to Saga’s conception. The series is full of characters of varying genders, classes, and sexual orientations. The most important though, is that these characters are captivating and vital to the action resulting in a fictional universe that reflects our own.
Saga is often used to discuss things like religion and politics and also tackle issues like reproductive rights, gender identity, addiction, and female autonomy.
In an interview with The Daily Dot, Brian K. Vaughan said “the goal was to do a story where there were no hard and fast black-and-white heroes and villains. This is a morally complex war that doesn’t have any good guys or bad guys in it; just human beings who are doing their best to endure. There’s not just a protagonist, but a whole supporting cast that people have come to love”.
This is one of the many reasons that make Saga so unique and relatable.
Saga Awards and Accreditation
The series was met with wide critical acclaim. The illustrations by Fiona Staples amazed and touched the readers, praising her technique, unique design, and commenting on how expressive and original the characters are.
Saga is published by Image Comics and up until 2018, they have issued 54 single issues. Each issue of Saga is titled with a numerical Chapter.
Every six chapters comprise a story arc designated as a “Volume” and are reprinted as trade paperbacks.
Every three Volumes comprise a “Book” and are collected as Deluxe hardcover editions.
Saga has won numerous awards such as:
- Eisner Award for Best Writer (2013, 2014)
- Eisner Award for Best New Series (2013)
- Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series (2013, 2014, 2015)
- Eisner Award for Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (2014)
- Eisner Award for Best Penciller/Inker (2015)
At the moment it is rated 8.8 out of 10 at the Comic Book Roundup. A website that gathers critic reviews for comic books all in one place and gives an overall rating for each issue based on individual reviewer’s scores.
Saga Movie and TV Adaptation
Although interest has been expressed from the audience, for Saga to be adapted for film or TV and people already suggesting actors and actresses, Vaughan and Staples reaffirmed their desire not to do so. At least not now. For them, making the best comic they can is a priority.
Saga No. 54, is the final issue before the series’ Intermission, as in the letter column following the story’s final page, writer Brian K. Vaughan announced that the series was going on hiatus for at least a year, to allow he and artist Fiona Staples a chance to recharge.
Saga is a story about parenthood. A story of people trying to stay true to their nature, coming together and being pulled apart. A story of enemies slowly becoming, if not friends, then at least family.
If you haven’t read Saga yet, now is the chance to order your first issue and discover this epic story!