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There are many more urgent things I should be doing right now than writing about how much I love Saga. But Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples have reached in and grabbed my cerebellum in one hand and my heart in the other and twisted until telling the Universe of my fierce passion for Saga is all I can do right now.

First things first: Saga is not safe for work, children, or those easily offended by nudity, sexual content, gore, foul language, and so on. Saga has all these things in abundance (and the nudity is fairly evenly spread across genders and species.)

There are very few comics I buy in single issues; usually, no matter how great the story, I'm happy to wait for the collections to come out. Saga is different. This series has given me such a burning, visceral desire to know what happens next that I may as well cable-tie myself to the rack in my local comics emporium till the next one comes out.

The heart of the premise is simple: Alana and Marko, members of two perpetually warring species, have run off to get married, quitting their respective armies. Now both sides have agents in hot pursuit of the two deserters and their newborn daughter.

The creative team do a particularly good job of depicting what happens when two cultures have been at war for a time stretching past living memory. Cynicism and black humour among the forces on the ground are matched by the callous, calculated ruthlessness of those in power. No side is portrayed as 'right'; nobody on either side believes their own propaganda any more. Both armies are composed of draftees who'd rather be anywhere but here.

In addition, we have aliens speaking Esperanto; an assassin with the torso of the Venus de Milo and the abdomen of a giant spider; a rocket ship that's really a tree (or possibly vice versa); a friendly teenage ghost who floats around trailing intestines; and a large hairless cat who can tell when you're lying. In Saga the beautiful and the disgusting lie cheek-by-jowl from the very first panel, and the story they combine to tell is believable and utterly human.

So: if this sounds like something you're up for, then go buy the first collection and await further instructions from Vaughan, Staples, Alana, Marko, The Will, The Stalk, Izabel, Lying Cat and company. Issue 9 is out in two days, so you know where I'll be cable-tied to. Bring scissors, will you?

on 2013-01-14 04:39 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] motodraconis.livejournal.com
I'd spotted that in Forbidden Planet and thought it looked interesting, though I was too skint to buy it at the time. I might get it after all!

on 2013-01-14 05:11 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] artnouveauho.livejournal.com
If you do, I'd love to know what you think.

on 2013-02-07 09:55 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] simonsatori.livejournal.com
I’m really impressed by Saga but don’t know why. If you try to describe the plot to someone, you’re just left with ‘Romeo and Juliet in Space’, which is surely a dull and unoriginal tale. There are none of the clever ideas and slightly-smug storytelling tricks that I love and look for in Gaiman, Moore or Ellis’s work. It’s just a straight story of love-struck teens running away from their warring factions.

There’s something addictive about it though. The central characters, their dialogue and relationship seem so very believable and the weirder things in their world (spider-like assassins, rocket trees and TV-headed nobility) are left unexplained just like weird things in the real-world are (unless you believe there’s a capricious god… but that’s another debate creeping in!)

I also love protagonist-couples in stories. It makes such a refreshing change from the more predictable young single man (or woman) protagonist who you know will ‘get the girl and kill the baddie’ at the end. I don’t want all my heroes to be forty year old blokes in stable relationships (just so that I can empathise with them!) but I also hate to think of stories written by committee to appeal to a preordained age group or lifestyle.

Off subject, I never realised that I did empathise so much with my heroes until I first dyed my hair black many many many years ago. I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognise myself and then looked at the TV (the other ubiquitous mirror) and realised that many of my favourite heroes (Kuryachin in 'The Man From Uncle', Sundance in 'Butch Cassady and the Sundance Kid' etc etc) were generally blond and I was going to have to find a new pantheon to go with my new appearance!

Anyway, I must try to get hold of some more Brian Vaughn to see how he does whatever it is that he does… and just for good old fashioned enjoyment!

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