Today we’re back from Boston Comic Con (we’ll be posting pictures over the next couple of weeks on our Facebook page) so now we’re starting right were we left off. My second favorite comic book series is another title from Image Comics and the strongest argument I’ve ever seen for creator owned, written, and produced work.
2. Saga (Image Comics)
Writer: Brian K. Vaughn
Artist: Fiona Staples
Issues (as of writing): 30
Saga is brought to us by comic book and screen writer Brian K. Vaughn whose resume is one of the most impressive out there to date.
(note: he worked on the show from season 3-5)
Here he teams up with artist Fiona Staples who is widely considered one of the greatest comic book artists around today.
Together they created Saga, a science fiction epic about two soldiers from opposing sides who fall in love and have to travel across the universe to raise and protect their child all while dodging monsters, assassins, and their former cohorts in a story that combines elements of Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Romeo and Juliet.
First and foremost the set up and character archetypes are unbelievably cliche. I’m serious, if you’ve seen any science fiction movie in the past 30 years you can guess what’s probably going to happen. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, they run away but can’t run fast enough to escape the forces pursuing them, people die in tragic circumstances, it’s all very sad. And with all due respect to Ms. Staples, the artwork does not lend itself very well towards traditional sci fi. When you hear the words “science fiction” a lot of people think of this
So we have a cliche plot coupled with artwork that seems a bit weird to someone more used to traditional sci fi
But this comic is much more than that and absolutely (pardon my language) fucking nails it!
This comic could very easily be a Star Wars knockoff or a Romeo and Juliet clone but it isn’t. Vaughn’s stellar writing makes all these characters unique, complex, and truly gripping. In the best kind of written traditions no character is completely good or evil, everyone has their own hopes and dreams that make you want to root for them and their own flaws that make you want to scream at the comic book when they do something really stupid.
Consider the man in the picture above. His name is The Will and he is a freelance assassin tasked with hunting down the two literal star crossed lovers.
As you can see The Will is incredibly capable (and yes this is a very violent image, more on that later) and incredibly deadly. But he is much more than that. Over the course of the comic he goes from apathetic about his life and work to rescuing a child prostitute and starting his own little twisted family (I won’t dare say anymore and risk spoiling the plot, go read this book). He even has a cat that can tell if you’re lying or not.
And this brings me to the two main characters, Alana and Marko, who are now officially my favorite couple in any form of media.
I mentioned that this comic is a bit…risque and that is absolutely true. This is NOT a comic book for children. There’s blood, gore, sex, cursing, sex, violence, and did I mention sex? But all of this goes towards making the two main characters very tender, very touching, and very believable. Sure Alana and Marko have a child that they have to take care of and keep away from forces much larger than themselves and sure they did fall in love at first sight but the comic takes the next logical step and shows what really happens to couples when that first rush of true love wears off. One minute the couple is happy, the next they are fighting and bickering, the next their running for their lives, and the next moment they’ve made up and proceed to screw each other’s brains out. You know, how normal couples act.
And as for the art…
This comic is like nothing I, or anyone else, has ever seen. It tells one of the best modern love stories while being set in a bizarre, quirky, violent, sexy, and fascinating universe that I just can’t get enough of.