Saga (2012)

Synopsis

SAGA is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in a sexy, subversive drama for adults.

From: Image Comics

Notes on This Title

The main romance in Saga is between a man and a woman, neither of whom has been established to be queer. However, Saga has several queer supporting characters. Despite these characters’ prominence in the story, same-gender romances tend to be minor. A trans woman character, Petrichor, is introduced in issue #31 with her genitalia visible.

Saga includes graphic violence and sexual content, as well as heavy topics such as (non-graphic) child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, miscarriage, abortion, and war.

Saga is a heavily challenged book. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has provided a page of resources for librarians and educators who may need to defend Saga‘s inclusion in their collections.

Awards

2014 Autostraddle Comic and Sequential Art Award Shortlist — Favorite Indie Book
2015 Autostraddle Comic and Sequential Art Awards Shortlist — Favorite Indie Book
2013 British Fantasy Award — Comic/Graphic Novel
2013 Broken Frontier Award Winner for Best Ongoing Series
2014 Broken Frontier Award Nominee for Best Ongoing Series
2015 Broken Frontier Award Winner for Best Ongoing Series
2013 Eisner Award for Best New Series
2013 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series
2014 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series
2015 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series
2017 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series
26th GLAAD Media Award Nominee for Outstanding Comic Book
28th GLAAD Media Award Nominee for Outstanding Comic Book
2017 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Graphic Story (Volume 6)
2018 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Graphic Story (Volume 7)
2019 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Graphic Story (Volume 9)

Reviews

Starred Review: “Vaughan ’s whip-snap dialogue is as smart, cutting, and well timed as ever, and his characters are both familiar enough to acclimate easily to and deep enough to stay interested in as their relationships bend, break, and mend. While Vaughan will be the star power that attracts readers, do-it-all artist Staples is going to be the one who really wows them. Her character designs dish out some of the best aliens around, the immersive world-crafting is lushly detailed and deeply thought through, and the spacious layouts keep the focus squarely on the personal element, despite the chaotic cosmos they inhabit.” (Source: Booklist, vol 109, number 8, p38)

Starred Review: “This addictive adult read will be gobbled up by fans of cosmic sci-fi and fantasy dramas. Plenty of adult language plus frank sexual content take this out of the teen area.” (Source: Library Journal, vol 138, issue 1, p79)

Starred Review: “Vaughan’s witty dialogue is laced with universal commonalities—the sharp fingernails of babies, burping techniques, love—that ground the alien nature of the characters and heighten the sense that the war between planet and moon and the hatred between enemies is tragically pointless. Staples’s character designs are fantastic—even the weirdest aliens reveal human emotion—and her two-page spreads, whether of battle or of tree-grown rocket ships, are glorious. This is a completely addictive, human story that will leave readers desperately awaiting the next volume. For mature readers.” (Source: Publishers Weekly, vol 259, issue 41)

“It doesn’t lack for dense mythology—if I sat someone down and tried to explain all the plot and character intricacies Vaughan has introduced, their eyes would likely glaze over. But it has the brilliant hook of the flawed, funny, deeply human couple at its center. In issue one, we’re plunked into the middle of the action, centuries in to a galaxy-spanning war our narrator admits is futile to try and explain. But we immediately get that they’re sick of fighting, that their inter-species relationship is generally considered taboo, and that they have a baby to protect. Every new detail and character Vaughan adds in provides a fascinating new wrinkle, but he’s never dropped the core concept—that we’re watching a couple in love learn how to be parents.” (Source: The Atlantic)

Saga relies on a stable of heroes, anti-heroes, and villains who span the spectra of age, class, gender, race, and sexual orientation. The constant violence these characters face forces them to make painful choices, and though they sometimes make grave mistakes, Staples and Vaughan don’t demonize them. As a result, Saga is filled with well-rooted plotlines that engage organically with the characters’ arcs and with tricky topics such as pacifism and abortion. The series’s ethos and stunning quality has led to widespread acclaim: Saga has collected a staggering 12 Eisner Awards (essentially the Oscars for comic books). And as the political sphere grows ever more toxic with ascendant nativism and other displays of prejudice, Saga stands out as a profane, glorious ode to compassion and equality.” (Source: The Atlantic)

“If you watch woodworking videos all day, I have nothing for you, but if you’re the kind of person who loves Star Wars, you would probably fall in love with Saga. It’s an epic space opera involving a hugely diverse cast of characters with beautiful painted art that is some of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful you’ll ever see. This comic is perfect for science fiction fans, fantasy fans, war movie fans, romance fans and fans of beautiful colors.” (Source: Autostraddle)

“At its core, Saga is a series about family, both the ones that we’re born into and the one we wind knitting together for ourselves out of friends and people who don’t share our blood. Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, and the rest of the creative team behind the hit science-fantasy series understand that families are weird. You take for granted all the messaging you absorb about them when you’re younger and, as time marches on, you find yourself loving people you’re supposed to hate and hating people you’re supposed to love. … Part of the appeal of Saga has been watching the desperately itinerate nuclear unit of Alanna, Marko, and Hazel pull other characters like teen ghost babysitter Izabel, cutie man-walrus Ghus and liberated child slave Sophie into their orbit. Each new relationship brings its own specific tensions and fresh joys to the mix, while messing with the temperature and pressures of the core bonds between mother, father, and child.” (Source: io9)

Interviews

A.V. Club: “Fiona Staples on reimagining Archie and building a captivating Saga

Barnes and Noble: “Fiona Staples Reveals the Secrets Behind 10 of Saga‘s Weirdest, Most Wonderful Characters”

Books-A-Million: “Books-A-Million Interview with Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples and the Saga #46 Cover Reveal”

CBR: “BKV Brings Saga Out West for ‘Fun-Filled’ Arc, the Coffin”

Comics Alliance: “‘Saga’: Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples bring a stellar sci-fi comic into the world”

Heroic Girls: “Interview: Saga Artist Fiona Staples”

iFanboy: “Fiona Staples Talks Saga”

The Mary Sue: “Fiona Staples of Saga!”

Multiversity Comics: “Artist Alley: A Year of Panels and Pages with ‘Saga’ Artist Fiona Staples”

Observer: “‘Saga’ Artist Fiona Staples on Making Comics in a Digital Era”

Thrillist: “Brian K. Vaughan teases the future of ‘Saga’ and reflects on 50 issues”

USA Today: “Vaughan finds continued faith in his family ‘Saga’”

Vox: “Saga creator Brian K. Vaughan on Cleveland, aliens, and what’s next for his comics”

The Vulture: “Comics Writer Brian K. Vaughan Talks Saga, Diversity, and Fixing Injustice in the Industry”

The Vulture: Saga Creators: No Movie on the Way, But We Wouldn’t Say No to a Musical”

Washington Post: “As ‘Saga’ returns, writer Brian K. Vaughan looks to the future—with no immediate end in sight”

Wired: “Fiona Staples: Saga artist, comic creator & Spartacus fan”

Leave a Comment