There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who are reading Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples amazing adult scifi/fantasy Image comic Saga, and those who haven’t yet. The former people are leading happier, fuller lives, because Saga is amaaaaaazzzing. Here are 10 reasons you’d do well to join them.
1) It’s just like Star Wars.
Saga is a science fiction fantasy, set in a galaxy that’s as full of magic and monsters as it is spaceships and lasers. There’s a war between the planet Landfall, whose inhabitants have wings on their backs, and its moon Wreath, whose people all have horns on their heads — and this war has encompassed the entire universe. Our heroes go on an adventure that spans countless worlds, and includes epic battles, nefarious bounty hunters, and a ruthless robot that’s tracking them all down. You know how Star Wars featured all this stuff that we’d never seen before, but it all felt so right that it was like it was practically real? Saga has that exact same magic.
2) It’s nothing like Star Wars.
There’s no evil Empire here, and there’s no good side, just war and violence that Wreath and Landfall have outsourced to other planets after it became too destructive for themselves. Our heroes, the Landfallian Alana and Wreath’s Marko, are two soldiers on opposite sides who fall in love and escape. They aren’t on some heroic quest to stop the war, they want nothing more than to be left alone with their new daughter Hazel — but this union upsets both sides, who send Prince Robot IV (an ally of Landfall with a television for a head) and bounty hunter The Will after them. But these guys are no Darth Vader and Boba Fett — Prince is desperate to find the traitors solely so he can be back home in time for the birth of his own child, while The Will almost immediately gives up the job to rescue a 6-year-old girl from a planet of sex slaves. And then he’s drawn back in after Prince Robot IV kills his bounty hunter ex-girlfriend The Stalk, who happens to be a topless, armless woman who has the lower torso of a spider.
3) It’s completely insane.
Are you picking up on just how creative Saga is? The spaceship Marko and Alana escape in is a tree with no control panels (it goes where it wants, although you can ask nicely). Their babysitter is the ghost of a 14-year-old girl, missing her lower half after she died stepping on a landmine, and whose intestines peek out below her shirt. There are seahorse people, magic spells that take secrets to work, giant triclops with massive exposed testicles, a flaming gorilla that says “Boo!”, swords that cut through space-time, a tiny anthropomorphic baby seal in overalls, and so much more.
4) It’s also real.
It might sound weird to call a comic which prominently features half-naked spider-women as “real,” but when it comes to the characters, Saga feels tremendously authentic. Marko and Alana aren’t cogs on The Hero's Journey, they’re two fully realized people that love each other tremendously without it ever once feeling sappy, that fight and fuck and tease each other like real couples do, that don’t give two shits about their peoples’ war, but only about their new child. As mentioned above, the “villains” of Saga have their own completely understandable motivations, and aren’t even close to 2-D bad guys. But Saga is primarily a story about new parents bringing a child into a world that often seems awful; Alana and Marko want the joy of a child, while The Will calls them assholes for bringing a baby into such a horrible universe. Vaughan was partially inspired to write Saga as a new parent himself, and it's not hard to understand the dilemma that any parents — new, old, or to be — are too often wrestling with these days.
5) It’s goddamned beautiful.
There is literally nothing I can say that will convince you of how utterly tremendous Saga looks, courtesy of artist Fiona Staples, more than actually looking at it will. Every gonzo, insane concept writer Brian K. Vaughan comes up with, Staples manages to realize on page in a way that’s never been seen before, but seems somehow authentic. But it's her character work that’s most amazing; you could take out every single word balloon and caption and still know almost exactly what’s going on thanks to the pitch-perfect expressions on the characters' faces. It’s amazing. Have you ever seen two comic book characters and said, “Holy shit, by the way these two people are looking at each other, I can actually see how much they truly love each other”? I have. It was in Saga, if that was somehow unclear.
6) It’s also “Star Wars for perverts.”
Last Star Wars comparison, I promise, and I’m only including it because Vaughan himself has described Saga (jokingly) in this way. Saga is sexy. Now, part of this is because Saga is not without its sex scenes (the first one being between the otherwise anatomically correct Prince Robot IV and his equally TV-headed bride), and a lot of it is Staples’ phenomenal art. And then a lot of it is Marko and Alana’s almost tangible attraction to each other, made even more potent by the love they share for each other, and then, again, how real their relationship feels. In all honesty, it makes everything sexier.
7) It’s funny as hell.
So Saga is creative, it’s romantic, it’s sexy, it’s action-packed, and it’s exciting — but anyone who knows Vaughan’s other comic work on Marvel’s Runaways and Y: The Last Man likely knows how funny his work can be, while still being gripping and terrifying and entertaining. In case you don’t, let me assure you that Saga will often have you laughing out loud just as much as it move you or shock you. This is a comic whose first line of dialogue is “Am I shitting? It feels like I’m shitting!”, yelled as Alana is giving birth to Hazel in a run-down shop on the planet Cleave. To give you more examples would simply be to ruin them for you.
8) It has Lying Cat.
The Will has a large blue hairless cat named Lying Cat, who loudly announces “LYING” whenever it hears someone saying something that isn’t true. This is both as amazing and obnoxious as it sounds. Lying Cat is awesome. That is all.
9) It’s the best family story in comics right now.
In case you couldn’t tell from reason #6, Saga is not an all-ages comic — do not give it to your child to read unless you want to pay for some significant therapy. But Saga is unique among comics in that it doesn’t feature single people looking for love, because the romance has already happened. They aren’t searching for some lost treasure, because they have their happiness in their baby Hazel. They aren’t looking for adventure, they just want to be safe. Hell, what other comic features the heroine’s mother-in-law as a main character? Saga is about having a baby, and how wonderful and terrifying and insane that can be, and it’s about how families form, across generations, sometimes beyond borders or even blood, and how they work together. And then there are spaceships, too. How awesome is that?
10) Because this is your only chance.
Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples have no intention of letting Saga get turned into a movie or a TV show. Vaughan created Saga specifically for the comics medium, a tale he could only tell in this format, thanks to its epic scope and its outrageous content. In fact, that first line of dialogue, mentioned above? It’s partially there to dissuade Hollywood from trying to turn Saga into something else. “I guess I wanted make something that if people were looking at this and going ‘Is this something we can option?” they would close it right away and say ‘This is not for us’,” Vaughan told The Hollywood Reporter. So if you want to experience Saga — and I assure you that you do — you should go pick up the first two trades from Image (here’s Volume 1 and here’s Volume 2) now. You won’t be disappointed, and Lying Cat knows that’s no lie.