Saga (comic book)

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Saga

Cover art for Saga #1 (March 2012).
Art by Fiona Staples.
Publication information
Publisher Image Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Ongoing series
Genre Epic Space opera/fantasy
Publication date March 2012 to present
Number of issues 18
Main character(s) Alana
Marko
Hazel
Prince Robot IV
The Will
Creative team
Writer(s) Brian K. Vaughan
Artist(s) Fiona Staples
Creator(s) Brian K. Vaughan and
Fiona Staples

Saga is an epic space opera/fantasy comic book series written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, published monthly by Image Comics. The series is heavily influenced by Star Wars, and is based on ideas Vaughan conceived both as a child and as a parent. It depicts two lovers from long-warring extraterrestrial races, Alana and Marko, fleeing authorities from both sides of a galactic war as they struggle to care for their newborn daughter, Hazel, who occasionally narrates the series.

The comic was described in solicitations as "Star Wars meets A Game of Thrones," and by critics as being evocative of both science fiction and fantasy epics such as The Lord of the Rings and classic works like Romeo & Juliet.[1][2][3] It is Vaughan's first creator-owned work to be published through Image Comics, and represents the first time he employs narration in his comics writing.

The first issue of Saga was published on March 14, 2012, to positive reviews and a sold-out first printing. The first six-issue story arc was widely acclaimed, and was published in trade paperback form in October 2012. The series won three Eisner Awards in 2013, and the first trade paperback collection won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story.

Publication history[edit]

Writer Brian K. Vaughan conceived Saga in his childhood,[4][5] calling it "a fictional universe that I created when I was bored in math class. I just kept building it."[6] He was inspired by such influences as Star Wars,[4] Flash Gordon and children's books, and has also invoked the awe and wonder of first seeing the Silver Surfer, which seemed an "incredible and different" concept to him.[7] It was not until his wife became pregnant with his second daughter, however, that he conceived of the protagonists, the winged Alana and the horned Marko, two lovers from warring extraterrestrial races who struggle to survive with their newborn daughter, Hazel, who occasionally narrates the series. It was also at this point that the central theme that Vaughan wanted for the book emerged. Vaughan explains, "I wanted to write about parenthood, but I wanted to Trojan-horse it inside some sort of interesting genre story, to explore the overlap between artistic creation and the creation of a child."[6][8] Vaughan, who intended to return to writing a comics series following the 2010 conclusion of his previous series, Ex Machina, and who notes that the publication of Saga #1 coincided with the birth of his daughter,[6] saw parallels between the caution advised by colleagues against launching a new book in the poor economy, and those who cautioned against bringing a new child into the world, observing:[4]

I realized that making comics and making babies were kind of the same thing and if I could combine the two, it would be less boring if I set it in a crazy sci-fi fantasy universe and not just have anecdotes about diaper bags ... I didn’t want to tell a Star Wars adventure with these noble heroes fighting an empire. These are people on the outskirts of the story who want out of this never-ending galactic war ... I’m part of the generation that all we do is complain about the prequels and how they let us down ... And if every one of us who complained about how the prequels didn’t live up to our expectations just would make our own sci-fi fantasy, then it would be a much better use of our time.[4][9]

Writer Brian K. Vaughan signing a poster for the series at Midtown Comics in Manhattan a day after the first issue's release.

Vaughan explained that the main characters' romance would be a major theme of the book.[7] Touching upon the juxtaposition of the book's mature subject matter with its Star Wars inspirations, Vaughan jokingly described the book as "Star Wars for perverts."[4]

The book was announced at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International,[3] and was billed as "Star Wars meets A Game of Thrones" in solicitations.[10] Saga represents the first time Vaughan has employed narration in his comics writing, a decision influenced by the whimsical interaction between the text and images in the children's books he reads with his children, and by his desire to try something new that he felt would work well with Saga's narrator, Hazel.[5] It is also his first series to be published through Image Comics,[11] whom he selected as the series' publisher on the recommendation of writer Jay Faerber, who cited the creative freedom afforded by that publisher.[7] Vaughan elaborated on his selection of Image thus:

I love all the other companies I've worked with, but I think Image might be the only publisher left that can still offer a contract I would consider "fully creator-owned." Saga is a really important story to me, so I wanted a guarantee of no content restrictions or other creative interference, and I needed to maintain 100% control and ownership of all non-publishing rights with the artist, including the right to never have our comic turned into a movie or television show or whatever ... [Image's] Eric Stephenson was the only publisher I spoke with who was thrilled to make that deal, and co-creator Fiona Staples and I didn't have to sign exclusives or agree to work on a bunch of corporate-owned titles to get it.[5]


Vaughan and Staples signing copies of the book for fans at the Midtown Comics booth at the 2012 New York Comic Con.

Although Vaughan has written for television, and has endeavored to have his previous works adapted into film,[12] he stresses that he developed Saga strictly to be a comic book, and not to be adapted to other media, explaining, "I wanted to do something that was way too expensive to be TV and too dirty and grown-up to be a four-quadrant blockbuster."[4] Vaughan has also indicated that he has an ending in mind for the series,[7][13] and that he plans five issues ahead,[7] having written the first six issues as the first story arc, which would have ended with the two main characters dying on the rocketship launch pad in issue 5 if the series had not been successful.[13]

The series is illustrated by Fiona Staples,[14] who was introduced to Vaughan by their mutual friend, writer Steve Niles, with whom Staples worked on Mystery Society.[5] Vaughan, who did not meet Staples in person until just before their panel at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con, explained his selection of Staples by describing his reaction upon first seeing her work, saying, "Her artwork is incredible. [It] doesn't look like anyone else. She is very unique. When I opened up this file I was like, 'This is going to work!'" Staples is co-owner of Saga,[7] and in addition to designing the cast[6] and all the ships and alien races in the story, she provides painted covers, and hand-letters Hazel's narration (using her own handwriting), which is the last thing she does after finishing the artwork on a page.[5][8][15] Staples renders the characters in a pen-and-ink style line, while using all-color settings inspired by video games and Japanese animation.[6] At the 2012 Image Expo, Staples described her the process by which she produces the art as harkening back to animation cels, in which emphasis is placed on figures and backgrounds.[16] Vaughan has stated that Staple's style has influenced the direction of the story.[7] The organic forms of most of the series' technology, for example, such as the main characters' wooden rocket ship, is derived from Staples' dislike of drawing mechanical objects.[6] To design the series' various planetary settings, Staples looks to the real world for inspiration and then exaggerates some elements of them. Some rooms on the planet Cleave, for example, were inspired by Cambodian architecture.[15]

One of the two panels in issue 12 for which Comixology initially prohibited sale of that issue through iOS.

The book's release was celebrated with a launch party at Los Angeles' Meltdown Comics, which featured a public conversation with Vaughan's former colleague, Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof,[4] who in 2007, had hired Vaughan as a writer/producer on that series.[17] Vaughan also promoted the book by appearing at signings at Midtown Comics in Manhattan[18] and Bergen Street Comics in Brooklyn during the week of the first issue's release.[19]

The book is priced at $2.99, and will remain at that price for the duration of its run, which Vaughan arranged as part of his contract with Image, along with the stipulation that it never be less than 22 pages long.[5][9] The first issue featured 44 pages of story and no advertisements,[3][9] in both its print and digital versions.[5]

After the publication of issue 6 in August 2012, Vaughan announced in that issue's letter page, "To Be Continued", that the series would take a two-month hiatus, after which the first six-issue story arc was published in trade paperback form in October for $9.99, before the series' return in November.[13] That same month, Vaughan and Staples promoted the series by appearing together at the 2012 New York Comic Con, their first appearance together since the series' debut.[13][20]

On April 9, 2013, media reported that Apple Inc. had prohibited the sale of issue 12 of Saga through iOS, because two panels that depicted oral sex between men in a small, in-set image violated Apple's restrictions on sexual content. This resulted in criticism by artists and writers, who pointed to similarly explicit content in previous issues and in other works sold through iTunes. William Gibson and others suggested that the restriction could have occurred specifically because the drawings in question depicted gay sex.[21] A day later, digital distributor Comixology announced that it had been they, not Apple, who had chosen not to make the issue available based on their interpretation of Apple's rules, and that after receiving clarification from Apple, the issue would now be sold via iOS.[22]

Plot[edit]

The opening story arc introduces the series' leads, Alana and Marko, two lovers from different worlds whose people are at war with one another. Alana comes from the technologically advanced Landfall Coalition, so named after Landfall, the largest planet in the galaxy, and Marko is from Wreath, Landfall's only satellite, whose people wield magic. Because the destruction of one of the worlds would send the other spinning out of orbit, the war was "outsourced" to other worlds. Although peace was restored on the two home worlds, the conflict spread across all the other known planets, whose native species were forced to choose a side. As Landfall and Wreath were on opposite sides, Alana and Marko met when she was assigned to guard him in a prison on the planet Cleave after he became a prisoner of war. They escaped together twelve hours after meeting. In the beginning of the series' first issue, Alana gives birth to their daughter, Hazel, who occasionally narrates the series. Soon afterward, the trio are caught in between a team from each of their worlds, who end up slaughtering one another trying to capture them, a massacre that is blamed on the couple.[8] Their respective peoples are incredulous when it is suggested that they have voluntarily mated,[23][24] and they are pursued by both the Wreathers and the Landfallians, both because of the perceived betrayal of the two fugitives, and to prevent knowledge of their pairing from spreading, thus damaging morale among their troops. On Landfall, Prince Robot IV is assigned by his father to capture him,[8] and comes into conflict with his counterpart from Wreath,[13] a mercenary named The Will.[8] The ghost of a dead girl named Izabel is bonded to Hazel,[25] and the four of them escape Cleave before being confronted by Marko's parents.[13]

In the second story arc, more is revealed about Marko's parents and his upbringing,[26] and his initial time with Alana.[27][28] Marko's ex-fiancée, Gwendolyn,[27] joins The Will's hunt, as does Slave Girl, a six-year-old sex slave rescued by The Will and Gwendolyn.[29] The family later takes refuge at the home of writer D. Oswald Heist, the author of Alana's favorite novel, where they first come into contact with Prince Robot IV.[30]

Vaughan indicated that the third story arc, beginning in August 2013, will have a "big tonal shift–it's part of the appeal of this book that Fiona and I can reinvent it every few issues."[6]

Characters[edit]

Alana

The female lead of the series, Alana is a native of the technologically advanced Landfall,[8][24] the largest planet in the galaxy, whose people have wings that give them the power of flight.[26] All of Alana's uncles were slaughtered by Wreathers at Southmoor.[26] She herself was drafted into her planet's war against the Wreathers, after she dropped out of state college, and was subsequently reprimanded for "abject cowardice" following her first experience in battle,[8] which occurred when as a Private first class, she was stationed as a tank gunner and bombardier on the planet Mota. Though she had previously distinguished herself at Wettingham, her commanding officer, Countess Robot X, ordered her to destroy a bridge to prevent it being used by Wreath troops to access an island where a Landfallian platoon was trapped. Alana initially refused because the bridge was filled with civilians. When pressed by the Countess, who pointed out that any military-age civilian not actively resisting Wreathers was a "clean target", Alana complied, sending a hundred vehicles into the water below, but was nonetheless punished by the Countess for her hesitancy[31] by being redeployed to the planet Cleave, where as a prison guard she met Marko.[8] While in captivity, Alana read to Marko[28] A Night Time Smoke by D. Oswald Heist, a romance novel[25] about a man made of rock and a rich quarry owner's daughter, which Alana stated was the best book she ever read, and which altered her outlook on life.[27] When Alana learned that Marko was to be transferred to Blacksite, a prison from which detainees never return, she freed him from his shackles so that he could escape,[28] just twelve hours after having met him. She later married him, and gave birth to their daughter, Hazel.[8]

An only child, Alana dismisses emphasis on the family as a justification for a given course of action, calling it the "rallying cry of losers", explaining that her father sacrificed his life by working a job he hated in order to support his family, even though she believes it also made him abusive toward her and her mother during the few times he was present in their lives.[8] Despite this, she has found herself employing this rationale herself when protecting Hazel.[32] Long after her parents separated, her father married Alana's childhood friend, Even. Alana joined the military a few months afterwards. According to her daughter, Hazel, Alana never again set foot on the planet of her birth.[24]

Unlike other Landfallians, Alana believed her wings were vestigial and nonfunctional,[8] until discovering otherwise in issue #18.[33]

Marko

The male lead of the series, Marko is from the Landfall's moon Wreath, whose people have horns or antlers and can wield magic. Marko was a foot soldier in his people's war against the Coalition of Landfall.[8] When Marko left Wreath, he was still "a gung-ho kid who just wanted to do [his] moon proud and kick some ass." This all changed when the first time he saw battle, after which he began to develop a less militant and more pacifist outlook. When he tried to share these misgivings with his fiancée Gwen, he realized from her unsympathetic and jingoistic responses that they had grown too far apart to continue their relationship.[34] Marko surrendered to Coalition forces as a "conscientious objector" 18 months before the beginning of the series. He was a prisoner of war on the planet Cleave until his guard, Alana, escaped with him, married him and conceived their daughter, Hazel. Wreath High Command sent The Will after Marko because Marko "renounced his oath and betrayed The Narrative" by fraternizing with an enemy combatant.[8] Though he is a pacifist[8][34] and a vegetarian[35] who vows never again to use his sword when Hazel is born, and dislikes the practice of owning firearms,[8] he does so nonetheless when his family is threatened, and is so skilled with a sword that he can dispatch an entire squad of enemy soldiers armed with firearms,[34][36] for which he is referred to by Prince Robot IV as a "force of nature".[13]

Hazel

The daughter of the two lead characters, born in the first issue, who occasionally narrates the series. She has wings like her mother, horns like her father, and green-brown eyes unlike that of either of her parents.[8] She was named after the librarian who first recommended the work of D. Oswald Heist to Alana.[24] She spends most of her childhood growing up on the organic tree-like rocketship with which she and her parents escape Cleave.[13] She is seen taking her first steps at the end of the third story arc.[33]

Prince Robot IV

A member of the royal family of the Robot Kingdom, employed by Landfall as their primary pursuer of Alana and Marko. Like others of his race, he is a humanoid with a small television set for a head, which Vaughan explains is influenced by a fascination with old televisions that he developed when he began writing for TV.[5][6][8] He also has blue blood,[30] and the ability to morph his right arm into a cannon,[8][25][30] though its firepower can be adjusted at will to blow a hole through a person's upper torso,[36] or shoot them in the kneecap.[30]

Politically, Vaughan characterizes the Robot Kingdom's alliance with Landfall by saying, "Though it's not exactly analogous, [it is] is almost as weird as the United States' current relationship with Saudi Arabia." A scene in the first issue depicts two of the Robots having sex, which Vaughan says is "actually vitally important to our larger story, so I'm grateful that Fiona was deranged enough to show our bluebloods in their (mostly) anatomically correct splendor."[5]

In the beginning of the series, Prince Robot IV has just returned from a "two–year tour of hell", after which he had to be given a "new leg" following his surviving one of the worst sneak attacks in military history. For this, Prince Robot received a medal the day before being informed that his father has assigned him Alana and Marko.[8] He fought at at Threshold None, where many soldiers on his side died.[25] His wife is pregnant with their first child, but he feels he will only be able to witness the birth if he captures Alana in time. After killing a bounty hunter named The Stalk,[36] he confiscates her dragon skull spaceship as his own personal conveyance.[30]

Special Agent Gale

The agent from Landfall's from Secret Intelligence to whom Prince Robot IV answers. He overlapped with Alana for six months of basic training.[8] After he learns that two journalists, Upsher and Doff, are investigating Alana's story, he seeks out freelance assassins to put a stop to their investigation.[37][32]

The Will

Wreath's primary pursuer of the two fugitives, The Will is one of the freelance bounty hunters hired by the Wreath High Command[24] through the Brio Talent Agency[27][35] to kill Marko and Alana, not only for Marko's betrayal, but also so that news of the coupling does not spread and threaten troop morale. Vez, the woman who hires him[8] through the Brio Talent Agency,[27] also instructs him to bring back Hazel alive and unharmed to receive his full fee. The Will is accompanied by a Lying Cat, a large talking female feline that can detect lies. Vez says she hired The Will because he shares Marko's moral relativism.[8] The Will's moral outlook is such that after telling a pimp on the sexually permissive planet Sextillion that the activity he has seen on Sextillion seems rather tame, and being presented by the pimp with a six-year-old sexual slave girl, The Will kills the pimp.[34] The Will was once the lover of The Stalk,[26] a female spider-like bounty hunter who is also assigned to Alana and Marko,[35] until she is killed by Prince Robot IV,[36] for which The Will vows revenge.[13] He develops an attraction to Gwendolyn, even as he mourns The Stalk.[23] His sister Sophie, who addresses him "Billy", and who introduced him to The Stalk, is another Freelancer who works under the name The Brand. In the third story arc, he decides to abandon his Freelancer life, but suffers a near fatal stab wound to his throat. Although he is brought to a hospital in time to save him, it is said that he will likely never fully recover from the trauma.[33]

Lying Cat

Lying Cat is a large, female talking feline companion to The Will who aids him in his work. Green in color with yellow stripes, she has the ability to detect when a verbal statement is a lie, which she indicates by saying, "Lying".[8] Her power is limited to the state of the mind of the person speaking: She can detect deliberate deception, but cannot detect a falsehood if a given statement is believed to be true by the speaker.[28] According to Izabel, Lying Cats always play by the rules, an allusion to the fact that a Lying Cat must also admit ethical truths as well as factual ones. When Gwendolyn, who becomes Lying Cat's ally, accidentally kills a man, Izabel says that they had no right execute that man in his home, which Lying Cat could not deny.[33] It has been revealed that Lying Cat was the runt of her seven-kitten litter, which has caused her distress.[33]

Izabel

One of Cleave's "horrors", Izabel is the ghost of a teenage girl who was killed by a landmine. She manifests as a reddish torso with her intestines hanging out from under the hem of her T-shirt. She comes from a family of resistance fighters who built tunnels to escape invaders to Cleave. She makes a deal with Alana to save Marko's life in exchange for being taken with them when they leave the planet, but to do so has to bond her soul to Hazel's. Although Alana is initially reluctant to allow this, she finally relents, and soon comes to appreciate Izabel's presence, since she can act as a "babysitter" at night and allow Alana and Marko to rest.[25][35] She has the ability to create realistic illusions with which she can disguise her appearance[28] (though these do not work on machines, such as the Robots).[32]

Gwendolyn

Marko's former fiancée. Described by Time magazine's Douglas Wolk as "a dead ringer for Coffy-era Pam Grier", she is first mentioned by a semi-conscious Marko at the end of issue #3. During his engagement to her, Klara characterized her as a "worthless draft dodger", though Klara later regretted their breakup.[27] Marko and Alana's wedding rings, which also function as translator devices, were originally those of Gwendolyn's grandparents, who had the rings enchanted with a translator spell because they spoke two different dialects of Wreath's native language.[34] Gwendolyn first appears at the end of issue #8, having been assigned by the Secretary General of Wreath High Command to check on The Will, and helps him rescue Slave Girl from Sextillion in order to spur him to complete his mission. She wears her grandparents' translation pendant around her neck, which were forged with the rings as part of the same set.[29] She resists The Will's advances, though she reveals she loves him while attempting get medical attention for him after he suffers a near-fatal injury.[33]

Sophie

A six-and-a-half-year-old[24] former sex slave, initially known only as Slave Girl, that The Will discovers on the pleasure planet Sextillion.[25] He and Gwendolyn rescue her, after which the girl reveals she possesses the power of psychometry, with which she helps The Will track Marko and Alana.[29] The Will decides to name her Sophie in issue #13,[23] which is the same name as his sister.[33]

Barr

Marko's father, who first appears with Marko's mother at the end of issue #6. Unlike his wife, Barr is immediately accepting of Alana's relationship with Marko, and uses his skills as an armorer to weave her protective garments with a spinning wheel. He reveals soon after meeting her that he has less than a month to live,[26] but asks Alana not to reveal this to Marko or his mother, as he does not want their pity or sorrow. Barr relates that his own father, who died less than a year after Marko was born, once told him that one's first grandchild is nature's reminder of one's own mortality.[27] Barr dies from the strain of casting a spell that aids in his family's escape from a giant space entity.[38]

Klara

Marko's mother, who first appears with Marko's father at the end of issue #6. Her mother died in an incident at Langencamp at the hands of Landfallians, and thus Klara is less accepting of Marko and Alana's relationship.[26] A warrior herself, she fought at the Battle of Cartwright, from which she still has shrapnel in her buttocks.[24] Klara met Marko's father, Barr at a youth hostel in the Craters. He was, as she puts it, "a goofy-looking" design student who told the single filthiest joke she had ever heard.[24]

D. Oswald Heist

A novelist whose works include In Lieu of Flowers and A Nighttime Smoke, the latter of which is long out of print.[30] He and his first wife are cyclopeans originally from the planet Cartwright. Heist's first wife was killed when an errant high-explosive spell fired by Wreath forces hit the house of her parents on Cartwright, where she was visiting with her newborn son, during the siege at the Battle of Cartwright.[24] Heist now lives in an old lighthouse near a quarry[30] on the fog-covered[23] "lighthouse planet" Quietus,[13] where Marko and Alana's family take refuge, after having been inspired by the antiwar message in A Nighttime Smoke.[24][30] Though Heist is pleased that Alana and Marko understood the book's pro-peace subtext,[24] she is surprised when he mentions the need for employment, having thought that the book's message was that people should "spend [their] lives doing pretty much just hanging out and stuff". Heist is surprised that someone would interpret the 435-page novel that he spent three years writing as a call to do nothing.[31] Heist's son, Parone, volunteered to fight for Landfall after an incident at Threshold None, and later hanged himself after coming home from the war. Prince Robot IV goes to Quietus to look for the family.[30] He is killed in the ensuing confrontation.[32]

Upsher and Doff

Upsher and Doff are a tabloid journalist and photographer, respectively, from the planet Jetsam, who work for a tabloid called The Hebdomadal,[24] and who are also lovers,[37][32] despite the fact that Jetsam, a fledgling planet, suffers from institutionalized homophobia.[37] They first appear in issue #13, alerted to the pairing of Alana and Marko by one of the Landfallian soldiers severely injured by Marko in issue #5.[23] They experience more than one confrontation with Freelancers hired by Special Agent Gale to put an end to their investigation.[31][37][32] The Will's sister, a Freelancer named The Brand, poisons them with embargon,[32] a substance that will kill them if they report their findings about Alana and her family to anyone else, though they attempt to find a way around this in order to continue their investigation.[33] They have blue and green skin, respectively, scalloped ears, webbed hands and feet and gills,[24] as theirs is a partially underwater society[33] (though they are capable of surviving out of the water).[24] Their speech, like others from Jetsam, is rendered in the form of blue text surrounded by speech balloons that more closely resemble traditional comics thought bubbles.

Reception[edit]

Sales and reprints[edit]

The first issue sold out of its first printing ahead of its March 14 release date. A second printing ordered for April 11, the same release date as issue #2,[39][40] also sold out, with a third printing arriving in stores on April 25.[41][42] The issue ultimately went through five printings.[43]

The first trade paperback collection, Saga, Vol. 1, which collects the first six issues, was published October 10, 2012, and appeared at Number 6 on the New York Times Graphic Books Best Seller list the week of October 29.[15] As of August 2013, it has sold 120,000 copies.[6]

Although issue #7 sold out, Image Comics PR & Marketing Director Jennifer deGuzman announced in a December 12, 2012 letter to retailers that it would not reprint select comics, such as that issue. DeGuzman explained the move as a result of decreasing orders on well-performing titles like Saga, despite critical acclaim and consistently selling out at a distributor level, and pointed to orders on Saga #8, which decreased 4% from orders on issue #7. Rather than invest in second printings, deGuzman explained, Image would instead focus its attention on ensuring that the first printing garners the sales desired.[44] This move displeased some retailers, which prompted Image Publisher Eric Stephenson to announce the following day that Image would indeed publish a second printing of issue #7 at a considerable discount, but cautioned that the publisher would not be able to reprint every issue of the series indefinitely, and implored retailers not to under-order the series.[43]

The second trade paperback collection immediately appeared at the top of the New York Times graphic books best-seller list.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

The first issue was widely acclaimed in publications such as Publishers Weekly,[45] MTV, Ain't it Cool News, Complex magazine, Comic Book Resources, iFanboy and ComicsAlliance; they all praised Vaughan's ability to incorporate elements of different genres, establishing the vast setting and mythology, and introducing characters that engaged the reader. Multiple reviewers likened the book to a combination of sci-fi/fantasy works such as Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings, and classic works of literature such as Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and the New Testament.[1][2][3][5][46] AICN singled out the use of the newborn Hazel as a lone individual to chronicle large-scale events from a past perspective,[2] and Alex Zalben of MTV Geek remarking that he could hear a John Williams score as he read the book.[1] Multiple reviewers also lauded Vaughan for beginning the story with Hazel's birth, rather than hurting the story's pace with copious exposition of Alana and Marko's initial meeting and courtship.[10][47] Todd Allen of The Beat approved of the book's unique "flavor", singling out the characters' motivations, the immersiveness of its surrealist setting, the strangeness of the story's various oddities, and the timely nature of the story's political undertones.[16] Both Alex Evans of Weekly Comic Book Review and P. S. Hayes of Geeks of Doom called the series a "classic";[10][48] Hayes also praised Image Comics for publishing such an "original" series.[10] Also widely praised was Fiona Staples' artwork, which was characterized as "glorious",[2] with Zalben predicting that readers would "fall head over heels in love" with it,[1] and Greg McElhatton of Comic Book Resources positively comparing it to that of Leinil Francis Yu, specifically her use of delicate lines to frame characters with large, bold figures, and Staples' mixture of the familiar and the foreign together in her character designs to create a visually cohesive universe.[47] AICN singled out Staples' handling of grand, sweeping space shots and other genre trappings, as well as her mastery of facial expressions, which AICN felt was perfectly suited to Vaughan's subtle dialogue.[2] Todd Allen of The Beat wrote that Staples' landscapes at times play as much a part in the story as the foreground.[16]

The subsequent issues that made up the series' initial six-issue story arc also garnered similarly positive reviews,[49] with three printings ordered for issue #2, and second printings ordered for issues 3 - 6.[43] The series was included in IGN's 2012 list of "The Comics We're Thankful For This Year",[50] and took the #1 spot in CBR's "Top 10 Comics of 2012".[51] In August 2013, Douglas Wolk of Time magazine referred to the series as a "breakout hit", calling it "mischievous, vulgar and gloriously inventive."[6]

The series holds an average score of 9.0 out of 10 at the review aggregator website Comic Book Roundup.[52]

Awards[edit]

Saga won the three Eisner Awards it was nominated for in 2013: Best Continuing Series, Best New Series and Best Writer.[53] The Vol. 1 trade paperback won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story.[54][55] The series was nominated for seven 2013 Harvey Awards, including Best New Series and Best Continuing Series.[56]

Other media[edit]

A line of T-shirts featuring Lying Cat have been produced, and have become visible in popular media. In "Pac-Man Fever", the April 24, 2013 episode of the American TV series Supernatural, the character Charlie Bradbury (played by Felicia Day) is seen wearing a Lying Cat T-shirt. Day, who has referred to Saga as the "best comic EVER", indicated that show writer Robbie Thompson picked out the shirt.[57]

Although interest has been expressed in adapting Saga for film or TV, Vaughan and Staples reaffirmed their desire not to do so in an August 2013 interview, with Vaughan stating that the point of Saga as he conceived it was "to do absolutely everything I couldn't do in a movie or a TV show. I'm really happy with it just being a comic."[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Zalben, Alex (March 5, 2012). "The 'Saga' Of Brian K. Vaughan: How He Went From Runaway Kids To Epic Fantasy". MTV Geek.
  2. ^ a b c d e "AICN COMICS REVIEWS: Brian K. Vaughan’s SAGA! FAIREST! UNCANNY X-MEN! AKA! & MORE!!!". Ain't it Cool News. March 14, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d Richards, Ron (January 30, 2012). "ADVANCE REVIEW: SAGA #1 (Spoiler Free)". iFanboy.
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External links[edit]