You should be reading Saga.
I don’t care if you don’t like comics or speculative fiction. I don’t care what bullshit preconditions you put on what a good story can be. They don’t matter. You should be reading Saga.
At its core it’s the story of a family set in a sprawling fantasy space opera… on acid. I was going to make a list of the themes Saga tackles, but I realized that Saga is about everything. It’s about being alive, about everything that happens along the way, and about knowing you and everyone you love are eventually going to die. I know, I’m not necessarily selling this. Existential Dread! Only $4.99!! But seriously, read Saga.
Writer Brian K. Vaughn came up with the idea as a kid, as he says, when he was bored in math class. That seed seemed to grow somewhere in his brain while he built a prolific comics career with creations like Y: The Last Man and Runaways. As that seed was planted and left to grow for so long, Saga appears rooted in Vaughn’s life — in being married and having kids and all the ordinary things that are much more compelling if you set them in the midst of a horrifying galactic war.
Saga is funny, violent, weird, sweet, perverted, brutal, and tender. It’s also really smart, but more than just smart, it’s got an emotional depth that rings of truth.
The war in Saga doesn’t have good guys and bad guys, although it does often have perpetrators and victims. But everyone loses, everyone pays, nobody wins. All the characters are interesting and well-drawn — both literally and figuratively — and while most are at odds with each other, everyone has a point of view you can understand.
There are scenes in this story that stuck with me well after I’m done reading. The final panels in the most recent issue have haunted me since I read it, for reasons I obviously can’t describe without spoilers.
Part of what makes Saga amazing is how good artist Fiona Staples and Vaughn are together.
Every panel Staples creates is inventive and energetic. There are some really great artists working in comics right now doing original, exciting stuff, and Fiona Staples is their rightful queen.
I have no idea how the collaboration works in practice, but between these two creators the imagination is apparently bottomless. The book is an immense hodgepodge that jumps between genres, inspirations, biologies, and ideas, and brings them all together to create one seamless trippy tapestry.
Anyway, like I said, you should be reading Saga.