Panel Surfing: Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga

Have you ever been lost in a sea of comic books, looking for something new? Something exciting? Something hidden? Our new feature, “Panel Surfing,” explores the abyss of the comic book industry, giving you a spoiler-free look at books we feel deserve some shine.

There are two types of comic book fans: those who love Saga, and those who just haven’t read it. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples have created their own world. It’s part romance novel, part intergalactic sci-fi thriller, and consistently one of the best books on the market. The book follows Alana and Marko, each former militia on opposing sides of an intergalactic war. The story starts simply enough; the two have found true love with each other and made a child, a life which is (whether they like it or not) is the metaphorical olive branch that the higher-ups of their respective sides do not want around.

The story gets deeper, with a cast of well-rounded, complex characters that have the capacity for love, evil, and humor. While Alana and Marko are the true protagonists, they are each capable of poor or selfish choices at any given time – the same way that even the “bad guy” Prince Robot IV is capable of virtuosity. Oh, and yes, there is a Prince Robot. He’s a guy with a television for a head. There are also anthropomorphic spiders and trees, a disemboweled ghost babysitter, and all other types of ill shit.

Saga is drawn by Fiona Staples. That name might sound familiar because of her acclaim from Saga, various variant covers in the industry, or the role of lead artist on the upcoming Archie reboot with Mark Waid. Whatever the reason, she’s worth your devotion. Her art style is both classical and modern, harsh and delicate. It’s perfectly suited for capturing the beauty and exotic nature of Saga, while still being able to show some really gross and violent – especially in some of the more detailed full-page spreads.

There isn’t a specific demographic for Saga because it’s for everybody. If you’re not a fan of sexually crude material, it might not be for you. It’s not that it’s constantly explicit, but there is definitely “adult content” in there. It’s like the comic book fan’s equivalent of those softcore porn romance novels your mom reads, with a cast of characters designed by a really creative high school student and plot points written by Joss Whedon on LSD. If you’re not reading Saga right now, I won’t judge you. You have to let go of your excuses and just dive in.

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