Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Saga, Vol. 1 - written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples

I bought Saga, Vol. 1 as a birthday present for the Mister (and also because I wanted to read it). It's our first foray into graphic novels, and when I told my local indie bookseller that I was looking for one that would interest a guy who's majorly into most all video games, he jumped at the chance to thrust this into my hands. "It's got a war between science and magic in a Star-Wars-like universe," he said. 

Yeah, I bought it right stat.

When I think "Graphic Novel," I think of guns firing in bursts of light, I think of blood spraying stylistically across the page, I think of boobies. Saga has all these things. I wanted the artwork to be flashy, dark, and interesting, and Saga has that, too. As a bonus, the story is entertaining and makes me want to read further into the series. 

See, a man and woman from opposing sides of a war meet and fall in love. They have a baby, and volume one here sees their flight from the war and the armies they've deserted. In addition to the speech bubble dialogue, we have some sparse narration from the grown-up baby, looking back on the events that we're seeing as they unfold. The graphic format ensures that it'll be a quick read, and the storytelling style adds suspense that makes it even quicker. There are aliens and strange planets and, my favourite, "horrors," which were excellent in a way I didn't expect.

Saga, Vol. 1 was the perfect introduction to graphic novels for me, because it was what I expected and wanted it to be. It made me want to read more graphic novels. This particular series, though, I probably won't spend any more money on it. But hey, guess what, turns out libraries carry graphic novels! Who knew, right? I just picked one up that is vastly different from Saga. It's something I didn't realize graphic novels could even be until the internet informed me thusly: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. I've just read about 20 pages, but prepare for some gushing in an upcoming post.



    (Incidentally I haven't read Saga, but I've been meaning too for aaaaaages)

    1. Yessssss do this! I would be the most grateful.

    2. Yay!! Ok, so I don't really know what you're into so I'm just going to list all the greats I can see on my shelves and a very brief synopsis.

      Stand alone books:

      Maus - Art Spiegelman (heart-wrenching story about a father and son and WW2)

      From Hell - Alan Moore (Jack the Ripper, the art is really sketchy in style and they're really small boxes so some people don't love it, but it's great)

      Watchmen - Alan Moore (alt. history. You've probably seen/heard about the film. It's way better)

      The Great Gatsby - Nikki Greenburg (charming. Each picture box is an old timey photo and it looks like an old timey photo album. And they're all sea creatures)

      The Arrival - Shaun Tan (illustration only, but mind-blowing detail and emotional story)

      All the well known ones like Persepolis, Ghost World etc are great too, I just don't have them in my shelves to list!

      Anything Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Warren Ellis or, in the case of adaptions, Nikki Greenburg, are almost guaranteed winners.


      Freakangels - Warren Ellis (group of kids inadvertently brought on the end of the world, this takes place several years after - all available online to read for free)

      Kill Shakespeare - McCreery (Shakespeare characters placed in a world where Shakespeare is a wizard/god. Typical good vs evil, but awesomer because, Shakespeare. Short series)

      Fables - Bill Willingham (just started this myself. Fairytale characters exist in our world after being banished from their own)

      American Vampire - Scott Snyder (vampire series about a new breed of vampires vs the old ones we know. Stephen King wrote the first issue)

      Locke and Key - Joe Hill (AMAZING series about a house with a bunch of magic keys. Lovecraft + Stephen King + architecture porn)

      Transmetropolitan - Warren Ellis (Hunter S. Thompson type journalist - my first graphic novel series, and still my favourite)

      Y: The Last Man - Brian K. Vaughn (only read a couple of these, but they're some of the best paced and structured g.n i've ever read)

      Sandman - Neil Gaiman (HUGE series, but well worth it. Name sorta says all you need to know)

      30 Days of Night - Steve Niles (vampires attack an Alaskan town. Only read the original 3, the other spin offs aren't great. Ben Templesmith [art] is one of the most interesting artists out there)

      That should probably keep you going for awhile!

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    It is so great. Not so much the follow-up, though. That one sucked.


    1. It is sooooo good so far. But thank you for the reminder about avoiding the follow-up.

  4. I am as dumb as a stick. An actual stick. A stick. Is what I am as stupid as. I read this semi-distracted while eating dinner and chatting with my roommates and tooooootally missed that it's a war between science and magic. Like, now that you have said that, obviously that's what it is, but I didn't notice at all when I was reading it. I was just like, yeah, two races both alike in dignity etc., forbidden love, baby, ghosts, sure sure sure. Derp. Derp.

    Also, y'all should get the new Hawkeye comic that Matt Fraction writes. It is so good. I don't know your taste but it doesn't matter because this comic is so good that everybody will always love it. Facts.

    1. I would like to read all the things, so - ON IT. Thank you for the recommendation. More comics for me.

      I want to read Volume 2 when it comes out and see if that magic vs tech becomes more of a theme. Right now we just have these two renegades, so I wonder if it's more pronounced in the mainstream of the two cultures.


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