Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Incoherent Rambling about SAGA #1

A few hours or so ago, I finished reading the first issue of Brian K. Vaughan's new series, Saga. He co-created it with Fiona Staples, who always does great work... but if I'm being honest here, I showed up to the party primarily for BKV. I often go back and forth about who my absolutely favorite comic book writer is, and I almost always settle on either Brian K. Vaughan or Alan Moore. Nick Spencer, Scott Snyder, Brian Lynch, Joss Whedon - they're all up there, for sure, but BKV's work on Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, and Runaways has completely changed the way I look at comics as a medium and perhaps even the way I look at storytelling. BKV is a master, and this is the first time that I've had the privilege of following one of his comics from the first issue on the day of its release.

Saga gets off to a great start. Perhaps the best start of all of BKV's series. While his other series often take a few issues to fully live up to their premise, I'm already invested in the strange characters that populate the world(s) that BKV and Staples have created. The seeds of many interesting ideas have been planted, and a lot of it hits home in really weird ways because I'm working on a book called Roadkill with Ian McGinty (my Blood Pong co-creator) that has a few similar themes. Romance in the midst of an intergalactic war is nothing new, I suppose, but I'm ecstatic and absolutely relieved that BKV's version is nothing like my own. There's nothing scarier than when the best writer in comics announces that he's doing a new series with a concept similar to something you're working on.

Anyway, that aside, the writing here is as excellent as I'd hoped and (frankly) expected. Especially the stuff with Prince Robot IV. That character (an alien whose head looks like a TV screen - he may or may not suffer from erectile dysfunction) proves that those worried about BKV's normally pop-culture infused writing suffering in this aliens-only story can breathe easy. Vaughan's strength is that all these characters, no matter how alien they get (and man, they get alien as all fuckout), have insecurities that we can relate to... but through the screens of fully fleshed out alien cultures.

It's too early to say "Saga is great and will revolutionize comics," but I think this first issue has come at a great time. Image Comics seems to be attempting to prove that the comics industry has talent, that creator owned books are the future, and that the line should remain drawn at $2.99.

And hell - I'm with it.

-Patrick Shand

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