“Saga: Vol.1” by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

As you may notice with the picture and title, this is not a novel in the familiar sense. It is in fact, a Graphic Novel. After all the discourse lately over the legitimacy of comics as both art and reading, I decided to pad out some of the book reviews with my favorite comics.

Working at the book store, whenever there was a parent whose child refused to read, I led them to the graphic novels. Some children feel intimidated by large blocks of text, even if there is a big picture on the page beside it. So, to compensate, I got them to read graphic novels. The other thing I promoted about comics is it is a visual teacher. Books will TELL you how the character is feeling, comics have to show you. You have to read in their eyes and expression what they are feeling, you have to look to the environment to enhance the story, not be told what is there. It builds emotions, and the ability to identify emotions. And it was a gateway because a lot of graphic novels have regular novel counterparts, so when they strengthen their ability to read, they can upgrade to that or a similar genre.

I won’t get into the art aspect of it because we will be here forever. Let it just suffice to say that YES, it’s hard making comics (I have my own on the go – it’s a nightmare even WITH the computer), NO, computers don’t make it easier.

I’ve always read comics, but I’m not a superhero fan. We may have a few Spiderman and Deadpool comics kicking around, but the ones my money go to are the fantasy and sci-fi genres. One in particular is titled as “the comic for people who don’t like comics”. I saw ads for it through publishing companies I’m following and LOVED the art, so I immediately went on the hunt for Saga, volume one.

Taking place on another planet (well, several planets) in the middle of the war between wings and horns, orchestrated by the machines. Let me clarify – society is split between humanoids with wings (higher class) and humanoids with horns (low class), which may seem foolish but let’s be real, our society fights over colour. The machines, humanoids with computer heads, are the royals that control the wings.

In the middle of the war, a winged one with an obsession with romance novels and no interest in fighting in the war – Alana, meets and falls in love with a horned one named Marko. Sounds like your standard Romeo and Juliet, only they didn’t poison themselves and die …they had a baby. The comic opens up with Alana giving birth, narrated by the baby herself. This baby is part of both words, having both horns and wings, and her parents are now public enemy #1.

The comic follows their life, trying to flee to survive and protect their baby. Through worlds and people, doing everything they need to to survive. The comic is brutal, sexual, and filthy. It pushes what is means to be “human”.

There was an interesting line in the series that I have thought about for years. The opposite of love may be hate, but the opposite of war isn’t love …it’s sex. That’s basically the series.

I love this series and wait on baited breath for every issue. It is available in comic form, but I started with the graphic novels, so that is how I will continue. Even if you don’t like comics, this is the type of story that can reach out to anyone. Give it a chance, you might just like it.

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