Thursday, April 16, 2015

8 Reasons Why SAGA Is the Perfect Series For a Comics Newbie

Please welcome Belle of Ms. Bookish, talking about one of her favorite graphic novels, the uber-popular Saga. Why's Saga so popular? Read Belle's post to find out!

Saga series vols 1-4
Comics are so much fun, and these days it seems impossible to hang out anywhere online without catching sight of yet another great series. But if you're new to comics and have been wondering where you should start, all those choices can start to feel a little overwhelming.

I only just started reading comics a couple of years ago. I'd gotten my feet wet with a bunch of graphic novel memoirs and I really wanted to start on some of the comics series I'd been hearing so much about. There were so many to choose from, though! Eventually I started my comics reading life with The Unwritten (another good series, with lots of great bookish references), but there's another series out there that is an ideal one for those who are new to the comics world: Saga.

So if you're new to comics and not sure what series to start with, here are eight reasons you should choose Saga (and a huge shoutout to Kelly and Memory who helped me to come up with some of these points):

  • It's a classic love story. Like Romeo and Juliet, Saga a classic tale of star-crossed love, only this time around, the star-crossed lovers are Alana and Marko, two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending war. Plus, they have a baby (Hazel) together. And they don't commit suicide. But still, the similarities are there.
  • Fiona Staples is an awesome illustrator. Her illustrations are both beautiful and detailed, and all of her characters are unique and richly depicted. An example? King Robot's head. King Robot is the king of the Robot Kingdom. The denizens of the Robot Kingdom have small TV sets for heads, except for King Robot, who sports a gigantic flat screen TV head. As Memory puts it, King Robot's head is pretty well the best thing in the history of art.
  • A diverse cast of characters. The Saga universe is most definitely not dominated by any one species or race. And even among the individuals of any particular species or race, there's a lot of variation. In addition to these variations, each character that's drawn is different from all the other characters, which is the way things should be. And I love that baby Hazel has her mother's wings and her father's horns.
  • There's a book involved in the storyline! I won't say more so as not to give anything away, but if you're like me and love when a book plays a major role in a story's plot, you'll find it here.
  • The best animal companion ever. As Memory points out, the Lying Cat deserves a bullet point of her own. A companion to the freelance bounty hunter The Will, this very unique cat has the ability to tell when someone is lying. And she will say so. Out loud ("Lying").
  • The humour. It's a serious story--we're talking about two worlds engaged in a senseless war, the repercussions of which stretch across the universe. But there's so much humour here, too, not just in the narrative but also in the illustrations.
  • Great characterization. There's not a single cardboard character to be seen anywhere, not even when it comes to the minor characters. Whether it's the good guys or the bad guys, the major characters or the minor ones, they all ring true--they real to the reader.
  • There are only four volumes so far. The fourth volume was just published back in December, and the fifth volume is expected later this year. As Kelly points out, this is definitely a plus for a beginner to comics. As many series readers know, as a series grows, so can the number of characters and the various character arcs and plot points. It can all make for quite a complex read. (Case in point? Check out Kelly's fabulous reading guide to Fables, a very necessary read once you get more deeply into the series.)

Of course, Saga isn't just a great first read for those new to comics. It's a wonderful series for the more seasoned comics reader, too. So if you haven't read this series yet, it's one that shouldn't be missed. And if you want to know more about the series before diving in, check out Memory's great, in-depth review of the first four volumes.


  1. Great post Belle! I have the first 2 volumes sitting on my shelf, I guess they will be moved up and be read during the Dewey's Readathon! (Oh and thanks for the link to the Fables reading guide, I have been slow reading them and made the mistake of reading Cinderella too early and don't want to make the same mistake again.

    1. They'll make great reading for the readathon, Ang!

      I'm early in my Fables reading, and am definitely going to use Kelly's reading guide as I get further along.

  2. I love this series and you are so right, it's a great starting point for newcomers. It's a great comic.

  3. You've all convinced me awhile back and I plan to give this a try at the readathon coming up! As it looks like Ang will be doing too! :) Here's hoping I like it because to tell you the truth, I'm still a little wary...

  4. How great is Lying Cat!? And it's not as if he has a lot of lines! But as you mentioned, they really pay attention to character, even for the smallest of characters. Have a wee crush on The Will...

  5. This is definitely one of my fave comics!! And, you have hit the nail on the head on all of your points!!


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