In a world where superhero epics hit the theaters multiple times a year and TV mega hits like the CW’s Arrow and AMC’s The Walking Dead kill it (no pun intended) week in and week out, it might be easy to forget that the source material for these great serials come from the page of comics. What may be equally as hard to remember is that there was once a time where comics existed without these blockbusters anchoring them. That isn’t always a bad thing though.
One day long, long ago, I wanted to be a comic artist when I grew up. That time was the 1990’s. Action figures and Saturday morning cartoons like X-Men and Spider-Man kept my interest from waning, and the anime boom hadn’t quite hit yet. I was enthralled. I was fortunate enough to have a local grocery store that stocked up to date comics in the magazine section, and I remember making sure that I was always with my mom, grandma or whoever was willing to take me when they went shopping. I’d count my pennies and pick up a comic or two a week, quickly burning through the story and then dissecting each character, each costume and each dialogue box. There were times I wouldn’t get back in time to get the next issue, but I didn’t care, I’d make my own filler issues. I lived and breathed comics. I kept storage containers full, spending my nights under covers reading them with a flashlight. I grew up with Peter and Bruce and Tony and Clark and… and then we grew apart.
You see, in the late 90’s Cartoon Network was added to my local cable and they had this awesome segment after school called Toonami. Through Toonami I met all kinds of new, spiky haired friends like Goku and Tenchi and hell, even a few mechs and crime fighting school girls. I learned all about manga and things like Shonen Jump, and I barely Pete or Tony or any of the guys anymore. Sure, we’d occasional get together for a movie, but I was getting older and eventually I even left Goku and the new guys behind to meet girls and go to dances and well… I was just too cool for any of that kid stuff.
I now realize that I am/was an idiot, of course. I have a toy chest of now collectible action figures that I threw away in high school that still haunts me to this day. Any way, a decade later, I’ve been looking to get back into comics. The only serial that I’ve kept up to date with has been The Walking Dead, and even with that I was late to the party. About a week ago I was talking to a friend an told him I wanted to start checking out more comics and had no idea where to start. Most Marvel and DC stories are too convoluted or too far along to jump into at a reasonable price, and my experience with indie comics in the past has garnered mix results.
“Saga. You have to read Saga.”
So, at my buddy’s behest, I marched myself to my local comic store and picked up the first trade paperback… or so I thought. The guy working, who also gushed about the series, handed me book two by accident, and I walked out of the store with it. Later that night I decided to start this journey and realized that (damn it) I had bought the wrong book.
So, already $15 in the hole, I figured what was another few bucks. I hopped online and ordered book one off Amazon for… ONLY $5.56?! I hurried and ordered the book, and thanks to Amazon Prime, I got it quickly. Probably the best $20 I’ve spent in a long time.
I won’t spoil anything, but the novels, penned by Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Lost) swayed me almost instantly. The story falls somewhere between two of my loves and one guilty pleasure: Star Wars, a good anime and a well-written love story.
To give a short, spoiler free summary, two star-crossed lovers are caught up in a war between a planet and its moon. The couple must be wary of the odds, their homes, ghosts, bounty hunters, and even their ex-lovers as they try to make a life for their new family.
Don’t fret though, this isn’t some cheap drama weighed down by sappy dialogue and dull story arcs. There’s more than an ample amount of action and suspense to keep you flipping the page, as well as some of the wittiest and fast-paced dialogue I’ve ever seen in a comic, and I’m only two volumes in. Plus, there’s a cat that can tell if you’re lying and I friggin’ love cats.
This is a comic that’s incredibly easy to get caught up on as well, as there are only 18 issues currently, with #19 due out later this month.
To be honest, I could sit here and gush about how good it is, but I’d rather get right into volume three. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some reading to do.
And let’s be real, you’d rather read it than sit here and take my word for it anyway.
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