I’ve always loved graphic novels, ever since I got my hands on a copy of Neil Gaiman’s ‘Sandman‘ (yeah, as gateway graphic novels go, it’s a bit of a cliche, but Sandman is a bloody good series.) It’s only in recent years that I’ve really invested time and effort in seeking out good graphic novels and manga. I’ve never been huge on the DC/Marvel comics – superheroes don’t generally do it for me (I’ll make exceptions for X-Men, though.)
I happened upon Saga by accident, browsing in Forbidden Planet, and liked the art style enough to take a punt on it. Call me shallow, but pretty visuals are usually my first port of call in choosing a graphic novel, and Saga is gorgeous to look at. Fortunately, the story is equally compelling: it’s part space opera, part love story, with a wicked sense of humour to keep things from getting too serious. It’s also delightfully bizarre in places; my favourite character so far is Lying Cat, a giant sphinx cat belonging to a bounty hunter named The Will. It’s his loyal companion, and has the ability to tell when a person is lying – which it signposts with what I imagine to be a very matter-of-fact announcement of “lying.”
There’s also an anthropomorphic seahorse-man, a multi-limbed literal spiderwoman, a ghost babysitter and, of course, Marko and Alana, the central characters in a story narrated by their daughter Hazel. They’re lovers from opposite sides of a galactic war, fleeing authorities on both sides. A simple enough concept, but what results is a story which manages to be compelling, funny, dark, sexy and emotional without ever missing a beat. I’ve read Volume 1 & 2, and Volume 3 is on the way – who knows, maybe I’ll even put A Song Of Ice And Fire aside to get my Saga fix.