Hello again, fellow comic readers!
A tale as old as time unites with a story as fresh as a newborn through conflict and intrigue in this week’s pick, “Saga.”
Writer Brian K. Vaughn is known in comic world for books like “Ex Machina,” “Y the Last Man,” “Runaways,” “Ultimate X-Men” and “Pride of Baghdad.” Fiona Staples is an brilliant artist who has been producing excellent work for years now and really deserved a big breakout hit. Their latest offering this week is "Saga" from Image Comics, and it delivers on all fronts.
Other comics offerings would be satisfied with just having a story of star-crossed lovers who had to actually cross the stars to find each other. That is Saga’s entry point, and it only builds from there.
Daniel Dean of Titan Games and Comics in Smyrna, Georgia, agrees that it is one of the year’s best offerings. “I know it's only three months in, so this might affect how seriously you take this statement; nevertheless: This is the best single issue I've read in 2012.
“There are more ideas jockeying for place here, more things going on, more characters I want to spend time with than in an entire year's worth of output from other books I shan't name.”
Betrayal, treasure, war, science fiction, magic, monsters, gunfights, monster fights, a live birth, bounty hunters, robots and spaceships are all at work. This comic even has a monkey in it.
Any time we get a new book from Vaughn, I find it a welcome thing; he manages to infuse each character with an instantly engaging blend of personality and detail that suggests not just lives lived but a world inhabited.
“You could talk about how we're dealing with a milieu more far-out than anything he's worked with, and yet we're still intensely grounded in very human drama and emotion,” Dean said of "Saga’s" broad appeal.
“I could even talk about how ‘Y the Last Man’ was a benchmark title for Vertigo in a post-‘Sandman,’ post-‘Preacher’ world and how I thought ‘Ex Machina’ was even better or how I recommend ‘Pride of Baghdad’ to people all the time.”
But why just talk about it? Check it out for yourself - if you still can. Image Comics just announced that the 'Saga' No. 1 first printing is sold out, meaning the copies you'll see on your local comic book shop's shelves today are all there is until Image decides to generate a second print.
I think "Saga" is going to be one of those books we'll be hearing about for the rest of the year. It's just that good. Let me know what you think if you read the book. Disagree with me and Dean? Prove it!
So, until next week, go forth and read, my people. And the reading will be good!
Here are some of the other comics scheduled to hit the shelves March 14. Your local retailer will probably have these and others, so make sure to check with them for more details.
First, there was South by Southwest, the annual music and interactive festival in Austin, Texas, which just kicked off its 2012 event Friday.
Then there was "South by Star Wars," a Tumblr, Twitter account and hashtag that, in its third year in 2011, imagined an alternate version of SXSW, if it took place a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
Here's a sample tweet that pokes fun at the various panels at SXSW and one of the most popular "Return of the Jedi" characters: "Only 10 min til big Keynote by Admiral Ackbar: 'It's A Trap' is just another way of saying 'It's An Opportunity.' "
The popular meme, used by SXSW attendees and nonattendees alike, now has a sequel: "SXSWesteros," based on the George R.R. Martin book series and HBO series "Game of Thrones," which takes place in the land of Westeros.
One example of a "SXSWesteros" tweet (referring to the oft-repeated "Winter is coming," in the books and series): "But Really, Is Winter Coming? – New Meteorological Techniques from the Citadel."