11 reasons why sci-fi epic Saga is blowing our tiny minds
Why is Saga so cool? Get ready for words like badass and diversity but also Esperanto and sentient treeships…
Saga is a comic space opera written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples. Here are eleven reasons to get on it like Halley’s comet.
1. Quick, before the phrase wears out – ‘badass female protagonist’
We all know what badass means. Other words include: intrepid. Self-aware. Way more agency than the FBI. Horny. Fighty. Courageous. Resourceful.
Winged galaxy-hopping super-soldier Alana is all of these and more.
She might be a new parent but has no plans to bow out gracefully anytime soon, thanks for asking.
2. Swears? Oh hell yeah.
Swears on their own may or may not be that interesting. It’s the how and why of it that counts.
All that feel-the-base language in Saga hits the sweet spot between magical and real. It’s not just about realism, though. The earthy (get it? In a space opera?) swears are omnipresent because Good Reasons. Testing taboos gets us closer to “what’s important?” not “it’s just done that way because it always was. Shut it, you. Don’t ask questions.”
There’s a time and place for swearing. For this space odyssey – one with a love story to freedom at its core – the time is ‘whenever it feels right’ and the place is ‘the whole wide universe’.
3. Sex like it ain’t no thing
If sex isn’t your thing, you’ll still feel at home in the Saga universe. It’s big enough for us all.
But in a universe where everything happens, sex is up there on the list. Het, queer, fun, stinky, not-pretty, energetic, kind and tender… it just happens.
In the world of Saga, some sex might happen if you’re an alien parent with a baby on your back and war on your mind. Or if you’re a robot with a hot human bod and a TV screen for a head. Why not? Robots with TV heads should be free to get it on if they want to, and we as an enlightened society should be 100% cool with that. If we are not good with sexing TV robots, maybe we need to take a look at ourselves.
For the people in Saga, sex is all out there in the panels, not hidden in the shadows.
And speaking of visibility…
4. Nudity like it ain’t no thing.
If you’re looking for a new-gen approach to body positivity, try a whole universe to play in. It’s hard to get hung up on e.g. clothing and how it fits when you’re best friends at school with a gas cloud who literally isn’t wearing anything.
With so many alien races and characters, stuffy human laws get thrown out Saga‘s window. Okay, some races really do like wearing clothes. They’re into it. Whether it’s cultural or personal, some races and individuals prefer to let it all hang out.
Human boobs, alien spider assassin boobs, penii, hairy maps of Tasmania… all the primary and secondary sexual organs we’re humanly familiar with get their chance to shine.
It’s all so PLEASE UNIVERSE WE HAVE JUST REALISED EARTH IS WILFULLY IGNORANT. UGH. CAN WE BE CITIZENS OF EVERYWHERE?
And no, the art in Saga doesn’t just focus on portraying women in the nude. That would be… dull. It would be all sorts of things, but let’s go with dull.
It doesn’t get trapped in the yawnsome rules of comic book proportions either. There’s real human/alien bits on display for all genders. Maybe because some sex is happening. Maybe because ‘my body’ is the only thing someone felt like wearing that day.
5. Next-level body positivity
We humans typically freak out about anything too unrelated to the mammalian bipedal thing we’ve got going on. Ugh, we’re just so uptight like that.
Expect a lot of visual riffs in Saga on anything our cultures have deemed icky. Snakes, spiders, insects, all that. That’s alien body positivity right there.
Everyone’s favourite assassin.
‘Squirmy’ aliens are portrayed as real characters we’ll want to hug if they are having a bad day.
Oh hey there, preying mantis schoolteacher. Love yourself. You are looking HOT today.
Oh, and if you want human body positivity, then sure. There’s that too.
Lots of that.
In case it needs to be said…
7. Imagineering deluxe
Sentient tree ships. Robot hierarchies. Fearsome little seal dudes who are, before you ask, actually seals – but they carry melee weapons and wear a neat line in sweaters.
Yesssss, Saga. Give us that imagination. Overload us with ideas. Make our brains hurt with how much colour you’re fitting in there.
Less more is more.
8. Lying cat
Doomed to spend the rest of our lives wondering if we could handle it if our constant companion was a cat who only ever said the word “lying” and only when we lied.
Got a sneaky feeling Lying Cat would have a lot to say for itself.
Bona novaĵo, everyone!
You know what’s cool? The constructed (made-up) language of Esperanto is cool. Maybe we’re not well-read enough but we haven’t seen Esperanto used as a universal language in sci-fi since, uh, Stainless Steel Rat.
We’re pretty excited about it.
10. No football teams*
“Oh hey, if you’re not on my football team, you’re not my friend and you suck and we can’t play together anymore like we used to…”
Saga never got the “let’s all do binary thinking and hate not-us” memo. Lookit the main plot: two soldiers from a planet and a moon locked in an eternal war decide to flee because they’ve had a hybrid baby who’s considered an abomination. If they’d stuck to binary thinking they’d never have got it on. And that would be sad for all concerned.
The people in Saga re-evaluate with time. Any time someone says “yes, I believe in this, I am all for it” they’ll be testing and exploring that belief, seeing if it still holds water over time. Love, loyalty, belief… it’s a never-ending journey and questions will always be asked deep down inside.
*Football team supporters can get a needlessly bad rep though. Getting feels from people skilling it hard on a grass pitch? Sure, why not. Find your thrill and love seven hells out of it.
11. Freewheeling space operas are allowed to be cool again
Freewheeling space operas have always been cool. Somehow, though, they got left on the shelf for a while. It’s great to see them being taken out, dusted off and adored once more.
If you’re creating a comic about everything in the universe… why not have some fun with it? Saga’s a smart comic, chock-full of good vibes.
And it’s having fun.
Give yourself a joygasm and buy Saga Volume One, or pick it up monthly at your local friendly comics store.
Featured art by @FionaStaples
You might also like: