Saga, written by Brian K. Vaughn and illustrated by Fiona Staples, has quickly become a comic phenomenon. Often described as a Science Fiction, Fantasy Space Opera, Saga is at its heart, a story about the importance of family.
Alana and Marko, our two main characters, are on opposite sides of an intergalactic war, brought together though a seemingly harmless romance novel. Alana, with her wings, is a solider from Landfall; Marko, her horned former prisoner turned lover from Cleave. Together, they attempted to flee the nonsensical fighting to protect their baby girl Hazel, the narrator of the story. As they travel the galaxy, they add to their crew, are hunted by indescribable beings, and always on the run.
One very important job of a librarian is called Reader’s Advisory. It is the skill of being able to recommend similar titles, authors, and illustrators when I patron asks (even if they aren’t our personal tastes). In the spirits of Reader’s Advisory, I present Read Alikes, your resource for discovering similar titles and recommendations for comic books and graphic novels.
So, here are some books you may want to suggest to patrons who like Saga.
Barbara is a lonely warrior against titans from the sea. She is alone in her battle, retreating to her RPG manuals and mythology books in the library to learn more about the ever present monsters in her life. Befriended by a new student and the school psychologist, Barbara cannot share the weight of the weapon she carries, nor the real life burdens haunting her “reality”.
More fantasy than Sci-Fi, as you learn more about Barbara, her family, you also understand why everyone needs healthy outlets and coping mechanisms. As Alana and Marko struggle to keep their family together, Barbara also struggles to keep her family together in, and outside, of her fantasy world.
Sandman is the ultimate family tale; the Sandman/Dream/Morpheus, through ten collected trades, explores his mortality and morality. He walks through life with his six siblings, the Endless: Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium and Destruction. After a long imprisonment by occultists, the Sandman must regain his powers by acquiring his former possessions.
Drawing from mythology, Sandman follows many classic literary tropes and even re-writes some, including Shakespeare’s A Midsummers Night’s Dream. Whereas Saga is the struggle to keep family together in a world that wants to tear them apart, Sandman is about a family which must stay together in order for the world as it is known to continue. Family must work together in balance to ensure good and bad even each other out.
Created by Bill Willingham over a dozen ago, Fables is an interesting mix of classic fairy tales and contemporary social issues. Encompassing fairy tale characters from all cultures, the main story follows the residents of Fabletown, an enchantingly hidden city in the middle of New York City and the non-humanoid fables who reside on a farm in upstate New York. Cinderella runs a shoe shop, Snow White is married to the Big Bad Wolf, trolls guise themselves as security guards and all must protect themselves from the Adversary, the reason they had to leave their original home worlds. A long running story, there are many twist and turns and challenges the fables must overcome.
What is great about Fables are the stories within the stories. The reader already knows a lot about the characters because of the reference to their classic stories, but the social dynamics of Fabletown and the farm are what keep the characters engaged as a single, familiar unit. While Fables does have aspects of Science Fiction and Fantasy, at the core are the fairy tales. The characters change as events unfold, yet retain their traditional essence.
The death of the Human Torch has rattled the Fantastic Four family. In response to the vacancy, in with respect to the Human Torch’s wishes, his good friend Spider-Man takes over his spot on the team. With mortality on his mind, Mr. Fantastic creates the Future Foundation (FF), a research group to solve superheroic problems of tomorrow. With a classroom filled with diverse aliens, interdimensional beings, robots and Franklin and Valeria Richards, the Fantastic Four grooms the next era of heroes.
With the loss of the Human Torch, the Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, and the Thing are lost, trying to keep their lives together after an unthinkable loss. Much like Alana and Marko, the Fantastic Four find that their joy grows the more they add to their family. But in adding to family also adds stress, especially when your family is under consistent attack from the likes of Dr. Doom, A.I.M. and a league of evil Reed Richards.
Do you have any other good suggestions for fans of Saga? Leave them in the comments below.