Saga, or how I got back into comics

Over the last couple of days I’ve given ComiXology a try after hearing about it from various sources. If you don’t know it yet, it’s basically an ebook-store for comics with (1) a huge catalog, (2) a really well-made app, and (3) DRM-free backups of comics where the publisher has allowed it (sadly, there aren’t all that many yet). My main motivation for signing up was to finally cross one item from my to-read-list: Saga vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.

Saga tells the story of Hazel, a girl who is born into a galaxy dominated by the war between the people of the planet Landfall and those of its moon Wreath. The first being a people of winged humanoids with a focus on high technology while the latter being horned magic-users. In the first installments of the series you get know Hazel’s parents: Marko, the father, coming from Wreath, who was a war-prisoner locked away in a cell on the planet Cleave, and Alana being the mother who comes from Landfall and was originally tasked to guard Marko. Obviously, that went spectacularly wrong and now they are on the run from both authorities right when Hazel is born.

So far I’ve only read the first volume (and am currently in the process of finishing the second) and I was hooked right away. The authors managed to create a world with both, high-tech and magic, that is interesting, not over-the-top, and simply full of life. If I could complain about one aspect it would be that most of the side-stories so far have a highly-sexualized topic. That being said, that’s also true for most of Isaac Assimov’s and John Scalzi’s stories I’ve read so far (basically everyone has sex pretty much all the time), so I’m not complaining.

In fact, I liked the story so much that I bought the second volume right after finishing the first! Part of that decision was also caused by reading comics inside the ComiXology app was far more pleasant than I had anticipated. Being able to focus on a single cell and then swiping to navigate between them in the right order seemlessly pretty much sold me. This way I can not only read on my iPad but also on my phone without having to pinch and zoom all the time.

ComiXology has been a subsidiary of Amazon since 2015. This has the added benefit that I can buy most comics also on as a bundle for both Kindle and ComiXology for mostly the same price (at a € ~0.50 delta). Would I buy also DRM’d content on ComiXology if it were available at roughly the same price somewhere-else without DRM? Most likely not. I won’t distinguish between normal ebooks and comics here. But for Saga everything worked out!

This little expiment also showed me that I could enjoy comics again. I had loved reading mangas and things like Asterix and Lucky Luke when I was a teenager but eventually gave up on them due to their high price. I simply got more entertainment out of reading a 400 pages sci-fi novel than a 100-pages comic at twice the price. Still, if something makes it onto my to-read list I usually give it a try. The abstract of Saga still sounded interesting to me and now I can definitely see myself reading the whole series and potentially also other comics in the future!