Fiona Staples (artist) and Brian K Vaughan (writer), Saga Volume Six (Image Comics 2016)
The continuing adventures of bi-speci-al Hazel and her family.
Hazel is now in kindergarten in prison, with her wings bound so she can pass as a purebred member of her father’s horned species. Her parents are reunited and searching for her. Her grandmother is taking to prison life with gusto, getting tattooed and making friends. The cute but lethal Ghüs and Friendo are protecting the exiled former Prince and his little son. The Will is hallucinating and out to avenge his arachnid lover’s death.
There are a pair of web-footed closet gay journalists, Petrichor the glamorous horned trans woman prisoner, and innumerable extras.
Vaughan and Staples spin a great yarn, and the series benefits from being the work of a single artist. We don’t have to constantly adjust to different renditions of the characters, and can enjoy small felicities such as the sense that furry little Ghüs has wandered in out of a different comic.
The sex and violence continues to put the series in the Adults-Only category, though the nudity and sex scenes are a lot less grotesque and more joyful than in previous instalments. It’s painful to think it’s likely to be a year before Volume 7 arrives.
And because it’s November here’s a little verse (with a link to information on Fredrick Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent, which made alarming assertions about the dangers of comics in 1954):
November Verse 6: On a frame from Chapter 32 of Staples and Vaughan’s Saga
Ghost Who Walks, friend of Bandar,
pirates’ foe, Diana’s love,
some say racist propaganda:
back then I treasured you above
all other comics. I was seven
when a nun intent on heaven
and panicked by Fred Wertham’s book,
took my Phantom ‘for a look’.
She gave it back a full week later
embarrassed that she couldn’t tell
how it might pave my way to hell.
Her ghost today might well berate her
younger self. She would not bless
this bare post-coital tenderness.
Well done, fellow Phantom phan! We weren’t allowed to have comics, but we read them at the barber’s, waiting for our haircuts. Phantoms and Uncle Scrooge.
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My parents must have been terribly blasé, Richard. I completely failed to understand what the nun could possibly be worried about.
There is something in your description putting me in mind of UK writer China Miéville’s Embassytown – recently sent to me by a friend – from Germany. A most amazing Sci-Fi novel of brilliance I would not necessarily have realised had it not come to me as a gift.
I’ve read a couple of his books, Jim, and am a big fan. A comics version of Perdido Street Station would be really something.