Great Ongoing Comic Series for Adults

Saga, created by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, is a space fantasy comic series about two star-crossed lovers, Alana (with wings) and Marko (with horns). Alana comes from Landfall, a technologically advanced planet populated with winged people and sentient robots with television screens for heads. Marko is from Wreath, Landfall’s moon, whose horned people use magic. Their cultures, and the cultures of other worlds they have sucked into their conflict, are viciously at war with each other. Nonetheless, Alana and Marko have fallen in love despite pressure from the entire galaxy to be apart. All they want is peace enough to raise their newborn child (with wings and horns); unfortunately, however far they run, violent conflict follows.

Brian K. Vaughan (also writer of Y: The Last Man) writes well-plotted and witty comics. I find myself needing to read the next issue immediately after finishing the last one! And despite the heaviness of the story elements (war, child slavery, violence, class conflict), it never feels unnecessarily weighed down. All the characters have believable and complicated motivations; even people you think were evil in a previous issue might end up surprising you. Saga is beautifully illustrated by Fiona Staples, who is able to effectively communicate character emotions, something I really appreciate in comics. She’s also able to evoke strong emotional responses with her detailed and artistic work. Though the explicitness of the<b series isn’t for everyone, it is one of the best comics out published right now. The first volume of the trade paperback won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story. In 2014, it won the Eisner for Best Painter/Multimedia Artist, Best Writer, and Best Continuing Series. I recommend it for fans of Star Wars, Joss Whedon, Neil Gaiman and older Doctor Who fans.

Chew is an action/adventure comedy created by John Layman and Rob Guillory. Like many comics, the people of Chew have special powers; however, there’s a twist: they are all food related. Tony Chu, our protagonist, is a cibopath. He is able to psychically know what happened to something or someone – all he has to do is eat part of it (or him, or her). Thankfully, he’s also a cop so his powers are put to good use (well, sometimes). He’s challenged by contemptuous villains, terrible conspiracies, and a moody teenage daughter.

Dark, off-the-wall comedy fills the pages of this comic. For example, chicken has been outlawed due to a bird flu epidemic that killed 23 million Americans, making the FDA the United States’ most powerful government agency. The characters, however, behave much in the same way as we do, even if they are mnemcibarians who are able to cook a meal you will never forget or voresophs, who become smarter the more they eat. Even while battling crazy egg cults and a so-called “vampire,” Tony Chu also has to help raise his daughter Olive, deal with not-so-perfect siblings, and manage a new relationship. Wordplay is a particular favorite of the writer and artist. If a pun can be made in dialog or somewhere in the background art, it shall be made. I recommend it to people who like Futurama, Monty Python, and Pulp Fiction.

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