A Love Letter to Saga

Dear Saga,

You were my first. Before you, I’d hardly given comics a thought. I’d read Fun Home, and Maus, and Persepolis, but beyond that I’d never bothered to foray into graphic storytelling of any kind. Then, because I was intentionally diversifying the kinds of books I read, and because several friends recommended you, I picked you up.

Oh, Saga. It has been just over a year since we first met. We are both different people now. I sold a business, changed careers, and started a new life in a new place. You have traveled countless miles across the galaxy, suffered unbelievable loss, and found surprising love in unexpected places. We are both aging. But my love for you is as whole and fresh as it was on that cold January day when I picked you up and opened your pages. I did not know then how profoundly you would change my life.

I fell hard for you, Saga. I didn’t know you were the book I’d been looking for all my life until I had you in my hands, and then I could not put you down. I tried to savor you. When we first fell in love, you were six volumes old. I tried to make them last, but I could not. I inhaled you, Saga. I read those six volumes in a matter of days. As soon as I finished one, I started the next. You were breathtaking and strange and perfect; I was giddy with happiness.

I’d never met a book like you, Saga. You spoke to some deep place inside of me: your thoughtfulness, your glorious and unapologetic queerness, your shinning imagination. Your art took my breath away. You spoke to me of contradictions, of found family, of adventure, of home, of resistance. Your story was my story. We spoke the same language. You made me feel seen.

For weeks, I could not stop talking about you to everyone I met. “We know, we know,” my friends would say. “Saga is incredible.” But still, I babbled about you wherever I went. Your narrative prowess! Your staggering creativity! Your brilliant, imperfect, beautiful characters!

I couldn’t bear to read you in tiny installments, only twenty pages at a time. So I waited to keep reading you until you grew to seven volumes. I admit that I was worried. What if you grew into something I could no longer love? What if, like so many forms of serial art before you, you became unrecognizable? I could not not bear the thought of having my heart broken by you, Saga.

Saga Volume 7 by Brian K Vaughn and Fiona StaplesThen, my most beloved Saga, I read your Volume 7. Your Volume 7 utterly astounded me. In the last pages of that volume, I experienced something I have never before experienced in literature, graphic or otherwise. It was a new kind of storytelling, raw and honest and astonishing. You surprised me, Saga. I was convinced you wouldn’t be able to, and then you did. That’s when I remembered that the ability to be surprised by what is dear and familiar is one of the greatest joys of being in love. That’s when I knew the two of us were in it for life. Please forgive me for doubting.

But here’s the thing, Saga: my love for you has left me continually unsatisfied. Since we met, I have read hundreds of other comics. For this gift, I am eternally grateful. My life is so much richer for these stories, for the worlds and characters and art and ideas I have found in their pages. I have read some truly fantastic comics: smart, moving, unique, funny, challenging, beautiful comics. I have you to thank, and I do, Saga, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

But I haven’t found another comic like you, Saga. I look for you in the pages of every comic I read. I look for your powerful brain, your ceaseless wonder, your ability to surprise. I look for that sense of belonging I feel when we’re together.

I haven’t found it, Saga. I know there are many comics in the world still to read, some of them as yet unwritten. But I have to admit, sometimes I get discouraged. It gets tiring, comparing every comic I read to you. I promise I’m keeping an open mind. I’d like to think that what we have exists somewhere else. I know you wouldn’t hold it against me if I found it. I know you’d want to celebrate. But I’m starting to think it’s never going to happen.

Do you know why I keep looking, Saga? It’s because of what you taught me about surprise. You taught me never to close myself off to the possibility of wonder. You remind me that, even if I never find another love like you, the journey is worth it.


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