You Always Hurt The Ones You Love in Saga 49

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Jane: You’re willing to have [your story] published and read by strangers, but you don’t want your best friend to see it?
Daria: Thank you for understanding.

Daria, The Story of D

I’ve never been all that good at communicating with my parents, especially when it comes to details about my life. It isn’t because I don’t like them or we don’t get along, but because I care so much about what they think about me that I’m terrified I’ll upset or disappoint them. It’s the same reason it’s easier for me to share my writing with, or even sing karaoke in front of, strangers than friends — people who actually know and care about you, whose opinions you respect, can hurt you far more than anyone else. Saga 49 finds more cast members than ever crammed into tight quarters, which makes the wounds they inflict upon each other all the more painful. Continue reading


Best of 2017: Best Writers

Best Writers

In such a collaborative medium as comics, it can be difficult to say where a writer’s influence on the story ends, but there’s no question on where it begins: words on the page. Whether they thrill, elate, chill, or deflate, the best writers create characters, settings, and situations we want to return to, again and again. These are our top 10 writers of 2017. Continue reading

Paper Girls 17: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner & Patrick Ehlers

Paper Girls 17

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!


Drew: Brian K. Vaughan series are hard to pin down, generically. I mean, they obviously fall into big capital-G genres like “sci-fi” or “space opera,” but the list of specific influences — which Vaughan often name-checks — can shift from issue to issue. Case in point, Paper Girls has sprinted through dozens of generic touchstones in its 17 issues. And yet, I’ve been holding onto its starting point in the Spielberg/Columbus-style suburbia of the late ’80s as some kind of essential component of its DNA, even as the series hasn’t been in that setting since its very first arc. While some of the girls may still be in that head-space (Mac sure seems to be), they’re traversing worlds that have entirely different points of reference (both for the people who live in those worlds, and the stories we tell about them), which seems to be leaving an impression on them. Continue reading

The Same World, but Two Different Realities in Paper Girls 16

By Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

One of my most vivid memories is a day in first grade when we had a substitute teacher. I opened a little tupperware container full of alphabet flash cards and it fell on the floor, scattering the cards all over. When I started to pick them up, the teacher came over and yelled at me for “crawling around on the floor,” wouldn’t listen to a word of my protest, and sent me to detention. The flash cards remained on the floor for the rest of the day.

When you’re young, it often feels like you and adults live in two different worlds, but that specific scenario was one where I quite literally felt like the teacher and I were seeing and experiencing two very different realities. That rift between generations is illustrated just as literally by Cliff Chiang, Brian K. Vaughan, and Matthew Wilson in Paper Girls 16. Continue reading

The Weight of Memories in Saga 47

by Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

We all experience millions of moments. Some are life-changing, some represent a larger theme in our lives, and some don’t seem to mean much of anything. If you could choose three of these moments to tell your story, it would be hard not to stick to the benchmarks: births, deaths, weddings, etc. In Saga 47, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples give us a few glimpses into The Will’s past and, by the nature of storytelling, we know that these are not random, but their selection tells a story of its own.
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The Inevitable Feels Vital in Saga 46

by Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The most successful plot turns are ones that feel surprising but, in retrospect, inevitable. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples end Saga 46 with Petrichor and Robot in a passionate embrace. If this had happened on page one, perhaps the reader would have been thrown, but when the dust settles, it’s clear that this is where we were heading all along. Vaughan and Staples have fully established the depths of both Petrichor and Robot’s loneliness. Even their cliched verbal sparring into macking was telegraphed by the fact that they’ve both been reading romance novels, where kissing without first trading barbs is a rarity. Continue reading

Saga 45: Discussion

by Ryan Desaulniers and Patrick Ehlers

This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Ryan D: Since last issue’s final splasy page reveal — which Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples love doing to us — my friends and I have been theorizing what the heck is happening with this male-looking version of Hazel who appears to Alana. The easy explanation would be that Alana is sick with her stillborn child and hallucinating. I find myself extremely pleased now, after reading this issue, that the approach the creative team took here is much more dramatically interesting than a mere hallucination. Having this apparition be a side-effect of the magical abilities which Alana temporarily sports due to her miscarriage helps to further the lore of the Horns’ magical abilities and the context in which they were used, and the fact that Marko, Alana, and Hazel all share sight of this magical illusion-child offers us crushing moments like this:

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Definition by Contrast in Saga 44

by Ryan Mogge

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

When you are a kid, your family creates your idea of normal. It’s only when you go to a friend’s house and things are done just a little differently, that you can really define what makes your family unique. In Saga 44, Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan reinforce what we know about Marko, Alana, and Hazel by giving us a fun-house mirror version of their family.

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Paper Girls 15

Today, Patrick and Ryan M are discussing Paper Girls 15, originally released June 8, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: I’ve always loved the idiom “snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.” It implies such a rough and determined win against nearly insurmountable odds. Like, think about how much courage it takes to snatch anything out of a pair of motherfucking jaws, never mind that the jaws evidently belong to the personification of “defeat.” It’s dramatic, heroic, hopeful. But it’s seldom something we see in the work of Brian K. Vaughan. Closing out the third story arc, Paper Girls 15 gives us a prime example of the exact opposite — defeat snatched from the jaws of victory. Every act of bravery is punished with increasingly perplexing consequences, until the very nature of the Girls’ time travel is thrown into question.

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Saga 43

Today, Ryan M. and Spencer are discussing Saga 43, originally released May 31st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan M: Part of what makes Saga such a great story is that it operates on both the most literal and metaphorical levels. We are seeing the story of a nuclear family with relationships that are immediately recognizable. Marko and Alana’s romance is not a merely a vessel for a message about the power of love to transcend the boundaries created by heritage. They are two characters that have both the universal and specific complexities of each of us. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples deliver on both premises in Saga 43 as the crew regroups after Alana’s miscarriage and fights some dung people. Continue reading