Pleasure Reading: Saga

Izabel plays with Hazel. Image comics.

Izabel plays with Hazel. Image comics.

If it wasn't completely obvious, I'm a bit of a geek and I consume media like a black hole.

In my profession I do a lot of reading, from journal articles to conference proceedings to monographs to blog posts to student assignments. Still, I find it absolutely necessary to pleasure read for some portion of the day, normally at night before bed. Some people call that self-care but, for me, it's just part of my daily routine. I don't think of it as some cordoned-off activity that I have to schedule in order to stay sane. I just enjoy reading. I focus more on the work/life balance than self-care. Lifting weights and eating sensibly is self-care; pleasure reading is just fun. Maybe that's what self-care really is. Anyway.

Sadly, I've been at a loss for something new to read lately. That's not to say I don't have anything on my to-read list. Far from it. For example, I currently have bookmarks in the following:

And that's just what's on my bedside table.

Beyond these novels, I've been searching for a comic or manga or graphic novel to really sink my teeth into for a while, now. I finished reading Preacher. Finished The Boys. Finished re-reading Frankenfran and Claymore and everything by Junji Ito. Then I saw the cosmically funny Johnny Vegas on the Naval Navigation episode of QI (below).

Johnny Vegas on Naval Navigation, QI season 14, episode 13. ©BBC

Johnny Vegas on Naval Navigation, QI season 14, episode 13. ©BBC

I should mention that I am always thrilled when Johnny is on QI. He has always been and continues to be one of my favorite guests.

As an aside, regarding the regime change in QI and the replacement of Stephen Fry, who retired, by Sandi Toksvig, I was initially a tad concerned. Sandi is wonderful but I wasn't sure she would be able to fill his shoes in terms of fostering the same kind of atmosphere on the show. I'm happy to report that Sandi has shown herself to not only be a brilliant, capable leader and host, but in some ways the show is even better now. I will miss Stephen terribly but I'm not sad at all. Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

The image from Johnny's shirt: a ghost on Cleave, Izabel had a run-in with a landmine.

The image from Johnny's shirt: a ghost on Cleave, Izabel had a run-in with a landmine.

What's that on his shirt? I thought. At first, I thought it was Noodle from the band Gorillaz. Then I noticed that her entrails are hanging out. Not Noodle, then. I finished the episode and thought nothing more of for a couple days and, while lamenting my lack of reading material, that image popped back into my mind.

That looks like something from a comic book and not just some random character on a t-shirt, I thought. Like something from Alabaster: Wolves. A little bit of Googling and I discovered it to be a character from a comic series I'd heard of but never explored. Turns out it's Izabel from the Saga series by the imminently talented Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.

I started reading up on the comic series and decided that, yup, that would be next on my list. I'm about two-thirds done with the first volume and am thoroughly enjoying it so far. The artwork, especially, is phenomenal. To be fair, I'm more of a manga reader than a comic book reader, so getting something in full color is a rare treat for me.

I will admit, though, that I sometimes have a hard time getting the image of Canti from FLCL out of my mind during scenes with Prince Robot IV. Not that that's a bad thing, necessarily. It just makes me want to revisit FLCL.

Regardless, I'm really looking forward to digging into the 42-issues available right now. I'm also always looking for more comics like this, so if anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear them. You can start reading Saga yourself by picking up Volume 1.