After a three-year hiatus, Image Comics’ Saga, from writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples, is finally picking back up to continue the story of how Alana, Marko, and their daughter Hazel fought in defiance of the universe to protect their small family.
Though it’s been quite a while and much has happened since new issues of Saga were hitting stores, the comic’s core protagonists have never been all that out-of-mind for Vaughan and Staples. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, the creative duo opened up about what their downtime has been like, living through the pandemic, and how changes in their personal lives have impacted their relationships to their characters. Looking back at Saga’s early days and reflecting on the industry as a whole, Vaughan likened comics to a “treadmill that you’re almost never allowed to get off of,” where people are encouraged to live and die by deadlines.
“When my kids were born, that was really the first opportunity that I’d had to get off the treadmill and just sort of stop for awhile,” Vaughan said. “That’s partly what Saga was born out of. It was just such a creatively fruitful time for me and I realized it’s more important for the work to be good and for me to be proud of it, then to just get out as much of it as possible.”
Image, Vaughan said, encouraged him and Staples to put their own families first because they’re “what fuels Saga,” and the creative team has very much taken that to heart. According to Staples, she and Vaughn first begin tinkering with issue #55 over a year ago, and while she couldn’t recall specific dates, she detailed how important it was that her return to working on Saga was paced, measured, and thoughtful.
“I’m still sort of part-time,” Staples said. “My workday looks a lot different than it used to. I think we were just being really cautious, trying to bank a few issues before we announced the release date and take our time with it and think about what shape the last half of the series is going to be.”
Staples’ approach to her work has changed some, she said, because there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to put out the kinds of pages that she wants at a consistently high volume. That reality’s pushed her to be more efficient with her time, but she also pointed out how she’s grown much more comfortable being “decisive with the art and not [second-guessing] myself so much.”
Though Saga’s a story about two parents, Vaughan insisted that the comic’s always been meant to truly anyone who considers themselves a creator—be they a parent or an artist—and that despite all the shifts he and Staples have gone through, it still remains true.
“Whether that’s nonfiction, or music, or a family,” Vaughan said. “I wanted a story about how hard it is to create new things in a world that doesn’t always appreciate new things. Right now, our lives have changed and the book has changed, but that’s still very much what Saga remains about.”
Saga #55 hits stores on January 26, 2022.
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