The world was a much different place in 2018. Thanos had snapped away half of the world’s population, John Krasinski showed us that being quiet could save our lives, Teddy Perkins arrived to give us all nightmares, Bill Hader’s, Barry became our favorite hitman aspiring to act, and July 25, 2018, was the last time we had a new issue of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’s Saga in our grubby, comic book-loving, little hands. That’s over three years since we last connected with Hazel, Lying Cat, that bastard The Will, Alana, our adorable boy Ghus, and the rest of the crew. That’s over three years stewing in the gut-wrenching heartbreak of issue fifty-four. Calling a hiatus with that ending could be considered by some to be what makes for a toxic relationship. How dare a creative team treat us that way. How dare they?!
MASSIVE SAGA SPOILERS BELOW
I can still remember how it felt sitting in my living room in 2018 reading that issue. My wife doing some dinner prep, Hudson the Cat laying on my legs, issue fifty-four in my hands while my mouth hung up staring at these “quiet” pages penned beautifully by Staples. All this emotion and action spilling from each panel. I remember being in awe of the issue. Kind of like being able to step outside yourself while reading and recognizing what you’re reading is high-level storytelling. That’s something that I live for. Those moments where nothing else matters but the story. And then… The Will killed Marko. I was stunned. Heartbroken. I spilled tears. I walked into the kitchen and hugged my wife explaining to her an ending of a comic book that she never read and she, being the amazing human that she is, understood and hugged me back.
Later that night I re-read the issue still in disbelief as I tried processing both the events of the book and how the series was taking a break (we were on a break!). At the time, I figured six months to a year before Saga was back in my hands. Many comics, especially creator-owned series, take these breaks between arcs. Saga did it quite often, so it was kind of expected. Knowing that this break would be a bit prolonged made the events even more devastating but god damn, what a comic. What a series. I couldn’t wait for this story to pick back up.
And waiting is what we’ve been doing. Three years.
One of the best things I did during quarantine, besides grow out my apocalypse beard and fall in love with headbands, was re-read Saga. My favorite podcast, Binge Mode, was going to be covering it and quarantine felt like the right time to dive back into this story. To get reacquainted with old friends. To tear open the now scared wounds from the first journey through this amazing story. Syncing that re-read with those podcast deep dives was a blast and deepened my appreciation for everything that Vaughan and Staples had created thus far. It’s funny how re-amercing one’s self into a story makes the wait for what comes next seem a little more bearable since the story feels so present but on the other hand the wait becomes even more excruciating.
But through that pain is hope, and for those of us suffering through these three years without Saga, I think the wait might be coming to an end. Soonish.
Recently, while wasting away valuable minutes of my life on Instagram, I came across this post from Brian K. Vaughan.
Now, at first glance, this seems to be a pretty innocent post celebrating the birth of his pup. A great post. A post that I can relate to considering I flood my Instagram with pictures of Hudson the Cat. That’s what we do with our animals. We share their cuteness with the world, but it’s not the pup’s berf that got my attention. It’s the hashtags. Specifically, “#goodnewscoming” and “#thanksforyourimpatience”. Now, at first glance, the good news coming hashtag could be applied to the very fantastic first trailer for Y the Last Man, my favorite graphic novel series, but the thanks for your impatience has to be directed toward Saga fans. No ifs, and, or buts. No doubt both Vaughan and Staples have been flooded with people asking when the comic would return and this specific hashtag seems like a fun jab at the fandom.
So, I did what any self-respecting person who loves a story would do… I investigated. I went to Comixology to see if there was an update on the release of the next issue but it was still listed as TBD. That was no help. It was when I Google’ed the series that I found this tasty nugget.
A letter, written by Vaughan, was recently sent to your local comic book shop to promote a new collected edition of the Saga series. The packaging is wonderful and if I didn’t already own these books, I would seriously consider investing in this collection. Within this letter though, Vaughan says the following.
“THANK YOU for your undying patience while FIONA STAPLES and I have been hard at work on the second half of Hazel’s epic journey. We promise that exciting news is coming… we look forward to gracing your stands with more issues very soon!”
I don’t know about you guys but after reading this, I feel pretty damn optimistic that Saga could be returning sooner rather than later. Maybe even this year? Maaaaaaybe?! Think about it, why would Image randomly choose to release a new Saga collection unless they wanted to prepare readers for the book’s return. This new collection is to nudge fans of the series to refresh themselves on this massive story, much like I used quarantine to, because new content is coming soon. Every release serves a purpose, nothing is random, and this one seems to be a bit telling.
“Coming soon” is the other half of this coin. Vaughan and Staples have been, for pretty much three years, telling people they’re hard at work on new Saga stories. It’s one thing to tell fans and websites this but it’s another to tell retailers. Why would you promise books coming soon to the people who sell your tales and not deliver? It doesn’t make any sense. Your local comic book shop wants Saga back as much as you do because they want to draw in those Saga dollars. Fans who might have been sitting out waiting for their favorite book to return or maybe the fact that Saga is a popular pull list item. If Vaughan is telling them the book is coming soon then it’s coming soon.
The question now becomes, how soon? I would imagine there will be some massive announcement, and perhaps a cover release (?!), coming from Image, Staples, and Vaughan when the time comes. Saga isn’t the type of comic that will quietly arrive back on our shelves. Nope. They’re going to scream it from the rooftops when the time comes. This means the return of Saga is now on the clock and its return feels closer than ever now. The only thing I’m dreading is re-opening those wounds from issue fifty-four. We’ve had time to process what happened to Marko but the characters of this universe don’t even know he’s dead yet. When Saga returns, the heartbreak will only deepen but we’ll get to share the lives of these characters again, despite how painful it is for them at this moment. We’ll see how their story ends and I for one can’t freaking wait to be hurt again.
Let the countdown begin!