It has been almost one month since Saga announced it would be going on hiatus for at least one full year. With no new issue to fill the month of August and no end to its absence in sight, fans of this beloved series are likely starting to feel the gap it has left in their pull list. We certainly are. That’s no real cause for despair though. While no comic book series can replace Saga, it’s far from being the only elite creator-owned series filling stores today. Image Comics has remained the top American publisher for original content and there are a lot of great stories that can scratch almost any itch Saga might have left fans.
We’ve assembled a collection of Image Comics series that reflect the many things that made Saga popular, from outstanding artwork to prescient stories about modern society. These series cover a wide spectrum of styles and genres, but they each connect to one of the core elements of Saga’s consistent excellence. The only Image Comics series that was purposefully excluded was Paper Girls, as anyone who already reads Saga likely already knows that writer Brian K. Vaughan’s other series with artist Cliff Chiang is worth a read.
So if you’re looking for some new recommendations to fill this gap year (or more), look ahead for some of the best Image Comics series in 2018.
Written by: Jonathan Hickman
Art by: Nick Dragotta
Current Issues: 38
One of the central draws of Saga is how consistently topical it is. While it isn’t quite as on the nose as Vaughan’s prior political work Ex Machina, it’s not difficult to draw connections between each new arc and the real world. That’s something East of West does just as well in a science fiction setting. It occurs in an alternate history of the United States where fractures in the geographic and political landscape represent very real divides from our own history. If you’re looking for another excellent comic to explore real world issues, look no further than East of West.
Written by: Joseph Keatinge
Art by: Wook Jin Clark
Current Issues: 4
The heart of Saga has always been its characters and no new series from Image Comics this year has featured a better realized cast of characters in a wondrous setting than Flavor. In the series first arc it has focused primarily on a small family unit, much like Saga, and revealed incredible depth within each individual. All of that is shown naturally through action and rising conflict, making it one of the best character-driven comics of the year.
Written by: Marjorie Liu
Art by: Sana Takeda
Current Issues: 18
When Saga was first released, readers were blown away by the artwork of Fiona Staples and how quickly it crafted a magical (and dangerous world). Sana Takeda has filled Staples’ shoes at the Eisner Awards, sweeping every category for which she was nominated in 2018. While the story of Monstress is very different, it is also filled with incredible creatures, wondrous locales, and emotional storytelling. Takeda is one of the most stylish artists working in comics today and will take any reader of Monstress on a spectacular journey.
Created by: David Lapham
Current Issues: 86
While the deaths in Saga have always hurt, especially in the most recent story arc, they have also provided a realistic sensibility to the story. There is no better take on the nihilism of violence today than Stray Bullets. This is a sprawling crime saga where characters die unexpectedly and without any sense of romanticism. If you appreciate Vaughan’s brutal cliffhangers, then you will love Stray Bullets.
Written by: Sarah Vaughn
Art by: Leila Del Duca
Current Issues: 6
Prince Robot IV quickly became one of the most popular supporting characters in Saga, providing the series with plenty of royal intrigue and history to explore. That’s something that Sleepless has also done extraordinarily well in its first arc, crafting a world where there are wheels within wheels of plotting. It also provides some truly lovable protagonists and a beautiful setting and rich history, setting up a scope every bit as massive as Saga’s space opera.
Written by: Chris Dingess
Art by: Matthew Roberts
Current Issues: 36
While Saga features plenty of bizarre aliens and monsters, they all have one toe dipped in the pool of our world with ample inspiration from modern technology and the animal kingdom. When Manifest Destiny goes back in time to tell a horror-infused tale of American exploration, it takes a similar approach. If you love Staples’ designs, then you are bound to delight in watching artist Matthew Roberts twist the Great Plains and American West into something truly terrifying.
Created by: Jeff Lemire
Current Issues: 14
Saga is a story about a lot of things, but family is ultimately at the heart of it all. Cartoonist Jeff Lemire has been exploring many similarly complicated ideas about the family unit in his Canadian tale Royal City. While it is much closer to reality, it is capable of being just as moving and relevant as distant children reconnect with their parents and one another in the wake of tragedies old and new.
Created by: Rob Guillory
Current Issues: 2
The start of Farmhand has provided a similarly complex look on the modern family unit, but adds the horrifying sort of twists that Saga readers have come to expect. Distant parents, concerned parents, and unique children are all present, along with the same sort of unexpected threats and conspiracies that make for great cliffhangers. While Farmhand is only two issues into its run, it is already shaping up to be one of Image Comics’ best new series of 2018.
Written by: John Arcudi
Art by: James Harren (original) and David Rubin (current)
Current Issues: 21
While all of the original species in Saga are a delight to see, there’s a special joy that comes from seeing Fiona Staples draw an enormous monster. There’s no better book featuring monsters at Image Comics today than Rumble. Both volumes of the series to date have been showcases for top artistic talent with plenty of creepy and awe-inspiring creatures, and lots of incredible battles. This is truly a must-read for any fan of great comic book art.
Written by: Greg Rucka
Art by: Michael Lark
Current Issues: 28
Saga has engaged in some truly incredible world building, erecting entire planets, civilizations, and the largest ongoing war in all of comics. That level of detail is met, if not exceeded, by Lazarus with multiple sourcebooks and a very keen eye for detail. It also touches on valuable themes of how wars hurt those with the least power as Lazarus regularly takes time away from the major families to focus on common soldiers and villagers who suffer at no fault of their own.