Graphic Novels, Tough Chicks celebrates the amazing female characters that abound in graphic novels. While many people still associate this particular form with a male readership, certain graphic novels empower women and combat feminine stereotypes through illustration and text. Tough chicks resist injustice, fight for their beliefs, and they don’t take flak from nobody. These women are capable of fighting their own battles, both literally and figuratively.
In this long overdue edition of Graphic Novels, Tough Chicks I’m discussing the portrayal of women, motherhood, and girl power in Saga Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.
Author & Illustrator: Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Publisher: Image Comics on March 25, 2014
From the Hugo Award-winning duo of Brian K. Vaughan (The Private Eye, Y: The Last Man) and Fiona Staples (North 40, Red Sonja), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the universe.Searching for their literary hero, new parents Marko and Alana travel to a cosmic lighthouse on the planet Quietus, while the couple’s multiple pursuers finally close in on their targets.
Collects issues 13-18.
After reading Saga Volume 2 I was a little worried because I thought there was no way Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples could top that masterpiece, but I shouldn’t have worried: each volume of this series just gets better.
Here we have Klara, Marko’s mother (and a veritable bad ass in her own right) snarking about her son and daughter-in-law to Izabel, the family’s ghostly babysitter. Although really, Izabel’s probably a nanny at this point since babysitter’s don’t usually follow their employers around on inter-galactic spaceship chases…just saying. Seriously, can we just take a moment to appreciate Fiona Staples’ incredible talent? Those facial expressions convey everything I need to know about the character’s thoughts.
While Izabel and Klara were great in the Volume 2, I feel like they really got their chance to shine in Saga Volume 3. I love that Vaughan and Staples aren’t afraid to make Klara, a middle-aged woman, strong and brave and sexual. You go Klara (please don’t punch me)! Yeah, she’s a bit of a hard case sometimes…but she kind of has to be when her son is one half of the most wanted couple in the universe and her granddaughter is the target of assassins. The number of times that Klara saves people’s butts is truly impressive.
Izabel also gets in on the butt-saving action, finally breaking out of her role as passive commentator and into the realm of badass general. She might not be able to fight – she is a ghost, after all – but she can bark out orders like nobody’s business. Personally I’d be peeing my non-corporeal pants if I had to deal with half the things she sees, but she’s cool as a cucumber. I also loved that we get to see more of Izabel’s magic in Volume 3 and we get to see just how powerful her illusions are. Scaring the pants of Lying Cat was just a bonus.
Two generations of tough chicks! I won’t lie, there was definitely some dust in the air when I saw this panel. Look at chubby toddler Hazel, walking around with confidence. Is there anything that says ‘girl power’ more than literally and figuratively standing on your own two feet? I think not. But one of the best things about Saga Volume 3 is the acknowledgement that sometimes we need a helping hand – or phaser gun – to help us out of a tough spot. There’s no way Marko, Alana, and Hazel would’ve made it this far without a little help from their friends.
Parenthood is obviously an important part of the Saga series (it’s the inciting incident, if you will) and watching Alana and Marko figure out their parenting strategies is hilarious and heartwarming. Alana has that whole momma-bear thing going on and Marko is a total softie, but when someone threatens their family and friends shit gets real. Their love for Hazel and each other brings about some very interesting developments and I can’t wait to see where Vaughan and Staples take these newly revealed skills.
I cannot tell you how excited – and relieved – I was when I heard the news that the Saga series would continue on past Volume 3. These characters have gotten under my skin and become some of my all-time favourites, especially feisty Alana and smart ass Izabel. Vaughan and Staples have many more stories to tell about the cast of Saga, and I for one look forward to seeing toddler Hazel grow into the woman who narrates the series.