Let’s get to that and more in another edition of Comics Disassembled.
1. Saga, Returning
I’m so happy for Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples and the fine folks at Image Comics, if only because they can finally stop answering the question I am sure they’ve been asked a million times over the past three plus years: when will Saga come back? That’s because we now know, as it’s returning on January 26, 2022 with its 55th issue, presumably as a belated birthday present for yours truly, which I kindly accept.
It’s not just a 55th issue, but a still priced at $2.99, double-sized issue, with just one cover because who needs multiple covers when you have Fiona Staples? As a reader, I am terribly excited, as Saga is very good, Brian K. Vaughan is very good, and, not to put her on a different level, but Fiona Staples is extremely good. As much as anything, I’m excited to see my friends in the cast once again, like my guy Ghüs, the legend.
There was a fair amount of hand-wringing on social media and skepticism about whether readers and retailers will return after such a sizable gap. Given its crossover hit nature, I’d wager the answer will be an emphatic yes that likely lands squarely in the middle of where optimists believe it will and where pessimists are convinced of, with the collections losing little momentum because of it (keep in mind, people who are used to reading stories from book stores are probably more accustomed to sizable gaps than comic fans). I’ll look into this in the lead up to final order cutoff and release, but I don’t think this previously monstrous hit will completely tank upon its return. Maybe it will drop a bit, but I’d wager a fair few readers discovered it during that hiatus as well.
And here’s the important thing: the team got a break. I’ve said this a ton of times before, but Fiona Staples wasn’t just the line artist of the book, but the colorist, the hand-letterer for Hazel’s narration, and the cover artist for the series. She did that at a shockingly consistent rate over the first six years of the title’s run. If anyone needed a break in comics, it was Fiona. I’m glad she and the rest of the team got it. And this is where it’s worth a reminder that comic creators are, in fact, people, and occasionally people need time. It might have been more than readers wanted, but it assuredly was what the team needed. And I would wager a significant sum of money that the team has cached a heck of a lot of issues before this announcement to ensure as infrequent of breaks as humanly possible, that way they can prevent burnout and gaps going forward. That’s the way to do it.
2. Fair Play, Jon Kent
This week it was revealed that in next month’s Superman: Son of Kal-El #5 from Tom Taylor and John Timms that Jonathan Kent, the son of Superman and Lois Lane and the current, active Superman, is bisexual. I would love to tell you that this was received with a level of empathy only matched by the care and consideration behind the words said about the news, and that the ideals of Superman – either the Clark or Jon variety – were reflected in the response. But no, that was not the case. Despite the very positive response elsewhere, many of the loudest voices on this topic were completely ridiculous, delivering bad faith arguments with little understanding of anything they were raging about (like, for example, that this wasn’t even Clark!).
In fact, I’d argue the Venn diagram of people who hate that Superman is now bisexual and the people who all of a sudden claim to be huge Kyrie Irving fans is just one circle, a disingenuous gang of fake internet tough guys. It’s stupid. The cacophony of ugliness that surrounded this reveal is not even worth talking about, and yet here I am, talking about it all the same. I blame Dean Cain.
But, ultimately, all that matters is: this is great! It makes total sense for Jon Kent, and for all those who question it, the character has only existed for six years and has largely been a child during that stretch (comics and time! two great flavors that taste weird together!). The character was effectively a blank slate, and it fits the identity of the character to a tee from what we do know. More than that, it’s a meaningful thing, something that likely gives hope and joy to an often underrepresented group. When I heard the news, I thought, “yeah, that fits,” but for someone that is not used to seeing themselves in comics in a major and positive way, this truly could be life-changing. That’s wonderful, and it can be nothing but that.
And if someone has a problem with it, I don’t care, because they’re not in this out of sincere belief or to reflect their actual feelings. They just want to rage and keep things the way they were. Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for us, their time is done. That’s a good thing.