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Saga Writer Talks Racial Diversity and Creative Freedom in Comics

| 19 Dec 2014 17:55
Saga Chapter One Cover

Saga writer Brian K. Vaughan talked all about his thought process for designing his main characters and how he'd be more excited for a game adaptation than a film adaptation of the comic.

Brian K. Vaughan talked with The Verge about his comic Saga, racial diversity in comics and how he'd be excited about a game adaptation for his comic.

Saga, which has been nominated for several best of 2014 awards, including being nominated for the best comic series of 2014 award here at The Escapist, is a space opera/fantasy comic book series where two parents from different races at war are fleeing as they take care of their newborn daughter. Speaking with The Verge, Vaughan noted that he wanted to make fiction that felt like the real world. That meant making it diverse like the real world.

"Early on when I was describing the characters I said, 'well, Alana, the mom, has wings, and Marko, the dad, has horns. And Alana can look however you want - I probably wouldn't make her a redhead because there's a glut of redheads in comics,'" Vaughan said. "And Fiona [Staples, illustrator of Saga] sort of wisely pointed out, she said, 'You know, these characters don't have to be white.'

"I blame myself that it is particularly when thinking about fantasy that white tends to be the default when you're starting with characters, and then it's sort of adding in horns and wings or bumps on their foreheads to make them diverse, which is insane."

Beyond racial diversity, Saga has also been strong on writing a compelling female character with Alana. On the cover of the first deluxe hardcover edition of the series, it depicted Alana breastfeeding Hazel. Vaughan said he was shocked to hear some stores refused to stock it on shelves openly.

"If you've ever been in a comic book store, there are some pretty racy covers, just severed heads are par for the course," he said.

But Vaughan doesn't seem too upset about it. He added if that cover bothered potential readers, then the series really isn't for them.

Vaughan also spoke on a possible video game adaptation of Saga. The writer said he'd much rather see a game adaptation than a film or a TV adaption. He noted it would also be very difficult to do a film adaptation of Saga because it would have a higher rating due to the swearing and sexual content, as well as heavy themes, in the series. Not to mention film and TV teams are much larger, so a creative vision can be more easily drowned out, and there has been less diversity in film and TV. Vaughan is optimistic about this golden age of comics where creators have creative freedom, as he has with Image Comics (Vaughan has no editor). He wouldn't be against a game adaptation, though.

Vaughan has heard talk about a game adaptation. "A Saga video game, particularly if it's sort of about characters other than the main characters in our story, is really exciting to me - even more exciting than a film or TV show. So, uh, never say never."

That sounds a bit like something Telltale Games could do; the developer adapted the Fables comic into its The Wolf Among Us game series.

"I love those Telltale games that I've seen," Vaughan said. "It's very clever. I like that it's based on making moral decisions. It's not just a button-masher kind of game. That's really exciting to think about, where games are headed in the future."

Source: The Verge

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