BY MATT TUCK
Saga is coming back in January, and that should have these key issues on your radar.
There was plenty to be excited about after New York Comic Con 2021. Ghostbusters fans not only got to hear from Ivan and Jason Reitman, but they got a surprise sneak preview of the entire Afterlife film. Then there was Neil Gaiman and the cast of the Sandman audiobook introducing the second act of that hit venture.
In the world of non-superhero comics, one of the biggest crowd-pleasing moments of the convention came from none other than Brian K. Vaughn. During his Saturday panel, the famed creator brought his Saga cohort, Fiona Staples, to the stage virtually, and the two announced that the series would finally return in the near future.
What do you have to thank for that news? The pandemic, actually.
During the panel, Vaughn explained that the slowdown in production due to the pandemic and 2020’s nationwide lockdown gave him time to revisit the world of Saga. He went so far to say that he has penned the script for the next 55 issues, so no need to worry that it will suddenly end at a moment’s notice.
THE MARKET FALLOUT
Saga fans have been begging for more from Vaughn and Staples for three years now. During issue #54, one of the main characters, Marko, appeared to die. Since that 2018 cliffhanger, there’s been nothing, leaving Saga fans wondering if they will ever get closure for the story.
After rumblings that the comic was on the way back, Vaughn made it official, and Saga #55 is due out in January, which will bring those Saga keys back en vogue.
The phenomenon was born here, and that easily makes it the best issue to own for the entire 54-issue run. Here we meet the protagonists of the main story, Marko and Alana. There’s also the debuts of Prince Robot IV and The Will, though their first appearances are overshadowed by the series’ biggest hit character, Lying Cat.
There’s also a variant cover floating around the auction sites. This one, which was created by series artist Fiona Staples, was given away at the 2012 Diamond Retailers Summit, making it harder to find than the standard edition. As such, it has a higher asking price.
With all the gossip about Saga’s return before NYCC, the standard edition was on the mend. Last year, it sold for a high of $600, which was down from 2019. Going into October, the 90-day average has been $713. Since Vaughn and Staples’ joint announcement, three of the last four sales for graded 9.8s have been for $800+.
As for that retailers incentive variant, get ready to spend an exorbitant sum to put one in your collection. In 2020, the 9.8 had a fair market value of $2,417. Two months ago, the price tag jumped to $4,000. With the hype for Saga #55 intensifying, expect the next sale to reach a record high.
One of the series’ most popular characters made her first full and cover appearance in the third issue. Izabel is the sassy ghost babysitter whose essence is attached to Marko and Alana’s baby. While she made her cameo appearance in Saga #2, readers saw her on the cover art and part of the entire third issue, which should make this the more collectible of the two comics.
There has not been a graded 9.8 purchased online since May when a copy brought $110. However, two copies sold in the spring matched the $150 record high.
As far as the story, this issue is not significant on its own. There are no major moments nor are there any first appearances here. What makes it worth collecting, however, is the print run. According to KeyCollectorComics, the first edition had a much lower print run than the first six issues. I cannot say why that was, but it always adds to a comic’s appeal when there are fewer copies in circulation.
As expected, prices have been on the way up so far this fall for Saga #7. In 2020, the 9.8 had a fair market value of $70. Over the past 90 days, that FMV has increased to $107. There have not been any sales in October, but the most recent transaction saw one copy bring $122 on September 7, which is the highest sale price in three years.
This is actually a great time to set your sights on a ghost variant cover. For the past 12 months, the 9.8 averaged $128, but the most recent sale was for $83 on October 12.
SAGA #19 VARIANT
This is more like it. First of all, you get the debuts of characters Ginny, Dengo, and Yuma. To sweeten the prospect, this particular edition is in limited quantities. This Fiona Staples variant was given away during the 2014 Diamond Retailers Summit, which puts them in a relatively small quantity.
If you are just looking for a piece of the action, go with the standard cover. Even at a 9.8, these have been selling in the $60 range since August. However, the most recent sale was for a year-high $86 on October 4.
As for the aforementioned retailer incentive, that one slabbed with a 9.8 sticker will cost you closer to $415, and that was in May.
SAGA ON THE SCREEN? PROBABLY NOT
If you are hoarding your Saga keys in anticipation of a live-action or animated movie or series, that may never happen.
In the world of modern comics, we’ve been conditioned to expect a screen adaptation. For a property as successful as Saga, it would seem like a given, right? When it comes to Saga, that could be a long way off if ever. Speaking during his NYCC panel, Vaughn asked the crowd their opinion on the subject. The overwhelming favorite choice: leave it as a comic series, which Vaughn appeared to embrace.
By no means did the Saga creator make a firm decision on the matter. He acknowledged the crowd’s majority choice, but that does not indicate that a live-action or animated adaptation couldn’t happen. What it does suggest is that it is not in the works at the moment. Judging by the fan response, that is okay with them.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.