Here’s the second installment in our Father’s Day Series, this time we’ve got Julie who, just like in Nancy’s Starman piece, picks not just one comic but an entire series! I must agree with Julie on all the points she makes. I kind of knew the first time through that this book had really strong characters of both sexes but Julie really shows how great the men of Saga can be. Enjoy! – Chuck (Editor-Monkey-in-Chief)
Oh, one more thing… SPOILERS!
When asked to name my favorite dads in comics, I think I responded with “All of Saga. Need I say more?” Originally I said that thinking of the relationship between Marko and his daughter Hazel, but the more I re-read the books, the more I realized that there are a lot of different fathers in Saga. There’s Marko’s dad, Barr. There’s Prince Robot IV. There’s D. Oswald Heist. Even The Will becomes a kind of father when he rescues Slave Girl/Sophie. So many types of fathers in this amazing story mean that this article could be very long, indeed, but instead I’ll highlight my favorite parts of the father/child relationships. Warning: if you’re new to Saga, don’t read on. I discuss plot points which means spoilers lie ahead. Get yourself caught up and then come back and read this.
Obviously the father/child relationship we see the most of is Marko and Hazel’s. Marko’s devotion to his family was evident from the first pages of the series, when he delivered his daughter in a garage on Cleave and cut her umbilical cord with his teeth, and it hasn’t waned since. He has stood between her and Landfall troops, freelancers, “Horrors,” and a disgruntled ex-fiancée, and has even broken his sacred vow not to fight anymore when she was threatened. There is no doubt he loves his little girl very much. And yet, when I sat down to re-read the series again before writing this article, it wasn’t Marko’s experiences as a father paled in comparison with two others.
Barr, Marko’s father, enters the story in dramatic fashion with his wife Klara. They arrive in the family’s rocketship when they fear Marko captured, ready to take out whoever is hurting their son. While Klara’s fierceness never quite disappears, we get to see Barr’s softer side as he immediately accepts his son’s new family and his granddaughter. It’s revealed that he has a month to live at most, and he has chosen to spend that time surrounded by his family, making clothing that will keep them safe when he’s gone. And when their rocketship is falling apart during their escape from a newborn Timesuck and The Will, Barr casts a spell to hold it together, which saves the family at the cost of his life. Although he says that he was “never a great father” to Marko, Barr’s final act proves his utter devotion to his family.
The Will’s relationship with Sophie, while not a traditional father-daughter relationship, also touched me. In the middle of a case, this hardened freelance assassin decides that he has to save a little girl from prostitution, and he doesn’t take no for an answer. When he fails in his first attempt, he swallows his pride and calls his ex-lover (whose offer to collaborate on the case he has previously rejected) so that he can get the cash he needs to buy Slave Girl’s freedom. When that falls flat, he tries to scam Gwendolyn out of a cash advance. The Will even kills to get Slave Girl free. Even though he’s a professional assassin and this isn’t far from his everyday line of work, I think his tenacity speaks volumes. Why would he be so insistent on rescuing her if he didn’t feel a connection to her? Later, when the planet’s delusion-inducing food has Sophie under its influence, and she stabs the Will in the neck and he is close to death, he forgives her. More than that, knowing that Lying/Honest Cat will blame her, he warns her to tell Cat that they’re “square…and it’s her job…to watch after you…here on out…” He has concern for her future well-being, both mental (he doesn’t want her to blame herself) and physical (by appointing a guardian). It’s not your usual parent-child narrative, but I think that the bond between The Will and Sophie is there nonetheless. Hell, he even named Slave Girl after his sister. Even though they’re not blood relatives, they’re family.
Until asked, I hadn’t really thought about this angle of Saga—the father/child relationship—but it’s really an amazing component of the story. This is one of the many reasons that I love the series: because every time I read it I get something different out of it. And I stand by my answer to the original question. Favorite dads in comics? “All of Saga. Need I say more?”