The Walking Dead comics are a true cultural phenomenon. The show on AMC television is in its tenth session and has been the highest-rated cable television show on Sunday nights for as long I can remember. In fact, the show has expanded to spin-off shows such as Fear the Walking Dead and rumors of spin-off movies with other lead characters. Not to mention, the brand itself has expanded to action figures, video games, and other merchandise memorabilia.
I am not sure what the future holds for it on TV, as the comic series came to an abrupt ending last year. I can say, I was not there for the beginning of it, but definitely made sure to stick it out to the end. As tempting as it is, I will be sure not to spoil anyone on the ending. With that, for comic fans and speculators, where is the next Walking Dead comic? Suspicions are high in the speculating world, but there is no definite choice. Yes, comics such as Invincible (also created by Kirkman), Y: the Last Man, The Boys, and Umbrella Academy are excellent choices, but I am looking at a comic that has not received the option treatment. I believe that choice is Saga.
Saga is a space opera/sci-fi fantasy drama series that is heavily influenced by the worldwide popular franchise, Star Wars. The series is written by Brian K. Vaughn. To date, the series has produced 54 issues and is halfway through the completion, per Vaughn. The Walking Dead comic series concluded with 193 issues in July 2019, starting all the way back in 2003.
Both are created by the same publisher, Image Comics. Both premiere issues started with low print runs. When I mean low print runs, nowadays, new comics coming out having large print runs like 100,000. For example, Outcast, also done by Image Comics had a print run for the first issue of over 100,000. The Walking Dead had an estimated print run of 6,000 to 7,300, while Saga had a print run of about 37,000. Both writers, Robert Kirkman and Brian K. Vaughn had prior success with previous comic book series, before starting their respective series. Kirkman created the series, Invincible, which also has a great fan base and has been optioned by Amazon. While Vaughn had success with another series he wrote, Y: The Last Man, which has also been optioned for development.
Both comic series, earlier on, gained readership as it got more popular with fans. With The Walking Dead, issue #1 started with 6,000 sales and ballooned to 70,000 by issue #114. The gain of readership is about 1200% from issue #1 to #114! With Saga, it followed the same pattern, with 37,000 sales on issue #1 and continued strong through issue #13 with 55,000, which equals almost a 50% gain in readership.
As close as these two series are, there are many differences between them. The Walking Dead started in 2003, almost 10 years earlier than Saga. The series’ plot is about people surviving a zombie apocalypse. Meanwhile, Saga is a fantasy space drama with robots and animals. Similar to Star Wars, as the main characters travel with a spaceship and encounter many different forms of life. To my knowledge, and I did research a little, it does not appear that the Walking Dead # 1 issue had multiple printings for the premiere issue. I do not mean those reprints of reprints several years later. Whereas, Saga #1 has multiple printings, reaching as far as a 5th print.
Only time will tell if Saga will reach the level of The Walking Dead. Raw sales for Saga #1 are easily hitting over $100. So whenever this series gets the option treatment, whether it is a movie or television show, the stock of this book will skyrocket.
I am a fan of both series and my hopes for Saga is that it can be developed into a television show. I can imagine the budget would be tremendous with all the special and visual effects needing to be done. As for The Walking Dead, it is an end to an unbelievable comic series, that has coincided with an above-average television series. Ten seasons is no joke, so you have to give credit where credit is due. Otherwise, please let me know what you think; if you agree or disagree with what I have explained.
Stay safe and happy hunting!