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  • Writer's pictureAvery Polinori

NPT: The Saga Comic vs. The Phantom Menace Film

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

Have you listened to Nerds Polish Turds, the Cardigan Comix original podcast? If you have, you know from our first episode that we aren't big on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

Now, let's not only explore the Star Wars saga, but also, the Saga... saga. Ahem. I'm talking about Saga, the comic book series by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples! And also why it's first chapter in its... saga (I promise, I'll stop) is superior to the first chapter in the Star Wars... story. Ha! You thought I was going to say it. Anyway, you should read Saga (the comic). And you should read it before ever watching The Phantom Menace for the first time or ever again. That's right, come at me, prequel fans. Talk about a Fandom Menace, am I right? JK, ya'll are cool.

Taking the synopsis right off the back of my trade paperback first volume (priced at an enticing $9.99 USD):

"SAGA is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the universe. When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring fragile new life into a dangerous old world. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in the first volume of this sexy, subversive ongoing epic."

Hmm, "...opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war..." huh? Anyone else getting Reylo vibes? Sorry, wrong Star Wars era. Anyway, this synopsis alone is enough to intrigue any fan of the epic space opera from a galaxy far far away. And the similarities don't stop with the setting and genres.


Both Phantom and Saga give us a universe with "space magic." Both the find our heroes on the run from a robotic governmental force and later a galactic badass with a bald head. It's obvious that (SPOILERS) the young children in both of these stories survive to eventually become important figures. Spaceships. Alien battles. You get it. But look past these surface aspects of the stories and you'll find Saga satisfies. And in areas many Star Wars fans found lacking in Phantom.


For one thing, the comic is lightyears more appealing to the eye. As veteran readers know, Fiona Staples' sleek designs give it an unfair advantage over any other visual epic. But even when you take into account the technical SFX marvel the film was at the time, it can't hold a candle to what's come today. Phantom's visuals haven't aged well. Saga's will live on forever in its glorious 2-D wonder.


Now, I'm not one of those Star Wars fans that thinks everything should be gritty and serious. While the films have universal appeal, their target audience are anyone whose parents buy them toys and lunchboxes. Do kids still use lunchboxes? What I'm saying is Star Wars is for kids! Kids love every silly moment with droids and the cute little aliens with funny voices.

That doesn't mean you can't like darker stories like The Force Unleashed or Knights of the Old Republic. But perhaps the more Jar Jar-heavy tales might not be for you. Guess what adult-oriented space opera is? That's right, it's Space Balls. Kidding, it's Saga. With scenes of (mostly) tasteful nudity, real stakes, actual blood, and a light sprinkle of nihilistic-wit, Saga is everything a jaded Star Wars fan (like me) could want.


Lastly, let's not forget about the one thing OG trilogy fans say ruined the entire Jedi lore: Midi-chlorians. George Lucas explained away the Force mini creatures living inside your blood that connect you to the energy of the universe or whatever. I don't hate it. But I don't like it. How does Saga explain its space magic? At this point in the Saga saga--it doesn't. And yes, I'm sorry. I did the Saga-saga thing again. That doesn't take away from the mystique behind the spells and ghosts and curses and the tension it brings to our leads, Alana and Marko.

Listen, I know The Phantom Menace has its defenders. I love Dave Filoni's take on it. And the memes! Our beloved prequel memes would never exist if this movie had not come first. Plus, how cool was that fight scene with Darth Maul? I'm not saying you can't like this movie. We all like what we like.

What I am saying is that Saga is great and it's subjectively and (probably) objectively better. So what are you waiting for? Go check it out for yourself!

Be sure to tune in every month for a new episode of Nerds Polish Turds. Peace!

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