Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples's Favorite Books with Stellar Worldbuilding

December, 2015
Fiona Staples

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When Brian K. Vaughan teamed his wildly original vision for an epic space opera/fantasy comic book with the equally bewitching artwork of Fiona Staples, a classic was born. The duo's hugely acclaimed Saga series has been picking up awards since its 2012 launch, so it's no surprise Volume 4 just won the best graphic novels and comics category in this year's Goodreads Choice Awards. Likened to everything from Star Wars and Game of Thrones to Romeo and Juliet and the New Testament, Saga deploys both out-there sci-fi/fantasy (trees as rocket ships, characters with televisions for heads, a talking cat) and authentic human storytelling—in essence it's the journey of new parents battling to raise a child in a warring, hostile world.

The hit adult series, often praised for its humor and inventiveness, grew out of a fictional universe Vaughan invented as a kid as well as his experiences of becoming a parent. Here Vaughan and Staples share five of their favorite books with stellar worldbuilding.

BRIAN K. VAUGHAN's picks:

The Ballad of Halo Jones by Alan Moore and Ian Gibson
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"If Alan Moore had only written this one comic, he would still be one of the medium's most important creators ever. Too many sci-fi/fantasy stories spend all of their time building worlds instead of making sure that there are people on those worlds worth caring about, but this feminist space opera always keeps its deeply relatable characters at the forefront of its imaginative settings."


Orc Stain by James Stokoe
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"Currency should be an important part of worldbuilding, but most of us just fall into the habit of using unimaginative 'credits' or the like. The economy that cartoonist James Stokoe created for his dark fantasy world is ingeniously revolting, just like every other exquisite detail of this fearless story."



FIONA STAPLES'S picks:

The Spire by Simon Spurrier and Jeff Stokely
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"A murder mystery set in a fantastical desert land. The city's twisty towers and dark alleys are drawn with great intricacy, the elaborate costumes look lived in, and the misshapen goblinlike townspeople have a bizarre charm."


Dungeon Quest by Joe Daly
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"This is straight-up a D&D game come to life. South African cartoonist Joe Daly takes our heroes—Millennium Boy, Steve, Lash Penis, and Nerdgirl—on a long quest through a psychedelic version of Cape Town. And talk about worldbuilding: Included are excerpts from the books the characters find, such as the Romish Book of the Dead. This comic has an insane amount of lore, 99 percent of it totally irrelevant, all of it hilarious."


D4VE by Ryan Ferrier and Valentin Ramon
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"The world of D4VE is our world, but the humans are dead and everyone is a robot. Society continues as normal, but now machines are living in suburbs and commuting to office jobs. Artist Ramon slips all kinds of visual gags into products and advertisements in the background."


Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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message 1: by Chompa (new)

Chompa This is an interesting mix. I've read most of these and really enjoyed Orc Stain and Dungeon Quest. In fact, Dungeon Quest is one of those brain worms I just kept thinking about for a long time.


message 2: by Liz (new)

Liz None of the links on this page work. I want to read them all!


message 3: by Haleybrooke (last edited Dec 10, 2015 01:49AM) (new)

Haleybrooke I am a fan of Alan Moore's work. A unique story of a feminist.

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message 4: by Chris (new)

Chris Alan The main purpose of popularity is popular comics book but behind that she has a wonderful skill of writing. I often show her book to my university admission essay team to get some skills like that. Once again wonderful post


message 5: by AMMU (new)

AMMU ALLU This is such a great job, that you are providing and give it away for free. It gives in depth information. Thanks for this valuable information. There is a collection of books in my residential interior designers in bangalore


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