A long-awaited new comic from Y: The Last Man, Runaways, and Ex Machina writer Brian K. Vaughan launched yesterday: Saga's first issue weighs in at 44 pages, costs $2.99, and, thanks to Vaughan's sharp writing and phenomenal art by Fiona Staples, sets the stage for what looks to be a pretty extraordinary series. I'm more or less shameless when it comes to my admiration of Vaughan—if you haven't read Y yet, or Pride of Baghdad, you should—so I'd be stoked to have anything new from him, but I thought Saga was particularly remarkable. Funny and exciting and weird and inventive, it's a big, bold mashup of fantasy, science fiction, and, I don't know, like, domestic drama? You should pick it up.

ANYWAY, one of the other interesting things about Saga is that while Vaughan's worked with publishers like DC, Marvel, and Dark Horse in the past, this book's being published through Image; I thought his reasons for doing so, as stated in this ComicsAlliance interview, were worth noting:

Saga is a really important story to me, so I wanted a guarantee of no content restrictions or other creative interference, and I needed to maintain 100 percent control and ownership of all non-publishing rights with the artist, including the right to never have our comic turned into a movie or television show or whatever.

[Image's] Eric Stephenson was the only publisher I spoke with who was thrilled to make that deal, and co-creator Fiona Staples and I didn't have to sign exclusives or agree to work on a bunch of corporate-owned titles to get it. Eric didn't even mind when we said we wanted our book to always cost $2.99, but to never be less than 22 pages long, a potentially risky equation in this marketplace.

I sound like a miserly bastard every time I mention it, but shrinking page counts and rising prices are a huge barrier to both new and old comics readers—four bucks for something that takes 10 minutes to read isn't a very good investment-to-entertainment ratio. In this case, though, Vaughan's a big name, and Saga's (already) a big book. That means—unlike a lot of creators—he can make the sort of rules that he talks about above. It's good to see him doing so.

That said, Vaughan's hardly alone in thinking and talking about creator rights and price points in a less-than-secure industry that's dominated by DC and Marvel, two massive subsidiaries of two even-more-massive corporations. From Tr!ckster to posts like this one, by Goon creator Eric Powell, or posts like this one, by Northlanders writer Brian Wood, there's a lot of talk about how creators should fit into the rapidly changing comics business, how much comics should cost, and what the hell's going on with digital distribution. I don't expect those discussions to get any quieter anytime soon.