Thirty Days of Feelings: Day Thirteen

This year I’m undergoing a bit of an experiment: Thirty straight days of doing/watching/listening to/reading something that makes me feel – however fleetingly – like an actual human being, in the hopes that this will thaw a layer of ice off my frozen shriveled little heart, and allow me to not be such a buzzkill this year. So let’s get to it.

Day Thirteen: Y: The Last Man

After MUCH deliberation, I had to go with this cover, because I love Wizard of Oz so much.

After MUCH deliberation, I had to go with this cover, because I love Wizard of Oz so much.

After going back and checking, it turns out that I’ve never written a full post dedicated to my favorite comic book of all time! I mean, this one piece of literature single-handedly transformed my conception of what a comic book could be and do, and inspired me to write them! I am full of fail.

Basically, is the story of Yorick Brown, who survives a mysterious “gendercide” which kills every male mammal on the planet. This of course makes him an object of considerable attention – almost all unwanted. Some want to study him in the hopes of continuing the human race. Some want to purge the last stain of man from the earth. Some want to use him for his body. As the only man on Earth, is he technically the Pope? But all Yorick wants is to find his almost-fiancée Beth. He is accompanied by monkey Ampersand, body guard known only as “355,” and geneticist Dr. Mann. He is opposed by the Israeli military (now the dominant military force on the planning, owing to the country’s mandatory two year service for all citizens), a crazy feminist cult, and so, so many others.

At the same time, is also the story of the triumph of (wo)mankind. In a world without men, there are almost no cops – but also drastically fewer criminals. There are virtually no pilots. Priests, imams, rabbis are completely gone. A serious portion of world leaders. Yet, they soldier on. The women of the series learn how to protect themselves. How to run the power stations. How to fly. They keep the world spinning.

In many ways, is as much a love letter to women as it is the story of a boy becoming a man. Yorick starts the series as an insecure, neurotic, drifting man-child. But over the course of the series he grows up. He learns that commonality and compatibility are not the same things, and that – to quote (500) Days of Summer – “Just because she likes the same bizzaro crap you do doesn’t mean she’s your soul mate.” He learns about sacrifice, and loss, and responsibility. He grows stronger, braver, and more confident.

Over sixty issues, or roughly five years of real time and in-story time – we come to love these characters. To identify and empathize with them. We learn why 355 is so hard. We learn Dr. Mann’s struggles growing up with her parents. We see why Yorick’s sister Hero is her particular brand of crazy. We even grow to see why the enemies are the way they are (some of them). Issues are presented as complex – like in the real world. I mean, it’s the end of the world: what do you do with prisoners? How do people deal with their loneliness? If it’s all over, does it matter if the opium trade is thriving? Is America dissolved, and is each state on its own?

Ultimately, this series is incredibly precious to me. I am a huge sucker for a coming-of-age story. I love dystopian futures. I love nerdy protagonists and tough ladies. The art is understated, and simple, yet conveys so much feeling. The dialogue is crisp and crackling. There’s mystery, and romance, and tragedy, and heart-break, and comedy, and drama, and allusions to amazing works of literature, and psychology, and seriously you need to stop me because I can go on for hours if not days about how much I love this beautiful book.


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