Being a writer, I am clearly a fan of anything literary, and I have always loved comic books, but never fully read anything consistently besides Wonder Woman. I’ve dabbled in the Avengers, Spider-Man, and X-Men, but never really found a drawing/words medium that truly hooked me the way a book does – until last night.
As of recently, Boy has been getting into comics that are outside the superhero realm, and it seems that all of them are falling under the umbrella of Image Comics, a publisher probably best known for its explosively popular series “The Walking Dead.” However, Boy has latched on to other titles – “Saga” and “Sex Criminals,” to be exact – which have pushed him not only into different storytelling, but an appreciation for the writers and artists that produce these books as well.
Brian K. Vaughan is one such guy, the writer of “Saga” (wherein he’s paired with equally talented artist Fiona Staples), who has also done work on things like X-Men, Batman and Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics. He also penned a series with Pia Guerra put out by publisher Vertigo that captured two Eisner Awards in 2005 for Best Serialized Story and Best Continuing Series and again in 2006 for Best Serialized Story. It’s called “Y: The Last Man.”
It’s 60 issues, released back in 2002 and just…I could not get enough. Boy loaded my iPad up with digital copies of it, and each issue had a cliff hanger that pushed me on to the next, even if my eyes were pretty much shut from being so tired.
The gist of the story is that all the males on Earth drop dead, all at one time – except for Yorick Brown and his pet monkey, Ampersand. What ensues is a journey that Yorick undertakes, attempting to reach his girlfriend (maybe fiance?) Beth, who is in Australia, all while discovering how this strange new world rife with women works, and the dangers that can befall him if his identity as the last man standing is found out.
Yorick is a wonderfully rich character who grows a bit with every issue. He’s funny, an aspiring escape artist who’s a smart ass. Those he travels with – a deadly agent known only as 355 and an extremely intelligent woman named Dr. Mann – are story constants that hold tales of their own that spill out little by little. There are plenty of other players – such as Yorick’s also Shakespearean-named sister, Hero; a group of woman hell-bent on the fact that men are evil called the Amazons; and government and military figures that are dealing with their newly and mostly deceased comrades as best as possible – that give a grand view of the lady-laden world.
Not only was the writing superb, but the art really lent itself to the high quality of the words. The story is not a hard one to follow, even when people within it are espousing their ideas on why all the men have died, and the ending is so incredibly fitting, and absolutely tragic. The last three issues were the ones that really did it for me. I didn’t realize the depths to which I was involved in the story until the final moments of consuming it. I’ve felt this way about novels before, and the fact that a graphic one imparted the same emotions was a pleasant surprise.
If you have a chance, I recommend picking it up. I believe it comes collected in 10 hardcover trades. Bonus? As far as drawn dudes go, Yorick is pretty easy on the eyes.