Y: The Last Man is not simply one of my favorite comic books. Y: The Last Man is my favorite story. Let that sink in for a moment. It is one of those comics that should by all means escape our niche fanbase and become a welcome addition to mainstream media. Sadly, the format in which the story is presented is enveloped in a stigma that will keep it from literature classrooms and it will remain locked away in the “graphic novel” section of your local brick and mortar book retailer for some time. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t read it.
Y is the work of Mr. Brian K. Vaughan, one of my favorite authors. Starting in 2002, Y: The Last Man boasts one of the more original premises in recent memory; due to some unexplained event, every being on earth that has a Y chromosome immediately and violently dies, except for one guy and his pet monkey. The story then follows the man, Yorick, as he travels this post-apocalyptic world of womankind in search of his estranged girlfriend. The book deals with issues of sexism, genderization and just about every other moral construct that would become topical in a world where men no longer exist.
This is a comic that not only entertains, but really makes you think. Vaughan has a Tarentino-esque style to his writing where he inserts interesting facts alongside poignant dialogue so you actually walk away knowing more than when you started. I actually know what crossing the Rubicon is because of this book. His characters are so well sculpted they may as well be actual people, each with their own deep history and flaws that make you care for them with each turn of the page.
Pia Guerra’s art is simple yet enveloping. The facial expressions and body language found on every page make the characters truly exist in your mind. The cover art by J.G. Jones and Massimo Carnevale most notably are works that belong framed on the wall. Take a look for yourself:
So let’s get back to the question at hand. Why haven’t you read this book yet? Unlike other comics that have been running far past their prime (I’m looking at you, Walking Dead), Y: The Last Man is a complete story. In sixty issues, you get a beginning, a middle and an amazing end. I know I passed the point of rabid fanboyism about a dozen sentences ago, but the ending to this book brought a tear to my eye. If it doesn’t do the same for you, I probably hate you.
You can grab the Y: The Last Man TPBs on Amazon for a mere $10 a book or, if you’re super fancy, you can buy the deluxe editions (two TPB volumes combined into one sleek hardcover) for $20ish. I know full well that all you’ll need to do is sink into one of these trades before you’re hooked. This is a story that deserves to be read by everyone, not just comic fans.