Unfortunately, I have never actually picked up a comic book before 2302. My knowledge of comic books is very limited, made up of solely the need-to-knows that my boyfriend told me about The Dark Knight and Captain America to keep me from pestering him with questions during the movie. Honestly, I have done my best to stay clear of comic book stores and those who consume their products largely because of the incredible sexism that is associated with comic books. Now please don’t panic, this blog isn’t going to turn into a feminist rant (I shave my legs and I currently have no soap boxes to hop on top of). But I seriously thought that comic book readers had to be some backwards, semi-perverted geeks who were not socially adequate enough to get a real girl to look their way and so they were making the half-naked, nipple-exposed, stupid, helpless females their quasi-girlfriends by living vicariously in the comic book. This seriously freaked me out because I assumed that anyone living in a realm where every member of the female population is essentially worthless aside from their sexual value maintains those ideas and upon returning to the real world, they still think of all women as helpless, stupid, and exclusively sexual beings.
When I heard that we would have to read a comic book where there was only one man left on the earth, I was not happy to say the least. This reinforced my ideas about comic book readers (There’s only one man left on earth. This is every geek’s dream right?) And worse, this undoubtedly means that my professor thinks my fellow females and I are less intellectually inclined than our male counterparts. He’s one of those, when does add/drop end? Fortunately for all parties involved, the very next sentence out of his mouth addressed the exact thoughts I was having and promised that it was not what I thought. So I decided to stick it out: I manned up (pun intended) and read it. I opened the first page and there was two, count them, TWO fully clothed females on the page!! This is supposed to be a comic book, right? Turn the page and, much to my relief, there’s a girl in a bikini top wandering around the Australian outback. That would’ve been my outfit of choice too.
All sarcasm aside, after I got past the first few pages of the book, I realized that women in this book are actually intelligent, capable, and (for the most part) fully clothed. Yorick is being pushed around, beaten up and bossed by the females throughout the book. Not to say that I condone beating up men, I was just expecting things to be more the other way around, the last man dominating and creating the ultimate bachelor pad. Additionally, this book was not some meaningless, predictable, good guy in spandex vs. bad guy in cape kind of plot that is also commonly associated with comic books. I found myself laughing at a lot of the clever dialogue and somewhat into the book. My previously held notions were proven untrue for the most part. There is a real plot and it can be reflected upon in order to gain some insight about humanity and modern society. Not bad. But while there are undoubtedly big-kid ideas and clever thoughts within it I was forced to ask many questions regarding the roles of females. Are these women powerful, intelligent and capable solely because there are no men, who otherwise would have filled these roles, left on earth? Are they not exclusively sexual creatures because there is no one left to seduce? I’m not trying to say that all comic book readers are perverted geeks who think women are lesser; this book does prove that idea to be incorrect by simply providing more mature content than one would not expect a sixth grade boy to get into. However, I’m not so sure I’m completely convinced yet.
After a little bit of research I decided that I would like to read You Are Here by Kyle Baker. The main character has been lying to his fiancée about his secret past and upon going to New York City to sell his apartment, he is chased by the cops and stalked by a serial Killer. The Amazon review said this book is clever and funny. That was the main thing that I liked about Y: The Last Man so I thought this might be a nice follow-up. Plus its three dollars used, so that greatly increases the odds of me actually reading it. College student, what can I say? I like how quickly the plot of comic books moves along and I’ve always been a fan of illustrations so hopefully I will actually get the chance to pick this one up. And maybe another after that. And maybe, my views of comic books themselves will be changed. I have already learned that the readers are not the boys in the back of the bus who couldn’t get their hands on a Playboy and are using Wonder Woman to tie them over (once again, pun intended). There are real messages and real plots in comic books and I think it’s a genre worth further investigation.