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Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

The Future is Female

Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: March 2010

I’ve often wondered what it would be like if men were to be stricken from the face of the earth. Don’t ask me why, chalk it up to my strong imagination, or the fact that I, like anyone other female in my age bracket, have had some pretty atrocious experiences with the opposite sex. Hurtful and heartbreaking, sure, but overall I’d say the good outweighs the bad, especially these days.

I think if I were somehow bestowed with the power to eradicate certain types of stereotypical male behavior, it might be a decent sized list. Male posturing, lying, and other unfortunate side effects of them feeling less than adequate in one way or another would all be right at the top. It would seem though, that such behavior could just as easily be labeled human behavior, rather than just that of one gender or another.

In any case, this weeks comic of choice is one of my favorites, Y The Last Man.  Created by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, Y tells the story of Yorick, and Ampersand, the only man (and his pet monkey) to survive a virus, which caused the simultaneous death of every male mammal on the planet Earth. Set in the year 2002, an unknown plague wipes out every mammal which possesses a Y chromosome, including embryos, fertilized eggs, and sperm. Yorick Brown, the son of a U.S. Senator, (accompanied by his Capuchin helper monkey Ampersand) are on the search for Yorick’s girlfriend Beth, who was halfway around the world in the Australian Outback when the plague hit. As society plunges into disorder and panic, Yorick and Ampersand make their way across the country, and as they do, they encounter different groups of people. The rich character study, and attention to detail in its development is nearly unparalleled by any other series. The definitive explanation as to the cause of the plague is never truly revealed, and on that topic creator Vaughan is quoted as saying, “I feel that there is a definitive explanation, but I like that people don’t necessarily know what it is. In interviews we always said that we would tell people exactly what caused the plague. The thing was, we never said when we were going to tell. We might have told you in issue three. There might have been something in the background that only a couple people caught. It might have been Dr. Mann’s Father’s very detailed, scientific explanation. It might have been Alter’s off-the-wall conspiracy theory. The real answer is somewhere in those sixty issues, but I prefer to let the reader decide which one they like rather than pushing it on them.” Winner of the Eisner Award and nominated for a Hugo Award, Y The Last Man is a must-read. 

Arielle Mullen