Y: The Last Man

USA Today blogger Whitney Matheson writes about one of the best books (graphic or otherwise) that I’ve read in a while.

I’m not sure why I’ve been putting off writing about Y: The Last Man. Since March, this series of books has been my No. 1 obsession.

The premise is simple and provocative: What if a mysterious disease instantly killed every man on Earth … except one? As a result, all world leaders would be women. Armies would be 100% female. Of course, all criminals would be women, too — and once word gets out about the living man, some will go to any lengths to track him down.

Here’s a PDF of the first few pages to get you started.

I’ve been a huge fan of the series since issue 3 (going back and picking up issues 1 and 2, of course). Interestingly, even though I have every individual issue, I still go buy the collected volumes. Why? It seems like such a waste.

There’s a couple of reasons – reading 10 issues all at once in one flowing form is a different experience than waiting obsessively to get each new issue when it comes out. Brian K. Vaughn, the uber-talented writer does a fantastic job of leaving you with a cliff hanger at the end of each installment, but also moves the story along so you don’t feel strung out like many TV shows do.

The experience is worth it, but it’s dependent on a solid foundation of content. Vaughn is a sharp, witty writer who doesn’t insult the audience by spelling things out. More than once I’ve looked up a cultural reference after finishing the book. The artwork is also compelling, as is the overall concept, and pacing.

Great experiences are great because they come with the entire package. LEGO built loyalty well beyond other brands because they have great involvement with consumers, a value system that they (mostly) communicate effectively, and because the product is rock solid. Not surprisingly, when the product quality suffered, the rest of the equation could only prop it up for so long.

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