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Since we’re talking about comic books…

Those of you whose lives don't involve a weekly update on what new comics have come out this Wednesday might not be familiar with Y The Last Man, a 60-issue comic book (10 volume graphic novel), whose much anticipated final issue just came out last month.  The premise of Y The Last Man is that a mystery plague instantaneously wipes out every man and male mammal on planet Earth except for Yorick Brown, a 22 year old magician/slacker, and his capuchin monkey, Ampersand.  Chaos ensues and Yorick, along with a mini-entourage of government bodyguard Agent 355 and super-geneticist Dr. Alison Mann, heads west across the decimated United States (and later the globe) to a) find out what caused the plague and b) look for Yorick's beloved girlfriend Beth, who was in Australia when the plague hit.  You can begin to imagine what kind of craziness they find (and get themselves into) along the way.

"A comic book about a world populated entirely by women?" you say.  "Cool!"  So, it is and it isn't.  I mean, it is cool, but the main character is still a man, which is sort of funny in a world full of women.  What this comic highlights is all the places that the world falls down because of enduring gender discrimination.  There are few female pilots, so when the plague strikes, virtually all airplanes fall from the skies; with only 16% of congressional seats held by women, there is a void in government; with virtually no female plumbers, electricians, or construction workers, the entire national infrastructure begins to fall apart. 

The societies that fare best in these semi-apocalyptic times are those in which women already hold the most positions of power - notably the Israeli military, which had the highest ranking female officers in the world.  Alter, the primary Jewess of Y the Last Man, and her comrade/nemesis Sadie (who becomes a judge) are totally fierce, though ultimately Alter comes off as a semi-psycho with a death wish.  On the other hand, how often do Jewish women (aside from Kitty Pryde of the X-Men) appear in comic books?  Making an appearance in one of the largest and most successful comics to have been drawn by a woman (the amazing Pia Guerra) is exciting, and to me a logical next step in the long tradition of Jews and comics.

To read more about feminism and comic books, check out When Fangirls Attack.   

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More on: Art, Fiction, Comics

You ask an important question, "On the other hand, how often do Jewish women (aside from Kitty Pryde of the X-Men) appear in comic books?", the answer to which I've been waiting to read in the pages of Hadassah Magzine or Lilith or on the JWA website. One of the best-known female Jewish cartoonists is Trina Robbins, who is also the foremost authority on the history of women in the comics industry (which includes quite a significant number of women). Alas, Trina has not yet written a history about Jewish women characters in comics or a history of specifically Jewish women cartoonists. Perhaps I will someday pen an essay or deliver a conference paper about the ways that Jewish women have been represented in comix during its 70-year history. In the meantime, if anyone would like to know more (maybe write an article herself), I'd be happy to share the info I have collected thus far. There are several great Jewish cartoonist non-superhero comics works that have been published in recent years, which include : jobnik! by Miriam Libicki, We Are On Our Own by Miriam Katin, Girl Stories by Lauren Weinstein, Unterzakhn (currently being serialized in The Forward) by Leela Corman, and How to Understand Israel in Sixty Days by Sarah Glidden (which will be published as a 200-page graphic novel by Vertigo). Among the more prominent Jewish superhero characters (besides Kitty Pryde) in comics are : Sabra (Marvel Comics), Judith (a member of the Hayoth team in the DC Comics line), Masada (Image Comics), Batwoman (DC) and Golani (Archie Comics). Although written by a man (Barry Deutsch), I highly reccommedn that you take a look at the webcomic (also available as a printed comic) Hereville at http://www.hereville.com. Hereville is described as "The Best Comic Book About Troll-Fighting Jewish Girls You’ll Read This Year".

that suppose to be more super woman, and I suggest hulk woman also available. if that is possible

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How to cite this page

Rabinoff-Goldman, Lily. "Since we’re talking about comic books…." 1 August 2008. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on March 23, 2019) <https://jwa.org/blog/y-the-last-man>.


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