20 Post-Apocalyptic Stories That Aren’t Totally Depressing

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Y: The Last Man (Image via Vertigo)

13. Y: The Last Man

I promise that I don’t have anything against men as a group. Though, between this entry and Houston, Houston Do You Read?, it certainly may seem that way. Frankly, there are nearly no entries dealing with the eventual extinction of women. The ones that do are incredibly depressing indeed, such as the short story The Screwfly Solution, also by James Tiptree, Jr.

However, just because something deals broadly with a trope doesn’t mean it can’t be good. Y: The Last Man, a comic series from Brian K. Vaughn and Pia Guerra, as such, is worth your time. It follows Yorick, the titular “Y”, who is apparently the last man on Earth.

In fact, Yorick is very nearly the last male of any species left on the planet. A mysterious plague has wiped out every single being with a Y chromosome. Even sperm and fertilized eggs with the chromosome perished. Somehow, Yorick and his male pet monkey, Ampersand, survive.

This means that Yorick has suddenly become a very rare and, to some, desirable person. Nearly everyone either wants to secure Yorick in order to save him, destroy him, and/or discover just what has happened to humanity.

While Yorick travels the globe and tries to find answers for his own benefit, society rebuilds itself. Initially, everything is in shambles. It would be, considering that modern governments are often full of men. And, while violent militant groups arise, other associations of women end up doing just fine.

None of this spells the end of men entirely, though I won’t dare to spoil the rest of the series. In fact, despite the terrorist groups, the brainwashing, and multiple attempted murders, things turn out okay for Yorick and the others.