A Year of Cool Comics – Day 361
Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the comics posted so far!
Today we take a look at a neat two-part story from Y The Last Man about a traveling theater company. It was written by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by guest-penciler Paul Chadwick and regular inker Jose Marzan, Jr.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Brian K. Vaughan’s work on Y the Last Man was his ability to quickly and effectively both introduce new characters but also get the readers to basically “know” these new characters. As the plot of the story (the last man on Earth travels cross country with a bodyguard and a scientist who thinks she can cure whatever killed all the men on Earth) specifically calls for the characters to encounter new people all of the time, this was a very valuable skill for Vaughan to bring to the table. In the two-parter (Y the Last Man #16 and 17), “Comedy and Tragedy,” however, Vaughan took this skill to a whole other level by telling the tale of a traveling theater troupe without the help of any of the main characters in the comic.
It was a fun little diversion seeing how life (and art) was going on without men, and it allowed for a lot of meta-fictive fun by Vaughan (a lot of it at his own expense, which is always nice to see).
After an opening sword fight, we discover we’re actually seeing a group of performers from a theater company…
Later, though, they discover Ampersand, the monkey companion of Yorick (the titular Last Man on Earth), who had been monkey-napped last issue by an operative working for some mysterious group. The discovery of a male monkey inspires them…
This leads to #17, which is filled with meta-fictional humor…
It was especially cute seeing Vaughan give himself some teasing over his choice of Yorick’s name.
In any event, there is some opposition to the play in town…
But there’s also a ninja trying to get Ampersand. So at opening night, there is a bit of a perfect storm of problems (the ninja, the angry “den mother” and also Yorick and his companions show up looking for Ampersand, as well).
It all ends with a very cute bit where Yorick asks how the play ends. Be sure to seek out the third volume of the Y the Last Man trades to see how it ends. Heck, just get all of the Y the Last Man trades anyways, it was a very good series!
Paul Chadwick did a great job on the art for this two-parter.