Case Study: Y: The Last Man

Y The Last ManBrian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s post-apocalyptic series Y: The Last Man follows the story of amateur escape artist Yorick Brown and his pet monkey Ampersand, the last males on earth after a mysterious plague wipes out the males of every species, including humans. During ensuing chaos, Yorick must defend himself against terrorist factions, military groups, and the new politics of a world of women who want to capture him. This award-winning series became an instant classic, but that didn’t stop would-be censors from attacking it.

In June 2015, Y: The Last Man was one of four graphic novels that a 20-year-old college student and her parents said should be “eradicated from the system” at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, California. After completing an English course on graphic novels, Tara Shultz publicly raised objections to Persepolis, Fun Home, Y: The Last Man Vol. 1, and The Sandman Vol. 2: The Doll’s House as “pornography” and “garbage,” saying that Associate Professor Ryan Bartlett “should have stood up the first day of class and warned us.” Crafton Hills administrators responded with a strong statement in support of academic freedom, although President Cheryl Marshall did note that future syllabi for the graphic novel course will include a disclaimer “so students have a better understanding of the course content.” CBLDF joined the National Coalition Against Censorship to protest this attack on academic freedom, and the district backed away from the proposed disclaimer plan.

As of late June 2015, Tara’s father Greg Shultz said he plans to speak to the San Bernardino Community College District Board of Directors which oversees Crafton Hills, and he also contacted state lawmakers. He has since stopped responding to media inquiries.