1st Edition

Destruction, Ethics, and Intergalactic Love Exploring Y: The Last Man and Saga

By Peter Admirand Copyright 2023
    304 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    304 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Destruction, Ethics, and Intergalactic Love: Exploring Y: The Last Man and Saga offers a creative and accessible exploration of the two comic book series, examining themes like nonviolence; issues of gender and war; heroes and moral failures; forgiveness and seeking justice; and the importance of diversity and religious pluralism.

    Through close interdisciplinary reading and personal narratives, the author delves into the complex worlds of Y and Saga in search of an ethics, meaning, and a path resonant with real-world struggles. Reading these works side by side, the analysis draws parallels and seeks common themes around the four central ideas of seeking and making meaning in a meaningless world; love and parenting through oppression and grief; peacefulness when surrounded by violence; and the perils and hopes of diversity and communion.

    This timely and thoughtful study will resonate with scholars and students of comic studies, media and cultural studies, philosophy, theology, literature, psychology, and popular culture studies.

    List of Figures
    Acknowledgements: Joy and Gratitude Amidst Distress

    Introduction: Death, Decay, and Destruction: Only the Beginning

    Part I
    Seeking Meaning in a Meaningless World

    1. Ethics (and Art) After the Plague
    2. Inky Darkness: Ethics Amidst Intergalactic War (and The Narrative)

    Reflection on Part I

    Part II
    Love and Parenting Through Oppression and Grief

    3. Love and Identity: A Numeric and Heroic Journey
    4. (Intergalactic) Fatherhood: Failure and Maternal Hope

    Reflection on Part II

    Part III
    Being Peace but Surrounded by Violence

    5. Blessed Are the Peacemakers: Gender and Violence
    6. On the Perils of Pacifism During War

    Reflection on Part III

    Part IV
    Beyond Diversity and Tolerance: Towards Communion

    7. Post-Religion: Sex, God, Women, Love
    8. Enfolding the Grotesque and the Borderless: A Politics for All

    Reflection on Part IV

    Conclusion: Love in the Throes of Destruction and Despair



    Peter Admirand is Lecturer (Tenured) in Theology, School Research Convenor, and Director of the Centre for Interreligious Dialogue at Dublin City University, Ireland. He also serves as the Co-Chair of the Irish Council of Christians and Jews. His research interests are in the area of interreligious dialogue and the intersection of religion and ethics with literature, media, and popular culture. His books include Seeking Common Ground: A Theist/Atheist Dialogue, co-written with philosopher Andrew Fiala; Humbling Faith: Brokenness, Doubt, Dialogue—What Unites Atheists, Theists, and Nontheists; and Amidst Mass Atrocity and the Rubble of Theology: Searching for a Viable Theodicy. He is also the editor of Loss and Hope: Global, Interreligious, and Interdisciplinary Perspectives.

    “I’m so happy this book exists!”
    Hillary Chute, comics and graphic novels columnist for The New York Times Book Review, Distinguished Professor of English and Art + Design, Northwestern University, USA, and author of the acclaimed Why Comics?

    “What role can art (in this case, comics) play in our troubling time of plague and war? Peter Admirand’s loving, attentive reading of Saga and Y: The Last Man are a powerful demonstration of what religious studies can contribute to helping us to understand the meaningfulness of popular culture, addressing questions such as the value of human expression in the face of an apocalypse and the need for moral choices when the world seems out of whack.”
    Henry Jenkins, author of Comics and Stuff

    “How do we do good surrounded by meaninglessness and the horrors of destruction? Is it possible to ground an ethics on a planet beset by plague, in a universe riven by war? These kinds of questions endure in the history of humanist thought, their importance as unrelenting as their intractability. Stepping into the fray, Admirand works through his readings of the rich imagetexts of Y: The Last Man and Saga in a brave quest to bring meaningful structure to the ethical quandaries of a human condition beset by meaningless and death. This book is vital—in all senses of the word. Reflective, intimate, generous, and unabashed, this book animates these questions with a persistent belief, but not a blind one, in the expansive and fundamental role of love in enabling meaning to flourish in even the darkest corners of the galaxy.”
    Thomas Giddens, Professor in Jurisprudence, University of Dundee, and Editor of Critical Directions in Comics Studies