Comics: The Unwritten, Vol.1

The Unwritten: Vol 1. Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity

Mike Carey and Peter Gross
Reviewed by Kire Carlson
 
Harry Potter is a chump. J.K. Rowling, despite her fame and billions, managed to patchworks bits of Tolkien and Vertigo’s Books of Magic into a commercial tapestry which covered the world in milquetoast colors of feigned originality. Lost in the stitches of Rolwing’s tale was that of Timothy Hunter; Vertigo’s be-speckled and orphaned world mage. But really, where is the harm in that? 
 
Carey and Gross, both of whom muddled about in Hunter’s universe  either directly or indirectly, have sought to claim what Rowling had stolen from society. Stories with punch. The tale of Unwritten begins as simple satire: Young Tommy Taylor, or Tom as he begs to be called, is the living blueprint of his father’s bestselling fictional character: An aged Christopher Robin or a twenty-sometihng Alice Liddell. The disappearance of the real Tom’s father has the world salivating with questions and accusations. A sudden scandal following TommyCon, divides the legion of fans into those who believe he is a fraud and those who are convinced he is the second coming. What follows is a traversing of the literary world and enough allusions to satisfy any bibliophile. 
 
Carey does what Carey does best. He leaves enough plot holes exposed to keep astute readers curious and willing to sit through anything. Those who followed his Hellblazer run will remember that it took him over a year to resolve many of the extensive an plot issues. Cary is a master storyteller and for those patient enough to follow him, the payoff rarely fails. Gross’ work, although typically inconsistent and seemingly stuck in the 80’s, is still stronger than most Vertigo books and in no way detracts from the overall story. In fact, it dose what the best Vertigo books do, it causes a healthy confusion in the reader as one tries to discern why TommyCon would have other authors featured or a family event would allow slash fiction depicting Tommy tooting his Magic Horn to be prominently displayed. 
 
Ironically, the strongest tale in this TPB is not the Tommy stories but a tale of Rudyard Kipling, Oscar Wilde, and MArk Twain. Carey so convincingly appropriates these authors into his world, that one immediately empathizes with them and, because of this, Carey manages to turn Disney’s vision from a kid friendly sing-a-long-for-profit into an allegorical attack on the powers that be. 
 
Essentially, Unwritten is about possession. It is about who owns the stories we love. It is about the freedom of expressing ideas. It is about owning an identity and the repercussions of such a task. It is the invisible thread which holds together stories and connects the real world’s greatest escape: Stories. 

If you are not already, it is about time you open your mind to the world of literature and read the Unwritten.

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