Comics: The Unwritten, reviewed by Tim Hershey!

The Unwritten vol. 1, Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity, by Mike Carey and Peter Gross, DC/Vertigo

The Unwritten is a series in the “genre”  of Fables: literature climbing into the “real” world. However, The Unwritten takes a slightly different path than Fables, which keeps it different enough to be interesting. Since I enjoy Fables, and, since Bill Willingham provided the Introduction, I figured I would try it. Tom Taylor is the son of a famous author who wrote several books “starring”  Tom. The character of “Tommy Taylor”, in the books, is much like Harry Potter, but Tom wants to live his own life, even though the fanaticism about the books is his only source of income. Life changes, though, when it becomes important to ask if “Tommy’s” life is just fiction, or if Tom is truly part of the magical world described in his father’s books. The first 4 issues introduce Tom and his possibly changing life, while the fifth issue gives a glimpse into the “mythology” of the series.

I’ve read Mike Carey’s X-Men stuff, but I was underwhelmed with it. This is my first book of his from Vertigo, for which he is much better known, and I hoped that reading something without super-heroes might give me a better glimpse into his work. I enjoyed the opening issue, and its tongue-in-cheek look at fandom and the convention world. Fans can be freaky, and Carey did an excellent job of showing that as a big part of Tom’s life. As it turns out, Tom’s only “skill” in life is knowing where and when different literary works were created, a gift that his father gave him before he disappeared. We’re slowly given hints that reality may not be what Tom perceives, and that the adventures of “Tommy” may be more important that he guessed, and that his “literary knowledge” might be something more. Carey does a good job of leaving a trail of crumbs that are going to be very important. I just don’t know what they lead to, yet. Though, I think the last issue (the mythology issue) gives a huge look into what might be going on. Not a bad read, and I officially want to know “what the deal is” with Tom and “Tommy”.

This is only the second book of Peter Gross’  that I’ve read, the first being Chosen (with Mark Millar). Gross and Carey have worked together, a lot, so I figured this is probably exactly what they want The Unwritten to look like. In truth, I barely remember how Chosen looked, so I came into The Unwritten’s art without much prior thought. I think I’m a little disappointed. It’s not a problem with storytelling, as I didn’t notice any glaring issues. I think his art isn’t bad, but I think I want a little more weight from him. The style isn’t bad, but it’s light. I actually like the “Tommy Taylor” adventure style better than his “real world” style. He goes a little lighter, for the fantasy world, and it looks right. But, I think he might do better with a little more difference between the looks. The two worlds can’t be confused, because of how the fantasy world is featured, so it’s not a mechanical problem for the book. I just think it might look better with a greater divide between the two worlds. Of course, considering that the story is hinting of a connection between the world of fantasy and the real world, perhaps this is an important part of the storytelling…

I fully intend to pick up the next volume in this series. I want to know what happens next for Tom, but I think I want to know more from the “literary past” (hinted at in the fifth issue), even more!

Posted in : Comics
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment to “Comics: The Unwritten, reviewed by Tim Hershey!”

Add Comments (+)

  1. JD (Host) says:

    Nice! Speaking of Introductions, I was in a Barnes & Noble YEARS ago, and came across a graphic novel that had a pull-quote from the inside introduction by Kevin Smith that said something like “Better than going to the movies”. That happened to be PREACHER, so I feel ya on picking something up just because of the intro author.

    I gave the first issue of this a try, but didn’t bother picking up any other issues, though after your review, I’ll give it a read!

Leave a Reply