Hailing from the Vertigo imprint of D.C, today’s comic is The Unwritten. The Vertigo imprint is known for having more mature content. The most well known titles are The Sandman (by Neil Gaiman), Fables, Y the Last Man, Hellblazer (who now jumped ship to regular D.C and is known under the more famous title Constantine), Preacher and Lucifer. See how there are already three tv series of these books; this bodes well for the pedigree. I love Vertigo, because it brings something different to the table and it has a history behind it.
Now back to the book at hand, The Unwritten. This is going to be a bit of a weird review, because it is a comic about books. Mike Carey is the father of The Unwritten. He made a name for himself by writing for Hellblazer and the spinoff of the Sandman, Lucifer. He is a very creative and sometimes a bit word heavy writer, as far as comic book writers go. This book examplifies this.
Who is Tommy Taylor?
Tommy or Tom Taylor is our hero of the story and the story within the story, sort of.
The first volume begins with a rendition of a very Harry Potter-esque wizard boy and his friends as they try to stop an evil count. Sounds familiar right? Here is where it gets interesting. We follow the story of the wizard boy, Tommy Taylor, and then cut back to our reality. Here, we see Tom Taylor, the base of the fictional character, doing a comic con tour talking about his experiences. We find out his father disappeared and nobody knows where he is. Tom Taylor now sets out to find out what happened to his father.
As a bit of backstory: Mike Carey, the writer of Unwritten, based the character of Tom Taylor on the real life Christopher Milne, who in turn was made into a character (Christopher Robin) in the Winnie the Pooh series. He felt exploited as a kid and Carey took this as inspiration and ran with it.
Why you should read The Unwritten
As the story unfolds in the first volume, we get some background but most of all, the dialogues hold a lot of literary references . What follows is a wonderful and mysterious book that blurs the line between the reality of Tom Taylor and the fictional world of Tommy Taylor. And that’s where I will keep it as far as plot is concerned. Surely you’ll enjoy this wonderful story more as a reader of the comic, instead of as an audience member to my synopsis.
This book took me a while to get into, because of Carey’s way of writing. As I said, it can be very word heavy, something you may not be prepared for when you start reading a new comic book series, but in the end he has won me over. It’s a smart book with some winks and nods here and there. The art is different, but compelling, and the narrative likes to switch between wriiten pages, dialogues, news broadcasts, websites and so on to keep immersing you in the world of Tom Taylor. It can be challenging, but rise up to it. You might find something very magical.