Comic Book Recommendation: The Unwritten
The Unwritten is an on-going comic series written by Mike Carey, art by Peter Gross. It’s published by Vertigo. The series began October 2009. If you have any interest in literature, the fantastical side of it, the historical side of it, this is your series.
Tom Taylor is the son of renowned author Wilson Taylor, who disappeared at the height of his career. Wilson Taylor’s books was a series with character Tom Taylor, who is similar to another boy wizard. Wilson used Tom’s likeness in his books, Tom grew up remorseful (this part inspired by Christopher Milne, whose father wrote Winnie the Pooh). Tom makes his money by making convention appearances. During one of these appearances, what appears to be an overexcited fan dressed up as the villain of the series threatens Tom.
Intrigues ensue, Tom meets Lizzie Hexam and Richard Savoy (other characters of the series, possibly) and Tom discovers the Tommy Taylor’s series may not be all fiction. He discovers a magic doorknob at the last place his father was last seen that allows him to travel through various books, Moby Dick, even meeting a fictional version of Joseph Goebbels (a Nazi officer close to Hitler). Tom runs with Lizzie and Richard through books trying to escape the book nemesis and a mysterious figure out to destroy him and his legacy, at whatever the cost. This is not the first time the mysterious figure has gone after an author. It’s happened before and is detailed in letters within the series.
The art is thorough. The coloring provides a difference in era, depending on the time, the colors reflect it. Faces do have different expressions, and characters are drawn different enough to not confuse them.
There are literary tidbits throughout the series. The comic includes short stories about other fairy tales, and how those worlds may not all be rainbows and sunshine. Yes, the series itself is similar to another well-known magical world, but Carey offers a new way to look at stories, the characters, and the writers behind them.