Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Unwritten TPB 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity

Stunning. This thing is just stunning. Mike Carey packs this story full of familiar things, but mixes it up in a way that is simply brilliant. He actually has a character cut the phone cord on an non-functioning phone out of respect for "genre conventions."

Tommy Taylor is basically Harry Potter, if he was real. It's a lot more complicated than that, though. As you work through this first trade, there are doubts if he even existed, if he's an Eastern European kidnap victim, or if he really is a character come to life. Carey packs the pages with biting commentary on stories, mostly horror stories, but he's weaving a fascinating tale on his own.

Tommy's father, the author of the original 13 (or 14) Tommy Taylor novels, taught him literary geography. Somehow, the places where great works of fiction were created maintain some sort of power or meaning. Tommy has these places memorized, and that, along with whatever else his father taught him, makes him dangerous to a group of immortal manipulators. Just as things are getting really interesting, Carey veers off and gives us a whole issue dealing with Rudyard Kipling and his encounters with these shadowy villains. This is going to be a sprawling story. I can't wait to keep reading.
Peter Gross handles the art, and it sings. He has to switch constantly between styles, children's stories, classic literature, and fables. The thing is, those styles are written, not drawn, so his ability to channel the right "feel" of those literary styles through comic book art is tremendous.
Read the first issue of this series. I guarantee it will hook you.

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