August 27th, 2009

Writer: Mike Carey
Illustrator: Peter Gross
Genre: Fantasy, Thriller
Publisher: Vertigo (DC Comics)

Cover of The Unwritten #1Tommy Taylor saving the day.
Tom signing his dad's books at Tommy-Con; getting hassled by douchebags at Tommy-Con.Ha ha, okay crazy person. Just don't try to kidnap me and blow me up inside the Globe Theatre.

Wilson Taylor has fathered two people in his life: Tommy Taylor, the boy wizard protagonist of his popular series of fantasy novels, and Tom Taylor, his flesh-and-blood son upon whom his books’ protagonist is based. Thirteen books and a despondent son later, Wilson Taylor disappeared.

The Unwritten’s story begins over ten years later; Wilson’s son Tom is now a grown man and has become a minor celebrity. Tom has made a living by running the Tommy Taylor convention circuit under the guidance of Rupert Swoop, his father’s former manager. Although being paid to smile, sign his name, and answer some questions may sound like he’s living on easy street, Tom feels like a sellout. His absentee father and the fame he never asked for are objects of regret and resentment; living in Tommy Taylor’s shadow has robbed him of an identity. Then there’s the ravenous fans, conspiracy websites, and attempts at his life by stalkers dressed as villains from the Tommy Taylor books. It’s all become too much for him to handle now that his legal identity has fallen under scrutiny. With the seed of doubt planted, Tom has begun to reconsider everything he thought he knew about himself, about Tommy Taylor, and above all, about his father Wilson. These doubts, coupled with a cryptic trail of literary breadcrumbs left by his father, incite Tom to embark on a personal quest for truth. But the truth may be better left unknown, for each nugget Tom uncovers further obfuscates his perception of what is reality and what is fiction.

I mean to compliment Peter Gross’ ability as an artist when I say that I don’t notice his art. Likewise, I don’t notice Mike Carey’s script, and this is to be commended as well. Their work, as a whole, is exceptional; Carey and Gross have coalesced their crafts to achieve what I believe all comic creators aspire to: storytelling harmony.