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Unwritten Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity Paperback – January 12, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
A taut thriller that slyly plays off the real-world mania for imaginary ones like that of Harry Potter, Carey's new series undercuts the mythology of such all-pervasive media-hyped creations while at the same time hinting at a brilliantly imagined one of its own. Tom Taylor is the son of Wilson Taylor and the unwilling namesake of the protagonist in his dad's wildly popular 13-book fantasy series. The Tommy Taylor cottage industry of movies, video games, and geek-ridden conventions is given an extra dash of drama by Wilson's having mysteriously disappeared years before, leaving a cynical Tom (who inherited none of his millions) to eke out a grubby living at paid appearances. Carey's story (solidly illustrated by Gross) picks up speed fast when Tom realizes some elements of Wilson's stories might not be made up. By the time the first story is done, Carey has not only created a brisk and addictive story, sketched with crafty allusions to classic literature, but also neatly subverted the celebrity-worship manias of fantasy fandom and questioned the very nature of storytelling itself. (Jan.)
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Tom Taylor makes a respectable celebrity living as the presumed former model for the boy hero of his father Wilson’s 13 fantasy novels, which enjoy a Harry Potterish fandom. He’d as soon not be so identified with the character, though, especially when fans insist he must still possess his fictional doppelgänger’s magic. When it’s announced that he isn’t Wilson Taylor’s biological child, after all, any relief he might get is complicated by having to dodge lynch mobs of former worshipers. Then, when he survives, unscathed, a would-be murder-by-bomb, the tables of his public identity resume their original setting. So he absconds to the Villa Diodati in Switzerland, where Mary Shelley dreamed up Frankenstein and he lived until his father’s disappearance when Tom was 12. Thereafter, things get very interesting, indeed. Appending an explanatory flashback featuring Rudyard Kipling, scripter Carey and artist Gross confidently launch The Unwritten with a first arc that boasts the most breathtaking gut-punch ending since that of The Fugue (2008), the dumbfounding first arc of Michael Alan Nelson’s unpredictable Fall of Cthulhu. --Ray Olson
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Top Customer Reviews
Our protagonist is Tom Taylor, the now-adult son of the famous author Wilson Taylor; much like A. A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin, Wilson integrated his son into his writing, making him the hero of a thirteen-volume fantasy series that (the series helpfully tells us) is popular enough to make Harry Potter look like, ah, I guess the hero of "Eragon" by comparison. The now-adult Tom makes a living at fan conventions and the like, while his father vanished without a trace years before. At least, that's what Tom believes. But after an encounter with a mysterious woman inquiring into his past, the question of exactly what Tom is comes to the fore. This kicks off a strange and as-yet-largely-unexplained journey into conspiracy and metafiction.
In comparison to past Vertigo series, one can very easily see many similarities with "The Sandman", which was also very much concerned with the nature of story and the interactions between fiction and reality. Carey's writing demonstrates quite a wide range of literary influences, with the core of the series being quite obviously based on Harry Potter, the defining literary product of the first decade of the 21st century. But perhaps the most impressive work comes in issue five, a standalone story focused on Rudyard Kipling, the great imperial poet, where Carey manages to reinterpret Kipling's entire literary output and personal life in the context of the series' ongoing plot. It's quite a bravura piece of writing. Peter Gross, the artist, does a terrific job rendering the world of Tom Taylor, and he doesn't miss a beat in the skips between different storytelling styles.
An interesting, if still somewhat inscrutable, start to a new property at Vertigo.
This marvelous series is still in its early stages and is going to be with us for a while. If you haven't started reading this, you need to. It is going to be another great series in the best Vertigo tradition.
This is actually the first comic book (excuse me if I'm using the wrong lingo) that specifically called to me. I can't put my finger on why, and even now, just flipping through, I can't figure out what attracted me to it. Maybe the title? Something 'unwritten?' Does that mean it has not yet been written? Or words are being undone? It intrigued me.
Now that I've read it, I'm hooked. I love the way the author has brought in literature, the authors that we've all had to read for school. I love the literary GPS stuff. I love the historical background. All of it makes for very good reading, and I'm very impressed.
I've just gotten Volume 2. And I can't wait to read it!