>> Tuesday, June 12, 2012
The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity written by Mike Carey with art by Peter Gross
Genre: Fantasy (Graphic Novel)
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2009
The Short Version:
Tom Taylor’s father wrote a successful series of books featuring a character named after his son then disappeared, leaving Tom to try to explain to fans that he is not the character . . . or is he?
Why I Read It:
A recent discussion of graphic novels on Twitter brought this series to my attention. After reading about it online I stopped on the way home that day to pick it up at the library
From the back cover:
Tommy Taylor’s the main character in a series of fantasy novels that have become a cultural phenomenon. Fans gather on websites and at conventions to celebrate his magical stories and hope that his missing creator, Wilson Taylor, will someday resurface to write one last adventure.
But there’s one dangling plot thread: the real Tom Taylor, the son Wilson abandoned. The inspiration for the magical boy wizard, Tom is now worshipped worldwide as a literary legend made flesh.
As Tom’s life begins to take on eerie and deadly parallels with Tommy’s, he’s drawn into a strange literary underworld where the power of storytelling is as strong as any spell.
This volume is actually a compilation of the first 5 issues of the series so each chapter was originally a separate comic. They fit together nicely though and for the most part transition smoothly from one to the next. The final section seems to be an abrupt departure but it doesn’t take long to learn that this is some explanatory history that has direct relevance to the present day troubles of Tom.
This is only my second venture into the world of graphic novels and I appear to once again have picked a winner of a series. I thoroughly enjoyed this and plan of picking up at least the next two in the series at the library very soon. This one ended with multiple cliffhangers that made me wish I had volume 2 in my house when I turned the last page.
The parallels between the Tommy Taylor series of books, movies, merchandise, etc and Harry Potter is clear, but the difference is that with this one, maybe Tommy Taylor really did have special powers. He’s torn between anger at what he sees as abandonment by his father and relying on his famous name to make an income from personal appearances.
When he hears things that make him question his past and whether or not Wilson Taylor really is his father he sets out to learn the truth. I really don’t want to say too much more because it will give away too much.
This reads like a suspense thriller and is definitely for mature audiences both due to language and some pretty violent content. Nevertheless it’s extremely well done both as a story and as artwork. The bits and pieces of literary lore and history are a treat for book lovers. Character names and places that are familiar are mentioned often. At one point the action shifts to Switzerland and the Villa Diodati, where Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein. The literary legends that appear in the final background history section of this volume bring a whole different possibility to literary history as you know it.
I cannot wait to read more of this series and I encourage you to give it a try.