Which brings me to the topic of this post: "The Unwritten", by Mike Carey and Peter Gross which is the best thing in comics I've read in a long long while. I read the first paperback a year ago (or so) and thought it really neat but mostly forgot about it until recently.
This time around I burned through everything available from the series within a few days and fell completely in love with it.
oh, new cut layout! And I actually like it. :)
I think the reason "The Unwritten" got to me so badly is that goes straight to my inner bibliophile who always knew that stories are the most important thing ever.
The plot revolves around Tom Taylor, a 20something guy who has the not so fortunate family history of being basically Harry Potter. His father wrote a rather potterlike series of children's books which have a ginormous worldwide fan community. He named the hero of the piece Tommy Tayor, like his own son. He disappeared mysteriously and we meet Tom making a living by tingling from convention to convention, talking about his father's and posing as Tommy for fotos
Until he gets declared a fraud, a messiah and a murderer in very short succession and has to deal with the fact that he might be far closer related to the hero of his father's books than he had ever thought.
It took me a bit to warm up to the series, mainly because I do not find the characters all that compelling. However the comic makes completely up for that with great storytelling and diving into literary history. The villains of the piece are a secret society, the cabal, that aims to control the world through the body of it's stories, which have a way of forming reality the more people think about them.
The book steps back several time to tell the stories of various authors and their dealings and misgivings with the cabal and I enjoyed it immensely how the little bits and pieces start to form a complex picture. It read like good research, when everything starts to come together.
And as is fit for a story that is basically about storytelling, The Unwritten uses very interesting ways of telling the story. There is for example one issue, detailing the background of one of the main characters, which is written completely like a choose your own adventure book, complete with multiple endings.
I also like that it is so much about derivative storytelling. How one story spawns a whole host inside the people who read it and how they come back again as new works. And also on the other hand how a story can be poisoned by very small changes into something completely different. The Tommy Taylor story becomes a battle ground throughout the books and a metaphor for ideological warfare. If you are interested in any kind of transformative art, you really can't let this one pass by.
Aside from all the great storytelling it's sometimes also mean and funny, like the issues about a guy trapped in "The animals of Farthing Wood" (and other stories similar to that one) as the most vile bunny you have seen.
I've caught up until issue 34 now and can't wait for the next one. Is anyone else reading? Can we discuss? I love the series to pieces at the moment.