Written by: Mike Carey
Pencilled by: Peter Gross
Inked by: Peter Gross
Finished by: Peter Gross
Lettered by: Todd Klein
Painted cover by: Yuko Shimizu
Introduction by: Bill Willingham
Layouts by: Peter Gross
Full credit list
Page Count: 144
U.S. Price: 9.99
Published January 12th 2010 by Vertigo
Hailed as “one of the brainiest and most interesting comics of the year” when it was first published, ‘The Unwritten‘, is an epic saga that cleverly uses literature as the background for its narratives. With a lot of similarities from the Harry Potter characters, his book goes totally in the opposite direction of those stories. Yes, it is a fantasy and magical adventure of a man who happens to be the blueprint of a Harry Potteresque fictional character created by the man’s father, but, it does feel like it builds up to something more. The story in itself is a solid piece of storytelling from the author Mike Carey, who is also well known for his critically acclaimed runs on X-Men, Ultimate Fantastic Four and Lucifer.
The ‘Unwritten’ might be the culmination of a lot of research or just plain love for literature and comics. As always Mike’s writing is brilliant and the story moves at such a nice pace that literally will hook you up the moment you read the first page. A lot of things happen but it never feels forced or without a purpose. I like the fact that Tommy’s character does not want to be in the lime light anymore and the events that follow in this book in a way allow him just that, for a while at least. I am also interested in how his literature and geographical knowledge, drilled into him by his father when he was young, will help him in his adventure.
This series promises to be one of those comic book series that help the general audience appreciate comics by giving them a taste of what comics can be all about. The way the visuals are merged with the prose, offer a new experience even for veteran comic book fans. The art, by Peter Gross, is simplistic but detailed in such a way that makes the whole read a very enjoyable read. The fact that after the first read you feel like reading it again, just to make sure you did not miss a thing, is always a plus in my books.
I suggest this comic book series to any reader or bibliophile because it offers more than just a comic book story. It’s references to other literature makes me feel that this whole series is about being able to create real things with words. Simply implying that fiction in itself is as real as we want it to be. In a way, it makes perfect sense to use a magical character to show us that writing is a form of magic, making fiction appear or manifest itself in our reality. This reminds me a lot of Grant Morrison or other comic book writers that have always had a very strong opinion about the nature of fiction and reality, and I think that Mike Carey with this series is trying to continue on that very same message; the power of reading, dreaming, creating and imagining fictional worlds is itself a process that makes them real.
Mike Carey will be a guest at this year’s Malta Comic Con 2013 so make sure to bring your copies of The Unwritten for signings, meet the author himself or maybe catch some insights on the future of the series.