The Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
V. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity (GN F Carey.M Unwr)
As someone who reads both regular books and graphic novels, I often find myself trying to suggest what graphic novel a new reader should start with. This is more difficult than you’d think, given that many of the best titles on the market today depend on a knowledge of comic book history. Plus, there are so many good titles to choose from! However, from now on I am now going to recommend that newcomers start with the absolutely fantastic series Unwritten, by Mike Carey and Peter Gross.
The story starts with Tommy Taylor, grown up now, but when he was a child his father wrote a famous series of books about Tommy’s adventures in the wizarding world (aka, Harry Potter). Tommy’s life stinks. His father disappeared 10 years ago. Tommy has been reduced to shilling at conventions and signing autographs when he is suddenly attacked by a character out of his father’s books. When he’s almost shaken that off, a woman shows up at a convention and informs him that all of his identity paperwork, from when his father disappeared, is fake. Everything he has ever known is at stake. Who is Tommy, really? And why is someone trying to kill him? And why do characters from stories come to life around him?
The graphic novel format really works in “Unwritten”. It adds another dimension to the work to be able to page back through and realize that there’s something going on in the background of a page that adds to the story. The astute reader will cue in on some of the story’s surprises far ahead of the written story if one pays attention to the art.
Fair warning: There is adult language in the Unwritten series. It’s not overused, and definitely fits the characters, but be prepared for the occasional not-kid-safe word.