‘The Unwritten Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity’ review
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
When you are preparing any publication for release, there has to be a certain level of shelf appeal—that element that makes the cover interesting enough to have a reader actually pick it up and buy it. The problem with picking books based off of shelf appeal is that, more often than not, you’ll end up disappointed. The Unwritten is an exception. I picked it up based purely on the fact that it has an interesting cover, and I must say it’s probably one of the best graphic novels I have read all year.
What would you do if you were the real-life Harry Potter? Apparently be hounded by fans, and remain bitter that your novelist father ever based his amazingly popular character, Tommy Taylor the boy-wizard, after you. For regular guy Tom Taylor that has been his life—at least until it’s suddenly revealed that his father’s tales might have been a little less than fictional.
Story-wise, the narrative by Mike Carey is amazing. I even hesitated a bit in writing the synopsis because I was worried I might give something away. Carey’s world blends fiction with reality, creating an interesting and complex comment on the burgeoning genre of meta-fiction while remaining entertaining and easy to read.
Artistically, the book is a little all over the place, but that’s not a bad thing. Illustrated by Peter Gross, The Unwritten is traditional in that it features heavy inks and simple colours. But aesthetically, it also shifts between being highly detailed in more serious or focused moments (as directed by the narrative) and being very simple in more humorous situations. This causes the plot and the illustrations to seem to develop a co-dependence that all graphic novels should strive to achieve.
As for my recommendation: this one is a definite must-read.