28/40: The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity (by Mike Carey; illustrated by Peter Gross)


The Unwritten

by Mike Carey; illustrated by Peter Gross

Published in 2010 by DC Comics

LAF (Literature-based fantasy + Animal fantasy + Fairytale fantasy) – a term coined by Bill Wallingham (creator of Fables) in the introduction to The Unwritten

WHO: Tommy Taylor, the son of a famous author who wrote a series of books based upon his son, 

WHAT: finds that his fictional life and his “real” life colliding…

WHERE: as he escapes the mob scenes in the U.S  to a Swiss villa…

WHEN: years after his father has disappeared.

WHY: To lay claim to his father’s wealth,…

HOW: did Tommy Taylor kill his father?

+ Mike Carey creates a really cool premise: What if fiction was just another reality, i.e. What happens if the fictional world was actually manifested in tangible ways beyond the pages of a book? What would happen if the fictional world manifested itself in our “real” lives? How intense, how important and how prevalent would those manifestations be? And who knows about it?

– The Unwritten is not a stand-alone. It raises a lot of questions and implies conspiracies, but does not answer or resolve them. Readers need to move onto sequel editions to see how The Unwritten universe and plot develops. So, yeah, a cliffhanger :-/


The art work breaks down into four categories and are rendered by two different artists:

  • The first category is the work of Yuko Shimizu (cover (see above) and sketches laid out on full pages) 

The other three categories are rendered by Peter Gross:

  • The story that Tommy Taylor father created (blue-grey washes and subdued colors (see first sample below))
  • Tommy Taylor’s “real” life (highly saturated colors (see second sample below)) and;
  • The historical flashbacks/expositional set-ups (low saturation colors (not shown here)) 

+ The distinctive colors and fonts clearly separate the action lines and the realities. The general layout of this volume creates  a reading rhythm: issue cover, sketch, fictional story page(s) and then Tommy’s real world depictions. The historical sections cap the storyline.



OTHER: I bought a paperback trade edition of The Unwritten: Tommy taylor and the Bogus Identity (by Mike Carey; illustrated by Peter Gross) from More Fun, a comic book store in Ashland, OR, on Free Comic Book Day (#fcbd2012.)

I receive no monies, goods or services in exchange for reviewing the product and/or mentioning any of the persons or companies that are or may be implied in this post.

I challenged myself to read forty books this summer and made it! Reviews, however, have been slower in coming. I expect that it may take me the rest of September to catch up on that score! 


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