Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Best Comic I Have Ever Been Paid To Endorse

The Unwritten #3, by Mike Carey and Peter Gross

This is the one about this fellow Tom Taylor whose father wrote children's fantasy books about Tommy Taylor, a highly fictionalised version of him (making him like Peter Llewellyn Davies or Alice Liddell or whatever Christopher Robin's real name was). His father has subsequently disappeared, but the son is still milking the connection (making him like Christopher Tolkien or Norbert Herbert). But now the protagonist has started to discover that maybe he is not really his father's son, while in an unlikely sequence of events various nutters have started thinking that he is actually the character in the books written by his father.

In this episode Mr Taylor finds himself in that villa in Switzerland where Mary Shelley had the idea for Frankenstein (and Milton apparently did work on Paradise Lost in a previous century). He had lived there with his father, before the latter went AWOL, and now some kind of conference for shitey horror writers is taking place. Taylor casts his mind back to the night his father disappeared, you know the score.

But, you ask, is this any good? Well, at this stage I say, yes, it is any good. There is an oddness to the story that is not showing any immediate sign of being resolved in an obvious manner. In narrative terms, though, I wonder if this title will find it difficult to keep going into the longer term. Sooner or later there will have to be some kind of big reveal about Tom Taylor's real past and his relationship with the various odd people – some of them plainly supernatural – who are floating around him. I am not sure the title will work if it endlessly delays that revelation, yet it will struggle to retain any narrative point once the character's background is known. Still, for the moment I am happy to hang on and see how this goes.

As an aside, one irritating thing about Vertigo titles is the way every one these days seems to feature some over the top endorsement (of the "best comic I've read in my puff" variety) from some other comics creator. This one has Ed Brubaker talking about how it "perfectly captures the zeitgeist of our times", whatever that means. And The Unwritten itself contains a preview of some new Hellblazer graphic novel, written by well known writer of real books Ian Rankin. It is the best thing that some other "will endorse for food" types have seen in ages, and it seems also to capture the zeitgeist of our times by being about reality television. The art is engaging but I think I may well give this one a miss.

1 comment:

accentmonkey said...

This blog post will blow your mind. Really, if you don't love it, then you must be DEAD.