Tag Archives: the unwritten

The Unwritten – an @ArvD recommendation #comic genius


I’ve just finished reading the first three graphic novels in the Unwritten compendium. The series is the latest output of genius British comic book writer, Mike Carey, whose Lucifer and Constantine comics series are favourites of mine, and whose Felix Castor novel series is one of the only bits of dark urban fantasy I’ve read (and loved).

The Unwritten follows Tom Taylor, son of a writer whose works span 13 novels of children-friendly-fantasy starring a ‘Tommy Taylor. The stories are reminiscent of a hybrid version of Philip Pullman’s ‘Dark Materials’ stories and JK Rowling’s Harry Potter. Mike – at the point I’m at – hasn’t revealed enough of what’s going on for us to fully understand the scope of his universe, but the underpinning premise is – our stories define our culture, and become real. In Carey’s universe, literally so, but the metaphor is a fascinating one.

I’m not going to write too much as its almost impossible to tell too much of this story without giving away spoilers. The essence of the story is one of Tom’s journey of self-discovery as he comes to understand his father’s role in defining the culture of an era in a psycho-cultural battle against a shadowy cabal of evil storytellers and manipulators of history.

I will tell you it is an absolutely spectacular bit of storytelling. Carey’s pacing, characterisation and careful and rigorous creation of story structure makes every story in the series an absolute delight. I hope he’s slightly more cheery in real life, though, as despite the occasional, well-executed bit of humour – these books are bleak. Hint of silver lining to be sure, but a lot of cloudy sky.

Disclaimer: I’ve not met him or have any particular bias to say that he’s awesome, so I can assure you these views are my own, but my brother is working with Mike on a movie. Don’t think I can say more than that for now…