Comic books 17 May 2009 02:20 pm
Since the end of Vertigo’s Y: The Last Man, I’ve been casting around for a series to replace it in my monthly comics reading, without much luck. That search may be over with the advent of The Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross.
The first issue, released last week, sets up an intriguing premise: Tom Taylor is the adult son of fantasy writer Wilson Taylor, whose most famous creation, Tommy Taylor the boy wizard, has overshadowed the real Tom. Following the disappearance of the elder Taylor, Tom finds he cannot touch his father’s fortune. Instead, he’s forced to ride the coattails of the Tommy Taylor craze, signing autographs for fans on the convention circuit and answering endless questions about his father’s publishing legacy. Until the public begins to question whether he is REALLY Wilson Taylor’s son — or a glory-chasing fraud. Or worse, the living embodiment of the fictional Tommy.
It’s a neat premise, and Carey and Gross have real fun with it in the premiere issue. I thought the fickle public was a little too fickle here, turning so quickly on Tom when the possibility of his being an impostor was circulated. But anybody who has seen the mania surrounding Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling — on whom the Tommy Taylor craze is patterned — knows that fantasy fans (and by extension, comic book fans) can be very possessive of their fictional obsessions. So why not?
Vertigo did a terrific job of promoting the title. The first issue was released for a paltry $1, making its 40 pages the best value of the week in comic-book parlance. I really like the magic at work here, and the hints that there is far more to Tom Taylor’s world than first meets the eye. A promising premiere; I’m looking forward to more.