Pick of the Week – April 21-27, 2014

What if Harry Potter was a real person?  I don’t mean that there is a real wizarding world and Hogwarts and all of that.  I mean, what if JK Rowling knew a boy named Harry Potter and decided to write a series of books using him as the main character?

That’s the basic set-up of my pick for this week, The Unwritten, the comic book series written by Mike Carey and drawn by Peter Gross.  The series follows Tom Taylor, the son of Wilson Taylor.  When Tom was young, Wilson used him as the model for the hero in a series of wildly-successful fantasy novels.  Ever since then, Tom has lived in the shadow of his fictional counterpart.

With his father gone (and presumed dead), Tom is making the best of it appearing at conventions and making other public appearances.  A series of events soon has Tom questioning his origins and fearing for his life.

At its core, The Unwritten is about the power of stories and what those stories mean to the people who read them.  It’s both exciting and literate (not that the two have to be mutually-exclusive), and the artwork is gorgeous.  The series also takes full advantage of the comic book medium.  One issue is written as a “Choose Your Own Adventure,” directing readers to pages throughout the book based on their choices. 

The Unwritten is published under DC Comics’ Vertigo  imprint, which means it is for mature readers.  They aren’t kidding.  The first 49 issues have been collected as a series of eight trade paperbacks with a ninth coming in July 2014.  There is also a standalone graphic novel, The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Ship that Sank Twice.

-Alan Decker

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