If you haven’t started reading Unwritten yet, please do so at your soonest convenience. It’s a meta-fantasy in the mold of Fables, focusing on the role that stories play in our lives and culture. The protagonist, Tommy Taylor, is the adult son of an author who penned a series of children’s books similar in scope and fame to Harry Potter. Tommy’s father disappeared under mysterious circumstances and left his son a problematic legacy.
Though Unwritten is about authors, writing and the power of stories it is far from navel-gazing postmodernism. The very format of the page asks us to consider how much we value information based upon the source of that information. Carey and Gross avoid clunky exposition and give us information about characters with screenshots of Tommy Taylor fan group chat rooms, articles posted to online gossip sites, press releases from Tommy’s agent and even Q & As with a Dr. Laura-esque psychiatrist claiming that reading fantasy is dangerous to young minds. You may not mean to, but as you see these bits of information and where they come from, you bring your biases to the page. Do you believe the information in the New York Times article or do you believe the conflicting report from the fan group? Whatever you believe, it shapes your expectation of where the story will go. This presents the reader with exactly the same problem as Tommy Taylor when he finds that there is more than one story about his birth. Carey and Gross pull off a dozen other brilliant parallels between Tommy’s story and the reader’s experience, all while giving us plenty of action and lush drawings.
Seriously, go read Unwritten!