Originally published by ReviewFix.
Peter Carey’s Unwritten is like candy for over-read English majors & pop-culture enthusiasts.
What started out as a story about Tommy Taylor, a man with daddy issues whose father’s hugely popular Harry Potter-esque children’s books seemed based on him, moves to a fun exploration on the effects of literature in society. It often guests stars such characters as Frankenstein, Elizabeth Bennet and even Kipling.
With all its literary references and meta-analysis, it is hard not to compare it to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman or Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It will stand out on its own in the coming years partly because of how it incorporates contemporary culture like mock spreads of online newsfeeds and its ingenious use of one-off issues.
Those standalone issues both times help move the main plot forward while playing with other styles of writing and genres by crossbreeding them with comic-book forms and conventions.
One issue for example had the omniscient narrator of a Winnie-the-Pooh-esque story completely disregarding its cuddly-character’s pottymouth screams to the point of torture. Job had better luck with God.
The best one still is a Choose Your Own Adventure style comic that helps tell the background story and display the fragile psyche of an important character.
Of late, the main plot has lost its initial momentum and there will bee times that you’ll be completely at a lost of where the series was going. You may even lose interest. But every time that happens the issues to follow can pull you back in.