AT FIRST GLANCE, it looks like a Harry Potter parody: New comic series The Unwritten opens with a boy wizard and his two friends fighting a supernatural enemy. But a familiar boy wizard is only the first of many literary allusions to grace the pages of The Unwritten, an audacious new comic series that deftly juggles genre conventions, literary theory, and, yes, even a few Harry Potter references.
Tom Taylor is a young man who, as a child, served as inspiration for a series of beloved kids' books written by his father. His true identity is thrown into question, though, when characters from the books begin appearing in his life; it's eventually revealed that a mysterious cabal has been influencing the world's storytellers for hundreds of years, shaping humanity's fate by controlling the stories they tell.
The Unwritten is a total package: Peter Gross' art is versatile and atmospheric, and Mike Carey's writing manages to turn a theoretical exploration of the importance of narrative into genuinely compelling storytelling. A trade paperback collecting issues #1-5, Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity, hit bookstores last week. And as for future Unwritten issues? "We have a real yen to do Superman," Carey told me. "In due course we will go to Dan DiDio [editor in chief of DC Comics], cap in hand and say, 'Can we borrow your biggest icon, please? We'll give him back!'"