Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Presuming On His Senses! The Unwritten #1

It's commonly known that when AA Milne conceived the Winnie the Pooh stories he based the likeness of Christopher Robin on his son Christopher Robin Milne. What may be less known is how much of a burden this was to the younger Milne.

In Unwritten, Mike Carey and Peter Gross mix this with one of the most popular fictional character of recent times: Harry Potter. Tommy Taylor is the source inspiration of the lead character in his fathers popular magical novels. His missing father's novels that is, as he mysteriously vanished after completing the final installment. In his father's absence, Tommy attends the book signings and publicity rounds for the movie adaptation. It's at one of these conventions that a young woman challenges him with evidence she has uncovered that his past has been forged. This is as much of a shock to Tommy as anyone else and it is at this point reality begins to crumble.

Using the Harry Potter franchise doesn't just function as a convenient template. The fact that it's all about magic is important as Carey is looking to explore the blurred lines between fact and fiction sparing a couple of panels to remind us of how authors draw on real locations which anchor their stories to real life. When the masses turn against Tommy, it's amusing to see a wild Alan Moore-looking character pop up with a strong opinion of events based on the belief of magic which, by the end of the comic is taken as a voice of reason.

Peter Gross' art may be a little too simple and functional at times but the storytelling is always clear and an utterly engaging story it is too. Trust me, Brian K. Vaughan is a fan. Plus, Vertigo have extended their first volume cheaper policy on graphic novels to their comics as issue one is only 70p - well worth a punt.

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