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Review Group Week 170 - The Unwritten #1

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Fisty McDigger

Postby Timbales » Fri May 15, 2009 8:48 am

My review:

Art - Solid line work and great style. I liked the use of more muted colors.

Story - In a nut shell, I want to see where this is going. It drew me in, even though I've never read the types of books that inspired it. Is he real? was he brainwashed? Is there some kind of conspiracy? I want to know.

Things I didn't like - It didn't seem British enough. The fact it was set in England and the characters were British wasn't immediate to me. I think it was the dialog.

I give it an 8.
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Eric Ratcliffe

Staff Writer

Postby Eric Ratcliffe » Fri May 15, 2009 5:48 pm

Guess I should post my review huh?

When I read this last night I sat quitely for a few minutes trying to determine what I just read, then it clicked. The best way to describe this book in my mind is Galaxy quest for Harry Potter fans. Or it even feels like Dr. Venture where the character had these absurd adventures as a kid and has to deal with trying to live a normal adult life. The over all mystery to piecing the puzzle pieces together is great.

I really enjoyed our two main characters here as well as the agent who doesn't seem to be as trustworthy as what his poor client thinks of him. I loved Mike playing with the harry potter parody to the full extent and honestly it will be interesting to see where things go next.

Hell for a dollar this is definitely worth it.

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Eric Ratcliffe

Staff Writer

Postby Eric Ratcliffe » Fri May 15, 2009 5:57 pm

Timberoo wrote:Things I didn't like - It didn't seem British enough. The fact it was set in England and the characters were British wasn't immediate to me. I think it was the dialog.

You weren't the only one who noticed that, the characters seemed a little too much american for a supposedly british cast.
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Staff Writer

Postby Punchy » Fri May 15, 2009 6:00 pm

You know, British dialect isn't that much removed from America, just because it wasn't over the top, 'cor blimey luvver duck' doesn't mean it wasn't true to life.

Mike Carey is English, lives in London, I think he knows what's a realistic modern British speech-pattern is better than you Americans do! :)
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Review Grouper

Postby Daringd » Fri May 15, 2009 8:07 pm

Unwritten #1: Carey/Gross Vertigo $1.00
I’m cheap I only check it out due to the $1 price tag. Now I have a new series on my sub. Everything worked, the concept was amazing and the art was solid. Plus 40 pages for a buck is unbeatable. The series I hope will continue to be as complex and intense as this first issue. In fact it reminds me of Y the last man a bit. Time will tell of course, but for now I’m on board.
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Eric Ratcliffe

Staff Writer

Postby Eric Ratcliffe » Fri May 15, 2009 9:13 pm

Punchy wrote:You know, British dialect isn't that much removed from America, just because it wasn't over the top, 'cor blimey luvver duck' doesn't mean it wasn't true to life.

Mike Carey is English, lives in London, I think he knows what's a realistic modern British speech-pattern is better than you Americans do! :)

it just felt american to me over all. stuff like hellblazer feels british, this didn't lol
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Wrasslin' Fan

Postby The_Phenomenal_Sage » Fri May 15, 2009 11:20 pm

yah know I went to the comicshop today and realized I had no clue what this weeks book was.

obviously this was amlahs fault, for forcing me to now have to make a second trip. :x
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Review Grouper

Postby 48THRiLLS » Sat May 16, 2009 12:24 am

I was gonna go Cap 50 but I'll let someone choose Cap 600, so...
Next weeks book:

<img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
The first-ever spin-off mini-series from Dynamite and The Boys is coming your way in May - get ready for your first-ever Herogasm

Exploding from the pages of The Boys, Herogasm features the pairing of Garth Ennis with Hitman artist John McCrea and covers by Boys artist and co-creator Darick Robertson!

An evil so profound it threatens all mankind… the mightiest heroes on the planet uniting to defend us all… a secret crisis of such utter finality that a countdown to civil or infinite war seems unavoidable… but have you ever wondered what really happens during Crossovers? The Seven, Payback, Teenage Kix, Fantastico and every other supe on Earth team up for an annual event like no other… and where the supes go, can a certain five complications and a dog be far behind? Vought-American prepare to make their move, in a story that will change the world of the Boys forever: Herogasm #1.
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Outhouse Editor

Postby SuperginraiX » Sat May 16, 2009 6:27 am

I was pretty excited to get this comic but, as always happens, my shop didn't have it. I know. I was surprised too. They might have gotten a copy or two and sold 'em before I got there but I didn't even see a spot for it. :?
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Outhouse Editor

Postby thefourthman » Sat May 16, 2009 10:25 am

HErogasm, awesome!!!

I will be writing my review of Unwritten tonight. I imagine it will be live MOnday, will link then. Will score after I have written.

For those who want more info on the book...
our Illustrious E-I-C interviewed Mr. Carey and Mr. Gross .... ... nd-fiction

and Mike Carey gives an inside glimpse on the book: ... nwritten-1
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Outhouse Editor

Postby Starlord » Sun May 17, 2009 3:02 am

The Unwritten #1

This book club has been getting some real winners of choices lately, and this is no exception. With a "wish I'd thought of it premise" (thank you for that Mr. Vaughan), I was completely sucked in within the first three pages. A beautiful cover and art that is just as mesmerizing as the story.

I really dig the Potter comparisons as well and also agree that this story could go in several directions at this point. If the writing stays this strong, even the most obvious direction will be entertaining for me.

My problem with this is that I have always bought my Vertigo's in trade, so now I'm trying to decide if I can wait that long for the first one to come out, after reading such an exceptionally well done first issue. The answer... NO! It's on my list. I'm sold.

Story: 9
Art: 9
My Score: 9
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Regular-Sized Poster

Postby guitarsmashley » Sun May 17, 2009 3:32 am

welcome to the monthly vertigo club. You too will learn the pleasure of your favorite title getting free reign of a full story or the soul crushing agony of having your favorite title be under read and critically acclaimed only to have it canceled and have the writer cut his/her story short by say...20-40 issues.
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Staff Writer

Postby Punchy » Sun May 17, 2009 7:08 am

The Unwritten #1 - 'Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity' - Carey and Gross

Story - Books, in many ways Comics shouldn't like books, they are our bigger, more successful, more athletic brother, gaining the mainstream respect our own little niche medium. But for some reason, many comics have played with famous literary creations and have shown a large deference to the medium. Whether it be Warren Ellis exploring the pulps in Planetary, or Alan Moore making them fuck eachother like rabbits in Lost Girls, there is a rich history of comics playing with Books in ways that they themselves cannot, The Unwritten looks to be the next great step in Comics about Books, and it really is a great step, hugely enjoyable and choc-full of interesting ideas, this 40-page opener was one of the best debut issues I have read in a while.

The basic conceit is that a Harry Potter-esque boy Wizard was based on a real person, the son of the author, much like Christopher Robin in Winnie The Pooh. That alone would be enough for an interesting story, the contrast between the boy in the stories, and the man in the real world, and Carey seems to have particular fun showing the fiction, and then the fact. But there's more. There's a conspiracy even! Is Tom Taylor actually Tommy Taylor, crossing the boundaries and into real life? Or is he just a publicity stunt, bought by his father to sell more books? These are very powerful hooks, and at the moment I'm definitely leaning towards the more supernatural side of things.

But all this hokum wouldn't mean much if we didn't have interesting characters and situations to base it on. The central figure of Tom(my) Taylor is a strong one, we get to see multiple sides of him, his anger at his father for leaving him, his confusion about all the fuss, and even some of his arrogance. I also liked his knowledge of literary geography, it's something I'm also pretty interested in, when I was in London recently, my Mother showed me Poirot's house, and I have seen 22-1B Baker Street a couple of times. Not only were these bits educational, but I think they are a big clue for the future, I think Tom is going to cross back over into the world of Literature, like that Macauley Culkin film (Pagemaster? I think that was it, with Doc Brown), and this knowledge will be a big help. We also have Tom's sleazy agent, who may be a bit of a cliche, but he certainly knows something we don't. And there's Lizzie Hexam, the woman who opened the lid on this stuff, or is she actually Sue Sparrow? The Hermione to Tom's Harry. It certainly seems so, with her constructing a real-life 'Boy Who Lived' scenario at the end (and maybe giving him a real-life wheel tattoo? I think so). I wonder what became of Peter Price, the Ron Weasley of the group? And of course, the mysterious villains at the end, who are they? What do they want? Strong mysteries, and very well constructed. I also liked how Carey didn't shy away from Potter comparisons, he tackled it head on, and that was good, nothing worse than a cowardly homage.

But there's more here than just characters and situations, The Unwritten does some interesting things with the comics format too, using a full page for a web-page report, and the online IM chats, which were certainly more on the nose than I'd expect a comic to be, 'Tom T is made of fail' and 'I call for moar!' all actual online language, and it really works. The lettering is also used in interesting ways, from the different fonts in the storybook world, the way that whenever 'Tommy Taylor' is mentioned it's in blue, and the mysterious villain at the end, speaking in Times New Roman. It's the kind of thing only comics could do with this concept, and it makes the book stand out, so a big up to Todd Klein, letterer extraordinaire.

The Unwritten #1 is a very good comic, it has a new take on the worlds of fiction, strong characters, and plays with the medium in fun ways. Plus, it was only $1 (75p for me) for 40 pages! This was a dense tome of a comic, and although the rest of the issues will be standard sized, I imagine Carey and Gross have many more thrills ahead of us. Highly recommended.

Art - Peter Gross is an underrated artist, this is probably because he doesn't really work on Superhero comics, but his art would not be suited for that, but here, it's perfect. I first came across his work when he did Chosen with Mark Millar, and I think this is a step up from there, maybe it's the colours by Chris Chuckry, which were brighter than Chosen, but this really popped. I especially liked that there was a slight shift in style from the story worlds, to the real worlds, and also the movies. And the transformation of Ambrosio (the Voldemort analogue) is particularly good, when we first see him he looks like a crazy, like someone we'd see at a convention really! But the way his appearance shifts... it's scary, yet it remains recognisably the same guy... until he is blown up. Good stuff, I can't wait for more of Gross, both here and in the sequel to Chosen.

Best Line - 'Stories are the only thing worth dying for!' That kind of sums up what the book is all about at this point to me, it's about the importance of stories in the world, that whole page of Ambrosio rant seemed to me to be of particular importance.


Herogasm next week? Should be good fun, The Boys is an excellent book, and some of the best stuff is showing how the supes are total sleazebag fuck-ups, and this is a focus on them! It's going to be ugly.
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Outhouse Editor

Postby thefourthman » Sun May 17, 2009 5:46 pm

Part Da Vinci Code, part Sandman, part Harry Potter, and part Moonlighting, Carey and Gross weave a powerful spell on the reader. This is a fascinating story with two very interesting characters introduced, the child star grown up and Ms. Hexam, the enquiring student. The way that their paths cross repeatedly is compelling and points to a tried and true relationship story that will blossom with time. The underlying conspiracy that begins to unravel in this issue is also intriguing.

Beyond all the story devices are the details that Carey puts in the story. We get to watch Tom live in a world of almost celebrity in a convention like setting. This is a setting in which most comic readers will find some comfort. The long lines, signing sessions, panels and costumed attendees are a kind of home away from home. Again, he is playing on the reader’s existing knowledge base. Like Willingham’s work in Fables, Carey is easing a new story out of pre-existing concepts. The familiar allows the reader to engross themselves quicker, less exposition time is needed and the story can get some momentum early on

rest of the review here: ... nwritten-1

score 9
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KING King Impulse

Teenage Wasteland

Postby KING King Impulse » Sun May 17, 2009 5:50 pm

What Punchy said


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