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The Unwritten, Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity (The Unwritten #1)

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  14,949 Ratings  ·  844 Reviews
Tom Taylor's life was screwed from go. His father created the Tommy Taylor fantasy series, boy-wizard novels with popularity on par with Harry Potter. The problem is Dad modeled the fictional epic so closely to Tom's real life that fans are constantly comparing him to his counterpart, turning him into the lamest variety of Z-level celebrity. In the final novel, it's even i ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published January 12th 2010 by Vertigo
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Watchmen by Alan MooreThe Complete Maus by Art SpiegelmanV for Vendetta by Alan MooreThe Sandman, Vol. 1 by Neil GaimanThe Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Best Graphic Novels
138th out of 2,238 books — 5,227 voters
The Sandman, Vol. 1 by Neil GaimanThe Unwritten, Vol. 1 by Mike CareyFables, Vol. 1 by Bill WillinghamFables, Vol. 2 by Bill WillinghamThe Sandman, Vol. 4 by Neil Gaiman
Mythic Fiction Comics
2nd out of 87 books — 25 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 30, 2014 Patrick rated it it was amazing
I've been meaning to read this one for a long while. I'll read pretty much anything Mike Carey writes at this point, as he's responsible for some of my favorite comic series, most notably Lucifer.

This series is very meta. It's a story about stories. It's about how stories and reality interact.

And I don't mean in a Mirror and/or Lamp sort of way. The premise is that some few rare stories become bigger, more solid, more mythic than others? What if they became real in a way?

It's a cool concept. Y
Dec 06, 2010 Felicia rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
So I discovered Mike Carey as a NOVELIST before Graphic Novelist, that's totally weird as he's known MUCH MORE in the venue of "Unwritten". SO glad I finally picked it up, Ooooh what I was missing! The Unwritten is an awesome, fun ride in surrealism and fandom and literature. I can't really explain it in detail, it's much better to just read it yourself, but if you're a comic lover RUN to get this. So fun!
Mar 26, 2015 Gregsamsa rated it liked it
Recommended to Gregsamsa by: Miriam
3.4 stars

Despite the sort of "cutting-edge" reputation graphic novels have, they are terribly old fashioned. Even graphic meta-novels that demonstrate an awareness of the conventions are terribly conventional. It seems strange to me that such a new(-ish) genre with so many creative possibilities and opportunities for invention remains so straightjacketed by formal constraints and genre expectations. But, like the 19th century novel, these have their purposes and pleasures.

I never would have thou
Scott (GrilledCheeseSamurai)

I have already read the first few volumes of this series back in the day when they were first published. However, that was when I wasn't using Goodreads to its fullest potential and just slapped a star rating on it and called it a day!

I use Goodreads differently now and since this series is going to be wrapping up this year I figured it was time to dive back into this story and start back at the beginning and give it the Goodreads attention that it deserves.

This first volume is fantastic! More o
Mar 23, 2015 Mely rated it liked it
I like the premise, but the development is slow -- 7 issues in, the reader has long been aware that Tom Taylor, the son of the writer of a bestselling series of fantasy novels, is in fact the novels' protagonist Tommy Taylor, come out of imagination to reality, and that the mysterious Lizzie Hexam is his best galpal Sue Silver, but Tom is still in denial and the plot movement is mostly spent on horror film slasher tropes, about which I could hardly care less. I do enjoy the bits of the fantasy n ...more
The Holy Terror
An interesting concept, for sure. The protagonist, Tom Taylor, is the inspiration for his father's Harry Potter-like books. Every day he has to deal with the fact that people confuse him with his fictional counterpart and he just wants to live his own life (though admittedly he does capitulate on his father's books' popularity and the fame that comes with them at times.) Then fantasy starts to bleed into reality and Tom starts to question his childhood, his father, and all of the things he was t ...more
Jan 27, 2016 Alexa rated it liked it
Around 3.5 stars.

Tom's father created the wonderful "Tommy Taylor" novels (think Harry Potter) and he based the main character on Tom: Same name, same features... the resemblance between him and the character is so uncanny that Tom has spent his whole life explaining strangers that he is NOT the character in his father's novels.

But of course, he actually is.

The intro to this volume is really good. The premise is interesting and I really like the representation of the love/hate of the public an
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
May 02, 2012 Jayaprakash Satyamurthy rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
It's been a good long while since I tried a new title from Vertigo. Fables was a massive disappointment. A dazzlingly simple, high-concept idea anyone could have had deserves a complex, layered treatment that everyone can only wish they'd thought of. Instead we get a less than fabulous soap opera and hackneyed The Two Towers-style building-to-the-big-fight plotlines. Y The Last Man was another potentially excellent title marred by an excessive reliance on violence as a plot engine, reducing its ...more
Jun 16, 2011 Kathryn rated it it was ok
First, I am a huge Carey fan. Second, I bought this on a whim. Third, the book is overrated, mainly due to an abundance of cliches. There were so many, I was barely able to close the book. The cliches kept coming to life, crawling from the pages, and forcing me to relive bad literature. At least I am happier than ever to not have read the Harry Potter series.

The Unwritten is supposed to be a mystery but the reader knows right from the start what is going on. Tommy Taylor is real and there's a s
December 2015: Ughhhh, I need to write a review of this but I don't wanna. Oh, I'm feeling so whiny today. But it's hard! Writing a review of this is hard! It's too smart and I have too much to say! WAHHHH.

I said in my original review that I might come back later and give this five stars, and indeed that has happened. I've only read through Vol. 6, but that's enough to know how much stuff this was setting up, how much was going on under the surface that I didn't even realize the first time I rea
Feb 21, 2014 Sesana rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, comics
What a weirdly wonderful idea. A fantasy character crossing into reality isn't exactly a new concept, I admit. It's classic wish fulfillment, after all. It's the execution of the concept here that makes it interesting. But it does seem to be developing kind of slowly. Tom Taylor isn't aware that he's fictional, and it's taking far, far longer than it did for me to come to the same conclusion. I know, I know, people in Dracula don't know that they're in Dracula. Maybe it feels slower than it is b ...more
May 13, 2015 Elspeth rated it did not like it
This one was lost on me. I am sure it had deeper meaning with all it's correlation to Harry Potter, but I found myself not caring.
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
The Unwritten strikes me as being somehow 'impressive'. It's hard to clarify what I mean, but the idea of it and the execution was very well done. It delves into the very fruitful literary territory of metafiction, where reality and fiction intersect. I find I truly enjoy metafiction, probably because of being such a lifelong bookworm and having my head stuck in a book for most of that life (since I was four).

In the case of Tommy Taylor, it's a painful intersection. His father is a famous noveli
Ryan Mishap
Nov 01, 2011 Ryan Mishap rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
I'm re-posting this because none of my friends, besides Tracy, have marked it as to read or sought it out. Don't miss out!

What if Harry Potter were based on the author's son? And then the author disappeared--it has been ten years. And the son hits the conventions for money and was tired of being called by the fictional character's name and then it turns out that his father may have stolen him from his real parents and even though events around the world are grim all anyone cares about is this fr
Sam Quixote
Apr 08, 2012 Sam Quixote rated it did not like it
Ugh, I've tried three times to start this review properly and fairly by giving a summary of the plot and a fair critique of it and I can't do it. This book just sucks. Tom Taylor is boring, he's Daniel Radcliffe in another life living off of Harry Potter. There's a mysterious organisation which seems to say the places and stories in classic lit are real and meaningful.

Tom's pop, an unlikeable prig, made him memorise fictional locations in novels because one day he'll need them. I have a problem
Feb 01, 2011 Teresa rated it really liked it
Recommended to Teresa by: rhea
Graphic novels, or comics, are not my primary reading medium, but I enjoyed this and look forward to the sequel. While there's a violent section in the middle that's not my thing (though I understand its purpose), there were enough literary references and literary geography (as the main character calls it) to more than keep my interest.

A back story that stretches back to the 19th century is clever and has me wondering what will happen next. The illustrations advance the story and unlike The Lea
11811 (Eleven)
Feb 10, 2015 11811 (Eleven) rated it it was ok
There was nothing wrong with this. It was actually pretty clever but it wasn't my favored brand of fantasy. I appreciated it but I didn't enjoy it. Too many stories within stories. This is all coming from someone who awarded one star to Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes so graphic novel aficionados may prefer to ignore this rating.

I loved Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned and Preacher, Volume 1: Gone to Texas but the fantasy aspect of this one more closely resembled Locke
Dec 29, 2015 Megan rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, comics, meta, vertigo
Re-read recently so I could pick up this series again. Actually I'm enjoying it more the second time.

It has the ambition to be as big as Sandman, but I actually think that, despite the subject matter trying to touch on everything at once, it's not as... meaningful? Poignant? as even Lucifer, Sandman's spin-off, Carey's previous big book. And I always thought Lucifer didn't really leave the shadow of Sandman as much as it hoped to.

The idea is there, and the story is good if a bit wrought and co
Apr 17, 2011 Bry rated it really liked it
Seriously, this new series is BRILLIANT.

I am totally loving this new trend in graphic novels of literary fantasy. The storyline is reminiscent of Fables by Bill Willingham or Jasper Ffords Thursday Next novels.

It is all about the life on Tom Taylor, who was the inspiration for the main character Tommy Taylor in his fathers 13 best selling novels that are suspiciously like Harry Potter both in plot and success across the world.

But all is not what it seems. Story and charcters from all genres an
Aug 04, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it
Imagine the Harry Potter books had been based on the author's real-life son, also named Harry Potter. That's what Tom Taylor's life has been. Now that his father has "disappeared" - the public believes he committed suicide, but Tom refuses to say that he's dead - Tom must make a living using his alter ego, Tommy Taylor. When a reporter shows evidence that Tom might not be the real son of Wilson Taylor, but instead a child sold to the author by his Bosnian parents, the public begins thinking of T ...more
Aug 04, 2012 Brooke rated it really liked it
A truly, truly awesome concept about authors being manipulated by some mysterious group to write stories that magically have an effect on the outside world. The main character, Tom, is the son of a missing world-famous children's author - or maybe he's actually Tommy Taylor, the main character from his dad's books, summoned to life by his dad's prose. The story has some familiar threads in it (I'm reminded of a certain Twilight Zone episode and Christopher Golden's Strangewood) but it feels fres ...more
... aaaand that's it. I am hooked.

Now I knew that I may like this story: give me meta-fiction, give me intertextuality. I also knew that I like Carey - his Lucifer convinced me that one can write a Sandman spin-off, and I was very much doubtful first. So I tried to reign my expectations in. I did not need to.

The story works - it's intense, it's deep, it feels almost condensed than even Lucifer was, but in a good way; and yet it's not Lucifer, not at all, but has an atmosphere and a voice of its
Tim The Enchanter
This one is difficult to rate. There are multiple layers to the story and and the bottom (as far as we know to this point) there is intellectual conspiracy that is quite novel. It is this intellectual component that will lead me to read the second volume. The majority of the issues in this volume deal with a son of a famous author who wrote Harry Potteresque novels. The author has disappeared and his son, Tom Taylor, is the face of the series as he is the inspiration for the books main character ...more
May 01, 2016 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Carey is rapidly getting a spot in my "Top Ten Writers of All Time". I knew him as the author of (another favorite) The Girl with All the Gifts, first. At the time I was not reading a lot of graphic novels. I was just anticipating another novel. Recently, all of that has changed. Graphic novels (thanks to coworkers and my place of employment) are becoming a standard in my reading patterns. So, I've finally started reading Carey's other stories.

Like his novel, this story is truly unique
Jun 01, 2011 Miriam rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fantasy nerds
Recommended to Miriam by: Trin

So many allusions, so little space.
David Edmonds
Mar 10, 2010 David Edmonds rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2010
Imagine that you are Harry Potter. Not the character in the wildly popular book series, but actually a young man named Harry Potter who is the basis for the wildly popular, thirteen book series that your father wrote with the main character based on you. What do you think your life would be like?

That's basically how The Unwritten opens. Tom Taylor's dad has written an enormously popular series of books, very similar to the Harry Potter books, and based the main character of the series on his son
Mitchel Broussard
One word: wow. I'm honestly having trouble organizing my thoughts on this one into a coherent review.

It's brilliant, fascinating, smart, and insanely cool.

The premise is far from simple, yet never overly confusing. Tom Taylor's dad wrote the most popular fantasy series of our time, surpassing even Harry Potter, and simply vanished without a trace. No note, no warning, no goodbye. His books chronicled the adventures of boy wizard Tommy Taylor, whom he modeled after his son, Tom.

Through a series
Jan 03, 2012 Lucy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
I picked this book up on a whim at Powell’s (I believe it had a “recommended” sign all it’s very own), based mainly on the lovely cover. It contains a twisted spoof of Harry Potter, and being a cynical yet devoted fan, I couldn’t resist. I’m also a sucker for anything that pushes the boundaries of reality and blurs the line between fact and fiction.

Some stories stay with you because they feel eerily real, despite impossible circumstance. The Unwritten is one of those stories. The fans' reactions
Jan 03, 2012 Nicole rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic_novel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
[Name Redacted]
First off, this is not just a parody of the "Harry Potter" series and its author J.K. Rowling. It is just as much a tribute to "The Books of Magic" (which Peter Gross ALSO worked on) and their tale of a boy wizard raised by his single father, and even more so a tribute to the difficult life of Christopher Robin who spent so much of his life trying to escape his father's use of him in his "Winnie The Pooh" stories. There are a lot of other allusions and references and base-works which the creator ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
Mike Carey was born in Liverpool in 1959. He worked as a teacher for fifteen years, before starting to write comics. When he started to receive regular commissions from DC Comics, he gave up the day job.

Since then, he has worked for both DC and Marvel Comics, writing storyli
More about Mike Carey...

Other Books in the Series

The Unwritten (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 2: Inside Man
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 3: Dead Man's Knock
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 4: Leviathan
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 5: On to Genesis
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 6: Tommy Taylor and the War of Words
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 7: The Wound
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 8: Orpheus in the Underworld
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 9: The Unwritten Fables
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 10: War Stories
  • The Unwritten, Vol. 11: Apocalypse

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“We make our own monsters, then fear them for what they show us about ourselves.” 101 likes
“You read any Greek myths, puppy? The one about the gorgon Medusa, particularly? I used to wonder what could be so terrible that you couldn't survive even looking at it.

Until I got a little older and I figured out the obvious answer.

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