Ever since discovering Sandman in graduate school, I've had this weird love affair with comics and graphic novels. I haven’t delved back into them like I did when I was in grade school and junior high, but I'm always looking for comics that tease my imagination and go a bit deeper than the usual superhero comics. I read a lot of stuff in the Vertigo line at that time, but nothing really resonated like Sandman did, and I sort of lost track of comics all together after I graduated. I've gone through some phases now and again, but only to catch up on older stuff that I didn't realize was already out there, like Usagi Yojimbo, or discover the rare treat like Fables. The Unwritten is a new discovery, and one that I like a whole lot more than I expected.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I like the series, since it’s all about how stories endure, and how the more people believe in a story, the more it penetrates the real world and alters the way people think. This isn't a new idea — I think I've mentioned in a previous post that Dan Simmons' story "Vanni Fucci Is Alive and Well and Living in Hell" uses this theme — but this series takes the idea and makes it a political thing, with an organization that exploits the system in an effort to control the world. It's fascinating, and really takes on more depth than I would have expected.
This story arc is told in alternating stories, with one issue taking place in the current time, with Tommy Taylor taking on the cabal, followed by an issue that goes further back in time to show how stories affect history. It has a nice reinforcing effect on the main story, and even gives some history into some of the characters in the series. The underlying conflict, though, is that Tommy is trying to take back his life, ironically, by embracing the Tommy Taylor character and using his powers to defeat the cabal. It's well done, and quite satisfying.
Last night I watched some of the new Doctor Who series, specifically the one that featured Charles Dickens. In the episode, Dickens asks the Doctor if his stories are remembered, and the Doctor tells him yes, that they are remembered forever. I thought it was a nice serendipity to see that episode after finishing this volume.