Carey, in his Newsarama interview, said:
Emotionally, it’s the appeal of going back to the wellspring – the source of the Nile. We all have stories that colonise and inhabit bits of our minds, and there’s a kind of magic in turning our vision inwards to look at them directly. Conceptually, it’s like making a story that’s a moebius strip, angling away from the fictional reality and then feeding back into it from an unexpected angle. A very post-modern thing, to use that loaded phrase, but if it’s done right it can be both fun and revelatory.
This month’s Bang! Tango came with a preview of The Unwritten in the back, and ratcheted my excitement up another notch–I haven’t been this stoked for a new series since I first read about DMZ.
The Unwritten promises to be metafiction in the best way–a story about a story. The tagline on the cover of the preview is “Stories are the only things worth dying for,” and it gave me chills.
The story starts off in a fan convention much like the comic-cons we all love, with Peter Gross’s beautiful art rendering Tom Taylor an attractive, uncomfortable-looking man easily thrown off his game by his own inner discomfort. Taylor isn’t a writer or an artist–he’s a character. More specifically, he’s the real person upon whom his father based a series of books oddly similar to the Harry Potter books.
The meta starts with a reference to Harry Potter and similarities to The Books of Magic–on which Peter Gross worked. It quickly twists back in another direction, though, with a question from the crowd implying that Taylor is actually a fictional character. With just a few words, we’re out of the familiar world of cons and questioning the rules of the world Carey and Gross have pulled us into, wondering where we’re going next.
The preview doesn’t offer much more than that, but what it does give is more than enough of a teaser for me to be salivating for next month’s #1. I’ve called Mike Carey the heir apparent to Neil Gaiman several times, and like Sandman and many other works, this will be a story about stories, about the nature of fiction and characters. You hear writers talk time and again about their characters having their own ideas, and this takes that conceit another step. What if enough investment into a character actually brings them to life?
We’ve seen these ideas before, but the layers present just in these few pages had me wondering which new directions Carey and Gross might find. The literature geek in me thrills to the promise of a trip through various works of fiction, and the comics nerd loves the insider references as well as the potential for great art.