Excellent. Another comic book to get distracted with.
I never really read graphic novels until Delwiche had us read Watchmen in Media Interpretation class. Ever since then, I’ve been fascinated with them and keep wanting to get lost in every single page that I read. The problem is finding time, so I really like when Delwiche assigns them for class! (because then it’s like I’m going school work, but not!)
I do agree with crazy-vampire-man in the panel above (but I do have some excepts to others things that I consider worth dying for). However, he does have a point. Stories drive social interaction. They keep memories and ideas flowing and alive. There are so many different media that keep those stories into our brain, such as words, songs, or moving pictures. How else would we remember the false story of Pocahontas in the animated Disney version without if there weren’t catchy songs (which have over 11 million views on YouTube) for us to keep the story more concrete in our brain?
For the story of The Unwritten, I found myself yet again enveloped in a story that I couldn’t get out of. I was a little disappointed in the fact that everyone kept saying that it was basically Harry Potter, when I didn’t really get that inclination in the story as a whole. Sure, the story of Tommy Taylor looks and sounds a lot like Harry Potter, but the actual STORY of The Unwritten is not. It was a little confusing at first, and sure, I was looking for allusions of Winnie the Pooh and the boy wizard who lived, but I experienced a unique crazy narrative about a man trying to find his own identity and a gang of “evil doers” who are trying to frame and kill him.
I got confused SO MANY TIMES. I had to read the first few pages about 5 times to try and understand what was going on and figure out the difference between Tommy Taylor and Tom Taylor. I guess that’s similar to the people in the book who look at Tom Taylor and believe he is really the character from the book. I was also a little confused when the story would end but there would be more of the comic that I didn’t really understand. I wasn’t sure what it went with. Only until I got to the second book did I understand more about the Rudyard Kipling story and also the rabbit story made more sense when I got to it. It’s like another story within a story that adds to the overall story!
I thought that the story did a good job and throwing in the essence of stories and why they’re important and the power they can encompass. Even though he’s extremely creepy and can apparently travel through time (or never get old) the character Pullman makes a comment about collective intelligence that I found alludes to McGonigal’s article about the Cloudmakers. Even though they weren’t afraid of each other, they were a collective intelligence. In The Beast game, the players were immersed in “collective detecting” (McGonigal 1). In The Unwritten story, Tom first seeks out on his own to try and figure out what is happening to him, but then he meets Savoy (who turns out to be a journalist trying to exploit Tom, but then I think he starts to believe Tom and takes his side) and also Lizzie, who started this whole thing. Together, the three become a collective intelligence to try and figure out the whole picture.
Lizzie is somehow is connected to Wilson Taylor (Tom’s father who disappeared) through books. This actually reminds me a lot of Fringe and how characters can communicate through a typewriter between parallel universes. Savoy is basically there for muscle, but I think he’s also there to tell the truth about Tom to everyone when all of this is over (but it probably goes on for a while because there are 17 books, something I need to get started on…). Tom’s father, Wilson, also has something to do with this collective intelligence. I think he has a huge plan that he’s got Lizzie working with him on, and it involves Tom. But then I keep thinking and rethinking certain parts of the story, and there’s something weird about when they keep talking about writing people in and out of stories. Lizzie once said something about how Wilson let Tom free by writing him out, and with the rabbit at the end of the second volume, he was going crazy because someone had written him INTO a story and he wanted out. I am thoroughly confused about that and can only speculate what it means before reading the rest of the series.
When Cosi, the prison warden’s daughter, talks about her perception of the Tommy Taylor story, her words of the whole thing being a game and sometimes you can’t choose what happens reminds me a lot of puppets and the puppet masters in McGonigal’s second article concerning the “Puppet Master Problem.” She talks about how puppet masters are basically game designers in real time to stand behind the curtain and give instruction to the “puppets” who need to feel as though they’re making decisions when in fact they don’t really have a choice (McGonigal 3). For Cosi, this is how she feels when she reads Tommy Taylor books; she is dillusional to the extent that she lives and believes in the character, but sane enough to know that she can’t control it (and eventually leads to her death).
I guess I can really appreciate comic books and graphic novels like The Unwritten because they are so clever at incorporating a written book as well as movie film elements to create an amazing visual story that truly encompasses the idea of Transmedia. The problem is, they’re so awesome that it keeps from my school work 🙂