First off, I’ve never read an entire comic book in my life. I’ve especially never read a complex comic book like Mike Carey’s and Peter Gross’ Unwritten. But I found myself wrapped becoming more and more wrapped up into the story of Tom/Tommy Taylor and his enemies. I had forced myself to pay attention to the pictures, or else I would just focus on the words too much and miss half the story but the story was highly engaging I’m much more a comic book fan now.
Unwritten is a great example of a transmedia story because it combines multiple forms of media. Specifically, excerpts of Tommy Taylor story and illustrations of news articles, forums, instant message conversations, and other kinds of media. It made the story seem more real, as the audience could read the reactions people in Tom’s world had to the story.
Through most of the books, it seems that Tom is living in an alternate reality game (very similar to The Game. Similar to Michael Douglas’s character, Tom had a hard time figuring out what was real life and what was magic and part of the “Tommy” story. In the book, two fans of the Tommy Taylor books say, “When the golden trumpet blows, the veil of legends is parted/ What does that mean?/ It means tommy stopped being a story and started being real!” The people around Tom have always compared to him the magically boy wizard, therefore creating this fake world around him his whole life that he embodies of a story book character. To fans of the book, Tom was never a real person and always the person in the books. But that changes as the lines between fiction and reality blur.
The story also combines well-known books into the story. For example, Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula-like character, are all integrated in Tommy’s world.
This line also serves as an example of collective fan culture. They discuss Tommy Taylor things and attempt to solve the mystery together. Similar to how McGonigal’s Cloudmakers made the world in Beast more real, fans suspended the reality of Tom/Tommy’s life.
Tom’s map in the book served as a guide for the rest of the 1st and 2nd book. Essentially, Tom was living in a “Dorothy” type game with a set list of rules that he must complete to get to the next step.