I have ben reading these, slowly, over the course of January. This has been one of my favourite series, outside of The Sandman and Y: The Last Man Standing. It is dense with literary references, and in some ways reminiscent of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next novels, strongly blurred the lines between reality and literature. For those unfamiliar with the series, it centres around Tom Taylor, the child of Wilson Taylor, a noted novelist who wrote a series of books about a boy wizard called Tommy Taylor. There is a worldwide obsession with the character and it’s supposed inspiration, but it all goes askew when a mystery organization murders a series of people, including Wilson Taylor, in an effort to get at Tom. Wilson left a series of clues and helpers for Tom, and the whole thing hinges on layers of story, and how stories can affect and are affected by the world around Tom.
In these last four volumes that I have read, Carey and Gross have provided a lot of background information, giving us some key pieces of Tom Taylor’s dark and mysterious family history, as well as explaining the origins of the evil Mr. Pullman. There are a number of humorous scenes in these volumes, and increasingly specific references to particular stories with which the reader is already familiar. As Tom starts to finally understand who he is and what he is for, the world around him starts to literally be torn asunder, the fabric of reality beginning to unravel as he loses everyone he has ever known. I am having a hard time guessing at how this will all be resolved, which is a nice change from many graphic novels that I have read.
As always, the art in these book are quite lovely, particularly the covers that would have been seen on each individual issues. The characters are drawn remarkably consistently. There is a new narrative, with animal characters from various stories travelling a staircase throughout literature, with drawings that I found particularly dark, detailed and interesting. As always, I recommend this series to everyone.