Van Gogh and The Unwritten

So maybe I’m reading too much into the visually stunning artwork (oh wait, that’s what I’m supposed to do) in Mike Care and Peter Gross’ comic book The Unwritten but some of the strips in here remind me so much of Vincent Van Gogh.  The cover artist, Yuko Shimizu takes the same technical approach in presenting fire in the second cover as Van Gogh depicts the wind and the clouds.


squiggle lines as grass

Tommy and Tom (or is it Tommy?) consumed by Van Gogh flames!

Why is this important though? Well, if my understanding of Post-Impressionism and of Van Gogh is correct, these artists were deeply studying the idea of perception and gestural projection. How the individual sees and interacts and then translates into a medium may appear abstract but in truth, it is a wonderful representation of reality. As for The Unwritten, every time this use of thick lines and abstract representations occur is when there’s a transition of reality occurring in the story line. This blurs the line of what we see as real but within the entire context of the story you’re never sure what’s real and what’s just part of a story. As Count Ambrosio says, “Stories are the only thing worth dying for!”


That line literally terrified me. It forced me to realize that any religion, belief that comes my way derives from some story. For some reason, to me, a story has a slight negative connotation. Not really negative, more like it’s childish and foolish. If you replace the word “story” with “narrative” the connotation has this 180 degree turn. “Narrative” doesn’t sound right but it has this mature notion about it.

After finishing the first two volumes of The Unwritten I came away with the same feeling I had when I left Mulholland Drive. When the comic book got to a part where it goes on to a different story line I had the same feeling of suspension during the opera scene from Mulholland Drive. I didn’t quite comprehend what I was holding, but I could still sense the immense power that the story contains.

While I was reading The Unwritten another thing I realized is how the story connects with so many literary dynasties and other media outlets. It kind of seems that the more I read complex stories, the more I see connections to one other. Even the simple fact that the introduction to volume 2 was written by a writer for Dr. Who seems crazy eerie to me. Do they all meet up at the Villa Diodati and tell Dr. D what to teach us?

I guess the easiest connection to make from Dr. D’s teachings and The Unwritten is the fandom culture. Fans of Tommy Taylor are engrossed in the tale and even though they play a subservient role to the main characters, they make me question reality. At first, it seemed like the Tommy Taylor franchise worked seamlessly with their fans and even supported their crazy theories by making them the head of the fandom in New Zealand. In reality, I couldn’t see the drastic measures of love and adoration (aka stalking) that the fans do for Tommy Taylor in real life. Although there is the paparazzi there is not the same kind of collective gathering as there is in The Unwritten (excluding Tommy-con).

This story absolutely captivated me. I don’t even understand why I’m writing this blog entry right now, I should be reading the next volume(comes out March 2011…same month as the last HP movie hmmm…).


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