If you don’t know who Mike Carey is, you should. And you will. Currently in production for TV development, which will hopefully come to fruition in the near future, is the Lucifer series, a spin-off from the equally as epic Sandman series. Fox bought the rights and put it to pilot. It’s a bit…ambitious for a TV show but has potential. We’ll see.
If you haven’t read Sandman and are interested in trying to or do read graphic novels, go do it. And then read Lucifer. And then send the thank you letters. Both are severely introspective, interesting, and addictive. So graphic crack.
Anyway, back to Mike Carey: Another writer who made his bones in Graphic Novels, Mike’s original prose work is firmly rooted in the Fantasy genre. Very similar to the Dresden stuff, and in my humble opinion a whole lot better. It’s based around a protagonist named Felix Castor, and shall hence be the called the Felix Castor series. There’s currently five books in the series, and we may or may not get a sixth.He’s also written The Steel Seraglio series and The Girl With All The Gifts.
Here’s why you should read Mike’s prose work:
1) Dialogue – Another key strength from most crossed-over graphic novelists, Mike excels at the inter-play between characters as a method of advancing the story. He can weave the words from his characters around similar to the way his protagonist spins exorcisms with his music (plot reveal). He rarely tells, and always shows you what’s happening, mainly through dialogue. It’s not sharp and biting the way Warren Ellis or Abnett like to make their character’s words kind of jump off the page. It’s a bit softer, quieter, but no less captivating. If you like reading about people talking…dive into the Felix Castor series with abandon. The inner-monologue for Mr. Castor is probably the high point of the series, and keeps you laughing and thinking all at once. “Poor Bloody Infantry is a State of Mind”, words to live by.
2) Pacing – To the point of frustration, Mike has great control over the pace of his books. It’s the same for his graphic novels as well. He very much keeps an even, steady pace through out; It can be a bit complex during action sequences or higher-adrenaline moments, but the consistency is very refreshing. He takes your hand and walks you through the text, never running, never stopping, just taking you through at the rate he desires. I don’t know if this is British-y or just a nuance of his particular style.
3) Imagination – Der. Can probably apply to every writer, but I pick this one because of the way Mike imagines everything in his story. It takes talent and patience to make the otherworldly feel very real and tangible especially when the setting is the “real” world.He finds cracks, crannies, and crevices that feel incredibly realistic to fit his underworld of pacifistic exorcists in and shelter them from reality. This is why I would recommend this over the Jim Butcher Dresden Files. Not that they’re bad, I just prefer the subtle, quiet approach to magic in the real world. He also includes enough high-stakes, old testament style demons to keep the stakes high.
Overall, you should give Mike Carey a try if you’re a fan of any kind of magical fantasy or interesting, imaginative fiction. His graphic works are a bit better, and are the true measure of his imagination, but he’s damn good with prose and will keep you turning the pages.