Review – The Playwright


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The PlaywrightThere’s comics that exist that you want to hand to people and show what the medium can do.  The Playwright by Eddie Campbell and Daren White is one of those examples.

Artist Eddie Campbell and writer Daren White have teamed up to present a most peculiar love story.

The Playwright rather enjoys a quiet moment in the local park. It is a good place to mentally sort his ideas, and is often frequented by pretty young ladies. He once saw a pigeon defecate onto a businessman’s shoulder. It struck him as absurd that such an event is often considered lucky. Surely the luck lies with passers-by who, statistically, are far less likely to be similarly soiled at that precise moment. Similarly, the Playwright has always derived an almost perverse sense of relief upon receiving news that an old friend has developed prostate cancer. Because statistically, he reasons, such news significantly reduces the chances of himself being similarly afflicted. And to be honest, at his age, his prostate needs all the statistical support he can muster…

The Playwright: a dark comedy about the sex life of a celibate middle-aged man.– A 160-Page Deluxe Full-Color Hardcover Graphic Novel, 9″ x 5 1/2″ (landscape), Diamond: APR10-1089

The Playwright is a sad, somewhat depressing tale, about a schlep of a man who isn’t very good with the women.  A playwright (what a shock), the story really is just vignette’s of his life.  This is a dark comedy in the best sense.  It’s down and slow and plodding but that’s the brutal truth of his life.

The art is fantastic with an almost painted style.  Each page primarily just made up of three panels, it’s the simplest of layouts, but amazingly effective.  There’s no dialogue here, just captions of the playwright’s observations.  That forces the art to drive the story even more.

This is a beautiful read in every way.  From the visuals to the story (something can be sad and beautiful at the same time), this just works in so many ways.  A perfect example of what comics and graphic novels can be.

Plot: Daren White has crafted a fantastic story.  For something to be sad and beautiful at the same time is a hell of an accomplishment.  There’s just such an emotional heft to it.  It’s wraps us nicely and gives you a fantastic resolution in the end.  Kudos.  Rating: 9

Art: Eddie Campbell’s art is beautiful.  So simple in it’s presentation, but such impact at the same time.  Each page is simple, there’s no splashy layouts.  Each page is made up of usually three panels, sometimes those panels are combined.  It’s simplicity, but enhances the story.  The painted style fits the main character and his journey.  Just a perfect example of art enhancing the story.  Rating: 9

Overall: This is a story and presentation that leaves you so satisfied at the end.  Even though it focuses on a sad sack of a main character, it’s still upbeat at the same time.  A must read and serious contender for graphic novel of the year.  Rating: 9

Recommendation: Buy

Page count: 160 pages    Price: $14.95    Release Date: Out Now

Top Shelf provided Graphic Policy with an advance copy of this issue for FREE for review.