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The Playwright

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  183 ratings  ·  32 reviews
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 lay with passers-by who, statistically, were far less likely to be sim ...more
Hardcover, 158 pages
Published July 13th 2010 by Top Shelf Productions
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3.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  183 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Mar 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphicnovels
The latest from artist Eddie Campbell is a collaboration with writer Daren White, and it's a wonderful, bittersweet melding of pictures and words that is formalist in its construction but charming for being so concise.

THE PLAYWRIGHT is the story of a middle-aged English gentleman who has enjoyed some success as a writer, with much of his most successful work being for television. Over the years, he has become rather set in his ways, and his artistic and financial success is offset by an increasi
David Schaafsma
Aug 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gn-sex
Eddie Campbell drew From Hell, with Alan Moore. Here he draws again for Daren White and adds color, watercolor, softly toning this story about a playwright with almost no social skills. He is self-absorbed, almost never speaks to other people, mines his loneliness and his mining his family helps to separate him further from others.. making him very successful, receiving award after award for his writing. The book is not as sweet as it sounds so far, though, because part of his self-absorption in ...more
Ryan Werner
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
I started off disliking this, but I fell into it once the character of The Playwright got a bit more fleshed out. I think I’ll still take Wilson by Dan Clowes or Fante Bukowski by Noah Van Sciver if I’m looking for a comic about an unassuming creep, but there’s a certain misunderstood sweetness to The Playwright that develops over the course of the book that isn’t present in either of those other two titles.

I can’t really get into the art work. I know it’s the dude who did From Hell, and I like
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loeg-archives
Excellent piece of black humor, about a middle-aged man driven by social insecurity and sexual fantasies to become an award-winning playwright. It's very funny, very dark, very seductive. Strong art, good pacing, definitely recommended.
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A short story about male loneliness and creativity. Enjoyable.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
funny & witty
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
A strange format, like a pornographic picture book. Beautiful drawing, but I'm not sure it's more than a curiosity.
Matt Hartzell
Jan 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Any adult
Shelves: ogn-indie
I enjoyed my read of this. I'm not as well versed in slice-of-life graphic novels, but this was an interesting portrayal of a celibate middle-aged man trying yet seemingly unable to find a woman he can share a life with.

From the outside, the unnamed playwright appears to be highly successful. He is highly regarded professionally, lives a cultured life filled with good food and modest living, and displays his love of family by caring for his mentally handicapped brother. Despite all of this, he i
Oct 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
3.5 stars. A socially/sexually stunted (and so socially/sexually obsessed) playwright has won all his awards for his explorations of isolation and melancholy, and now is trying to make sense of his perspective -and make a genuinely meaningful connection with another person- before he tips into his golden years. It's even shorter than it looks because of the unusual formatting: only 3 panels to a page, so the eye tracks across the pages horizontally in a stream-of-consciousness style. Campbell's ...more
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
it was a hot afternoon, the power was off and I was abit "figety." Concluding that I had nothing better to do I decided to read a book, a comic book to be more specific. I retreaved Clumsy by Jeffrey Brown, now this book, clumsy, goodness even the title makes my teeth clench, this book, well let me ask you this, have you ever read a book so, (insert swear word, presumably starting with the letter "F") pointless that you've contemplated throwing it against your wall? I'm being silly, but I hope y ...more
I'm not normally a big fan of Eddie Campbell--his art often looks too scratchy/sketchy to my eye, and I often find myself wondering just what exactly it is that I'm supposed to be looking at. This, however, is a different kettle of fish. Perhaps the fact that it's in colour helps. The underlying designs still seem typically Campbellian, but the characters are all instantly recognizeable, and I was never in any doubt about what I was looking at. And there are some quite stunning and effective ima ...more
Matt Graupman
Oct 13, 2014 rated it liked it
"The Playwright" is a pretty unique little book. Broken up into short slice-of-life chapters, it tells the story of an over-sexed, socially awkward playwright in the later stages of his career. It's a bittersweet story that touches on family relationships, the nature of success, and loneliness without delving into these issues in a linear way. Like I said, it's a unique way to present a graphic novel.

Eddie Campbell's artwork, always a bit too sketchy for my taste, is enhanced by some lovely colo
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
This isn't quite a "graphic novel" -- its more of a heavily illustrated short story, with a combination of words and pictures on every page. It's a stark character study of the titular playwright, as he comes to terms with his past and his place in the world. It reminded me a lot of Richard Yates -- nothing is romanticized or explained, the story is simply told, and the reader makes whatever meaning they can from the story. It's definitely an acquired taste, but Campbell and White have created a ...more
Nathan Holic
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Deeply empathetic, and achingly honest. This book read like an Andre Dubus (long) short story, adapted into picture-book form. Not a traditional "graphic novel," by any stretch, but don't mistake its quiet mood and slow pace for "boring." This book delves deep into the heart of a peculiar and haunted man, and gives us as clear a view of his world and his fears and desires(without ever judging him, which is difficult) as we can hope for.
Aug 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphicnovels
Reminiscent of large cartoon broadsheets featuring a caricature, this deceptively simple humorous narrative about a playwright becomes a sensitive fleshed portrait by the finish. It begins by poking fun at a man who makes his living at writing about humanity from the view of an observer only to regret his lack of actual substance to his life. Amusingly, it is only when he begins to live his own life that he finds he cannot write anymore.
Michael Anderson
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Engaging graphic story about a socially repressed, woman-obsessed man who gets his story-telling ideas from the travails of his own life. Eddie Campbell's sketchy drawing style seems perfect for the narrative. I've never seen Campbell's work in color before, and I think the color enhances the effect of his on-the-mark artwork. The ending, while not a twist, was unexpected and followed naturally from everything that came before. Very good all around.
Jan 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Sad and lonely leads to productivity, content and fulfilled leads to unproductivity. Hmmm... I love Eddie Campbell's drawings (in color, no less!) and the subtle insights into "the playwright's" mind we get through the spare narrative.
May 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Boring, stodgy characters don't make for the most interesting of books, despite the author's attempts to interject some humor. This is a portrait of a sad, sad man and that gives us a sad, joyless book.
Oct 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
Cartoonists of the world - enough with the sad, lonely, awkward, middle-aged white dude and his masturbation habits. Eddie Campbell is good at drawing, but seriously- enough.
Sep 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Really great. Melancholy and lonesome.
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: justok
Sad distant look at an unlikable character done in a continuous narration style. I think other stuff by Eddie Campbell is probably better.
Don Witzel
Jun 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Very unique read. I enjoyed this journey ......
Hector Ibarraran
Mar 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
The artwork was gorgeous, and the story was a great examination of what people give up for success. A worthwhile read... I love slice of life comics.
Nick Nguyen
Dec 27, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Cassandra Willey
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
A quick read, with an original plot line. Read to fulfill the "Graphic Novel" category of my 2015 reading challenge. The art work was by far my favorite part.
Neil Orts
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Quiet, a little stream-of-conscious, softly humorous, I found this graphic story to be quite appealing, made more so by Eddie Campbell's masterful artwork.
Dana Jerman
Sep 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A man truly committed... to comics. And a great story to boot.
I'd bet we all know a someone just like the protagonist...
James Schneider
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Eddie Campbell's primitive tools lead to some of the most humanistic cartooning around. Daren White's story is warm and in perfect balance and scope. A wonderful way to spend an hour.
Erin Tuzuner
Sep 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013, graphic-novels
The intense inward eye of critical, self loathing, and abstract announcements are in fine force here.
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Excellent illustrations support this glimpse of an ordinary (flawed) man's world.
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Eddie Campbell has earned an international following. For over 25 years, he has blazed a trail in the world of graphic novels, and his work has earned nearly every honor in the field, including the Eisner, Ignatz, and Harvey awards.

With Alan Moore he created the towering opus From Hell, later adapted by Hollywood. Among the multitude of solo works he has produced, the epic series Bacchus brings th
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