The Playwright by Daren White & Eddie Campbell

The Playwright
by Daren White & Eddie Campbell
Top Shelf Productions, 2010

Scottish-Australian cartoonist Campbell applies the same scratchy illustration style which made From Hell so harrowing to this well-written but rather unpleasant story about a sheltered yet successful playwright who conquers his many, many sexual neuroses with the help of his elderly father’s nurse. Kind of like Gentlemen Jim but with a much less sympathetic protagonist.

It’s hard to root for unlikeable characters unless they’re also charismatic bastards; the (unnamed) playwright is sad, grotty and fucked-up like something from late ’70s British TV, all stale lager, cheap nylon parkas and grey skies. I prefer the sprightliness and intelligence of Campbell’s solo work, like the exuberant Bacchus.

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