Comic Book Creators Defy Glenn Beck
Glenn Beck’s ideological forebears at the John Birch Society started in the days in which demagogic politicians were seeking to ban comic books. Is it poetic that Beck should start a similar fight in his pursuit of old school conservatism?
Machine of Death is an anthology of speculative short stories about people who know how (but not when) they are going to die. The book is edited by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo and David Malki, and somehow the three of them came up with a clever idea: They asked everyone who was planning to buy the book to do so on the day it was released, Oct. 26, so they could place high on the Amazon sales charts.
“When we picked a release date, we tried to aim for a day far from other major book releases,” the authors explain on their blog. In that, they failed spectacularly: A number of potential best-sellers came out that day, including Keith Richards’s autobiography, a new Barefoot Contessa cookbook, and Glenn Beck’s latest book, Broke.
Nonetheless, the power of the internet is such that Machine of Death took the No. 1 spot on Amazon for that day.
While Keith Richards and the Barefoot Contessa seem to have taken this news with equanimity, it sent Beck into a spluttering, incoherent rage, and he went into a long rant on the air about the culture of death and Bill Ayers envying Keith Richards for snorting his father’s ashes, and not knowing what Brown Sugar refers to, and the general disrespect of “the left” for daring to buy other books on the day his book came out. (There’s a transcript and a link to the audio here.)
And as any public figure with half a brain can tell you, the effect has been exactly the opposite of what Beck intended. Rather than apologizing and buying two copies of his book, people have been laughing and pointing and, in some cases, buying extra copies of Machine of Death just to spite Glenn Beck. (Hey, it’s only ten bucks on Amazon.)
The story has also gotten lots of press in a number of august venues, including The Atlantic Wire, but the best one of all is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation piece that includes North and Malki’s tortured Super Bowl analogy. It is also getting plenty of play on Twitter.
A friend of mine from high school forwarded the above story to me and was pretty thrilled by it. Comic books have become more and more accepted by the mainstream in the last decade, and its good to see a graphic novel having this degree of impact.