I’m working on a long article about the author Brad Meltzer, and we had a great steak dinner last night in Hollywood Beach, Fla. I grew up here in Broward County and Meltzer spent a chunk of his childhood here too, and it turns out that we bought our comic books at the same shop, a long-gone little shop called Starship Enterprises. It’s pretty amazing, actually, how much we have in common. When I told him that I’m of the opinion that “Superman vs. Muhammad Ali” from 1978 is the greatest single comic book ever, his jaw dropped.
“Maybe we should just get married right now. That is my all-time favorite too.” He then started rattling off the celebrities who appear in the famous wraparound cover that shows the ring-side audience watching the bout. “Lucille Ball, Jimmy Carter, the Sweathogs …”
Two of the people also depicted in that spectacular cover by Neal Adams are Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, the creators of Superman. Siegel is a key part of Meltzer’s new novel, “The Book of Lies,” which hits stores Sept. 2. Meltzer is fascinated by the fact that Mitchell Siegel, the father of Jerry, died in a robbery just months before his teenage son created the most famous bulletproof hero in American pop culture. Meltzer melds that story with, believe it or not, the biblical story of Cain and Abel. “I know, it sounds crazy right? You can imagine how thrilled my publisher was,” Meltzer said with a grin. Meltzer can make any mystery work, as far as I’m concerned; not only did he write bestsellers such as “The Tenth Justice” and “The Zero Game,” he penned “Identity Crisis,” which is one of the finest and most deftly written comic books you’ll ever read.
Expect to hear a lot more about this new book in the weeks to come. I’ll be posting the feature on Brad in the weeks to come. In the meantime, check out the compelling trailer for the book, which you can find at Brad’s website. It features Joss Whedon, Christopher Hitchens and other pals of Meltzer’s.
And if you want to check out that brilliant “Superman vs. Muhammad Ali” cover, it’s after the jump.
— Geoff Boucher
Cover of “Book of Lies” courtesy of Grand Central Publishing
Art by Neal Adams and image courtesy of DC Comics.