Brad Meltzer, the bestselling author of “The Tenth Justice” and “The Book of Fate” as well as the DC Comics series “Identity Crisis,” is at the center of an unprecedented public lynching by both his peers and far, far bigger names in the publishing world.
It was the night of the long knives Wednesday in Miami as a rare world summit of authors was held — an assembly of elite bestselling writers who jetted in due to their surging animus toward Meltzer and the promise of a heaping buffet table that actually had buttered lobster and fried shrimp.
I was in the room and it was ugly. The shrimp was gone in, like, a minute. Horrible things were said about Meltzer. Essentially, the writers of the world have had enough of his half-baked plots and fully baked dialogue and his curious habit of wearing brown shoes with a black belt and vice versa.
“For the sheer level of purple prose, inept plotting, snotty-nosed characters and the overall pathetic quality of his entire oeuvre, Meltzer stands alone,” David Baldacci bellowed. “He is our Lincoln of crappy fiction.”
Scott Turow chimed in: “I know John Grisham . . . and Brad’s no John Grisham!”
James Frey did not attend but was reportedly thrilled to hear the event was about somebody else.
It was hard for me to watch. I grew up in South Florida, not far from Meltzer, and we have a lot in common. We used to shop at the same comic-book store in Davie, a place where we picked up a lot of girls, which is totally 100% actual truth except for that 50% there at the end. Both of us consider “Superman vs. Muhammad Ali” to be the pinnacle of American pop culture and, well, we’re right. We also deeply enjoy the sound of our own voices.
The writer meeting ended with the drafting of a press release which hit this morning, April 1st, which, in a sad twist, happens to be Meltzer’s 40th birthday. (Yeah, I know, he does look much older, doesn’t he?) I’ve pasted a copy of the statement below and all of the comments are actually from the authors as stated. They are some heavy hitters but that’s what you get when you have a world-class pinata like Meltzer….
World’s Top Writers Hate Brad Meltzer
Scott Turow, Junot Diaz, David Baldacci, and Others Unite to Petition Bestselling Author Brad Meltzer to Give Up Writing Forever
April 1, 2010, Miami, Florida. Last night, at the annual meeting of the Writer’s Club, a petition was circulated requesting that New York Times bestselling thriller writer Brad Meltzer no longer be allowed to practice the fine art of writing. To that end, Meltzer should no longer be permitted to possess a pen, a pencil or, of course, a keyboard.
In support of the petition, the following sworn testimonies, all written by the authors themselves, were delivered at Thursday night’s meeting (and in no way did this have anything to do with today being the 40th birthday of Meltzer, or the fact he was born on April 1).
“For the sheer level of purple prose, inept plotting, snotty-nosed characters and the overall pathetic quality of his entire oeuvre, Meltzer stands alone. He is our Lincoln of crappy fiction. Happy 40th Birthday, Brad, and save some trees.” – David Baldacci
“Brad’s writing is both good and original. However, what is good is not original and what is original is not good.” – Nelson DeMille
“I want to congratulate Brad on turning 40. For years, after all, I’ve been saying that he writes like an 8-year-old.” – Nicholas Sparks
“I don’t really have time to waste on a guy who single-handedly lowered the level of the political thriller to zero. Basically, Brad Meltzer sucks out loud.” – Nora Roberts
“Whilst on the toilet, there is simply nothing better than the collected works of Brad Meltzer. Not to read, mind you, but to wipe with.” – Damon Lindelof, co-creator, “Lost“
“Mr. Meltzer’s latest novel — a dengue stew of imbecilic fatuities — makes a reader wish reading had never been invented — or, for that matter, Brad Meltzer.” – Junot Diaz
“When it comes to writing great thrillers, Brad Meltzer has a nice personality.” – Harlan Coben
“I know John Grisham . . . and Brad’s no John Grisham!” – Scott Turow
“I can’t say enough about Brad’s latest book. I used it to weigh down a trash can lid that kept blowing off — and it did a better job than any book I tried before. Five stars!” – R.L. Stine
“Brad Meltzer is the Hemingway of the thriller genre. And by that, I mean he’s maladjusted, paranoid and a drunk.” – A.J. Jacobs
“As Wonder Woman’s writerly alter ego, all I can offer as a birthday challenge is that my DC character could kick the butt of any of his DC characters. Game on, Brad!” – Jodi Picoult
“Meltzer’s writing…is…a roller coaster ride…for my gag reflex…” – Patton Oswalt
“From his first novel, “the Tenth Justice,” to his more recent novels, “The Book of Fate” and “The Book of Lies,” fans have watched as Meltzer’s characters have matured and aged appropriately. It is a shame, therefore, that the same cannot be said of the author himself, who continues to be fixated on comic books and has yet to introduce sex and drugs into his supposedly more adult-themed work.” – Jamie Raab, Meltzer’s publisher and editor
“Happy birthday to the best novelist ever to grace the medium of comics with his presence. Well, after Michael Chabon. And Jonathan Lethem, I guess. Oh, and Stephen King now too. And what’s the name of that one crime writer who did that thing? Anyway, Brad is almost definitely in the top 20. Top 40, easily.” – Brian K. Vaughan
“Oh God, Meltzer again. I’m not 100% sure that the drivel this wretched ex-catamite produces is bad for Western civilisation, but I know it’s bad for me.” – Garth Ennis
“Meltzer has packed more clichés, hackneyed plot twists and feeble-minded characterizations into his relatively short, but bewilderingly uninterrupted career than most writers find possible in a lifetime. The damage he’s done to comics, an art form he purports to love, is incalculable, and will take generations to repair.” – Phil Hester
“Meltzer just swims around in the comic book muck and produces the most astounding work of slimy residue that can be found off the bottom of my shoe!” – J. H. Williams III
“I get along with Brad very well, but the way he treats his public is appalling. It’s one thing to read chapters from a new book at a store signing, it’s another for that book to be ‘The History of Dirt.'”- John Cassaday
“Happy 40th to the guy that made Doctor Light radioactive!” – Geoff Johns
“It’s clear with ‘Identity Crisis,’ Brad was working out some serious personal issues. Hope it’s all resolved and wishing him a very happy birthday!” – Dan DiDio
“I’ve never actually read anything by Brad Meltzer, but I told him I had when we met. I was like “I’m a huge fan” and then I realized when I got back to my hotel room that this wasn’t actually the guy who wrote “The DaVinci Code.” Can’t believe I wasted a whole night at the Eisners talking to him about Superman’s dad or whatever. But happy birthday, I guess.” – Ed Brubaker
“Brad Meltzer writes as if telling a suspenseful story, grounding it in emotional truth, and grandly entertaining the audience is all that matters in contemporary fiction. Until he writes solely for the critics who govern the so-called literary establishment, Meltzer will have to content himself with merely selling millions of books and making millions of devoted readers deliriously happy.” – Allan Heinberg
“Dear Brad, I’ll never forget what a joy it was to meet you at the White House Breakfast. I was just sad that it had to end so soon. Honestly, in retrospect, letting the Secret Service know you’d made it into the building and within shooting distance of the president, again, might have been a mistake. I should have waited until you’d finished your coffee.” – Neil Gaiman
“Brad has labored mightily to add verisimilitude to comics, bringing sex crimes, paranoia and twisting characters older than he is claiming to make the stories more suspenseful. Hate to tell you, but some of us liked our comics sweet and harmless. (And by the way, Superman’s not real…but if he was, he’d be there to blow out your birthday candles with you.)” – Paul Levitz
“To Brad, who completely ruined for all time my utterly brilliant and subtly defined character. I worked so very hard to create a sociable, well-meaning mercenary for hire who just happened to kill thousands of people (they deserved dying so dispatching them was a godsend), had sex with a 15-year-old chick who smoked and wore revealing lingerie (like duh, of course she was asking for it), turned his oldest son over to a villainous group which then sent him on a mission to his death (first-born kids are always a problem) and shot his youngest son in the throat, robbing him of the ability to speak (and needless to say, if he could speak he would have been asking for it too). And what did you do? You turned this Fozzie Bear of a sweetheart into a bad guy. You shouldn’t be having a birthday. You should be paying for the evil you’ve done.” — Marv Wolfman
“Meltzer’s run on Green Arrow was an absolute abomination! I invited him to the party solely because of the numbers I knew he’d bring… Face it Brad… we’re both whores.” – Bob Schreck
“I recall one night I got a frantic email from Brad saying that if I didn’t learn how to draw faster I’d be “visited.” Needless to say, I learned not to mess with someone who has connections in Washington. Now every time I see a certified letter from the IRS or some such, I piddle just a bit. Many more happy returns, old man!” – Rags Morales
“Whenever people talk about Brad, they always (and rightfully so) focus primarily on his immense talent. But for me, it’s Brad Meltzer the man that I always like to take note of first. His incredible generosity, his loyal nature and his ability to make you feel like you’ve known him for your entire life though you’ve just met for the first time. It’s those kinds of things that make Brad truly stand out in this fast-food, attention-deficit, disposable world we live in. I for one will never forget when, without too much arm-twisting, Brad very kindly sent me a copy of his latest novel, “Book of Lies.” As thrilled as I was by this incredible show of friendship and camaraderie, nothing prepared me for the thrill of the inscription that waited inside.“To Paul Levitz.
Best. Brad Meltzer.” — Paul Levitz
Happy birthday, Brad!!!” – Joe Quesada
When reached for comment, Meltzer’s wife, Cori, said, “Happy 40th to my favorite April Fool.”