[Our Story So Far: Aspiring litterateur Bob Levin anxiously awaits public reaction to MOST OUTRAGEOUS, his saga of HUSTLER cartoonist and accused incest perpetrator Dwaine Tinsley. The first review is fine. But what other shoes may fall???]
Responses trickled in. Mostly it was kind words from comic bloggers for my past work ("Love the guy," "One of the best") with some apprehension about my latest choice of subject matter ("Repellant"). My hometown free weekly devoted one paragraph to noting the book’s existence – while withholding any judgment; but Tom Spurgeon, my former editor and – moment of full disclosure – by now, friend, called it "elegant" and "unforgettable," prefacing an interview with me. See: http://www.comicshttp://www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/cr_sunday_interview_bob_levin/
My sit-up-and-spill-the-coffee moment, however, occurred when my publisher forwarded the tear slip of a review that referred to OUTRAGEOUS as a page-turner of true crime, investigative reporting that ought to be a Lifetime movie. Glorioski, I thought, that’ll sure widen my audience. I wondered if Bill Murray’s career was in sufficient decline to play my part. Even better, the author was a three-initialed someone at WGN.net. Zounds, I thought, World’s freaking-Greatest Newspaper. The previously immune-to-my-charms L.A. and N.Y. TIMESes, seemed dominoes that must fall. I calculated the talk shows on which I would appear and those I would refuse.
But I couldn’t tell if the review came from the Chicago TRIBUNE itself, its TV arm, or another branch of its media empire. And something about the syntax bothered me. ("Maybe it’s a rough draft," Adele said.) Fortunately, an e-mail address made inquiry possible.
My reviewer turned out to be a guy in Westwood, named Rich, who had been drawn to HUSTLER "as a horny teenager in the 1970s." He had precisely nothing to do with the TRIB, except to have set its teeth gnashing by registering its signature initials for his own Internet site, where he freely opined about movies, plays, TV shows, and whatever else caught his fancy.
But he loved the book and can’t wait for my next one.
Causes Bob Levin Supports
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, ACLU, PEN, Berkeley Emergency Food & Housing Project.