(DAILY CALLER by Jamie Weinstein) Get ready for an Alvin Greene comic book. Another one.
Greene, the unlikely and entirely bizarre Democratic challenger to Republican Sen. Jim DeMint in South Carolina in 2010, released a superhero themed comic book after his failed Senate bid. In the comic book, Greene's embarrassing past was apparently whitewashed to portray him as a modern day mix of Robin Hood and Superman. Now, two reporters are out with a new comic book that tells the real Alvin Greene story, warts and all.
Actually, Columbia Free Times reporter Corey Hutchins and freelance reporter David Axe prefer to call "the Accidential Candidate: The Rise and Fall of Alvin Greene" a graphic novel, which Hutchins says just sounds "so much more grown up and literary." And this is certainly no hagiography like the last Greene comic book. Did you ever want to see the story of Alvin Greene showing pornography to a college student depicted graphically in cartoonish form? If so, you're in luck. With the help of illustrator Blue Delliquanti, the scene appears all its glory in Hutchins and Axe's masterpiece.
You may be asking yourself, why would anyone spend so much time and effort producing an Alvin Greene comic book? Hutchins, South Carolina Press Association's journalist of the year, told The Daily Caller Greene's tale simply demanded it.
"I grew up watching the X-Files and related to Mulder more than Scully. Life is more interesting when there's a conspiracy behind everything. The Alvin Greene story was set up just for that," he said.
"Did the Republicans and Jim DeMint's C-Street gang put this guy up to run and then leak his federal obscenity charge to the press after he won? Were the voting machines hacked by an underworld Blackwater-type crack team of professional election riggers? Where did an unemployed Army vet get $10,000 to blow on a crapshoot primary? Who was the mysterious woman who came out of nowhere to live with and 'advise' Alvin, but ended up becoming a PR nightmare for him? Why did one of Alvin's elderly rural neighbors pull me aside behind his truck one day and hiss in my ear that 'Something ain't right'? Those were all valid questions and led down any rabbit hole you chose to dive in. The book places them in context with what really happened."
See TheDC's full interview with Hutchins about his comic book, where Greene is today and whether we may see Greene run for president sometime soon:
So, a comic book on Alvin Greene? Seriously?
I prefer to call it a graphic novel. It just sounds so much more grown up and literary, doesn't it? But seriously, even two years after the Alvin Greene saga turned South Carolina into another national punchline, people were asking whether this stranger-than-fiction story was a comedy or a tragedy. Maybe we helped answer that with the publishing format?
What are the most interesting things you discovered researching the book?
I grew up watching the X-Files and related to Mulder more than Scully. Life is more interesting when there's a conspiracy behind everything. The Alvin Greene story was set up just for that. Did the Republicans and Jim DeMint's C-Street gang put this guy up to run and then leak his federal obscenity charge to the press after he won? Were the voting machines hacked by an underworld Blackwater-type crack team of professional election riggers? Where did an unemployed Army vet get $10,000 to blow on a crapshoot primary? Who was the mysterious woman who came out of nowhere to live with and "advise" Alvin, but ended up becoming a PR nightmare for him? Why did one of Alvin's elderly rural neighbors pull me aside behind his truck one day and hiss in my ear that "Something ain't right?" Those were all valid questions and led down any rabbit hole you chose to dive in. The book places them in context with what really happened.
He grew up in a small, rural town in South Carolina. His mom died when he was a kid. His brother was very sick. Alvin was teased at school because he was so quiet. They called him "Turtle." But he graduated high school and from the University of South Carolina with a degree in political science. He was kicked out of the Army for basically not being up to speed. He's just painfully awkward in social settings.
To ask a question I never thought I would: Was it a challenge to artfully depict in comic book form Greene showing pornography to a college student?
Writing the scene was difficult because we just had to go on what the victim said. Alvin says it didn't exactly happen like that, but he never wanted to talk about it in detail. A one-time campaign adviser kind of described it in an editorial board meeting with a newspaper once, but it was still sketchy. Alvin eventually got pre-trial intervention for the charge after his media blitz died down. The artist - that's Blue Delliquanti, who lives in Atlanta - told me that drawing the scene made her nervous because of the adult nature of it, but also she said because it was based on an indirect account. Figuring out how to tastefully depict a porn site on a computer screen in one panel was way less nerve-wracking than figuring out how to show both individuals realistically and fairly, she said. She told me she could put herself in Camille McCoy's shoes, having encountered "skeevy situations" as a college student herself, but she also said that Alvin is so enigmatic that it was hard to pin him down as malicious or just clueless.
You seem sympathetic to Vic Rawl's argument in the book that the Democratic primary was rigged for Greene. Do you believe that? If not, how do you think Greene won the primary?
Oh, no way. I don't think it was rigged. I think Alvin Greene won because the majority of the voters didn't know who he or Vic Rawl was when they voted on Election Day. More of them decided to vote for Alvin Greene than Vic Rawl. Simple as that. And boy, it was lot more votes for Greene than Rawl. A statistical anomaly. We did dedicate quite a few pages in the book to Vic Rawl's official protest of the election, which played out like a slow Southern trial, and also explored the questions surrounding South Carolina's system of electronic voting machines. But I wouldn't say I'm sympathetic to that viewpoint. I'd love to be wrong.
What is Greene doing today?
I called him a while ago when his state senator announced he was retiring, to see if Alvin had any designs on the seat. Alvin answered from the home in Manning that he shared during the campaign with his ailing father. He said he wasn't going to run for the seat. He told me "nope" six times
What is Alvin Greene's legacy? Have we seen the last of him or could we see a presidential run in the near future?
He told me once he was going to run for president, but he also told a radio host last month that he was not. There's a documentary about him called "Who is Alvin Greene," by two filmmakers from California that I suggest you check out. Toward the end he says he's working on some projects. I heard he was at one point collaborating on a graphic novel himself, but I don't know what happened with that. You know, he did publish a comic book called "The Ultimate Warrior" in which he recasts controversies from his past. For instance, in his own short comic book he's kicked out of the Army for determining there were no WMDs in Iraq, and his porn charge stems from being set up by a shadow government. He also saves families from foreclosure
Do you think Greene has the potential to become a comic book hero bigger than Superman? If not, what qualities does Superman have that he doesn't?
I'm not really into comics or superheroes, but I think I can say pretty confidently that Alvin Greene can't fly. I never saw him fly when I was covering his campaign.
Is Greene an American original? Or have we seen a candidate like him before?
One of a kind. I think in a way he represents everything that's right and wrong with America. We're told that we can be anything we want in this country. Alvin lived that. We're also told that our vote counts, that our electorate should be informed and that our politicians work for and represent us