Saturday, May 26, 2012

Columbia reporter co-authors comic book about Alvin Greene

Posted by Paul Bowers on Sat, May 26, 2012 at 5:03 AM

Alvin Greene's 2010 run for the U.S. Senate was one of the biggest head-scratchers in the history of South Carolina politics. How did a political nobody from Manning secure 100,000 votes to win the Democratic nomination with no money, no people skills, and no formal campaign? Was he a Republican stooge paid to ensure that the Senate seat went to Tea Party poster boy Jim DeMint? Was this guy just off his rocker?

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Now the whole Greene saga has taken comic book form as The Accidental Candidate: The Rise and Fall of Alvin Greene, now available for iPhone and iPad. Corey Hutchins, a reporter at the Columbia alt-weekly newspaper Free Times, co-wrote the book with David Axe, a graphic novelist and war correspondent whose previous work includes War Is Boring: Bored Stiff, Scared to Death in the World's Worst War Zones.

As you might recall, Greene already had a comic book written about him, albeit a slightly unrealistic one. Released in November 2010, Ultimate Warrior re-imagined him as a superhero who used his special powers to help families who were facing foreclosure. The Accidental Candidate, on the other hand, is largely based on interviews that Hutchins conducted with Greene and other politicos involved in the whole bizarre saga.

Together with illustrator Blue Delliquanti, Hutchins and Axe take a fresh look at Greene's time in the national spotlight, from start to finish — including the pornography charges, the comic book, and the abortive run for the presidency.

As political stories go, this one was solid gold. "There were allegations of voter fraud," Hutchins says. "There were allegations that the election was rigged, that the voting machines we use in South Carolina were rigged, and it's a story that, as it transpired, hit every — how can i put this — basically hit every kind of reverberating note that you'd want in a story like this. It had race, it had sex — he had a federal pornography charge — it had allegations of election fraud, allegations of bank fraud, political malfeasance, or alleged political malfeasance anyway."

Looking back, having written thousands upon thousands of words about Greene and the theories about his candidacy, Hutchins says he doesn't believe there was a grand conspiracy to put him on the ballot. "Basically what it came down to, after doing a lot of work on it, was that this really was a guy who wanted to run for office for a long time," Hutchins says. "And he had the money to do it, which he got from his time in the Army, and he really believed he could do it — and he did, and it was kind of a fluke. And I think it showed the apathy of voters in this country."

The Accidental Candidate will be available in paperback form in the first week of June, and a Kindle edition will be available a week later.

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