And a couple more books

SELLING SATAN: The Tragic History of Mike Warnke by Mike Hertenstein and Jon Trott recounts the authors’ investigation into Warnke, a legend in Christian pop culture as the author of Satan Seller, a story about his pre-Christian years as a Satanic high priest, and then as an evangelical stand-up comic. Investigating years of rumors, the authors discover none of his stories about human sacrifice, near-death (“My girlfriend deliberately dosed me with four times the heroin I was used to.”), getting shot in ‘nam, Freedom Riding and attending Satanic ceremonies with Charles Manson held up under five minutes scrutiny (to say nothing of the familiar church scandals of adultery and tapping donations for a luxury lifestyle). The reporter-authors being evangelicals themselves, this often has an odd feel to it, from sections where they consult the Bible to decide of an exposé is the right way to deal with a brother in Christ, or taking it as a given that Satan is indeed alive and well on planet Earth (there’s also their cockeyed description of HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos) but there’s a lot in this that’s familiar too: Corruption, resistance to exposing corruption (whether out of loyalty, personal gain and rationalization), the ability of scam artists to fool all the people for some of the time (Warnke’s original book was often cited by secular sources during the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s as Proof These Things Happen). The book is so dry for such a sensational story I find myself wondering if the authors felt that was more in keeping with a Christian approach (or it may be it’s just because I’d never heard of Warnke before), though I can’t fault them for that—and certainly nobody can accuse them of making up scenes or details just to liven things up (which is a plus).
I’ve never been a big fan of Grant Morrison’s Batman run or his Final Crisis and the sequel to both—BATMAN: The Return of Bruce Wayne—doesn’t inspire me to reassess. As a fail-safe for Darkseid’s Big and Evil Plan in Final Crisis, the supposedly Bruce is now bouncing through time having historical adventures with the Black Pirate, Vandal Savage and Jonah Hex, unaware that when he reaches the 21st century, Darkseid’s primed him to be a living bomb. Stock time-travel stuff and the solution is pure technobabble.

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7 responses to “And a couple more books

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