Novelist and comics writer Brad Meltzer ("Identity Crisis") has had his detractors over the years, and as the internet is the natural habitat of hateration, we've seen most of the criticisms about his work coming from message boards or bloggers -- but as would be expected, very little public vitriol from his fellow creators.

That all changed today, as we received a press release informing us that a formal petition had been circulated at the recent annual meeting of the Writer's Club "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."

It's unclear exactly what prompted this sudden professional backlash, but it goes very wide and very deep, with both top-tier comics creators like Geoff Johns, Neil Gaiman, Ed Brubaker, and Garth Ennis and novelists like R.L. Stine, Nora Roberts, and David Baldacci adding their names to the petition. Sadly, the announcement of the petition also happens to coincide with Meltzer's 40th birthday -- a celebration that is now more likely to taste like the bitter ash of betrayal by his friends and colleagues than the sweet, delicious flavor of ice cream cake.

ComicsAlliance has the text of the testimonies that were offered in support of the petition, many of which seem surprisingly callous, even going so far as to include taunting birthday wishes alongside vicious condemnations of his work. See for yourself:

"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

"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

"Oh God, Meltzer again. I'm not 100% sure that the drivel this wretched ex-catamite produces is bad for western civilization, but I know it's bad for me."
- Garth Ennis

"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"

"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 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

"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 f--king dad or whatever. But Happy Birthday, I guess."
-Ed Brubaker

"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

"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

"Happy 40th to the guy that made Doctor Light radioactive!"
- Geoff Johns

"Meltzer just swims around in the comicbook muck and produces the most astounding work of slimy residue that can be found off the bottom of my shoe!"
- J.H. Williams III

"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 twenty. Top forty, easily."
- Brian K. Vaughan

"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

"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

"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

"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 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

"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 incredibly show of frien
dship and camaraderie, nothing prepared me for the thrill of the inscription that waited inside.

'To Paul Levitz.


Brad Meltzer.'

Happy Birthday, Brad!!!"
-Joe Quesada

When reached for comment, Meltzer's wife, Cori, said, "Happy 40th to my favorite April Fool."