Wizzywig: nostalgia hacker comic


I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first two volumes of Ed Piskor’s
comic-book historical hacker drama, Wizzywig. Wizzywig is the story of
Kevin “Boingthump” Phenicle, a fictional hacker who’s part Mitnick,
part Poulsen, and part mythological. Boingthump is a preternaturally
bright, badly socialized kid who discovers a facility for technology
that’s egged on by his only pal, “Winston Smith,” a would-be Abbie
Hoffman who is obsessed with the potential to use Boingthump’s
discoveries to monkeywrench the machine.

But soon enough, their roles are reversed, as Kevin’s relentless
pursuit of knowledge and power scares Winston so much that he tries
(without success) to put the brakes on Boingthump’s crazy ride through
the phone system and the nascent Internet. The story blends fiction and
fact, dropping in a Blue Box-selling Jobs and Wozniak (Boingthump picks
the trunk-lock on their car and steals a Blue Box) and Cap’n Crunch,
along with plenty of fictional BBS scenesters and grumpy computer-store
owners. The backgrounds are filled with nostalgia PCs — Atari 400s,
Apple ///s — and old Bellcore manuals.


The illustration and storytelling style reminds me a lot of Harvey
Pekar (with whom he’s collaborated on American Splendor), jumping
backwards and forwards in time, switching points of view, going inside
and outside of the characters’ heads. The first two volumes are PHREAK
and HACKER, with two more (FUGITIVE and INMATE) planned. Piskor prints
and sells the comics himself (the books are quite handsome) and he’s
got extensive free previews online. At $15 each, with all the money
going straight into the creator’s pocket, what’s not to like?

Wizzywig volume 1: PHREAK,

WIZZYWIG VOLUME#2: HACKER

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