A for Anonymous: How a Mysterious Hacker Collective Transformed the World

David Kushner and Koren Shadmi. Bold Type, $15.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-56858-878-0
Opening with the promise of investigative panache, this slim graphic report on the international hacker collective Anonymous unfortunately devolves into unquestioned preachiness in the later third. The narrative is structured around an interview New Yorker reporter Kushner (Rise of the Dungeon Master) did with a reclusive hacker known as Commander X, who eagerly chats Kushner through the leaderless resistance group’s credos about fighting tyranny and oppression before he outlines the group’s history. Rooted in the early Texas “hacktivist” collective Cult of the Dead Cow, Anonymous originated as a crew of online pranksters on the forum 4chan who made their bones causing mischief for the Church of Scientology. After crafting their brand of darkly ironic ominousness, with Guy Fawkes masks and doom-laden pronouncements—sketched here by Shadmi with appropriately sharp, bold lines, mixing realistic art and some cartoonish representations—Anonymous sprawled worldwide, targeting broad bad sorts, from student rapists in Steubenville, Ohio, to the Tunisian dictatorship. Enthusiasm quickly outran judiciousness in many cases, as when Anonymous’s intervention into the Ferguson riots resulted in innocent people being doxxed and targeted without pause to verify their presumed connection to the police shooting that kicked off the protests. This short, pungent history of the online protest phenomenon simulates its anarchically idealistic spread, but stops short of nuanced consideration of the big questions about tech vigilantes and ethics that it raises. Agent: David McCormick, McCormick Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/03/2020
Release date: 03/31/2020
Genre: Comics
Hardcover - 128 pages - 978-1-56858-879-7
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