cover image Wizzywig


Ed Piskor. Top Shelf, $19.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-60309-097-1

In his solo graphic novel debut, Piskor does more than write a fascinating account of hacking, phone phreaking, and hi-tech hijinks. He gives us some very real insight into the peculiar motivations that define a subculture. Inspired by tales of real-life hackers like Kevin Mitnick, Piskor’s narrative follows the story of Kevin “Boingthump” Phenicle, who gets his start tapping into telephone lines as a teenager and works his way up to infiltrating the phone company and its database. At his side is his best (and indeed only) friend, Winston, who goes from helping Kevin with his hacking to defending him on the radio when Kevin is eventually caught and incarcerated. What stands out is the clarity with which Piskor is able to show us a protagonist whose mind is governed by an insatiable curiosity. Piskor also does a nice job using comics storytelling, periodically inserting radio and television broadcasts to comment on events or using an extended sequence of panels, each featuring a different character, to show the various attitudes toward his protagonist from those within and outside of the hacking subculture. Piskor superbly balances action and insight, and gives us a unique window through which to view the ingenious mind of a hacker. (July)