GRAPHIC NOVELS

Wizzywig

Top Shelf Productions. Aug. 2012. c.288p. ISBN 9781603090971. $19.95. F/TECH
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Kevin "Boingthump" Phenicle can do voodoo on any phone or data system and knows enough social engineering tricks to manipulate people, too. He's not a real villain, though, just a picked-on, precocious kid starved for recognition. His crimes: phone phreaking, computer hacking, and wiretapping, for starters. Debut graphic novelist Piskor intercuts among Kevin's life story, pal Winston's attempts to ease Kevin's legal difficulties, various media commentators misrepresenting Kevin's adventures, and the word on the street from talking-head fans and enemies. The resulting cat-and-mouse saga frames Kevin as a not-so-bad guy set into a readable, tech-savvy account of how 1980s wonks could pull stunts like crashing all the phone lines on Mother's Day and rigging call-in radio contests. Indeed, Phenicle's exploits and talents are drawn from real cases.
VERDICT With heavy technology content and social-issue relevance, plus hacker and comics industry in-jokes, this is a techie's dream read, enhanced by Piskor's thorough research and judiciously unpretty black-and-white art. Recommended for computer nerds and those interested in technology history, social justice, and the human/machine interface. Sexual depictions and nudity mean this is suitable for older teens and up.
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