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Wizzywig Hardcover – July 17, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Piskor’s saga of Kevin Boingthump Phenicle, an invented character gene-spliced from various real-life hackers, began as a series of self-published books, was serialized online, and is now a graphic novel handsomely packaged with a Mac Classic cover and Apple-fied Top Shelf logo. In fractured, single-page strips and longer, stretched-out scenes, Boingthump begins as a clever adolescent in the ’70s with a knack for tinkering just below the surface of legality and an insatiable curiosity for new technology (he’s more that lost breed of dissidence, the phone phreaker, than the sort of hacker we associate with the term today). Without much malicious intent, though, he winds up on the FBI’s hit list, goes into hiding when a hysterical Geraldo type whips the public into a fear frenzy, and inspires a backlash among underground figures waging a battle for digital freedom. Piskor’s accomplished, alt-comics-style art will be familiar from his collaborations with Harvey Pekar. Like Pekar’s work, this solo outing is a story of endearing subversiveness, exposing the forgotten marginalia of society. --Ian Chipman

About the Author

Ed Piskor (1982) is an alternative cartoonist living and drawing out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a former student of the Kubert Schooland is best known for his artistic collaboration withunderground comicspioneersHarvey Pekar, his graphic novelWizzywig, and his blockbuster seriesHip Hop Family Tree.Piskor is revered for his combination of golden age drawing style and smart storytelling.The Washington Postonce said that "Piskor is able to render a world that resonates as truth." Currently, he is knee deep in drawing the next book in theHip Hop Family Treefive-volume series.

Ed Piskor (1982) is an alternative cartoonist living and drawing out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a former student of the Kubert Schooland is best known for his artistic collaboration withunderground comicspioneersHarvey Pekar, his graphic novelWizzywig, and his blockbuster seriesHip Hop Family Tree.Piskor is revered for his combination of golden age drawing style and smart storytelling.The Washington Postonce said that "Piskor is able to render a world that resonates as truth." Currently, he is knee deep in drawing the next book in theHip Hop Family Treefive-volume series.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions (July 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603090975
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603090971
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I happened to find this on sale and bought it on a whim. I could not put this down. The story-telling is extremely well done and fluid, the art has this simple, vintage cartoon-ish, superior quality to it. Ed Piskor has an amazing ability to tell a story with the combination of his art and writing techniques. The story is captivating, one that blends a lot of real-life events into one fictional character. The reader follows that character through most of his young and early adult life. The brilliant part of Ed's handling of a hacker story, is that he explains how a lot of hacks work, without getting so involved that it looses the reader. It just makes the story much more interesting (and clearly, Ed has a good understanding of how a lot of these real-life hacks actually work. He doesn't just make up some techie sounding words and some BS technology that has never existed). Great buy, I recommended this to some friends the day I finished it. Ed is now on my list of comic creators to keep an eye out for.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, the downside in my view: This book combines the real life stories of several different hackers. If the reader are an expert in hacking history, you can see where certain specific people's stories are coming through in the text, but if, like me, you don't know those stories, this book will be slightly harder to approach. The story being told is fairly unbelievable so it loses a certain amount of value for being fictionalized. I would be curious to know what inspired Mr. Piskor to avoid doing a straightforward comics biography or series of non-fiction biographies. Interestingly, his next project, "Hip Hop Family Tree"*, is exactly that, and I will be keeping my eyes out for it.

Besides that one criticism that I have, this comic book is great comics -- which is to say that the art, pacing, layouts, "interludes" in alternative drawing styles, design, etc etc are all top notch.

If you like this book, you would probably enjoy checking out the works of Piskor's fellow Pittsburghers Brian Maruca and Jim Rugg (Afrodisiac and Street Angel). There's a similar sort of aesthetic coming out of their works.

*Hip Hop Family Tree can be read at the popular blog Boing Boing. It will also be released as a book sometime soonish by Fantagraphics.
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By Alt on August 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
When he isn't being beaten by bullies, Kevin "Boingthump" Phenicle Jr. spends his nerdish childhood inventing scams that lead to free pizzas and bus rides. In an era when personal computers are just starting to become popular, Kevin graduates from phone phreaking to computer hacking. He's one of the first creators of a (harmless) computer virus and goes on to have an occasionally lucrative, often lonely underground career, followed by a half-decade of pretrial detention. The number of ways Kevin finds to game the system is fascinating, while his experience behind bars is terrifying.

We're told that Boingthump is a composite of various phone phreaks and hackers. To that extent, his story is familiar, but it's nonetheless compelling drama. I'm impressed by the creative way the story is told. Sometimes Kevin is seen through the eyes of neighbors and friends, family members, and hackers who are apparently being interviewed, as if for a documentary. Part of the story is told by the host of a radio show looking back on Kevin's (pre-arrest) life. Sometimes we see slices of the lives surrounding or observing Kevin's. The attention to detail is remarkable.

Intelligence is an attribute too often missing from graphic novels. Ed Piskor offers a smart take on self-appointed television vigilantes who sensationalize stories to boost their ratings, and on federal law enforcement officers who give more attention to crimes against corporations than to crimes committed by corporations. Apart from its intelligence, the story is emotionally resonant. It's rare to read a graphic novel that's both moving and thought-provoking. I don't often write rave reviews, but Wizzywig blew me away. It's one of the best graphic novels I've read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you've read much about computer enthusiasts back when computing was rare, you'll recognize some of the tales told in this story. It's a fictionalized amalgam of different famous hacker stories, tied into a narrative. Wizzywig is the name of the hero of the story, a guy who can't stop finding ways to beat the systems placed in front of him. From scamming pizza to stealing phone calls to rigging radio contests, Wizzywig can't help himself and it sometimes gets him into trouble. The story is fun, if somewhat depressing sometimes. The artwork is clean and visually interesting.

The book cover is also cool, looking like an old Mac. It looks cool on your shelf. Recommended, especially for people with an interest in the computing of the 70s and 80s.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is what you need to know about this book: I had intended to chip away at reading this graphic novel over a week or so, and instead tore through it in one sitting.

"Wizzywig" is a story about a child prodigy hacker, who keeps getting into more and more trouble. If you enjoyed movies like "WarGames or "Hackers," the subject matter is going to appeal to you. That's not to say that this is a "large" story - it's very much the story of the main character, and it's a compelling story. I liked the art, I liked the story, I can't wait to read Ed Piskor's next collected story.

Also, extra points for the packaging on this volume. The cover might look plain as a digital image, but the actual book looks like it was plucked out of my grade school computer lab.
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