Finished Wizzywig Graphic Novel Finally To Be Released

Long time readers and listeners know I am a tremendous fan of Ed Piskor’s story about a fictional hacker, Kevin “BoingThump” Phenicle, clearly inspired by real life hackers and events that figure largely in modern computer mythology.

I wrote previously about how Ed decided after finishing volume three of a planned four parts to go back and re-work all of the material so far and release a single, more finished volume containing the entire story rather than completing the final installment. He very generously posted his progress as a regular web comic for those unfamiliar with the work at the point or fans, like me, interested in following his progress.

I was thrilled to get an email from Ed the other day.

For the past few years, I’ve been retooling/reediting, and finishing the Wizzywig graphic novel and it’s finally being released this coming July, I’m happy to report.

Originally I had the idea to self publish a 4 volume series to tell the complete story. I was able to self publish 3 volumes on my own. I started to imagine how the complete story would read as a cohesive unit, so instead of doing a 4th volume I decided to work with a publisher, Top Shelf Productions, to make this graphic novel possible.

Now, I’m able to bring the complete work to you, as a handsome, hardcover book, for the same price-point as volume 4 would have been. The printing is top notch. The design is meticulous. AND, I had great editors who helped fix all of my typos, bad commas, nonsensical and redundant phrasing, etc.

The book will be a well produced object, but, of course, you can read the entire story in its unedited form here for free.

You can check out the TopShelf page for the forthcoming book or, for those outside the US, you may be interested in the Amazon page which will probably be a little cheaper.

TCLP 2010-09-22 Interview: Ed Piskor

This is a feature cast, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

In the intro, a heads up that changes are coming on two to three weeks as I complete the migration of my podcast production to Linux. A will announce a firm date once I have one and give a better run down of the potential impacts to the listener, hopefully minimal. Also, a clarification on the giveaway of the CD Randy gave me. All you need to do is email me between now and the end of the month and say you’d like the CD. If I get more than one response, I’ll pick one at random. Lastly, I have signed copies of the first two volumes of Ed’s graphic novel, WIZZYWIG. The next person to qualify for a custom nerd merit badge, whether they have one already or not, gets the books.

There is no new hacker word of the week this week.

The feature this week is the interview I recorded with Ed Piskor at the Small Press Expo. In the interview we mention Nedroid (that’s the beartato), 2600, Off the Hook, Ed’s talk at HOPE, the documentary “Freedom Downtime“, Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes, Charles Burns, and Tommy Blacha creator and write of Metalocalypse.


View the detailed show notes online. You can grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Small Press Expo

As long time readers may know, I have been a big fan of Ed Piskor since I became aware of his graphic novel in progress, WIZZYWIG. When he wrote about his decision to re-work the three volumes so far and release the completed story as one volume, I determined to contact him for an interview. We corresponded over the Summer and settled on the Small Press Expo as a convenient venue. As much as I would have loved to go to HOPE to interview him there, Dragon*Con pretty much soaked my remaining travel budget for the year. As it happens, the Small Press Expo is literally ten minutes from my house.

After some confusion at the registration line yesterday, I made my way into the ridiculously crowded show floor to find Ed. The exhibit tables were packed into a medium sized ball room but easily could have more comfortably fit into a space twice as large. I made my way through the entire set of tables until I found Ed at pretty much the last table I checked.

We had a fantastic discussion, a solid hour of audio, which I look forward very much to sharing in a couple of weeks. We also got a pretty good stream of folks coming and going from the expo to watch as we chatted. There is a break in the audio that I may leave intact where both of our trains of thought are derailed by a larger group. I have to thank Ed for being so generous with his time especially as he was working at the expo, selling copies of his books.

After I walked back to Ed’s table, I did one more circuit around the show floor looking for artists I know. A couple of the web comics I read had mentioned in the week prior they would be at the show. The only one I found was David Malki of Wondermark. He is an incredibly nice guy and was very indulgent as I gushed about his work. I was instantly taken with the set of books produced by Dark Horse collecting his work. They are absolutely gorgeous and overflowing with extra content and gags in the same vein as the comic itself. I picked up the first hard cover volume, which David signed, along with a few new stickers to adorn my laptop. I will definitely be picking up the other hard cover volumes from his site and look forward to his new book, “Machine of Death“.

The most surprising thing about the book is how much my wife enjoyed it. Malki’s humor can easily be described as surreal though at times that would be an understatement. I thought it might be too much for her sense of humor but seeing the tears streaming down her face from laughter just a few pages in, I knew I had misjudged her appreciation of the absurd. Or underestimated Malki’s ability to appeal more broadly. My desire to acquire his other books is now at least as strongly driven by Andrea’s desire to catch up with the web comic as my own desire to enjoy the extra flourishes he installs in the print version.

I could have spent more time on the show floor or even checked out more of the programming at the Expo but was still feeling burned out from Dragon*Con. If Ed returns to the Expo next year, which seems likely, I may plan a longer day trip to not only catch up with him again but to absorb more of what the world of web comics has to offer.

First Chapter of Rewritten Hacker Graphic Novel Complete

I enjoyed the original three volumes of Ed Piskor’s well researched and lovingly crafted graphic novel, Wizzywig. When I read a few months ago that instead of producing the conclusion as originally planned, Piskor was going to re-work those volumes improving the art and story telling then release everything as a single printed book, I was far from dismayed. I very much respect the courage it took for him to respond to constructive criticism in such a positive way. I’ll happily add the completed story to my book shelf next to the original version.

As part of the re-work, Ed has been posting a couple of the updated pages a week as a web comic. That’s a very savvy move as he’s more likely to attract new readers and hence potential buyers for the final book when its complete. He also just collected the first quarter of the story into a convenient download, in either CBR or PDF version. I think that is another clever move, giving potential readers more ways to enjoy the work how they want and hopefully then follow along for the rest of the story as he re-vamps and finishes it. I am especially pleased that both the new web site for the pages as web comic and the collected first chapter are now under a Creative Commons license enabling fans, like me, to more easily share Ed’s work.

Oh, and if you are curious about Ed, he’s posted a ton of video material lately that informed Wizzywig and his talk from HOPE about his experience working on the book. I am also planning on interviewing him early in September as he’ll be in town for the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD.

Chapter 1 is Complete, Wizzywig Comics by Ed Piskor

An Update on the Final Volume of Piskor’s “Wizzywig”

Being ever interested in the history of hackerdom and in hacker culture, it is hardly surprising that I am an immense fan of Ed Piskor’s series of comic books, “Wizzywig“. I was delighted to be one of some unknown number of folks to whom Piskor sent a personal note explaining that he has decided to go back to the start of the already published first three books (out of a planned four) to re-work and improve them. Rather than publishing volume four, when he has completed the series, he will publish the full story in a single volume.

The whole endeavor will take at least a year to complete so I decided to serialize my progess at Retooled pages will appear every Sunday and Wednesday until the full story is online. About 150 pages worth. I hope you check it out from time to time and I strongly encourage any feedback. It will be much sharper and tighter than the existing work and I feel more comfortable writing in my own voice which should create a richer, less verbose, and better reading experience.

One of my earliest observations when “Wizzywig” first came to my attention was that Piskor should have released some of the work for free to make it easier to figure out if the print books are worth buying (which I totally think they are.) My esteem for Piskor jumped immensely when he released volumes 1 and 2 for free. He’d also started experimenting with releasing excerpts then full pages of his work in progress. The fact that he has crafted a new site specifically for the rework and will be releasing twice a week as a webcomic thrills me no end.

Piskor has crafted an excellent complementary good to the print edition. Regular, free releases keep enthusiasm for the work up as he makes progress towards his goal. It is easily shareable to introduce new readers and stands apart from the finished product, providing a very different but supplemental reading experience. There is an added dimension of transparency that I also respect immensely. Piskor is putting the improvement of his craft and his story telling on display as much as the engaging story itself.

If you’ve read the printed volumes or haven’t but are curious about the story of a mythical Ur-hacker, Kevin “Boingthump” Phenical, especially Piskor’s very distinctive way of telling it, go subscribe to the feed at the new site. While your at it, mark your calendar about a year out because I can guarantee the finished printed story will be a worthy edition to your library.