February 12, 2010: 7:23 pm: books

Sometime before Christmas, I got a package in the mail from Ed Piskor containing copies of the three volumes of his graphic novel series Wizzywig. It looked cool, and Ed explained in an enclosed note, that it was the tale of a hacker, Kevin Phenicle, who was sort of a compilation of many hackers including Kevin Mitnick, Kevin Poulsen and others. I posted to Twitter about receiving the books but they sat on my desk waiting for me to take the time to crack into them.

Finally this week I grabbed Volume 1: Phreak on my way out the door and read it on the bus. I tore through the novel in no time. I’m sorry waited. Wizzywig rocks. It’s a well-done tale touching on the highlights of hacker culture woven into the life of the fictional Kevin Phenicle, but recognizable to anyone familiar with the history. You’ll definitely be able to figure out which chraacter is Emmanuel Goldstein, Captain Crunch, and probably the most recognizable, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

At the end of the book Piskor includes notes, referenced by page number and panel, that give some of the background of the real events behind the parts of Phenicle’s story. With the notes, the book becomes an accessible and well-rounded introduction to hacker history. Not just that but Piskor really does a good job explaining the hacker ethos and how it’s not about vandalism, but exploration.

The illustrations are great. They reminded my very not-expert eyes of R. Crumb, but with Piskor’s own stamp. For instance, Phenicle has Little Orphan Annie eyes (he being an orphan). And backgrounds have some nice hidden gems if you’re looking close.

Overall I really enjoyed reading volume 1 and can’t wait to dive into the next two. You can pick up the first two as a free PDF from Or just head right into his store and purchase a paperbound copy. I recommend at least trying out the PDF. Piskor obviously is steeped in hacker history and is a talented artist and storyteller to boot.

January 24, 2010: 10:42 pm: books

I just ran across a piece of paper with a list of the books I read for the summer reading program at Greenville Public Library in 1980. I was surprised how little my tastes have changed. There’s a nice mix of biographies, mysteries, paranormal topics, science, geekiness, history, and sports. Here’s a list.

ESP – Daniel Cohen (Paranormal)
Fly you stupid kite fly – Charles Schulz (Comics)
Summers fly, winters walk – Schulz (Comics)
It’s hard work being bitter – Schulz (Comics)
The roller skating book – La vada wier (?)
Walter Cronkite – Paul Westman (Bio, Media)
Hank Aaron – George Sullivan (Bio, Sports)
It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown – Charles Schulz (Comics)
Prehistoric Animals – Bruno Frost (Science)
Outer Space – Robin Kerrod (Science)
International Race Car Drivers – Mark Dillon (Sports)
Danny Dunn and the Universal Globe – Jay Williams (Mystery)
The abominable Snowman – Barbara Antonopoulos (Paranormal)
Nathan Hale – Virginia Francis Voight (Bio, History)
Sam Houston – Paul Hollander (Bio, History)
Coretta Scott King – Willie Patterson (Bio, History)
Games – Alida Thacher (Geeky)
The Challenge of Space – Robin Kerrod (Science)
Chess is an easy game – Fred Rienfield (Geeky)
Chess Victory – Fred Rienfield (Geeky)
The Harlem Globetrotters – Frank Gualt (Sports)
Knock Knock Jokes – Joseph Rosenbloom (Humor, Geeky)
Danny Dunn – Jay Williams (Mystery)
Card Tricks – Geoffrey Lamb (Paranormal)
Telescopes and Observatories – Patrick Moore (Science)
Alabama – Carpenter (Love of the south???, History?)
The Moon – Herbert Kondo (Science)
Quasars – Melvin Berger (Science)
Secret Mesages – Margaret Jerian (Spy)

October 23, 2007: 3:04 pm: books, Uncategorized

Sword and Laser bannerVeronica Belmont has graciously allowed me to help her start a science fictiona and fantasy book club called The Sword and Laser. Our first book will be ‘The Golden Compass’ by Philip Pullman (also known as Northern Lights outside the US… why do they do that?). So if you’re into swords and/or lasers, pop on by and join us.

August 8, 2006: 6:51 pm: books, history

Your body and how it worksI scanned and uploaded an old health pamphlet called “Your body and how it works.” I put it up on Flickr. The best part is the illustrations.