Graphic novel about phone phreak history


Ed Piskor says:

Over the past year I put together a few graphic novels dedicated to hacking/phone phreaking/hi-tech history/culture. Thanks to some really great reviews on different podcasts, blogs, and forums, I've been able to distribute my books completely myself via my website completely bypassing traditional book distribution methods.

There is a lot of historical/semi-historical references within like Steve Jobs and Woz in Alice in Wonderland garb selling Blue Boxes.


  1. I hope these are more factual than fictional, that is the question that keeps me from pulling the trigger on these seemingly very cool graphic novels (even though I’m not a fan of graphic novels…).

  2. …The fun thing about stories of the Golden Age of Phone Phreaking was that even when you distilled the stories down to the bare facts, they were still laiden with an aura of “there’s no way you really did *that* without getting caught??”

    …Back in 1981, when Columbia took its first flight, I and several members of my NROTC unit hacked into a payphone in the ROTC building, ran speaker leads from the handset, put duct tape and a big OUT OF ORDER sign on the phone, and then box coded into the NASA PAO phone line feed. This was in the days before NASA TV existed, and the only way to hear the PAO loop was to call into a number that was not in any way, shape or form toll-free. Oddly enough, AT&T kept the number a secret, and even treated it as if it were proprietary info as was told the local press from whom I cajoled the number from.

    We kept the PAO loop going throughout the mission from three hours before launch to three hours after landing, when the PAO closed the feed, and Ma Bell was none the wiser. Which is why we did it again for the next four or five missions :-P

  3. I’ll never forget the first time my red box didn’t work. I probably looked exactly the way Steve and Steve look in the last panel.

  4. The other thing is that the culture and know-how spread so far during the advent of BBSes that many communities have their own tales of the phreakers. It’s truly a thing that urban legends are made of.

    And FBI records. But that’s for another day…

  5. This looks super awesome. I will certainly check this book out. It seems a great medium for this subject matter – both graphic novels and phreaking are a playful means to accomplish serious tasks.

    I’ve always been a counterculture geek but my appetite for phreaking was thoroughly whetted when I last read “Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution” by Steve Levy. It’s a very personable and gonzo account of the histories of the first vacuum tube computers, the first phone phreaks, and the early days of the game companies Broderbund and Sierra.

  6. Jobs and the Woz seem to have been given the Jay and Silent Bob treatment in this comic. Woz doesn’t say one word.

Comments are closed.