Book Review

Internet Crusader by George Wylesol

a very millennial internet-set graphic novel - i enjoyed a lot

March 14th, 2022, still on the train from MTL to TNTO.

I don’t know if there’s a hyped hip initialism for Toronto like there is for Montreal. Maybe people use “TO”, but that just looks like the word “to” so is about as hip as the word “to”, which is not a very hip word.

The train is getting closer to Toronto and within an hour I will probably be back – or nearly back – home, with my dog and my lover. I’m hungry. I mainly ate (elevated?) fast food during my brief trip, so there’s a real hankering for vegetables and vitamins in my body.

I did some real writing on this train as well, not just blog writing (which isn’t writing), tho my Google drive is now so backed up with TotN posts that I can’t see myself catching up until the Summer when I will likely end up unemployed in London for at least a bit. Let’s see – am I posting this from Canada or the UK? (Scott at time of posting says: London and I am very very depressed)

I also read another whole book.

This one was easier to read in its entirety because it was another graphic novel. Aware that I won’t be financially stable again (possibly for years, likely ever!) following the end of May, I’m getting in the expensive book-buying while I can.

I spent $150 in Drawn & Quarterly this trip to MTL (love that abbrev), which is [again] enough to qualify me for [another] one of their surprisingly high quality free tote bags, which will likely last me years. The Drawn & Quarterly tote bags will likely last much longer than my ability to remember how to get there.

///

This book, internet Crusader, is one of the most millennial books I’ve ever read, and very much geared towards someone who is my exact age.

It is set online in the early days of the internet, around the end of the previous century.

Every page of the book is a high colour depiction of a computer screen, back from the days of pop-up ads and dial-up internet and glacial download speeds and viruses everywhere and instant messaging conversations that went nowhere and music that really, really, really, hasn’t stood the test of time (Korn, Linkin Park etc, the kind of music that one presumed even the people who loved it at the time have literally forgotten existed).

The story is about a 12yo who becomes a pawn in a digital battle between God and the Devil, in-between doing his homework, trying and failing to download pornography, and trying to chirpse with “ladies” from school. (I remember around this time I would open those MSN messenger chats with “ladies” with, “hello to the delectable [insert name here]” and it’s been so long since I successfully seduced anyone new (tho I haven’t been trying but I’m very repressed so even if I was trying I probably wouldn’t be succeeding) that I don’t remember if that’s at all effective. I did not make a lotta love as a teen, so it probably wasn’t.

Internet Crusader is very bright, it’s very garish, and it’s full of references to being a teen in the early days of the internet: time limits due to needing to keep the phone available, disconnections happening unexpectedly, downloading things taking almost the entirety of time, and computer games where everything looks the same.

Of course, with its premise, style, and presumed audience, and the effort to aim for humour rather than emotion, it’s a visually ambitious book that aims low, narratively, but definitely succeeds!

It didn’t make me think or cry or feel scared, but it did provoke a few chuckles and made me remember things of little-to-no-consequence to my life. (Who remembers Microsoft 3D Movie Maker? Who remembers Croc? Who remembers floppy discs? Who remembers calling people “delectable” in the third person…)

Buuuuuuut Internet Crusader is a book that succeeds on its own terms, and if we cannot bring ourselves to praise that, regardless of those terms, then what can we bring ourselves to praise? It is good enough, it does its job.

It’s an entertaining 30-50 minutes for a sad fat bald millennial on a train. It’s fine, more than fine, good.

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sad prose book the pleasure of regret from Broken Sleep Books.

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Order my sad prose chapbook via Selcouth Station Press.


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