Internet Crusader by George Wylesol
It is the early days of the internet. The days of slow, dial-up modems. Of Mosaic and Netscape Navigator, of IRC and message boards. Of Geocities, flashing text and rotating gifs. An evil cult determines to spread chaos around the globe with a simple computer virus which spreads faster than a cold sore in a glam metal tour bus. The virus was called Goodtimes. The cult was the Cult of the Dead Cow. Luckily they were just hackers, not actual Satanists in league with the actual devil. But imagine if they had been…
That is the premise of George Wylesol’s Internet Crusader. Viewed entirely through the screen of a chunky CRT monitor we follow our teenage-dirtbag protagonist BSKskater191 as he surfs the message boards and navigates the many toolbars of his Netscape world. I mostly try to avoid knowing what teenage boys look at on the internet, and the tastes of our skater boi pal prove all too predictable. Talking shit to his friends, trying to hook up with girls, and finding distraction in whatever seductive links come across his screen.
“yo. ur abt to read 1 of the greatest storys ever told. its the story abt how i went on the internet and single handedly saved the world, killed the devil and made friends w god. i call this story Internet Crusader.”– BSKskator191
One such link comes from the mysterious COTHL Girls. They promise a lot of fun and duly ensnare our adolescent anti-hero. But their website is something call the Church of the Holy Light and while it keeps promising pictures of girls, it seems you have to wade through a lot of diabolical theology first. Not only that but along with the church picnic report there is a dedication to His Most Vile and Unholiness, the King of Sin, Emperor of Worms, All-Powerful and Wicked Mortal Abortionist, the ArchBeast Diabolis.
And so our skateboarding friend begins his epic struggle with the diabolical forces of low-res hell. In the end the fate of the world depends on a Doom rip-off game, the inventiveness of youth and of course the endless arms race of parental control tools.
godII: What are you doing? Why did you pause the game? Are you playing CrazyRacer 3D 2?
BSKskater191: ya ur game sux ass and is a total rip off of DOOM \m/
godII: This is serious! You must return to the game.
BSKskater191: god whatever
Each page of Internet Crusader is something you have never seen before in a comic, which is notable in itself. We don’t see any of the characters, we don’t hear their actual voices. All interaction comes through the screen. And what screens they are, each a wonderful, chaotic sprawl of pop-up windows, chat tools and message boards. The early days of the internet promised freedom and joyful chaos, anyone could do it. Your web page was just a good as that of Apple. The forces of demonic order which descend upon the world in Internet Crusader are like the corporate forces which were to get the world wide web in their world wide grip.
Artistically Internet Crusader is an explosion of MS Paint stylings and web-safe colours hitting every shade of RGB all the way to Blue Screen of Death.
Internet Crusader is as original a work as you are likely to read in comics, for a small number of us it also manages to be nostalgic.
Internet Crusader By George Wylesol 200 pages, full colour – Published 5 September 2019