Jan 30, 2024 - Technology

New comic book makes cybersecurity fun

Image of the cover of the forthcoming comic anthology from Green Archer Comics

Cover art for Green Archer Comics' anthology set to be released in May. Illustration: Liezl Buenaventura

Fighting cyber crime isn't always as glamorous as the public thinks it is — there are no Indiana Jones-style quests or high-speed car chases.

  • But inside the stories of a forthcoming, cybersecurity-focused comic book anthology, anything can happen.

Driving the news: Tech experts Allan Liska, Anjuli R.K. Shere and Emily Crose are crafting the first comic book anthology made by cybersecurity professionals about cybersecurity professionals.

  • Their new organization, Green Archer Comics, is accepting story ideas for the anthology until Feb. 15.
  • Anyone in the cybersecurity community can submit a potential story — and some illustrative assistance is available for those who need it.

Why it matters: Getting non-techies interested in cybersecurity is a tough job (I'd know!). Experts tend to speak in highly technical terms or acronyms that the average person glazes over.

  • Creating comics about cybersecurity could make the topic more approachable — and fun.

Catch up quick: Green Archer Comics is starting the anthology after the success of Liska's own comics released in the past year.

  • Liska, an analyst at cybersecurity company Recorded Future, started with a cyber-focused, comic version of the old radio serial "Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar."
  • In the original version, Johnny Dollar was a private detective fighting murderers and mobsters. Today, he's investigating ransomware crimes.
  • Johnny Dollar was so successful that Liska started a second comic series, "The Clock." Between the two, he was able to crowdfund more than $12,000 to make his projects a reality.

What they're saying: "To me, this is a way to give back to the cybersecurity community that has really supported me in this venture," Liska told Axios.

  • "When I hear other people say, 'Oh, I wish I could write a comic book' or 'I've always wanted to do something like this' — well, great, here's your chance."

The big picture: Liska started exploring his creative side last year after attending a panel at the RSA Conference about how cybersecurity professionals can tap their creativity.

  • Liska couldn't draw, but he knew he could tell a story. So he enlisted the help of a few illustrators to bring his vision to life, including independent artists Marc Oliver and Dale Ray Deforest.

Details: Those interested in being part of the Green Archer Comics' anthology must submit an abstract and six panels from their script.

  • The anthology will only accept submissions that are between two and five pages, and artwork is not necessary for the initial submission.
  • Submissions also should fall into one of the eight content categories listed in the call for submissions, such as touching on a cybersecurity professional's daily life or providing "cautionary tales."
  • Accepted submissions will receive $100 per page.

Between the lines: Green Archer Comics has received a "handful" of submissions in the week since it opened applications.

  • "If you think your submission sucks, send it anyway," Liska said. "We want to work with you and help build a fun and interesting comic to share with the rest of the community."

What's next: If ideas are accepted, final submissions will be due March 10.

  • Liska told Axios that the anthology is scheduled to be released at the annual SleuthCon in May.
Go deeper