Written By: Thomas J Behe
Illustrated By: Phil Elliott
Published By: Markosia Enterprises Ltd.
Contraband is the latest video sharing site that has emerged from the dark Web. This app is the host to thousands of incriminating videos of domestic violence, criminal abuse, shit kickings and even murder. All for the sake of getting a top ranked video, voted upon by the viewers so you can score a couple of grand. The app has taken the global communities by storm, with more and more younger viewers wanting to participate and contribute their own content. But just who created this site, for what purpose if not to just see the world burn?! We follow a guy named Toby who becomes so entangled in this mess, that his own moral values begin to twist whilst he is trying to make sense of all the evil around him.
This is an incredibly dialogue heavy story, where its main villain seems to hold no filter when it comes to saying everything he thinks out loud. There are also continuous time skips and flashbacks, where it can get rather confusing as to trying to follow the storyline. As apart from the date changes at the beginning of each chapter, there is no definitive style that separates the two timeframes. It does however have an interesting plot, where one man – his mind twisted from working as a mercenary overseas, creates a video hosting website whose content reflects his own ideals. With clips of brutal murders, beatings, savage attacks and mocking the justice system. Its certainly a book aimed at an older audience, for fans that enjoy the likes of The Purge perhaps.
Toby isn’t anyone’s hero, although he talks about saving his girlfriend – in reality the two barely know one another. He enjoys filming women in secret and once captured a pedophile on film, by giving the footage to the authorities. His good deeds more or less end there. He gets caught up with a man named Tucker Scott, the creator of Contraband. Being framed into working for him, only to end up on a man hunt for the very person he was trying to save. The chaos is intense throughout and you really do see the dark side of humanity show its wicked grin. It is also tech heavy as well, as Toby gets to know the Web designer and app developer behind Contraband. As well as a rather unique mobile phone he created, that also works as a gun. Illustrations of which are at the beginning of this book.
“Contraband” was created by Thomas Behe, the CEO of Octopus.sh, a self-sovereignty identity platform. He is also a product innovator, published author and MBA graduate of Ivey Business School, he’s launched identity solutions for Experian, Barclays, Sky and iTV, his case studies are being taught at Harvard, Ivey and Copenhagen business schools and he has also appeared in Wired, KuppingerCole and the Financial Times.
Together with artist Phil Elliot, whose other recent comic work includes TUPELO , Absent Friends & Rockpool Files for Slave Labor Graphics and Illegal Alien for Dark Horse Comics. Thomas has created this graphic novel – Contraband. Which has been described as being the “first tech fiction comic to expose the stark dangers of social media; online cyberbullying, privacy invasion, voyeur spying, fake news, trolling and corporations abusing people’s data to influence public opinion, make billions and dominate the social fabric of society.” And they ain’t wrong!
This comic has raised some frightening but real live occurrences that need to be addressed. The Dark Web is real, it needs to be monitored and legislation, protocols and technology needs to be improved upon to better contain & immobilise it. This title has brought forth a topic that many may not have been aware of up to now, but it has gained the spotlight so it can be addressed. There is also talk of a follow story to Contraband that will deal with some of the topics brought up in these pages. Including the idea that what if it was entirely possible to pass over complete control of an app or website, to whoever holds the top ranked video. And what would it take for someone to reach the top, in order to gain that control.
You can catch Contraband out now in all good comic book stores and online. Follow the links below for their website and their social media to follow along on the next installment to the series.
You can buy your issue from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Contraband-Thomas-J-Behe/dp/1913802604?tag=randrambofara-21&geniuslink=true