Cyberman by Veronika Muchitsch
The new graphic novel by Veronika Muchitsch chronicles the life of Ari Kivikangas, who documented his life online on cyberman.tv
There’s a lot of chat about how people are sharing their lives online 24/7, but for Ari Kivikangas, that was the truth. Hosting his life at cyberman.tv, he showcased his life in its normalcy for all to see, a self-imposed Big Brother.
Soft and gentle in its illustration, Muchitsch uses simplicity to capture what is, ultimately, extremely ordinary. A man went about his life, invited people in, chatted some. And that’s what Cyberman does: invites readers into Ari's life, just like his stream. There's no refined start point, plot twist, crescendo. It’s simple, pleasing, even comforting.
It’s not seedy (“I’ve masturbated on webcam before though. That was not cool. It was really stupid”); it captures fun back and forths (“Rammstein is rocking your pants”), and moments that dip into the life beyond the camera, like Mark Zuckerberg as a personal hero (“He is a very good programmer… Also he is fucking rich and I’m very poor”).
It’s also a very sweet ode. Muchitsch writes in an epilogue that the pair kept in touch and she shared some of the work going into the book; he passed away before being able to see the graphic novel in its final form. Often wordless, the pages all blur together to capture a normal person doing normal things, and showcases how not all stories and lives need to be astronomical in scale to leave its lasting impact and be worthy of documenting.