The Creation of Captain Tripwire: A Cyber Security Comic Book

It’s that time of year again where Black Hat and DEF CON are fast approaching and everyone interested in security will descend upon Las Vegas. While Craig Young will be there with his sold out Introduction to IoT Pentesting with Linux, I will be keeping my 2008 promise to myself and avoiding Vegas like the plague. I am, however, happy to announce that, while I won’t be there, a creation of mine will be. Issue #1 of The Adventures of Captain Tripwire will be released at the Tripwire booth. Let’s back up and set the stage for this release.In 2010, I attended my first comic convention. I had an awful experience but picked up a few comics and, in my very late 20s, fell in love with comics. Growing up, I had only ever read Archie and Simpsons comics, but there was so much more out there to discover. In 2012, my wife and I tried another con, and we loved it. Fast forward seven years, and I’m 30 days away from my 18th con. I have shelves dedicated to my comic collection, and I’ve expanded my collecting to include original art. This hobby has given me entertainment, excitement and a bunch of new friends. Among those friends are a couple of artists from whom I regularly get new commissions. One of those artists is Greg Hyland, who I introduced to the Tripwire marketing team. He’s drawn some amazing themed comics for us in the past.So, I have this passion for comics that rivals my love of cybersecurity. With cybersecurity, I can read about it, but I also get to be involved in it. I wrote code, I find vulnerabilities, I research interesting topics and I speak at conferences. The question was: how could I do the same in the comic book world? I found my answer with Tripwire’s amazing marketing team and the artwork of Greg Hyland. I pitched the creation of a comic book and, seemingly overnight, my pitch became a reality.At this point, I was nervous… maybe even scared. I had to write a script. I’ve always said my dream job was TV scriptwriter, so I was a little excited to explore this, but it was a completely new experience. It turns out that putting together a script is slightly more difficult than writing a few lines of Python. I wrote character bios, location descriptions and the script itself. In the end, I wrote an 18-page document for a much shorter comic book. When you tell people you manage a security research team, they don’t expect you to respond with “writing a comic book” when they ask what you are working on.I needed a story that Tripwire could use for marketing. Something that tied into cybersecurity. What we have is a lone hero, supported by an AI known as The Cloud, going up against a team of criminals bent on taking over an industrial facility. I tried to incorporate aspects of Tripwire, cybersecurity and the comic book world, and I hope that it’s entertaining enough to be more than just another piece of marketing material.I shared the story and background details with Greg, who started to produce the artwork. We got rough sketches, the completed drawings, inked artwork, and, finally, colored pages. It was a whirlwind of activity and a lot of fun. I tried to create a hero I could be proud of and villains that entertained me. Seeing Greg bring everything to life was incredible. When you read the comic, you’ll encounter a pair of washed-up wrestlers known as the tag team, ‘The Ditch Diggers.’ I wanted to capture these completely washed-up, over-the-hill former wrestlers who couldn’t leave the past behind and simply wanted to return to their former glory. Seeing them brought to life on the pages was an incredible experience for me.If you’re at Black Hat this year, stop by the Tripwire booth and pick up a copy. If you aren’t, I’m sure we’ll make an appearance at another con later this year. For now, you can also read the comic in digital format. I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.