Interview: The Cult of Internet Personality

Troy-Jeffrey Allen
3 min readSep 20, 2023

Interview by Troy-Jeffrey Allen

In comic shops now, Under The Influence takes capitalism and Internet culture to task. Written by Eliot Rahal with art by Stefano Simeone, this is a story about “Click to follow” cultism during the age of social media.

In the following interview, Eliot Rahal describes the online hell we are destined to face!

According to the solicit, this is a story about “Click to Follow cultism.” What does that term mean to you?

I think it’s about what we are facing. The merger of capitalism. Or more specifically, internet capitalism and internet culture. Cults funded by clicks. Cults for content.

Let’s get into the story. Catch us up to speed. What is it about?

Basically, it’s about a college student who was a famous teenage meme for eating a hot dog and grows up to become a cult leader. And it’s about the F.B.I. agent trying to take him down.

What can you tell us about Cara Cole? What makes her the character we follow?

I think because, like us, she’s caught in the middle of this all. She’s trying to figure it out. She’s trying to fix it. She’s trying to save the world and not for some high-minded reason, but because of her own personal trauma.

The description doesn’t really dive into Paul Kozac that much outside of he’s a cult leader and sociopath. What can you tell us about Paul?

Just that he’s a nothing person. He’s lived his entire life on the internet and has no real sense of empathy. He’s a completely average person who believes he was promised more than what he has. He is resentment.

How did you and artist Stefano Simeone come together on this project?

That’s all Mad Cave!

Tell us about the rest of the creative team on the book. Time for shoutouts!

Well, Frank has done an incredible job stitching together all these moving pieces. He makes the work seem just as dynamic as Stefano’s incredible art. While Stefano has achieved the near impossible by making the internet seem like action.Also a special shout out to my editors Steenz and Chas! Pabgrum, and assistant editor Rico Taveras. They were very patient with me and really pushed me to make this what it is.

In terms of audience, who would you say Under The Influence is for?

I honestly don’t know. I don’t know anything about stuff. I guess… people who want something ridiculous but also thoughtful? I really couldn’t say.

Under The Influence is available now at your local comic shop. Reserve your copy with PREVIEWSworld Pullbox.

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