Transmetropolitan Vol. 1: Back on the Street Paperback – 17 Mar 2009
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Ellis's dystopic narrative, with its full-color tale of a gonzo journalist, shares with mainstream superhero comics a macho ethos that undermines the otherwise cool Watchmen-like script. Spider Jerusalem, a hip reporter of the Hunter Thompson mode, breaks a five-year drug binge on a mountaintop to replenish his resources. The city he returns to resembles the post-apocalyptic Blade Runner and all its funky visual progeny, and Jerusalem soon uncovers a government plot involving a staged rebellion by half-aliens. Two pages at the end (done by a different artist?) suggest how much better this would have looked in a style like Moebius, instead of the conventional DC-house graphics. Still, lots of background gags and some sharp cross-cutting panels make for a compelling read. --(Kirkus Reviews)
About the Author
Warren Ellis is the award-winning writer of Transmetropolitan, Planetary, The Authority, and the writer and co-creator of the graphic novel RED, which was the basis of two major motion pictures. He is also the author of the NYT-bestselling novels Gun Machine and Crooked Little Vein. His newest publication is the digital short-story single Dead Pig Collector, from FSG Originals.
His awards and recognitions include the NUIG Literary and Debating Society’s President’s Medal for service to freedom of speech, the Eagle Awards Roll Of Honour for lifetime achievement in the field of comics & graphic novels, the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire 2010, the Sidewise Award for Alternate History, and the International Horror Guild Award for illustrated narrative.
Ellis lives outside London, on the south-east coast of England, in case he needs to make a quick getaway.
Darick Robertson is a veteran comic artist who has worked at DC Comics and Marvel for nearly twenty years. He broke into the mainstream drawing Justice League for DC and went on to work for Marvel where he penciled titles including Wolverine, Spider-Man, and most notably the New Warriors. Robertson is best known as the artist / co-creator of the Eisner Award-winning series Transmetropolitan with writer Warren Ellis, which was hailed by Wired magazine as "The Graphic Novel of the Decade." He is currently working on an edgy new monthly series entitled The Boys for WildStorm with writer Garth Ennis.
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Meet Spider Jerusalem. An anitsocial journalist forced out of his temporary retirement by lawyers, Spider embodies the two things we love about antiheroes, he'll fight against all the corruption and exploitation in the world, while still raging at the complacent citizens who let it go on. In this volume, he covers stories about the human-alien hybrid movement, the presidential election, television, and the new religions popping up like weeds. Ellis writes fantastic dialogue and brutal sarcasm to immerse you in these scenes. The artwork is also great, with Robertson loading the background with details and gags so that you want to read every panel twice.
This looks like it's going to be one of my favorite Vertigo series.
political savvy = 5stars
Societal Critique = 5 stars
Imagination = 5 stars
Artwork = 10 STARS
The only problem I had with this is the main character, Spider. I thought it was too much of a hyperbolic depiction of Hunter S. Thompson set in the future. There were too many clear parallels between the famous "doctor of Journalism" and the protagonist. I couldn't help but picture Thompson doing all of these things, and the problem was that I couldn't see Thompson acting in this way (even if he was supposed to be Raoul Duke).
I truly appreciated the writing whenever Spider began using his journalistic voice, but he actions and dialogue seemed off to me. I'm hoping this was an attempt at an explosive first couple of issues and that the character will simmer/settle in the subsequent volumes.
All said, 10 out of 10 would recommend!
Aside from praise for the series, the volume itself arrived well bound and vibrantly printed.