The first volume of Transmetropolitin is almost twenty years old and is still as disturbingly as relevant as it was in 1998. Warren Ellis’ twisted dystopian future doesn’t seem so far fetched given current events. I didn’t catch it at in its original release, much to my shame. I was worried that it wouldn’t hold up over time. I can’t say I’m 100% pleased to discover I was wrong.
Spider Jerusalem a journalist who, by Ellis’ own admission was modeled after Hunter S. Thompson, is forced out of his self imposed exile by his publisher to whom he still owes 3 more books. In order to write, he has to live in a society that he hates. In order to make a living in the society he hates, he has to go back to reporting…the job that he hates. Despite his loathing, it’s clear that Jerusalem’s journalistic voice is deeply compelling and possibly the antidote that this ailing culture needs. He is joined on his adventures by Channon Yarrow, an assistant forced on him by his editor to make sure he gets his work done. Channon, of course has no control over Spider. But she does help keep him tethered to his basic humanity.
If you haven’t read Transmetropolitin, you really should. If you haven’t read it since its original publication, you really should. It’s an angry, vulgar but deeply intelligent comment on modern culture.