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The Transmetropolitan Collection
Jamais Cascio, 22 May 04

"One More Time," the final collection of Transmetropolitan stories, is now out. It finishes the story of journalist Spider Jerusalem in his fight against the corrupt President "Smiler" Callahan, set in a world a thousand times weirder -- and ultimately more realistic -- than most other popular science fiction (I first came up with the term "plausibly surreal," used here on WC to refer to futurism and scenarios, in reference to Transmet). Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson, and Rodney Ramos have done a truly masterful job of bringing the characters and the world to life. I know I'm not the first to wish that we had a real Spider Jerusalem on the job right now.

If you haven't heard of Transmet, you're in for a real treat. It is -- was -- a comic book, and its run ended in late 2002. All 60 issues are now available in 10 softcover collections, from Spider's return from self-imposed exile away from The City to his last laugh. Along the way, you'll be startled, amused, quite possibly disgusted, very likely titillated, and always impressed at the creators' accomplishments.

Amazon has it, but if you live near an independent comic book store, you may want to check there first.

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Comments

Comic books, even commercial comic books, can be seriously subversive and/or educational.

Here's some dialogue from a defunct comic put out by DC called "Outlaw Nation":

"Gloves [one of the villain's agents] did good work in WW3, trashing all those piss-ant countries for democracy, fun and profit. Heh! Nothing that boy liked better than to shit in a peasant's well and then sell him Coca Cola.

"But a one-trick pony like him just couldn't make the evolutionary jump from cold warrior to new world orderly. He blamed me when the collapse of socialism didn't roll out the absolute state of America called for in the grand design..

"But the finance bombs of world war 4 make all the established conspiracies redundant."

"World war 4...?" the hero asks.

"Global capital's viral assault on the nation state. Don't tell me a smart kid like you hasn't noticed?"


And I always advise architects to read Will Eisner's _Dropsie Avenue: The Neighborhood_ which is a history of his old neighborhood in the Bronx from colonial days to the latest round of urban revitialization. It shows how real estate really works.


Posted by: gmoke on 23 May 04

I'll second the nomination for _Transmetropolitan._

There's no telling what Hollywood will do to it, but Ellis's "Global Frequency" is slated to become a TV series next fall. I'm glad someone outside the geek ghetto is paying attention to him.


Posted by: Stefan Jones on 23 May 04

i tried reading it one time, but to me it seemed so much a ripoff of john brunner's 1968 stand on zanzibar :D

http://www.sfsite.com/04b/sz79.htm

i guess i'll try again sometime, but not before peanuts!

http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=6597


Posted by: reflexorset on 24 May 04

"Spider" and "Callahan" in the same story? Can we spell "hommage"? I thought we could!


Posted by: John Cowan on 28 May 04



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