I have read this entire series three or four times through. It’s been on my mind to re-read it since I read an article in the Guardian where they say that it illuminates the current state of American politics.
Transmetropolitan is about Spider Jerusalem, extreme gonzo journalist for an extreme overrun cyberpunk future America, where you can change your race at will, become a dust cloud, live on a reservation of the past. It is a hyper-advertised, highly political city, and Spider documents it all, writing a column called I Hate It Here, and he really does, but he’s a political animal and needs to be near the heart and guts of the political machine.
Transmet, as the kids call it, is largely about Spider coming back from his mountain hideaway and writing again, getting sucked back into the black heart of politics. He named the current president The Beast, and so apt was it that it stuck, to the point that even his wife calls him The Beast. Up against him, however, is an even more dangerous foe – whom Spider dubs The Smiler, an amoral callous man who wants to become president to burn down the who house, like a bully picking legs off a spider (sorry!)
Heavy going at times, yes, but not really. Transmet is funny. Really funny. And smart and clever and full of heart and grit and verve. Give this to people who don’t vote, and honestly, maybe they will. Maybe we can all avoid a world with The Smiler or The Beast if we read Spider’s adventures. The comic is nearly perfect (I still have some quibbles, but they’re minor quibbles of someone whose read it a number of times) and quite frankly, essential reading for anyone interested in politics.
[Note: Transmetropolitan spans 60 issues, which is collected in the 10 trade paperbacks seen above].
You can reserve Transmetropolitan here.