Wednesday 11 January 2012

Transmetropolitan Vol. 3 and 4

Vol. 3: The Year of the Bastard, Vol. 4: The New Scum
Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson, 1998-1999
(December 2011)

After the last couple of books put me through my paces, cerebrally speaking, I was very glad that my christmas presents to myself turned up containing something a little easier to get my head around.

Not that Transmetropolitan is without depth. The story arc covered by these two volumes concerns the protagonist, gonzo journalist Spider Jerusalem (any ideas who he might be modeled on?), covering an election campaign in an America gone totally to shit. It touches on issues of truth, hypocrisy, and ignorance. Important ideas, clearly, but conveyed with a fair bit of sex, a significant amount of violence, and lots and lots of pretty pictures.

The Fukuyama book had a few illustrations, to be fair, but conceptual flowcharts with boxes labeled ‘Accountability’ and ‘Third Estate’ somehow lack the zing of two-headed cats or posthuman cyborg sex in back alleys. The Origins of Political Order also had far fewer images of people injecting drugs into their eyeballs. You can’t have everything, I suppose.


  1. Nice twist on the Statue of Liberty ;)

  2. I seem to recall fewer tattoos on the old girl herself...

  3. I read through the Transmetropolitan collection a few years back and found it reasonably enjoyable, but it's not one of those comics that I ever felt the urge to go back and read again for some reason. As painful as it is to say, I think I prefer Ellis when he's doing mainstream books...

  4. Thanks for dropping by, especially on this post.

    I'm just getting back into comics (easy to read with a kid who's just learning to walk. Nice to be able to look up every 20 seconds without losing your place) so I'd be very keen for any recommendations you have, as you seem to be the go-to guy on this.

    I started with Watchmen and Sandman, but fear they may have set the bar unattainably high for everything which follows. Still, this trips along nicely enough, even if it's not especially subtle.

  5. I had an old "Godzilla" comic book once....
    I saw the sandman author and illustrator which changed later in a great article in WIRED magazine which is awesome :)

  6. You'd recommend Godzilla then? ;)

    Also, why are the time stamps on these comments screwed up all of a sudden?

  7. Chris - You never were into comics, were you? Some really good stuff out there though these days!

    Kamo - I don't know where to start... There's so much good stuff out there so it depends a bit on the genre... But with the comics you mentioned, I'd recommend Preacher by Garth Ennis, it's violent mature and funny masterpiece in 9 volumes. Of course anything by Alan Moore up until "From Hell" after which he got a bit too boring for me (although "league of extraordinary gentlemen" of course is great), Fables by Willingham, The Boys by Garth Ennis, the first volumes of "The Ultimates" by Mark Millar. Basically anything by Mark Millar, "Wanted" is fantastic too. Hellblazer is a bit hit and miss, but the earlier stuff by Jamie Delano and Garth Ennis still holds up although it's aged a bit. That's just scratching the surface though. And don't worry, this stuff basically measures up to Sandman and Watchmen (Hey, Sandman is for girls anyway!). Oh and yeah, some people swear by the Invisibles by Grant Morrison, I actually didn't think it was that great, buy maybe worth a try?

  8. From Hell is on the Pile. I might move it nearer the top now. LoEG was/is good, but I found the last one (1969) had a few too many references I didn't get. I don't need to get everything, but the sheer number I knew I was missing was mildly irritating.

    A lot of those recommendations are what keep popping up when I try to find some stuff elsewhere, so I'll definitely take a look. I really appreciate the time. Thanks.

    And Sandman may be for the girls, but there's just something about cute goth chicks. Surely everyone loves cute goth chicks?

  9. NOOOOOO! Not From Hell! That's some really heavy shit! Requires a lot more concentration than your average biography about Lord Nelson! I meant the Swamp Thing Saga, his stuff for DC and some of his earlier 2000AD stuff! He has done some good stuff later on like Supreme and Top Ten but the rest is not really that great. Oh, and yeah, completely agree with you on the latest League, but the first volumes would be a great read without knowing any of the references, but the latest ones are just dull (and I don't get the references either)

    1. Too late. Besides, I've already seen the movie. How hard could it be...?