I just finished the first volume of the cyberpunk graphic novel series Transmetropolitan. I feel as if I should have enjoyed the series more than I actually did. The series follows Spider Jerusalem a non-veiled homage akin to Hunter S. Thompson. We follow Spider as he moves through his urban wasteland and looks for articles to write. His method is anything but professional and acts with everything but finesse. The series tackles everything from religion to television, to aliens and consumerism. Nothing is left out and no one is free from a scathing attack.
It is exactly because of this no-holds-bar staggering critic of modern society that I can understand how this series garnered such a strong cult following. Set in the future, Spider writes about Alien race riots and eats caribou eyes from a fried chicken bucket. His only friends are a two faced cat and his stripper-assistant-apprentice.
My problem with the series is many, but mostly it is in the portrayal of the late Hunter S. The great Gonzo. So many wish to emulate him and so many fail. That is the beauty of Mr Thompson: He was literally one of a kind. This characterization of him lacks any of the subtitles Hunter had. After reading Hunter’s oral biography, Gonzo, written by almost every person who graced his life, Hunter, as insane as he was, had a natural charming quality to him. One that could entice a former president to spend the whole day drinking with him. One that would allow him to shoot guns and drink enough to sedate a horse without anyone calling the cops. One that if the cops were actually called he could talk them into hanging out with him instead. One that convinced him to hang out with the hells angels without being murdered. Spider Jeruselem completely lacks this beautiful side of his character and instead focuses on the agressive qualities leaving you with a character who I found entirely unlikeable and utterly one-sided.
That being said I can still understand how the fans will cheer with his various quips and find a hero figure in this oddball who excells at “sticking it to the man”. A true outsider looking in on the system, and has no problem with pointing out the flaws right in from of your eyes.