Transmetropolitan: An Obvious Homage, Not so Accurate Portrayal

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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.

Summer Reading List – Part 2: Graphic Novels

While some scholars will argue there’s no need for me to separate the categories of novel and graphic novel, I do this in that both genres are read in my time with very different distinctions. While Novels are primarily read in bed when I wake up, on the bus, in the park, at the beach etc. My graphic novels rarely leave the bathroom. Yes I know, probably far too much information. But I need a distraction in there. This is NOT to say there is a parallel between Graphic Novels and Shit. And yes, if I’m reading a particularly illuminating one I will bring it on the bus, in the park, at the beach, etc. However, I will rip through a graphic novel in about an hour if given the chance. I’d rather space it out and really take it in, giving more of my time to the tombs of novels.

So, enough bathroom talk, in no particular order I give you Summer Graphic Novel Reading List:

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And finally, I’m only on volume 4 but completely obsessed with the 100 Bullets Series.

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Classic Comic Hilariousness (and Subtlety)

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(Note: I may be computer illiterate, but I simply cannot figure out how to put this picture vertically. WordPress keeps inserting it as such)

So the other day a co-worker of mine went home and asked me if I’d like a giant box of comic books he had accumulated as a child. I figured why not, you never know what kind of gems you find. Another friend of mine, who aspires to be a comic book historian dug through the box and pulled out all notable mentions. And while this particular comic is a reprint (the original would be extremely valuable), it is a comic that has classic moments of on-print ridiculousness combined with the dark elements the 1970’s provided such as drug use, alcoholism and environmental issues. One hilarious example of such real-world problem follows:

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Essentially, Harry Osborn drops acid and becomes a complete schizophrenic. And trips acid for what seems like a week. I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works, but what can I say, scare kids off drugs at an early age right? And where was Peter Parker this whole time?

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That’s right, off fighting the Hulk in Montreal…. As a Canadian this cracks me up, but also serves as subtle anti-Canadian propaganda. For you see while away in Canada, off doing his Spidey-thing, he catches a cold from the harsh arctic weather (and don’t you know, they all live in Igloos too, eh?). It is because of this that Spidey is just not on his game in this episode.

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(Okay, so this one goes the right way around? Technical difficulties…) 

His cold is not allowing him to function properly. Which follows one of the most beautiful and tragic frames I think I’ve ever seen in a comic book.

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As Gwen falls from the Brooklyn Bridge, Spidey races to catch her with his web in time. In the middle frame we can see that while he does success in catching her, in doing so her neck snaps from the force. And while it remains unclear if it was Spiderman who kills Gwen or if she was killed by the Green Goblin before it is nonetheless the perfect tragic love story.

But still, the real enemy in this story is not the Green Goblin, but those pesky Canadian’s for having such cold weather and destroying Spidey’s full potential. If only he hadn’t been in Canada! His friend wouldn’t have gone bonkers, and Gwen wouldn’t have been abducted by the Green Goblin! Damn Canada!