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Transmetropolitan, Vol. 1: Back on the Street (Transmetropolitan #1)

4.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  32,658 Ratings  ·  732 Reviews
After years of self-imposed exile from a civilization rife with degradation and indecency, cynical journalist Spider Jerusalem is forced to return to a job that he hates and a city that he loathes. Working as an investigative reporter for the newspaper The Word, Spider attacks the injustices of his surreal 23rd Century surroundings. Combining black humor, life-threatening ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by Vertigo (first published January 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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J.G. Keely
Comics have been going through a very public struggle with maturity for some time now. They were well on their way to catching up with other art forms until they were hit with the 'Comics Code' in the fifties. The code was an outgrowth of reactionary postwar witch-hunting a la McCarthyism, and succeeded in bowdlerizing and stultifying an entire medium for thirty years.

For example, all crime had to be portrayed as sordid, and no criminals could be sympathetic. There goes any comic book retellings
Jan Philipzig
When these comics originally came out in the late 1990's, the comic-book industry lay in ashes. The speculation bubble had just burst, hundreds of retail stores were going out of business, many publishers were downsizing or declaring bankruptcy. It was a time when comic books had to reinvent themselves or fade into obscurity - a time when something as unconventional and confrontational as Transmetropolitan felt like it might actually have a chance, when somebody as cocky and subversive and spect ...more
Dec 26, 2013 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written by one of my favorite comic writers, Warren Ellis.

This series is in the running for my top five favorite comics of all time. That might seem like faint praise until you consider the fact that it's competing with comics like Sandman, Bone, Hellboy, Lucifer, and Girl Genius.
Dec 06, 2007 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the smugly superior
Shelves: genre, scientific, visual
I found this comic pretty irritating. It's the story of gonzo journalist Spider Jerusalem, who's pulled out of sylvan retirement when his publisher demands he deliver on his contractual obligations. Impoverished and drug-addled, Jerusalem has no choice but to comply; he gets a job writing a column called I Hate It Here, a chronicle of his experiences in the scifi megalopolis known as The City.

Throughout the comic, Jerusalem is portrayed as an underdog, fighting for the rights of the common man.
Everyone seems to love this! Whether they are reviewing the series or just this first volume is sometimes unclear, but with this first installation I was mostly disappointed. It's one of those comics series that you hear about here and there, so I decided to give it a go. And to me it mainly seemed crude just for the hell of it, and with characters that you're not supposed to care about or relate with. Spider is supposedly meant to be a moral character, and yet when the story starts it is made a ...more
Oct 02, 2014 Sesana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is manic, biting, and brilliant. Ellis takes on everything he can think of: magpie popular culture, the media, politics, and anything else in his path. And though I haven't read everything he's ever written, I can definitely say that this is one of his best works. You know, I was a little irritated when I got the trade and saw just how thin it is, only three issues. But those are three powerful issues, with more substance than six issues of 90% of the comics out there.
Sam Quixote
Feb 02, 2012 Sam Quixote rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the Transmetropolitan series a few years ago but loved it so much I decided to go back and give them a re-read and see if they hold up the second time around. And if this first volume is any indication, they most certainly do!

Living in isolation atop a mountain idyll, renegade journalist and bestselling author Spider Jerusalem is living the life he's always wanted - shooting rats in a hovel far from the bustling metropolis of the future. If only he'd unplugged the phone... His publisher c
Sep 22, 2012 Zach rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics, hated
Transmetropolitan's main character, Spider Jerusalem, is annoying at his best and exasperating at his worst. His childish, hyperactive antics would be funny if they didn't involve blowing up buildings, burning people with his cigarettes and shooting up bars. Spider gleeful spreads his the wanton destruction aimlessly, all while expressing a holier-than-thou attitude toward virtually every person on the planet, all the mindless sheep he hypocritically despises; he decries their addictions as he t ...more
May 21, 2016 Trish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This comic definitely is nothing like I've ever heard of.

The city this comic shows is called Future Babylon, but really, this is like Sodom and Gomorra. There is every sin imaginable portrayed. We have people abusing their power, corruption, drugs flooding every-day life, prostitution, violence, poverty, ... and a movement about genetic alterations (people changing their species, which definitely is the author's way of addressing current transgender issues).

Future Babylon is extremely bad. Witho
Travis Duke
Jul 06, 2016 Travis Duke rated it it was amazing
I have to be honest I often feel like Spider, but I dont have the guts to act like him haha. Prophetic for 1997, Ellis nails the subject matter and the art is pretty darn good for mid/late 90's. Spider is a journalist that has been in hiding and comes back to the city to only see its a nightmare filled with police brutality, TV overload, and religious cults. The personality on spider is comical and in your face, which i found to be really entertaining. Ellis really does a great job and describin ...more
Feb 24, 2015 Bucletina rated it it was amazing
Aaaaargh. Esto es tan, pero tan fabuloso! Absolutamente todo: desde la narrattiva, pasando por la estructura visual, hasta los diálogos y todo lo que escupe brutalmente Spider Jerusalem: "No matter how big the idea they all stand under, people are small and weak and cheap and frightened. It's people that kill every revolution"
Pero además, es especialmente fantástico por la atinada manera de mostrar el periodismo, o al menos cómo debería ser. Es mi oficio hace más de 10 años, y Spider ofrece una
I put off reviewing this graphic novel to give it a fair shake but my feelings haven't changed. I found the main character to be chaotic and without much in the way of morals and most of his attempts to be funny just turned out crude or got a question mark for me. The artwork felt jammed on the page rather than flowing nicely. There were certainly some interesting ideas within but I found myself struggling in the latter 20% of the the graphic novel. I will give the second volume a chance but I d ...more
Dec 26, 2014 Ivan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
Dark, crazy and hilarious.

Spider Jerusalem is insane mix of Deadpool and Raoul Duke(from Fear and loathing in Las Vegas).
May 13, 2013 Christopher rated it liked it
I agree with most of what Ellis is saying in this book, but I'm not really a fan of HOW he is saying it. It's a bit too juvenile and obvious, and nowhere near as subversive as it likes to think it is. Overall, it's not at all bad, it just didn't connect with me. I'll give it a few more volumes to see whether or not I change my mind about Ellis as a writer.
Benoit Lelievre
Dec 19, 2015 Benoit Lelievre rated it really liked it
Writing a foul-mouthed, truth-telling protagonist can often turn into a hollow exercise on intellectual masturbation, but it is fortunately not the case here. The first collected volume of TRANSMETROPOLITAN is Journalism 101 explained to kids in a quirky and iconoclast fashion. Set in a distant future, but brimming with pertinent contemporary issues, the adventures of Spider Jerusalem have the proper angle and distance to be didactic. I'm not a big visuals guy, but the pen of Darick Robertson al ...more
Book Info: This collection contains Transmetropolitan issues #1-6.

Top 5 Reviewers' Consensus : Uproarious, imaginative, and brazenly satirical, Transmetropolitan is a captivating and memorable sci-fi tale that grabs hold and doesn't let go. And in spite of his mercurial and self-righteous nature – and perhaps partly because of it – Spider Jerusalem is a protagonist that's fairly easy to love and root for.
-Based on Mike's review, Sam Quixote's review, Purple's review, Andrew's review, and Zach
Jun 19, 2012 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
I'm reading a lot of reviews here saying that this series is "crude just for the hell of it," among other things. I think those people, and anyone else who reads this series, would do well to keep a couple things in mind: first, if you bother to read the forward to volume one, it's stated that Warren Ellis doesn't like nice things and doesn't trust nice people, and that this series is his way of breaking away from the "nice" world of superhero comics. Second, this series (or, at least, the first ...more
Oct 11, 2012 Irena rated it it was amazing
What can I say? I love the main character.
Loony, unpredictable, mood-swingy Spider Jerusalem (I'm excited to find out about his name) - fighter for truth and justice :D kh..khhh..

He's on a roll from the very start:
"Working this tollbooth all week, pissing in a whiskey bottle and weakly jerking off over the radio porn that aerial picks up...must be a tough life. But you really are everything I moved to the mountains to escape from. A worthless scrap of frogshit with a pulse and a bit of authority
May 02, 2013 Rajiv rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So fucking awesome! If awesomeness could be condensed into six books, then this would be it!

Warren Ellis makes some eye-opening observations through Spider Jerusalem. The one that struck me most was this:

There's one hole in every revolution, large or small. And it's one word long -- people. No matter how big the idea they all stand under, people are small and weak and cheap and frightened. It's people that kill every revolution. (Issue 3)

He also captures the essence of journalism in a brief but
Jan 26, 2016 Zach rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, borders
Wildly inventive, politically incorrect - in the real sense, not the lame-excuses-for-being-sexist-and-racist sense - and frequently hilarious: like the canon of anarchic late-'60s and punk-era underground comics brought lurching to the cusp of the millennium. Ellis is a sharp satirist here, but the real star of the show is Darick Robertson, who packs his panels with dense layers of pop-culture references (was that John Lennon as a shirtless angel?) and jokes. If I have any complaints, it's that ...more
Jun 04, 2015 Grace rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
Won't even lie about how much I enjoyed this.
Crude, lewd, the kind of black humour that drips off the page and isn't for everyone (but it sure is for me).
A breath of fresh air. I tend to go into graphic novels with bated breath, not expecting much, ready to forgive tiresome cliches (and dare I say, not holding it to half the standard I hold "real" novels at). But nah, this was brilliant. Intelligent, hilarious, gorgeous panels, biting satire, a cat with two-faces... what's not to love?
Michael Benavidez
This caught me by surprise. I knew it was going to be pretty out there from what I had heard, but I wasn't fully aware just how far it would go. It uses dark humor from politics to human behavior to just a whole bunch of other crap that's meant to be offensive. hell, Spider is the type of character that wants to offend people. He wants to piss people off and this whole issue follows off of that. It's Spider being called back from the woods (where he became some sort of crazed paranoid lunatic) a ...more
Oct 18, 2009 Jack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics, sci-fi
Don't know what took me so long to read this, but glad that I finally did. Read this volume on an airplane, which is not necessarily advisable as being in an enclosed space surrounded by a cross-section of humanity really magnified the overall feelings of misanthropy that one might get from reading this book and I started feeling like punching people in the face. However despite all the anger, weirdness, and over-the-top humor in Transmet, what really struck me about it was the political certain ...more
Aug 20, 2012 Leeuwer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spider Jerusalem is a metaphor - a metaphor for dealing with the absurd amount of cynicism an absurd society bestows on us as the people inhabiting it. That way of dealing is by uncovering the truth and then abiding it, by direct, assertive action and personal standards.

He also shows us how being a perverted oddball addicted to cigarettes and guns can change society by refusing to stand by the sidelines. And Spider does have a good heart.

This is truly one of Warren Ellis' greatest works and th
May 10, 2016 Sud666 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan is one unique work. Reminiscent of series like Preacher and Crossed, it can be very shocking. But it IS good. The story revolves around Spider Jerusalem a journalist who had gone to live in the mountains. His publisher makes him come back to the "City" and we are off on a marvelous satire of modern life. Transmetropolitan does not pull punches- from its dystopian future where overcrowded cities are clearly divided into upper, middle and lower class areas to the in ...more
May 29, 2015 Swankivy rated it liked it
I was told I'd like this because I liked Preacher, and I can see why someone would recommend it (not just because Ennis did an intro, either). There's the same kind of extremely offbeat humor and random vulgarity, a dark and not necessarily likable protagonist, and a bunch of gritty weirdness going on. But for me, this just didn't touch any of my "awesome" buttons, and I'm giving it a middle-of-the-road rating because I didn't really like what it was, but acknowledge that for what it is, it is e ...more
Feb 11, 2014 Rattoni rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 07, 2011 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Still awesome. Ellis' lightning writing makes my brain sit up and take notice - the tight phrasing, constant barrage of unpleasant yet intriguing ideas/scenes/concepts, coupled with a completely insane, totally id-driven hero, all conspire to keep me far too alert and fuels my longstanding paranoia.

Robertson's art is energetic, fully-formed (filling frames, not just phoning them in) and just plain whacky. Every cell has extra shit he's scribbled in - I imagine it's like leakage from his own imag
Feather Mista
Dec 17, 2010 Feather Mista rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans de South Park y de la soft-SF
Recommended to Feather by: Sosías.
Leído a lo frankenstein entre números sueltos en inglés y tomos españoles de Norma. Esta serie fue uno de los hitazos claves de la línea Vertigo y ahora que finalmente leo la primera saga puedo ver los porqués. Ellis vomita todas sus ideas e ideales a medio regurgitar con total inmunidad y Robertson se preocupa por que los cachitos de comida a medio procesar generen el asco correspondiente con su dibujo prolijo y antihigiénico a la vez. La visión de la sociedad -yanqui principalmente-, las menti ...more
Aug 21, 2011 Halik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Halik by: Smriti Daniel
Kick-ass comic book. Literally. Funny and pushes my journalistic ego buttons. But objectively speaking this is a deep meditation on a bleak projection of Earth's future. A future where sexual perversion has reached proportions almost equal to its technological advances. Transmetropolitan is set in 'The City' from which famous journalist Spider Jerusalem has been staying away (out of disgust) in self enforced exile. But due to owing books to his publisher, and being able to only write whilst in T ...more
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Warren Ellis is the award-winning writer of graphic novels like TRANSMETROPOLITAN, FELL, MINISTRY OF SPACE and PLANETARY, and the author of the NYT-bestselling GUN MACHINE and the “underground classic” novel CROOKED LITTLE VEIN. The movie RED is based on his graphic novel of the same name, its sequel having been released in summer 2013. His graphic novel GLOBAL FREQUENCY is in development at Jerry ...more
More about Warren Ellis...

Other Books in the Series

Transmetropolitan (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 0: Tales of Human Waste  (Transmetropolitan, #0)
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 2: Lust for Life (Transmetropolitan, #2)
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 3: Year of the Bastard (Transmetropolitan, #3)
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 4: The New Scum (Transmetropolitan, #4)
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 5: Lonely City (Transmetropolitan, #5)
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 6: Gouge Away (Transmetropolitan, #6)
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 7: Spider's Thrash (Transmetropolitan, #7)
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 8: Dirge (Transmetropolitan, #8)
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 9: The Cure (Transmetropolitan, #9)
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 10: One More Time (Transmetropolitan, #10)

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“There's one hole in every revolution, large or small. And it's one word long— PEOPLE. No matter how big the idea they all stand under, people are small and weak and cheap and frightened. It's people that kill every revolution.” 74 likes
“Journalism is just a gun. It’s only got one bullet in it, but if you aim right, that’s all you need. Aim it right, and you can blow a kneecap off the world.” 73 likes
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