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Transmetropolitan, Vol. 1: Back on the Street

(Transmetropolitan (Collected Editions) #1)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  42,670 ratings  ·  1,168 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 February 1st 1998 by Vertigo (first published January 1998)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  42,670 ratings  ·  1,168 reviews

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Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Anne by: Artemy Nizovtsev Nizovtsev
I don't really know what to say about this one, except it was off the wall and crazy in the best way possible.


The main character is this deranged genius of a journalist, who only comes back to the city because he owes his publisher and the money is already spent. For years he's been living off the grid like a hardcore prepper and is loathe to come back to civilization. And never misses an opportunity to say so.


I should mention that this is set in a nutty futuristicesque world where the mundane a
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
Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comix
Hunter S. Thompson -> Uncle Duke -> Spider Jerusalem?

Whether Ellis’ creation is an intentional ape of the Doonesbury character or not, it seems like a natural progression – putting Trudeau’s profane character in the future and turning him loose on social injustice and stuff.

After a long, imposed exile, Spider’s back in the big city and in order to keep the creditor hounds at bay, he’s looking for work as a journalist.

Armed with a bowel disruptor, righteousness, his wits and a mouth that would ma
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The word 'unique' doesn't even start to describe our title character and the story. From the moment I heard the name of our guy, I was hooked!

Spider Jerusalem, (crazy) journalist: A man who sees through everyone's bullshit.

if that's not enough to win you over, look at the character design!

*It's like the combination of the two band members from System of down!*

I Hate it here!
Spider Jerusalem was one hell of a journalist. But after years of Journalism, the man had enough of the city. He has b
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
Hunter S. Thompson Spider Jerusalem reluctantly returns from his self-imposed exile to emerge anew as the premier gonzo journalist.

Anyway, you don't learn journalism in a school. You learn it by WRITING FUCKING JOURNALISM. You teach yourself to wire up your own brain and gut and reproductive organs into one frightening machine that you aim at the planet like a meat gun - -

In addition to his mighty pen, his only other weapon is the truth, and something called a bowel disrupter set to prolapse.
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
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
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it

Hunter S. Thompson is alive and well done, shambling across the pages of Warren Ellis’ 1998 Transmetropolitan volume number one: Back on the Streets.

First published in 1998, this only demonstrates the great vision Ellis had then, he was a canary in the coal mines as much of what he wrote 20 years ago could have been created today.

Spider Jerusalem. As great a character name as Velveeta Jones or Hiro Protagonist. Spider is a journalist, an inflammatory writer, a brigand of the TRUTH
Dec 06, 2007 rated it liked it
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.
I don't usually reread but I was in a mood for some dark humor and missed the insane bastard.I think this is second series I started (first was Sandman) since I rediscovered comicbooks and graphic novels.Since the nearly 2 years has passed and dozen of series and over 200 volumes but this is just as good and crazy as first time I read it. ...more
Apr 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
The stories in each of the six issues vary from full on batshit crazy cool to only mildly amusing... I think my favorite is the one where "outlaw journalist" Spider Jerusalem watches TV the whole time and gets "ad bombed" by subliminal advertisements that give him nightmares. The artwork is to die for... a gritty, visceral overload.

"... you people DON'T KNOW what the truth is! It's there, just under their BULLSHIT, but you NEVER LOOK! That's what I hate most about this Fucking City -- LIES ARE N
Mar 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Tina Haigler
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novel
I picked this up from my library on a whim. I'm not a huge fan of the urban future sci-fi genre. I much prefer dark urban fantasy but I figured, why not. It could be fun. Right?

Hell yeah, it was fun! It was gritty, interesting, hilarious, entertaining, and crazy. I love the main character. He's absolutely insane but for all the right reasons. His rants were awesome and his vulgarity was epic. The art was also fantastic and really set the mood for the story. Well done.

I definitely recommend this
Sidharth Vardhan
Well, I changed my avatar to Spider Jerusalem. I think a review is redundant.
Sam Quixote
Oct 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: hated, comics
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
Book Riot Community
I wrote a whole thing about how amped I am about having read Transmetropolitan, but I’m just gonna have to be redundant: this cyberpunk tale of political corruption being faced head-on by a badass journalist and his badass assistants made me happy in my heart. I binge-read like 60 issues in three days.

— Susie Rodarme

from The Best Books We Read In December 2016:
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Transmetropolitan is the graphic novel that I've been looking for so long! Dark humour, sci-fi, and unconventional journalism are the main elements of this comic series.

Warren Ellis conveys a dystopian futuristic world where depravity, religion, social inequality and ideologies are scrutinised in a fully ironic approach.

The protagonist, Spider Jerusalem, is a clever, non-conformist journalist who follows a particular lifestyle, a lifestyle motivated by pushing the truth, debunking false dogmas,
Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jedi JC Daquis
Aug 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I asked myself before reading the first volume: my friends have recommended Transmetropolitan to me, but how on earth can a journalism-themed graphic novel interest so many.

The answer is generic yet very effective: a phenomenal first volume.

I have read so many titles with an awesome first volume. Many have kept me interested and excited until the end/current story arc (Chew, Sandman, Preacher, Scalped, Y The Last Man) while there are some that performed poorly after the first volume (Black Scien
James DeSantis
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
My buddy Jimmy told me to read this ages ago. My buddy Chris has also told me it's a must read Ellis story. I'm glad I took time to read this because 8 or 9 years ago I don't think James would have liked it much. Now? Well...

The story is about Spider. He's a journalist. Don't worry, if you didn't know that or care to know he'll fucking TELL YOU. I mean this dude is no filter loud mouth, foul mouth, loony bin type main lead. That's a good thing here though because it keeps you entertained through
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
Seems all too relevant right now.
Juho Pohjalainen
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There are those that seek to solve their problems by beating the shit out of it - even if it means they have to make it look like their problems started it. All too many people go for it, all too easily, because it feels like such an easy thing, just give in to your emotions and let loose. Even though it doesn't actually solve anything: it doesn't prove you right, it doesn't convince anyone to side with you, it just makes them more afraid. All it does is create more problems, in the long run.

Alexander Peterhans
I guess this was all a lot more daring and interesting when it first came out in 1997. Now it reads as trying waaaay too hard to sound edgy and cool - the city coming across as a bad copy of Judge Dredd's Mega-City One. The quaintest idea at the heart of this book is that journalists would still have any power or influence. I guess that qualifies it as sci-fi.

I was just bored reading it.
A wordy but worthy comic. Even better than i remember but perhaps the current political/social climate has something to do with that.
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Reading the first volume of Transmetropolitan for the first time, I feel that I've been shot between the eyes with a bullet coated in a variety of psychedelic drugs which is giving me the trip of my life as I die. There's more ideas per page than I think I've ever seen in a graphic novel before.

It's not just that though, it's the heart and soul that comes pouring off the pages as well. The author is angry about so many things - the violence and brutality of the police, the corruption of the medi
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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, as well as the digital short-story single DEAD PIG COLLECTOR. His newest book is the novella NORMAL, from FSG Originals, listed as one of Amazon’s Best 100 Books Of 2016.


Other books in the series

Transmetropolitan (Collected Editions) (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 2: Lust for Life
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 3: Year of the Bastard
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 4: The New Scum
  • Lonely City (Transmetropolitan, #5)
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 6: Gouge Away
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 7: Spider's Thrash
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 8: Dirge
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 9: The Cure
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 10: One More Time
  • Transmetropolitan Book One

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