TRANSMETROPOLITAN: I HATE IT
Outlaw journalist Spider Jerusalem spreads The Word.
Prestige format One Shot
Published by DC Vertigo, 2000
by Scott J. Grunewald
Warren Ellis frightens me. And it's generally not when he tries
to, either. Ellis has the rare and odd ability to not only suck
a reader into his stories, but to actually get under your skin and
literally force you to come back to the work time and again. His
comics haunt you. TRANSMETROPOLITAN is the story of outlaw
journalist Spider Jerusalem - a mad, angry, drug addled bastard
with a razor sharp tongue and desperate and overwhelming compulsion
to tell the truth. Spider lives and works in The City, a futuristic
and sprawling metropolis, featuring kiosks that sell cloned human
meat, monkey burgers, and chewing gum laced with hallucinogens.
The police are brutal and mindless enforcers for a government tired
of working for us. The rich sit comfortably above the ever-increasing
masses of poor people shoved into dark corners, out of their "betters'"
line of sight. An apathetic middle class doesn't bother voting,
because they're too busy playing video games, watching TV, or having
their rectums pierced.
is our world, reflected in a warped and dirty mirror."
that sounds a little too much like the cities that we're living
in today, then you're getting the point of the series. TRANSMET
is our world, reflected in a warped and dirty mirror.
the regular series, Spider is our guide through his world. I've
always imagined that the world we're seeing is just the real world
filtered through his off-kilter perspective. Darick Robertson, who
gives us a raw, cluttered, and illogical maze of insanity, illustrates
his world. What better way to let us inside the minds and worlds
of the other city residents than by showing us this mad world through
their eyes? TRANSMETROPOLITAN: I HATE IT HERE does exactly
that. Ellis gathered 34 of the top artists working on comics today
to help him out.
I HATE IT HERE is a collection of snippets from Spider's weekly
newspaper column and each piece is illustrated by a new and talented
artist. The columns themselves are wild and unpredictable, just like
their writer (Spider, not Ellis, although a case could be made for
the latter). But aside from being funny, shocking, and insightful,
his columns also serve as an interesting companion piece to the series.
It takes us back to his first days back in the city after being forced
out of his self-inflicted exile, onto his mad trouble with The Smiler,
and the shocking and painful death of his friend Vita Severn. Seeing
as how the timing of this special comes just as TRANSMET reaches
it's halfway point, I find myself hoping that we get another collection
like this after the series concludes.
columns also serve as an interesting companion piece to the
as good as the columns of Spider are the real reason to get this
book is the accompanying artwork. Just as I imagine Robertson's
manic artwork to be like looking through the eyes of Spider, one
can almost imagine that the various pieces of art in the I HATE
IT HERE special are like looking through the eyes of a random
city dwellers reading one of Spiders columns.
for a second that you love Spider, and you look at him as a literary
hero. When you read about him running around naked high on hallucinogens,
thinking he's a Norse lawyer, you're obviously going to idealize
the image in your mind. Imagine you're a conservative housewife
reading about Spider's horrible use of drugs, of course you're going
to picture him wild eyed, and dirty with odd drug injecting paraphernalia
surrounding him. Imagine you're at the opposite side of the political
spectrum as Spider, hearing him talk about tossing The Beast out
of office and parade his body on the streets is going to make you
imagine scenes from the apocalypse.
I HATE IT HERE is a wonderful set piece to the world of Spider
Jerusalem, and is must reading for fans of the series. Knowing what's
going in the minds of Spider's readers is just as vital as knowing
what's going on in the mind of Spider himeself. I HATE IT HERE
shows us a side of Spider's world that we would never be able to
see in the regular series.
(with reservations: for readers of the regular TRANSMET series).
Scott J. Grunewald is Publisher of PopImage.
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