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Transmetropolitan, Vol. 1: Back on the Street Paperback – March 17, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo (March 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401220843
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401220846
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 6.7 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Ellis's dystopic narrative, with its full-color tale of a gonzo journalist, shares with mainstream superhero comics a macho ethos that undermines the otherwise cool Watchmen-like script. Spider Jerusalem, a hip reporter of the Hunter Thompson mode, breaks a five-year drug binge on a mountaintop to replenish his resources. The city he returns to resembles the post-apocalyptic Blade Runner and all its funky visual progeny, and Jerusalem soon uncovers a government plot involving a staged rebellion by half-aliens. Two pages at the end (done by a different artist?) suggest how much better this would have looked in a style like Moebius, instead of the conventional DC-house graphics. Still, lots of background gags and some sharp cross-cutting panels make for a compelling read. (Kirkus Reviews) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Warren Ellis has created and written for The Authority, Transmetropolitan, Orbiter, the award-winning Planetary, and the forthcoming Ministry of Space. Darick Robertson is the artist and co-creator of Transmetropolitan. He is also the artist on The Boys and Fury, and creator of Space Beaver. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Wonsowski on December 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
This was a series I got dragged into kicking and screaming. Before it was a Vertigo title, it was published under the short-lived Helix imprint; ironically, it was the only Helix book I didn't read. Long story short, the Helix books were that bad. Everyone kept telling me, "You need to read this." I kept replying, "It's another Helix book," and I went on my merry way for a couple years.

I kept on buying my usual titles until the series was wrapping up, and my comic store guys (Rich and Ethan at Comic Fortress, Somerville NJ) told me to just try the first volume.

Thank you, guys.

First of all, this is Warren Ellis' most personal, volatile, heart-felt, and above-the-board best writing he has ever produced. The protagonist, Spider Jerusalem, is a Hunter S Thompson of the future; the series reads like Fear and Loathing in Blade Runner (if Ridley Scott had choked to death watching NBC sitcoms, Ted Nugent hunting videos, and porno). He's a hacked-off gonzo journalist who swings between eyewitness to humanity's best and Bill Hicks "we're a virus with shoes" vitriol, and Ellis crafts every word flawlessly.

Darrick Robertson is the perfect artist to complement the words. There is so much detail in every panel, including very human facial expressions (a very lost art in this business of gritted teeth on every cover) and backgrounds that are like a Where's Waldo of minutiae. As blaringly noisy as this vision of the future is, it's also unsettling enough to be glad we don't live there.

Or do we? Ellis weaves a lot of food for thought throughout the series, commenting on our world through his, and maybe there's some Warren Ellis in Spider Jerusalem.
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51 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on June 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
"Transmetropolitan: Back on the Street" is a book-length comic by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson. The copyright page notes that the contents of the book originally appeared in single issue form as "Transmetropolitan" 1-3.
This vividly illustrated tale focuses on Spider Jerusalem, a journalist in a futuristic city. This is very much a science fiction story, spiced with references such as one to a Martian secession movement. In this volume Spider investigates a controversy involving an emergent subculture of genetically altered humans.
The tattooed, chain-smoking, gun-toting Spider is a compelling protagonist. The book is violent but intelligently written and often quite funny. The story raises questions about police conduct, multiculturalism, the First Amendment, and the role of the journalist in society. It's a remarkable book that has whetted my appetite for more of Spider's saga.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By on February 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is unlike any comic book I've ever read. It mixes science-fiction with dark humor and an insightful social commentary. For those who enjoyed Warren Ellis' work on DV8, Stormwatch, Hellstorm, and Ruins, prepared to be blown away. If you have ever read any interviews or editorials by the author, you can tell Transmetropolitan is almost autobiographical. The timeframe is the distant future. The story begins with a jaded journalist (much like Ellis) named Spider Jerusalem. He has lived outside of "The City" for five years because he cannot tolerate the corruption and decadence anymore. However, he is compelled to write again, and realizes that he must go back to his own personal hell to do so. The first story-arc, compiled in "Back On the Street" deals with Jerusalem returning to "The City." While he is getting adjusted to his new surroundings, he lands a job as a columnist. And to find material on his first column, he uncovers a plot by the government. This sounds cliched, but I promise you, Ellis makes it work. This book is filled with perverse jokes, dark humor, and ultra-violence. But underneath all that lies a profound message and an insightful morality. It is easily the best comic book of 1997, and one of the best stories I've read in a long time.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By John Sears on May 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
It's hard to overstate the religiously transcendant goodness of Transmetropolitan; these books are greatness beyond human ken, and could probably be set up in shrines as small but powerful local deities if you had such a mind. I'm getting ahead of myself here though, reviewing the entire series, so I'll stick to the volume at hand.

Transmet Volume One deals with the extremely reluctant return of one Spider Jerusalem, Outlaw Journalist, to what passes for civilization in a far, but somehow familiar, dystopian future. Out of money and delinquent on a book contract, he reluctantly departs his mountain stronghold (equipped with, among other security blankets, an Ebola Bomb) for the decadent, vibrant, decaying, glittering cesspool of civilization known only as The City.

If there is a man for every age, then Jerusalem is the man for this one; hateful, sinful, cynical, and dedicated only to his own casual urges and the pursuit of Truth, he wades into the bloody stinking mess that his once and future home has become and quickly finds a disaster in the making, as the City turns a blind eye toward the seemingly inevitable massacre of a truly bizarre, but ultimately harmless, subculture in one of its many teeming ghettos. Nothing seems to stand in the way, except, perhaps, a lunatic with tar filled lungs, a bad attitude, and a typewriter.

Can an old fashioned newsman save the future, with only words and a hefty dose of gratuitous violence? You're about to find out.
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