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Martin joins the ranks of Malcolm Gladwell and Bill Clinton as a self-confessed, hard-core fan of the Reacher series. His scholarship is wide-ranging and equally envelops the genuinely popular. His hybrid elegy and memoir, Waiting for Bardot , recalls his teenage infatuation with the iconic French movie star. Martin has also published a book on surfing, Stealing the Wave , and was even the first surfing correspondent to hold a position at a major UK newspaper The Independent.

Possibly Gladwell is among them. The simple act of sitting down at a screen and plugging away on a keyboard is, after all, the least performative of all of the creative acts. Sure, British novelist Will Self was exhibited as he wrote in a performance piece in a London Gallery in , but one suspects this was most effective as a postmodern, ironic, beard-stroking gag.

The result is a playful, innovative bromance, written with brio and humor, which gives an insightful real time consideration of how Child writes a novel, from start to finish. Reacher Said Nothing is a provocative book, certainly from a writer schooled in the canonical French classics Martin name checks lofty idols Flaubert and Stendhal throughout. And this struggle is still going on, to one degree or another. At the low end, Liefeld is still out there writing the same action plots, and somewhat better is Ennis, whose Preacher is a love letter to swearing, gross-outs, and bromance.

Transmet for brevity also has its share of sex, violence, and puerile humor, but for Ellis, this is more than just an exploitation romp, it's a means to an end. Though underground comics were rife with subversion and political satire, mainstream comics have shown up rather late to the party. Moore's comics are often political, especially his early works, Watchmen and V for Vendetta , but these were rather serious takes, coming from the school of post-modern realism. In Transmet, Ellis is coming at the issue from a later vantage, that of subversive culture-jamming, most evident in his nods to Hunter S.

Thompson's 'Gonzo Journalism'. In the sixties, writers of varying stripes adopted this style in rejection of the repressive fifties, but it took longer to spread to comics. We can see the same form in action in Transmet, in Ellis' protagonist, Spider Jerusalem, a post-cyberpunk stand-in for Thompson. Most of the time, Spider is following a spiral of madcap self-destruction, doing ridiculous, violent, amoral, childish things in order to break people out of their daily ruts.

The first step of this kind of subversion is always to break through assumptions, refusing to play within the system because house rules favor the house. There is a good deal of humor and adventure in these romps, and their childish unsophistication is part of their charm, and their power.

He's an unpredictable, moving target, and though all his actions are focused on specific goals, he makes sure that he is dangerous and entertaining enough to make his mark. This is where the second step comes in. Once you have grabbed their attention and torn down their expectations, your audience is primed to listen to you with fresh ears. This is the whole point of bombast, wit, and humor.

Comedians and Court Jesters are funny because it command attention and allows them to approach issues obliquely, sidestepping the usual thought-terminating cliches. When Ellis gets these moments, he doesn't put them to waste.

As a writer, he is capable of a biting vibrancy that few other authors can match, in comics or sci fi. He hits some of the high points of his impressive career in this book, but then, perhaps that's not so surprising. This book is relying on two very powerful writing traditions: Gonzo and Cyberpunk, which both use similar methods of witty, idiomatic information overload to communicate their message. What saves this book from the cartoonish violence of a book like Preacher is what always saves cyberpunk: the pure strength of writing.

Both styles share an obsession with synthesis: creating a complex mix of disparate social elements and theories without growing too focused on any particular element. That is why the baroque high-water mark of revolutionary psychadelic writing shares the same location as the birthplace of cyberpunk: Philip K. Dick and Illuminatus! Gibson really blew everything else out of the water with Neuromancer , and the attempt to pick up the pieces is called 'post-cyberpunk'.

It's a collectio of disparate writings sharing a theme and a setting, but widely disagreeing on most everything else. Gibson's book was so prescient and still is , that everyone else is trying to prove themselves the next technological and social prophet. There have been a lot of people jumping on the bandwagon, but Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash stands out as one of the most interesting, complex, and purely enjoyable of the lot.

Consequently, I spent a lot of time trying and failing to find another book that could match it, but with little luck. Not even Stephenson's been able to live up to it. But there is a lot in Transmet that meets that desire for another Snow Crash, and maybe that shouldn't be so surprising, since Snow Crash was originally scripted to be a comic. It's almost as full of ideas, it's as unpredictable and enjoyable, and the writing has that precise mixture of intellectual and pulp action. That being said, sci fi is not Ellis' strong suit.

This is a soft sci fi if there ever was one, and Ellis' society doesn't hold up to the originality and perverse plausibility of Stephenson's. Ellis gives us sentient nanoclouds next to still frame cameras activated by button. It's not as bad as Star Trek, where you can disintegrate and remotely reintegrate people but can't fix a broken back, but it's not a hard sci fi built around the changes technology brings. Ellis is more concerned with his characters and his politics, but luckily, he tends to hit his mark with them.

Spider, like most of Ellis' protagonists, is a black-hearted, cynical bastard who lives by his own code and leaves a swathe of destruction behind, but as usual, he still manages to make him sympathetic. At his best, Ellis manages to remember that Spider's flaws are flaws, though sometimes, and particularly as he wraps the story up, Spider gets to be too much 'crotchety hero' and too little 'amoral force of nature'. But it's a good comic, and more than that, it's a good piece of sci fi, though more on the 'Speculative Fiction' end, since it's more concerned with exploring the question of 'what makes us human?

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In fact, it's a crime that this great sci fi series ended in , and that same year, the Nebula and Clarke awards went to a rewrite of 'Flowers for Algernon' whose sci fi elements were superfluous to the story. But then, it's usually too much to hope that a book will both be well written and get accolades. Robertson's art is also solid, though I'm hard-pressed to think of any interior artist who could match Darrow's covers, but Robertson does admirably.


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His vision of the future is amusingly detailed and unusual enough to transport us away, and his sense of pacing is strong. It's worth noting that it took the world twenty years to catch up with Neuromancer, with the premiere of the first Matrix, and that this series predates that landmark social event by several years. As we move closer to The Singularity , and technologies are developed more and more quickly, predicting the future will become more and more difficult.

Already, sci fi is shifting to predicting next year instead of next century. But Transmet looks further than that, because like all great thinkers, Ellis recognizes that to look forward, we must look back. The best ideas are never one idea, and though Spider's politics sometimes grow to dominate the series, Ellis still contrasts them with a multitude of concepts, leaving us with a pleasing depth of insight.

I can only hope that more comic authors will realize that sex and violence--even at their most over-the-top--can be vital, complex parts of a story, but only if they have a point. There is no story element too outrageous for the arsenal of a talented, driven author. As usual, it's a joy to see Ellis' madcap style, as he plugs the dangling cords from the cyberpunk machine into the rusty dystopian engine until the whole thing lights up like a channel cold-fission laser-guided Christmas tree.

You could do worse. My Suggested Readings in Comics View all 11 comments.

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Hunter S. Armed with a bowel disruptor, righteousness, his wits and a mouth that wo Hunter S. Armed with a bowel disruptor, righteousness, his wits and a mouth that would make your mama cringe yay! View all 21 comments. 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. Spider Jerusalem was one hell of a journalist. But after years of Journalism, the man had enough of the city. He has bee The word 'unique' doesn't even start to describe our title character and the story.

He has been living on top of a mountain for last five years like a very peaceful monk He is a junkie, paranoid and pretty sure he is crazy too.


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  4. He hates everything: His life before, his life now, the mountains he lives in, the people, religion, politics and the bureaucracy. But he can only function as a writer in his own personal inferno, his hunting ground, his city So Spider goes back into the underbelly of the city he loves to hate. But the city is so not ready for him! The Broken City Transmetropolitan paints a disturbing futuristic city which subtly mimics our own world.

    A world filled with hate, over-the-top reality shows, bureaucracy, crazy sales executive, hypocrites and religious fanatics. Just to make things crazier, there are machines on drugs, genetically engineered cats, and flying shoes. The first three chapters introduce our crazy character: His return to the city in all glory and his first live reporting I have never read anything like this.

    It is a dark, gritty, vile, and an unforgiving story with a peculiar shade of ironic sense of humor. The rest of the three chapters are more episodic in nature. In those chapters, Spider and his new assistant, Channon, tackle a new aspect of society. These three chapters are basically rants of a junkie with a brutal sense of honesty, albeit a bit over the top at certain places.

    Overall, this is a great beginning to an unforgettable world and a title character! View all 15 comments. Mar 01, Melki rated it it was amazing Shelves: graphic-novel. 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 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.

    G Hunter S. You're miserable, edgy and tired. You're in the perfect mood for journalism. A kick-ass comic about writing? Mind blowing. View all 9 comments. Dec 26, Patrick 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. View all 3 comments. Sep 02, Jan Philipzig rated it really liked it Shelves: activism , crime , drugs-alcohol , mental-disorder , pop-culture , politics , work , civil-rights , mass-media , punk-goth.

    When these comics originally came out in the late 's, the comic-book industry lay in ashes.


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    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 When these comics originally came out in the late 's, the comic-book industry lay in ashes.

    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 spectacular and capable as renegade gonzo journalist Spider Jerusalem seemed like the man for the job. Rereading the series now, I see little more than a cartoon version of the Hunter S.

    Thompson persona - competently done and entertaining enough, yes, but not exactly groundbreaking. Still, I've always felt that pop culture belongs to the young, so I am not going to sneer at mini-me: five stars from my younger and better looking self, three from the current one who is in the process of packing up - four sounds like a fair compromise. View all 8 comments. Mar 29, Lyn rated it really liked it. First published in , 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. Drawn down from his mountain lair five years after leaving the city, he returns to see racism, sexism, corruption, drug addiction and crass commercialism — all the elements of civilization that drove him away before and that pulls him back in again. This has become something of a cult classic in the graphic novel universe and for good reason as it provides a tableau for much of what is best accomplished in this medium.

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    Dec 06, Andrew rated it liked it Recommends it for: the smugly superior. Shelves: visual , genre , scientific. 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.

    He takes on religion! He takes on TWO presidents! He even wrestles with a cult leader! The problem is that Jerusalem is not, in fact, the underdog; he achieves all of his goals through bullying and brute force, and he's never in any danger. He even recovers from the neurological illness that almost humanizes him in the latter half of the series! Basically, he's a jerk. But he's a jerk the author clearly wants you to empathize with. I'm not saying Spider's antics aren't endearing; I like it as much as the next guy when crazy religious leaders are threatened with violence.

    But I find it a little disturbing that he is portrayed so sympathetically, and I think my chief problem with the series is that the audience is supposed to see him as a largely moral, ethical character. He's an easy character to get behind, because of his aura of rebellion, but he isn't actually rebelling, and that's the problem. Spider Jerusalem gets everything he wants. He is the authority. The comic also fails to deliver on its science-fictional premise.

    Practically all of the futuristic elements are introduced in the first two volumes, despite the immensity of The City and the world, and some events seem a little too grounded in contemporary life. People care that the President has sex with a prostitute? In a world where you can download computer viruses into your brain for pleasure? In a world where people change species when they feel like it? I don't buy it. Anyway, most people seem to like this comic, so odds are you will, too. It's pretty funny, sometimes, and the art is generally good.

    But don't come running to me when Spider Jerusalem beats the hell out of a pathetic half-alien with a busted chair leg, all the time yelling about truth and being an outlaw. View all 4 comments. Mar 04, Purple rated it it was ok Shelves: science-fiction , graphic-novels , 2-star. 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.

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    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 Everyone seems to love this! Spider is supposedly meant to be a moral character, and yet when the story starts it is made abundantly clear that he isn't - he'd signed a contract, taken the money and ran.

    He blows up a bar, for no discernible reason. He then leaves his car in the middle of a traffic jam and wanders over everyone elses. It also appears later on that he still has his car. It just seems to me that this could have all been thought out a bit better. The writing seemed to be rushed, and, while the artwork is good, it rarely stays constant. I shall try the second book in case there's something I'm clearly missing, but as a start to a series 'Back on the Street' leaves something to be desired View all 13 comments.

    Dec 11, Ivan rated it it was amazing Shelves: graphic-novels , sci-fi , satire-and-humor , dystopia-and-postapocalyptic. 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 volumes but this is just as good and crazy as first time I read it. Oct 16, Sam Quixote 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 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. The streamer has announced that it will field a substantial presentation at San Diego Comic Con , with stars from all of its original series on hand and plenty of sneak peeks and exclusive footage.

    The panel will take place on Saturday, July Word on the street lately has been that, with the introduction of its WarnerMedia streaming service on the horizon, Warner Brothers — which owns the film and television rights to all DC properties — may be mulling over the option of letting DC Universe die on the vine, perhaps folding one or two of its original series into the new streamer's original lineup.