Posts Tagged ‘Transmetropolitan’
This week marked the end of another legendary comic book opus, Planetary, so it really seems like now would be the time to spotlight one of my all time favorite comic writers, Warren Ellis. While most writers embrace the theme of futurist technology, Ellis seems to take it, add many elements of transhumanism (essentially, using technology to enhance the limits of normal humans’ abilities), and rub it in your face. I’m pretty sure he spends all the time he could be spending at comic conventions staring at his toaster going, “Why the fuck can’t I do that?”
First, let’s start with his work on a hero everybody knows. Before Ellis got his hands on Tony Stark in Iron Man Vol. 4’s “Extremis” storyline, the Iron Man suit was cumbersome and took a good while to put on (or, in the case of Ellis’ own Ultimate Galactus Trilogy, took a team of dozens). And then Mr. Ellis decided, “That’s dumb! Gimme!” He had Tony Stark inject himself with a weird techno-virus that pretty much grafted the suit’s undershealth to his own bones and made it all thought controlled. Ever since then, instead of having to go over to the garage and put it on piece by piece (like a stupid human), Tony just has to think about putting it on and the Extremis Suit parts just fly onto him in, as Matt Fraction put it, “the blink of an eye.”
Another example of Ellis’ love of transhumanism is found in Wildstorm’s Desolation Jones. First off, this book is gorgeously illustrated by J.H. Williams III, on indefinite hiatus since the end of it’s first story arc, and grossly underrated. It tells the tale of Michael “Desolation” Jones, an alcoholic ex-MI6 agent who was proven a bit, well, unstable. The British government did a series of experiments on him (including not allowing him to sleep for a full year) and released him into Los Angeles. Although few details are given in the book about the experiments, he is branded a possible biological hazard and gains the superhuman ability to focus on things we normal folk couldn’t (such as watching a bullet whizzing past or hearing the displacement of air around a swinging crowbar). I seriously hope that once Williams is done with “Detective Comics,” he and Ellis could expand on this idea.
Honestly, there isn’t enough I could ever say about my love for Vertigo’s Transmetropolitan (or its antihero protagonist, Spider Jerusalem, but that is beside the point). The City is a world where technology has progressed so much that it it has more or less perverted everyday life, allowing corruption to run rampant. Residents can take pills that immunize them from any and all cancers, alter their human DNA with alien genes to become “transients,” or just go all out and download their personality into “foglet” nano-machine clouds. Basically, the world of Transmetropolitan is a transhumanist’s paradise and, although critical of it at times, Warren Ellis’ scientific wet dream.
There is a ton of Ellis’ work I’ve yet to read (so, so many limited series) but there are definitely a lot of titles on my to-read list. One of these days I’m going to pick up Ignition City, Red, the Authority, and Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E., all of which are on my well-worn Comics Most Wanted list. While I round those titles up, I eagerly await the next futuristic Warren Ellis project.
The absolute best thing about the new Long Beach Comic Con was the MASSIVE artist’s alley, which took up most of the exhibition floor. We picked up a couple of little sketchbooks and went ’round collecting cool sketches from artists we like – some big names, some little ones. Check ’em out (and click to enlarge)!
Well, Long Beach Comic Con is over and, I gotta admit, it made for one hell of a weekend. So much awesome sh*t went down, I barely even know where to begin.
- At the Boom! Studios panel, they announced a bunch of titles we’re really psyched about! Dingo (by Michael Alan Nelson), the Anchor, Nola, Incorruptible, several Disney titles (but no Darkwing Duck… yet)!
- Scored many awesome sketches: Batwoman and Detective Chimp by Joel Gomez, Martian Manhunter by Doug Mahnke, Spider-Woman by Ray-Anthony Height, Captain America by Eddie Nuñez, Spider-Man and Doctor Fate by Michael O’Hare, Lieam by David Petersen, and two which totally get their own bullet point!
- Darick Robertson did a sketch of Spider Jerusalem for both Maggie and Rob! His son also sketched us a sweet Batmouse and got himself an awesome David Petersen Mouse Guard sketch! Geek faces were had by all!
- Maggie held a copy of X-Men #1 for a long, long time and got a copy of Spider-Woman Vol. 1 #1!
HIGH FIVES FIVED HIGHLY:
- Darick Robertson (okay, technically a hand shake) and son (TOTAL high five)
Today was mostly spent geeking out amongst ourselves but, man, it was full of unexpected events. Especially listening to Darick Robertson give a really great constructive critique to an aspiring artist while we chatted with the younger Robertson, who drew us a cute little Batmouse and absolutely freaked when David Petersen sat down on the other side of his Dad.
“Son, do you know who this is? He writes and draws Mouse Guard!”
Seriously, what a cool kid. We are all due for a rest, though. In the meantime, here’s some photos of what totally happened, you guys.
We’ll be posting photos of all the cool sketches we collected this weekend a little later, so stay tuned! The guys from comicimpact.com did a quick little interview with our very chatty editor, Maggie, so we’ll be sure to send you their way when it goes up in a few days!
Before we get there, I know what complaints I’m gonna get. “Where’s Bruce Wayne? The Spirit? Tony Stark?” Well, not here. Batman and the Spirit are legends in their own right, big enough that I’d consider their legacy to be a power in and of itself. And Tony Stark has weird implants now. TOTALLY COUNTS. Also, he has the power to drink more than ten Winston Churchills.
10. Expert swordfighter, chess-player, and bull-dresser, Seaguy (apparently, also his real name?) wants nothing more that to actually be a superhero. Unfortunately, when you live in some Orwellian acid trip and all you have is a wetsuit and a sidekick like Chubby Da Choona (a floating, cigar-smoking tuna who is afraid of water), this is harder than it seems. Seaguy somehow deals with Xoo (“1/2 an animal on a stick!”), Egyptians on the moon, the Gondolier (aka: Death), and a bizarre parody of Walt Disney and his creations. If you couldn’t tell from that description, this is one of Grant Morrison’s fucking balls-out head trips. He’s written two of three volumes so far and, as weird as the book is, I’m eagerly awaiting the final arc. DA FUG!
9. Frank Castle watched his whole family get murdered by a mob in Central Park. In retaliation, he became the Punisher shot EVERYBODY EVER. Armed to the fucking teeth, this guy took on Bullseye, Spider-Man, and the unfuckwithable Kingpin. And what does he have to show for it? Three movies, all of which Marvel hopes you forget (and none of which where he’s played by Henry Rollins, what gives?). His Archie team up was better than all of his movies. Poor Guy.
8. I’ll let Maggie take this one, here she is: Xander is AWESOME. He is the world’s most adorable weenie, but he’s also the Nick Fury of the Buffyverse. And before I hear a word about Xander’s televised origins, he is in BUFFY SEASON EIGHT. Which is a comic. By Joss Whedon (and friends). The closest Xander ever came to really having powers was being able to remember random military shit from that one time he got turned into a Real Soldier on Halloween. He worked for Dracula. Hell, he was BFF with Count-fucking-Dracula for a minute. Xander can tame vengeance demons, rage-blind witches, and the Slayer herself. He lost his virginity to Faith (hot), and he decapitated the motherfucker who killed his most recent paramour. Do not. Fuck. With Xander.
7. Vic Sage and Renee Montoya are both totally underrated folks. Vic Sage was the Question for-fucking-ever and then Rucka took over. Vic died from lung cancer in Nanda Parbat while talking crazy at Renee Montoya. She ended up taking up the mantle from him and subsequently beat the shit out of the cult of Cain during Final Crisis and is now beating the shit out of inner city thugs while busting up a prostitution ring. Fuck yeah, the Questions. Most underappreciated heroes ever!
6. Between his Twilight of the Superheroes pitch and Rorschach, it seemed like Alan Moore had it out to create the antithesis of the Question. At the start, Rorschach is the only active vigilante left in the Watchmen universe. Keeping in mind that this was written during the Cold War (AND the Reagan administration), Rorschach is intensely right-wing and anti-Communist. Despite being as mentally (and hygienically) fucked up as possible, he manages to do what none of the others would and (SPOILER) die for what he believes.
5. Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson get lumped together. I know, it’s cheating, but it is OK. She is Oracle, he is Robin or Nightwing or Batman or whatever. You already know all about them so whatever. And you know what? Maggie’s right. They need to freaking get it on already. Get on it, Morrison!
4. John Constantine almost seemed like an after thought. He was created by Alan Moore as a sort of guide for Swamp Thing when he was freaking out over his identity. What he ended up being was the DCU’s definitive Fox Mulder-style paranormal detective. Pick an author and it’s more than likely that John Constantine has been featured in one of their stories at some point. One of my favorite things about this character is that he ages in real time. Seriously, how much more human can you get than that?
3. Ollie has a hell of a story. Dude was a Bruce Wayne wannabe who crashes onto an island and learns to make and shoot bows and arrows. He eventually gets off the island, dons a Robin Hood-like costume, and becomes a super-liberal crime fighter. He also becomes mayor of Star City, starred in a weird political series with Green Lantern Hal Jordan (written by Dennis O’Neill), marries Black Canary (arguably one of the most sought after ladies of the DCU), and goes through absolute fucking Hell (both literally in Kevin Smith’s run and figuratively in Mike Grell’s excellent The Longbow Hunters). Here’s just an idea I’d like to throw around, though, DC. Queen in the White House in 2012. You KNOW that’d be awesome.
2. Spider Jerusalem is essentially just Hunter S. Thompson if he’d have lived til the future. As much of a “gonzo journalist” as Hunter was, Spider roams around the City “monstering” with his “filthy assistants,” trying to expose the politicians for the dicks they are. He is not one to sell his soul and certainly not one to just roll over. He is as persistent in accomplishing his goals as some of the capes are and certainly willing to die to achieve them. I’m not usually a fan of Warren Ellis’ stuff (Iron Man: Extremis excluded) but his writing on this character is amazing. I’m eventually going to write an entry about the brilliance of Transmetropolitan once I re-read it (for, like, the fifth time).
1. What? I’m putting a MARVEL character at number one? Damn straight I am… Motherfucking Nick Fury. Dude is pretty much in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D, an organization so powerful that it practically controls the Marvel Universe. Nick Fury has the greatest superpower of all, political power, and is able to pretty much get anything he wants done. Plus, the dude can keep HYDRA at bay, and in the Marvel Universe, that is pretty much the hardest thing EVER. Kudos, Mr. Fury. You win at being the bestest regular human EVER.