ByAngelo Delos Trinos, writer at
Netflix's 'Death Note' is this year's best comedy. Look for 'AD3' in Facebook.
Angelo Delos Trinos

With the success of Iron Man (2008), anything even remotely related to comic books has been adapted to all forms of mainstream media, with the likes of something as vulgar and offensive (yet awesome) as Garth Ennis' and Steve Dillon's magnum opus Preacher becoming an ongoing TV show from the same channel that brought Breaking Bad to life.

While they may not all be perfect, the fruits of the comic book adaptation craze have yet to lessen in numbers but there is one particular graphic novel series that deserves a chance to be televised: the political satire Transmetropolitan, from comic creators Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson.

The story has only become more important with the passage of time in today's turbulent political climate, but that's not the only reason we need Transmetropolitan on the small screen.

Word of the Spider

Spider and his filthy assistants, Yelena and Channon
Spider and his filthy assistants, Yelena and Channon

Over the course of its 60 issue run, Transmetropolitan followed controversial gonzo journalist (and obvious Hunter S. Thompson homage) Spider Jerusalem who, with the help of his filthy assistants Yelena and Channon, went on a mission given unto him by himself to expose the truth by any means necessary.

Whether it was finding the corporate motive behind a race riot or exposing public officials for the depraved child humping perverts they are, Spider gave no shits about whose feet he stepped on as long as the people of "The City" knew what was really going on. Transmetropolitan is a cyberpunk graphic novel that tackles modern political themes in their most grounded yet visceral forms, making it one of the few stories printed in comics that doesn't need one noted super-villain allegories to get its social commentary across.

We Need the Press

The journalist we need
The journalist we need

If you took the time to look at the news, you'd notice that there's a disturbing rise in anger from all sides. It doesn't matter if you see yourself as a conservative or a liberal: everyone's fucking pissed at something. If there's one thing everyone needs right now, it's a voice and the chance to vent out the long repressed frustrations they've had against the ruling classes with none of the government sponsored niceties skewing the message.

Transmetropolitan, by means of Spider, is that voice when it raises both middle fingers to the system and the metaphorical authority figure we refer to as The Man, the bastard who fucks up everything up for his own selfish desires. On more than one occasion, Spider publicly humiliates people who, in a poetic manner of speaking, deserved what was coming.

From self-righteous religious leaders to smug politicians who are used to buying their way out of anything, Spider doesn't hold back any punches when exposing the assholes of the world. He may not be perfect given that he's a proud junkie and one big fucking asshole who has way too much fun with his non-lethal diarrhea inducing gun but he never forgets where he came from, seen in how he always puts the exposure of the truth ahead of anything else.

This becomes all the more true when Spider is forced to cover his most hated time of the year: election season. The anger people feel to when it comes to the contemporary politics they see on the nightly news and the authority's general lack of giving a shit is seen in at its worst in the arc that covers more than a good half of the series, and Spider volunteers himself to be the mouthpiece for this collective frustration.

Electoral manipulation, financial corruption and abuse of power all come to a head with Spider and his allies who even when caught in the crossfire, do everything they can to bring the truth to light in order to save the City from the clutches of a smiling politician who thinks the world owes him everything.

One with the Streets

Journalism has its perks
Journalism has its perks

Due to how expansive it is, the only way the graphic novels can be given justice is to adapt it in an episodic manner fit for television while keeping its tone intact. The hard hitting satire will be lost in translation if toning it down for a more general audience becomes a priority, meaning that Transmetropolitan can only work if its studio respects it, like how HBO trusted Game of Thrones to do as it pleased with its sex and violence.

Transmetropolitan has both comedy and drama, all of which helps balance the harsh political commentary with a great sense of humanity and realism. No matter how scathing its attacks on both politicians and civilians can get, it's still a story regular people can relate to because it speaks about complicated subject manners in an accessible voice. Maybe one filled with excessive amounts of cussing, sexual innuendos and liquid shit related jokes but it's a voice that many can connect with nonetheless.

Realistically speaking, we may never get the chance to break a politician's jaw and as shitty as that may be, there's a reason why we have escapist satire in the first place. We may not have many satirical movies in the vein of the original RoboCop (1987) right now but the interest in exposing the ruling classes' stupidity through means of hyperbole has never left.

With movies like V for Vendetta (2005) still being referenced whenever a government tries to take a step closer to resembling the movie's Norsefire backed police state and with the recent success of USA Network's anarchy themed Mr. Robot (2015) which was just renewed for a season two, proof for the continued interest in both political commentary and satire has never been more obvious.

Given today's chaotic political landscape that seems to be giving more power to despots and demagogues, a work like Transmetropolitan isn't just relevant, it's timely. Transmetropolitan is one of the best modern satires the graphic novel medium has seen and giving it the chance to spread its message about the truth and weaponized lose bowel movement will give many people a way to voice their anger and frustrations.

What other graphic novels need a TV show?


Latest from our Creators