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The 25 Comic Books You Need To Read Before You Die

6. Transmetropolitan (DC/Vertigo/Helix)

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Darick Robertson

Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan debuted through DC’s now-defunct Helix line with a sardonic blend of political satire and science-fiction that skewered everything conventional readers held dear. Following the exploits of a misanthropic, drug-addicted, gonzo journalist named Spider Jerusalem, this book quickly became the manifesto to live by for the cynical comic book fan. At the time, it was rare for subjects like atheism and sex to be discussed in a series put out by a publisher like DC. Transmetropolitan, however, held nothing back.

Over the book's 60-issue lifespan, Jerusalem and his “filthy assistants” began a crusade to put an end to political corruption, social injustice, and any other ill that he deemed worthy of snuffing out. As the book went on, Jerusalem embarked on sexual exploits and overall social nastiness that would make the most adventurous reader blush. Also introduced was Ellis’ twisted future version of Earth, that's polluted with pornography, overblown consumerism, and sentient technology (e.g., household appliances that enjoy getting high).

Spider Jerusalem’s foul-mouthed, manic rants are worth the price of admission alone. Still, Ellis rose above the filthy humor to deliver satire that's now even more relevant as our real world devolves into a cornucopia of political corruption and corporate perversion. Transmetropolitan is like the pop-art lovechild of Hunter S. Thompson, Philip K. Dick, and Kurt Vonnegut. 

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