News

This is what we call in the trade a hodge-podge. There is not a whole lot of solid news-like stuff; Warren and Darick are cranking out the issues with noted reliability and what's to say about that? But if I have news for you, it's here.

Translations

It's going into translations? It's going into translations. That's pretty interesting; anyone know how often this happens for DC comics? Anyhow, Warren informs me that Transmetropolitan will be published in Norwegian, French, German and Italian within the year.

The Cat

The Cat has been named. All hail Deric Bernier, who came up with the elegant "Mistgeburt." It means "nasty birth" in German... well, sort of. Actually, the real spelling should be "Missgeburt." Still I'm forced to admire the way it's both profane and somehow still resonates with that T. S. Eliot poem.

Awards

British National Comics Awards

The British National Comics Awards have presented the Best New Comic (International) award to Transmetropolitan.

Squiddies

The Squiddies are the Usenet fan awards; not exactly the highest distinction in the world of comics, but not chopped liver either. Warren and Transmetropolitan did pretty well this year.

Warren and Darick came in seventh in Comic Creative Team of 1997, not unrespectable. Transmetropolitan itself won Best New Title over Kurt Busiek's Thunderbolts -- a very impressive achievement. Issue #5 came in third in the voting for Best Single Comic; issue #3 tied for eighth, and most of the other issues got a couple votes. Spider won Best Comic Character by a stunning margin over Starman. Finally, the Angels 8 arc came in sixth in the voting for Best Comic Story.

Warren himself came in third in Comic Writer, with Kurt Busiek and Grant Morrison coming in first and second. Good company. (Darick, alas, was fairly far down in the Comic Penciller voting, but I expect that to change next year.) Change or Die, the climatic Stormwatch storyline, came in second in Best Comic Story. Stormwatch also came in ninth in Ongoing Comic Series. Finally, the Stormwatch team came in fifth in the Comic Character Team voting.

Warren's site, Smoke Damage, came in seventh in Comics Web Site, and oddly enough, Warren himself got 11 votes for best RACer of 1997 despite having made about two posts all year. (Your not very humble Webmaster got five votes in that category and no votes for Comics Web Site.)

All in all a good Squiddies for Ellis and Transmetropolitan fans.

Compuserve Don Thompson Memorial Awards

Transmetropolitan won Best New Comic.

British National Comics Week Awards

Transmetropolitan won Best New Comic -- International. (Hm, there's a theme here...)

Trade Paperbacks

The powers that be at DC Comics, bless their hearts, have decided to release a Transmetropolitan trade paperback. It's out right now. Buy two copies and give them to your friends.

You want details? It's called Transmetropolitan: Back on the Street. It's be 72 pages, and it'll run you $7.95. There will be an introduction by everyone's favorite hot writer of the moment, Garth Ennis. DC put up a special page just for it.

I'm informed that it was DC's tenth highest selling TPB for the month of February. Stuart Moore, the Helix editor, wants to keep Transmetropolitan in print as TPBs, and the next TPB is scheduled for early 1999 -- it'll contain issues #4 through #12. Good.

AOL Chat

This is a distillation of the incredibly noisy, horndog-infested, triviality-oriented AOL chat. I am amazed that pros manage to cope with this kind of thing; it was all I could do to edit it. Nothing you are about to read is guaranteed to be true, and beware of numerous spoilers.

As the Webmaster here, I've taken the liberty of adding my own snidities. Anything between [] is mine.

Transmetropolitan Stuff

Transmetropolitan is co-owned by Warren and Darick.

There are no taboo subjects in Transmetropolitan. [But you knew that.]

The Cat has a name, which will be announced in issue #9; also, there's been a winner for the first contest, which asked readers to name a bunch of things, I guess? I'm clueless here. But the winner(s) will be announced soon.

What's coming up? Well, starting with issue #10 there'll be a three issue arc, which includes the story of his wife getting defrosted; this'll be followed by a six or seven issue arc. He spends a lot of issue #11 in the toilet.

One of the themes of the second year will be Spider becoming that which he loathes (c.f. the religious convention in issue #6 [and I imagine the television incident in issue #5 as well]).

When asked if Spider would ever find a love interest, Warren waffled a bit and said "maybe." And then added that year two had terrible things in store for poor Spider.

We're heading towards The Election, but Warren didn't say when -- maybe this is the longer arc mentioned above.

Things that will happen sometime: We'll find out why Spider left last time, and Spider's maker will come off drugs (and regret it almost immediately).

Also in the longer term category: Transmetropolitan is planned to run until issue #60.

We may read about the young Spider Jerusalem someday -- perhaps as a prequel.

Spider had a rival once. Once.

There will be no more Geoff Darrow covers.

The buy-bombs were original to Darick; yes, they are a lot like the blipverts in Max Headroom. [They're a lot like some subliminal advertisements in the first SF novel satirizing advertising and the media, too. Fredrick Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth, The Space Merchants. If you thought Max Headroom was first, you should go read it and educate yourself.]

On the subject of Darick -- he suggests stuff while Warren is scripting, adds things during art, and in general is an active contributor to the whole. He is "a seething mass of terrible contradictions."

Warren Himself

Warren can hardly tell the difference between the religious convention in issue #6 and a comic convention. He doesn't attend conventions any more, and if his fans threw a Warren Ellis convention he'd have them locked up.

What does Warren find scary? "People, and what they can do to each other."

He liked The Young Ones [British TV comedy, you uneducated git], but he was sixteen at the time.

He's writing a Daredevil novel for Marvel; there's another novel he's been thinking about for a couple of years but hasn't had time to write.

He reads Preacher, Invisibles, Moorcock's Multiverse, and Berlin. His favorite authors are J. G. Ballard, Michael Moorcock, Derek Raymond, Philip K. Dick (his favorite PKD is currently Transmigration of Timothy Archer), and others. His favorite comics writers are Garth Ennis, Grant Morrison, Jason Lutes, Steven Grant, Bryan Talbot, and Alan Moore. Favorite movie: Network, Dr. Strangelove, Citizen Kane, or The Sweet Smell of Success, depending on mood. In his CD player during the chat was Bjork, Sneaker Pimps, and My Bloody Valentine. [We have plumbed the depths of fanboyism, haven't we?]

He broke into comics as a journalist for a comics magazine [Speakeasy, for the record] who later became a publisher and solicited a story from him. It takes him about a week to produce a finished script. He's going to have four monthly titles next year (Transmetropolitan, Planetary, Hellblazer, and Panic Nation), plus a maxiseries (End Times) but he's gotten a big head start on the work load so anticipates no problems.

Planetary is his last word on superheros, and will be from Wildstorm. He thinks that at age 30, he's too old to write good superheros. [End Times is something millenial he's doing for Marvel.]

I note that this does leave out Stormwatch; we're promised an announcement of some kind in mid-March.

A Movie?

So I got a clarification on this movie thing. Warren is talking with an agent, and said discussions were initiated by said agent. That's all. This is word from Warren himself.

Don't get too excited -- there are a lot of possible movies in Hollywood, and most of them never get produced. Even the good ones. Harsh cold world we live in, huh?

Upcoming Issues

Year of the Bastard

Issues 13-18 of Transmetropolitan comprise a 6-issue story arc, provisionally entitled "Year of the Bastard." Jae Lee provides covers for 13-15. I've seen a preview copy of #13. It's excellent. Dave Gibbons provides covers for 16-18.

Issue #12 finishes up "Freeze Me with Your Kiss." The secret of Spider's wife is revelaed, Stomponato gets his, and... well, I dunno, Previews wasn't really very forthcoming that month. But hey, the first two issues of this arc have been OK.

In issue #13, Spider faces his demons -- and we find out exactly why he left the City in the first place, as the election looms before him. Old friends make appearances, as do old enemies. And decisions are made.

During part 2 of the Year of the Bastard, aka issue #14, the Presidential election heats up and Spider breaks in a new assistant (sniff).

Spider throws the presidential election into chaos in issue #15, his new assistant takes a few shots at him, and Senator Bob Heller makes a bid for power. Or at least, so Previews tells us.

The New Scum

That's the title of the arc following Year of the Bastard. It'll run from issues #19 to #24 or so. The wrong man becomes President, and Spider is doomed. Warren says: "Light entertainment."

Sales Figures

Rank is the ranking in the top 200 comics for the month. Sales are in thousands. You can figure out the rest, can you not?

RankIssueSalesPercentage Change
146 Transmetropolitan #1 18.1  
165 Transmetropolitan #2 14.4 -20.4%
152 Transmetropolitan #3 14.9 +3.5%
163 Transmetropolitan #4 15.5 +4.0%
155 Transmetropolitan #5 15.4 -0.6%
181 Transmetropolitan #6 14.6 -5.2%
144 Transmetropolitan #7 14.3 -1.7%
151 Transmetropolitan #8 13.8 -3.6%
161 Transmetropolitan #9 13.8 -0.4%
149 Transmetropolitan #10 14.2 +2.9%
158 Transmetropolitan #11 14.1 -0.6%
159 Transmetropolitan #12 13.6 -3.3%
158 Transmetropolitan #13 15.0 +9.9%
152 Transmetropolitan #14 15.0 +0.2% (+8.6% from six months ago)
147 Transmetropolitan #15 15.3 +2.2%

These figures are thanks to Matthew High of Antarctic Press, who keeps track of such things and maintains a Web page with all the data one could want.

There's been a definite trend upwards since the move to Vertigo (issue #13); sales are very close to their highwater mark (excluding the usual first issue bump). This is good, particularly when the market as a whole is in decline.

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