These are the people of Transmetropolitan. They are arranged in rough order of appearance, because there aren't enough of them yet to alphabetize. There are spoilers here! Beware.
Spider Jerusalem is what it's all about. He is the fly in the ointment; he is the boil on the City's ass that will not allow it to sit back and get comfortable. He is a right bastard. He is the City's conscience. He is an abuser of animals, a drug user, a wannabe fornicator. He is a sorry sight and he is your last hope.
He's a damned fine protagonist.
Once upon a time, Spider was a journalist, but then he wrote Shot in the Face, a book about a presidential election, and things started to go downhill. Fame is harsh. He got a book contract, wrote some books (including Waving and Drowning), and got bored.
Five years ago, he moved out of the City to a mountain. The advantages were that it was quiet and there were no people to pain him with their troubles. The disadvantage was that he couldn't write outside the City. These are related; Spider's biggest problem is that he cares, and words are his weapon in the war against those who do not.
Then, under threat of a lawsuit, he returned to the City so that he could write again. He got an editor (Royce) and an assistant (Channon) and a cat (no name, yet). And his love-hate relationship with the City picked up exactly where it had left off.
Spider Jerusalem, conscience of the City. Frightening thought, but he's the only one we've got.
The whorehopper is the only name we have for the editor to whom Spider owes two books. One's got to be on politics, and one's on any subject. The whorehopper works for Driven Press; we've never seen him (or her) and there's no real indication of his personality traits. Other than that he's stupid enough to sign a long-term contract with Spider, and determined enough to try and enforce it. And he's gotten three books out of Spider already. Pretty fucking impressive.
He appears in issues #1 and #5. Or, to be precise, his distinctive vocal stylings appear, seeing as how he's just a disembodied voice on the phone.
We have him to thank for Spider's return to the City. Or to blame.
Mitchell Royce is Spider's current editor. He's the City Editor for The Word, which makes him perfectly suited to hire Spider for a weekly column. He's known Spider since before Spider moved out of the City; one could call the two men friends. Royce may not be a journalist anymore, but even as an editor he hasn't forgotten what's important.
The Word seems to be a newspaper. As with much of Transmetropolitan, the future tech is left vague enough so that there's room for newspapers. They seem to work a lot like newspapers today; second cousins to television -- or newsfeeds, big fat news tickers on the faces of buildings -- but still important.
Royce and Spider work well together. Royce takes no bullshit from Spider and does what needs to be done, and in return Spider gives him columns on a semi-regular basis. Royce also controls Spider's telephone and the lease on Spider's apartment, which helps in the pursuit of said columns. Mind you, Spider's famous enough to get a column at any paper in town... but The Word is comfortable and Royce will back him when he gets crazy.
Royce is firmly planted in the ongoing character camp, and we've seen him in issues #1 through #4. Even City Editors need a vacation sometimes, so he skipped #5 and #6.
Fred Christ is another political asshole. Spider knows him from way back. Sometime before issue #1, he had himself modified with alien DNA and became leader of the Angels 8 transient movement. He showed up in issues #1 through #3, for the Angels 8 story arc, and is probably now in jail or worse.
He's more sexually obsessed than Spider, he uses people without a moment's thought, and he's not as clever as he thinks. This combination of traits resulted in the Angels 8 riots. Hundreds of people were maimed or killed. The guy's a real sweetheart.
Spider has this cat. It has two heads, three eyes, and more attitude than you. It pisses everywhere.
He picked her up as a stray in issue #3, for some insane reason of his own. Maybe he likes her because she smokes almost as much as he does. She's been in every issue since.
There's a contest on to name the cat, and the prize is a hand-crafted Spider Jerusalem doll, made by Darick Robertson himself. If you want to know how to enter, perhaps you should run out and get a copy of issue -- no, screw that, buy them all. I won't tell you where the instructions are. I don't need competition from anyone who isn't reading the comic anyway, and it's not like there's more than a few days left until the deadline. Suffer.
Channon Yarrow has been many things in her life. When Spider met her, in issue #3, she was a stripper. She was also a pay-dacoit for a semester, and a bodyguard for three. (I know that you're sitting there wondering what a "dacoit" is. "Dacoit" means "member of an armed gang of robbers". There's an interesting etymology. Warren Ellis is good for your vocabulary, is he not?)
Yarrow, while we're investigating these issues, is an herb used as a folk remedy for staunching wounds. It's got sort of earthy connotations to it. Just as well; Spider needs someone to keep him grounded.
Channon's many jobs were all in the service of supporting her academic life as a journalism grad student. She was hired by Royce to keep an eye on and learn from Spider. She is ballsy enough to keep up with him, and listens well. Her only fault is her taste in boyfriends.
She is an ongoing character. Spider likes her. There is, thankfully, not a lot of that irksome Scully and Mulder sexual tension between Spider and Channon, perhaps because Spider is just too pathetic as a male, no matter how good a journalist he is. She has been in every issue since #3, although we weren't properly introduced until issue #4.
The Beast is Spider's loving nickname for the current President of the United States. He's broke. He's a bastard. He may or may not be able to pick up a third term as President -- Spider thinks yes, and Channon thinks no. (Looks like the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution went bye-bye somewhere alone the line...) He'd be running against someone called the Smiler. Gotta love politics.
The Beast hates Spider because Spider's nickname stuck like glue. Spider hates The Beast because Spider hates everyone. Also because The Beast is the epitome of political slime and well-deserves his nickname. It seems likely that Shot in the Face (the election book), which made Spider rich for a while, was about The Beast's election. That's a Hunter S. Thompson parallel, for those of you keeping score at home, and if you haven't read Fear and Loathing on the Election Trail: 1972, you are missing out.
Issue #4 was all about The Beast.
Channon has a boyfriend named Ziang. His defining characteristic is terror of Spider (and who can blame him?) and a severe case of the slimeball nature; Channon loves him, but he couldn't care less about Channon other than as a receptacle. He's also queer for machinery, as we discover in his probably final appearance. He ends up leaving Channon to be downloaded into a cloud of nanotech. In the colloquial, he's becoming a foglet.
He showed up briefly in issue #5 before being scared off, and is discussed extensively in issue #6. Issue #7 is all about how he becomes a transhuman cloud entity.
Tico Cortez is a figure of unclear importance in the Autumn Rainfall Nanohuman Community. His exact role within the community is never established, but he gives Spider the OK to view Ziang's downloading. He and Spider were friends before Spider left the City.
Tico shows up in issue #7 to give Channon an explanation of what it means to be a foglet, and will probably never be seen again.
Mary (no last name provided) died not long before the turn of our century. Fortunately or not, depending on how you look at it, she'd signed a cryogenics contract; her head was frozen, and in Spider's time, she was revived.
Despite her former profession as a photojournalist, she was unable to handle the changes that had washed over the world; not an uncommon state for Revivals, as those in her situation were called. Today, she dwells in a Revival Hostel, unemployed and living on the kindness of society.
She's the subject of issue #8; if she ever shows up again, I think it would weaken the impact of the story.