Characters / Transmetropolitan

Spider Jerusalem

A famous outlaw journalist. He was called down from the Mountain after a five year hiatus due to a book contract. He quickly reestablishes himself as a chaotic journalist and columnist.

  • Awesome McCoolname: He was supposed to be named Django Heraclitus Jerusalem, but he came out a skinny baby, his mother had very poor eyesight and three different neurological difficulties at the time, so he ended up as Spider instead.
  • Bald of Awesome: Spider loses all hair on his body in an accident with a shower. (although the artists don't always remember.)
  • Cluster F-Bomb: A lot of his dialogue consists of swearing or creative insults. A lot.
    • The most epic one would be the column he wrote when The Beast got re-elected. It consisted of the word FUCK. Typed EIGHT THOUSAND times.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Zig-Zagged; he owns quite an impressive arsenal, it's just that he rarely uses it for anything besides intimidation. One of his first actions in the comic is to blow up a bar close to his mountain with a bazooka (though apparently no one was inside), when he charges into the Word to ask Royce for a job he's swinging Han Solo's blaster, and he's often seen with something that looks like a chrome Desert Eagle. However, if his life's not in danger he prefers to humiliate people rather than kill them, and eschews firearms in favor of bowel disruptors and snowball throwers for the majority of the comic. Late in the series, after a lot of death threats and a few assassins, he begins blowing mooks away, much to everyone's surprise. It turns out in the end to be misdirection; the Big Bad is so worried about him having a gun that he only searches him for weapons, and Spider instead swathed himself in nanotech microphones, something that they didn't bother to look for.
  • Good Is Not Nice: If we can even call him good. Maybe by comparison.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Spider's fans either love him and more often hate him, and most public personalities hate him to an extreme. It was so bad that there was once a petition to put a mark out for Spider's life that reached 500 signatures.
    • Spider seems to actively cultivate the hate towards himself, in order to draw inspiration from the constant conflict. In Royce's words, Spider can't write unless he's hated.
  • Iconic Outfit: Though he has access to any clothes he can think of, he's usually wearing at least some of his trademark clothing (or nude), which consist of black pants, shoes, jacket, no shirt, and his shades.
  • Intrepid Reporter: His profession. He's gone so far for a story as to use an experimental teleporter to interview the Smiler's wife.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: 99.9% of the time he's an asshole through and through. He'll cuss at you, assault you and brag about how he can get away with it because he's Spider Jerusalem. But he is capable of genuine empathy, remorse, or gratitude, which particularly comes out in his columns (the non-political ones anyway. The political ones tend toward just repeating the word "FUCK" over 8000 times).
  • Knight in Sour Armor: The key to his Jerkass facade. The reason he's so pissed all the time is because he's been Maddened Into Misanthropy at how the powerful abuse the powerless for money, power, votes, or just for the hell of it, and all he can see is how pointless all that is in a world full of wondrous technology that could cure all ills but somehow hasn't managed to do so. His entire reason for being an Intrepid Reporter is exposing such actions, praising human achievement, and asking why the latter is necessary in light of the former.
  • Making a Spectacle of Yourself: Spider Jerusalem's trademark camera shades with the mismatched lenses. Bonus points by being created more or less by accident, by a sentient fabricator that was stoned out of its goddamned mind. Even he came to think they were so cool that when he lost them, another set was made for him with the same mismatched lenses.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • He's based on Hunter S. Thompson.
    • His long brown hair and beard during his initial appearance on the Mountain was inspired by Alan Moore.
    • Whereas his later, bald and sunglasses-wearing incarnation bears no small resemblance to Grant Morrison.
  • Phrase Catcher: "I like your column." By a proportionally small amount of people.
  • Teeny Weenie: If Yelena is to be trusted.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: His only friendly relationships that don't fit this trope are with Vita Severn, Mary, and Oscar Rossini. However, his relationship with Mitchell Royce is a standout. The two have yelled at, bullied, threatened, and degraded each other over many years (we know that Spider has gotten Royce infected with at least one extremely painful STD, and Royce at one point forced Spider to write a column at gunpoint), but when Spider slips off the net to avoid the police, knowing they may never speak again, his last words to Royce are:
    You take care of yourself, man. You only ever did right by me.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Only dons any kind of clothing that covers his full upper body on very rare occasions, usually when he's either getting very serious or very crazy. Or feeling cold from Info-pollen degeneration.

Channon Yarrow

A former stripper, she is Spider's first assistant. Later she works as his bodyguard.

  • Action Girl: After her sabbatical.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Channon is very tall and cut, but she's also drop-dead gorgeous.
  • Bodyguard Babes: It shouldn't require more explanation than stripper-turned-bodyguard.
  • Boobs of Steel: Much more voluptuous and action-oriented than Yelena, though it's implied they're fake.
  • Deadpan Snarker: You've GOT to be one of those to be able to stand working with Spider for any given length of time.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Following her boyfriend dumping her, aided in part by the fact that immediately afterward he went Foglet, trading in his human body to become a sentient cloud of nanomachines.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Channon towers head and shoulders above her boss, and is stacked and drop-dead gorgeous.
  • Stripperiffic: Quite often. The white dress with nipple- and navel-cutouts she wears for Spider's New Year's party is a standout. And then there's the fact that when she is first seen on page, she is working as an actual stripper.

Yelena Rossini

Spider's second assistant and Royce's niece (only not really). An aspiring journalist and writer.

  • A-Cup Angst: She claims that for her to fill out the kinds of dresses that look good on Channon she'd "need to be shot in the back by two cruise missiles" first. Which, given Channon's rather more spectacular figure, doesn't necessarily mean much. Still, Yelena seems to have a preference for wearing clothes that understate her figure, seemingly so as not to call attention to it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: See Channon's entry.
  • Has a Type: It's implied a few times that Yelena's type is older, bald men like Spider.

Mitchell Royce

Spider's constantly troubled editor.

  • Bad Boss: Besides his general vitriol with Spider (which is a given), it's generally averted. However, he does have at least three interrogation cells in the office building, which does raise some concern.
  • Catch Phrase: "Where's my fucking column?!"
  • Da Editor: For the newspaper The Word, which Spider worked at in the past, and which rehired him as a columnist when he came back down from the Mountain. As it stands, he's the best in the business.
  • Honorary Uncle: Even after Yelena reveals she's not really his niece and he only told Spider she is to stop him messing with her too badly, she still sometimes calls him "Uncle Mitch".
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: How Spider knows something has gone down? Royce misses his trademark Catch Phrase in a phonecall.
  • Precision F-Strike: He generally reserves them for his calls with Spider, when he demands to know where his column is.
    • Inverted once, when Royce opens a phone call without asking for the column or swearing, foreshadowing that things have just gone From Bad to Worse.
  • Took a Level in Badass: After "Two-Fisted Editor", you will never look at Royce the same way again. To sum things up, Spider's sources get knocked out after a (man-made) natural disaster. Royce turns out to have seen it coming and made private back-ups, and then beats, threatens and blackmails three people to fill in the gaps. Then he plonks the copies down in front of Spider, laughs in his face and goes on a bender of epic proportions - charged to his company expense account.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Spider.

President "The Beast"

The President of the United States. Despite being corrupt, he managed to maintain the presidency well into his second term at the start of the comic.

  • At Least I Admit It: He fully admits to being an awful human being, but compares himself favorably to Callahan, because Callahan is at least as bad, but tries to hide it.
  • Berserk Button: The Beast puts up with a lot of shit from Spider with an almost admirable amount of restraint, but when Spider continues to insist he doesn't believe in anything, he loses his temper (apparently he hates being called a liar when he's actually being honest).
    The Beast: I said before: just because you don't like what I believe in doesn't mean I have no beliefs.
    Spider: Don't give me that. You don't-
    The Beast: Shut up. You call me a liar to my face again, I'll fucking glass you.
  • Cassandra Truth: As awful as he is, the way he describes Gary Callahan? If anything, he's actually restrained in describing how amoral and ruthless Callahan is. Nobody pays attention.
  • The Cynic: Incredibly cynical about the role of the President and appears to be in it only for his own gratification.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Beast believes that the president cannot be reasonably expected to do anything more domestically than make sure 50-plus-1% of the population are doing all right. As long as that's true, then he's done his job. However, he at least believes in that much; he claims Callahan believes in nothing but that he should be president.
  • Hate Sink: In-Universe. He has been attempted assassinated so much that Secret Service started charging him for protection. Presumably he has supporters, but the comic never shows any of them.
  • Motive Rant: An uncommonly well thought-out one during his interview with Spider when he explains his beliefs:
    The Beast: Look, my job isn't to make everything beautiful. My job isn't to make living life a good time. My job is to keep the majority of people in this country alive. That's it. If fifty-one percent eat a meal tomorrow and forty-nine percent don't, I've done my job. That is the absolute fucking limit of what can be done. Anyone who says otherwise is a con artist. My job is just to keep things the way they are. Everyone stays the same. I do the job. I keep the money coming. I provide the television and a few spare dollars and space for a fuck or two. You might not like that. You might not think that's the way a President should behave. But, you know... that's fucking tough.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Very clearly based on Richard Nixon.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Spider saw the man as pure evil. What he finds is a man who is in no way a paragon (he is a lazy, venal bastard on a good day). He is also, like Spider, incredibly cynical about the system and the individual's role in it. However, unlike Spider, he sees no way to buck or change the system.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Thanks to Spider, everyone calls him "The Beast" - even his own children.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: President Corrupt. He uses campaign funding as his own private slush fund and there are a lot of minor news stories about theft, corruption and prostitution involving him or his administration.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Incredibly he appears to be capable of being this at times; when Spider completely loses his temper during the interview with the Beast and attacks him, one of the Secret Service bodyguards comes in and stops him at gunpoint. The guard is about to take Spider down the hall and summarily execute him for attempting to kill the President, but the Beast tells him to leave Spider alone, even though he could easily get away with having Spider killed under the circumstancesnote .
    The Beast: No, really. It's OK. He's little people. You have to allow the little people their shot sometimes.

Senator Gary "The Smiler" Callahan

One of the candidates running against The Beast for president.

  • Axe-Crazy: Besides his irrational paranoia, which caused him to order the needless massacre of a peaceful protest of college kids, he's also incredibly capricious with his dictations.
  • Big Bad: The primary antagonist through most of the series.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: In private.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: In his first in-person appearance, he quotes Alfred, Lord Tennyson without much prompting. Most of the entire following passage is the same unnerving panel of the Smiler doing what he does best. He does not move his lips, blink, or emote at all:
    Spider: Does he move?
    Smiler: The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks: / The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep / Moans round with many voices. / Come, my friends, / 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world. "Ulysses." Tennyson. My favorite poem. A new world. New opposition. New campaign. New politics. New president.
    Smiler: (Extends hand) Gary Callahan. Nice to meet you.
    Spider: (Recoils) AAH! It moved!
  • Karma Houdini: Discussed in the epilogue, where nobody's quite sure what's going to happen to him. On the one hand, he's buying off most of the charges against him, and some especially depraved souls are actually funding him. On the other hand, there's so many people out for his blood that he may well eventually run out of money, at which point all signs indicate that he will be subjected to Very Bad Things. Even if he does survive, he doesn't get to be President any more, which is the only thing he ever desired.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: He wants to be President because he hates everyone and wants to fuck with them.
  • Motive Rant: Like The Beast, he gives one in his interview with Spider. Unlike The Beast, he disables all Spider's recording equipment because he doesn't want it to get out.
    The Smiler: I hate people more than anything. And I'm going to be President. I really need a white cat to stroke, Alan. Like a James Bond villain. Can you arrange that? 'course you can. You're my political director. You can arrange anything, can't you, Alan? I hate you all, you know? All you scum. I want to be President because I hate you. I want to fuck with you. I want to make you shut up and do things properly. Get through your doomed little lives quietly. I want to be President because I think I should be.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: More subtle than The Beast, but his 'new way' politics and consistently grinning public figure alludes to Tony Blair, who became Prime Minister just as the comic began.
  • President Evil: He has people killed to promote his own image, and then invents a pseudo-religion based on them to further aid his career, he masturbates into the American flag. Definitely evil.
  • Slasher Smile: As the wheels begin to come off his presidential administration, largely because of Spider's interference, he graduates to one of these.
  • Stepford Smiler: It's where his nickname comes from.

Oscar Rossini

Yelena's father, a rich, upper-class man formerly heavily involved in politics.

  • Bald of Awesome: Has exactly the same number of hairs on his dome as Spider and is just as awesome.
  • Cool Old Guy: So cool he's one of only two characters in the series Spider never shows anything other than absolute respect to (the other being Mary).
  • Deadpan Snarker: One of the things that makes him cool; despite looking like a stuffy, upper-crust gentleman he knows when not to be so serious.
    Oscar: <fondly> So like her mother, my Yelena. She was an awkward bitch too, you understand.
  • Good Feels Good: When Spider asks Oscar why he wants Spider and his assistants to use his home as their new base of operations, the first reason he gives is "Because I miss doing the right thing."
  • Good Parents: The third reason is "Because it keeps my daughter close by.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Supremely talented at it, as he proves when the police come to his front door:
    Oscar: Hello. I am Oscar Rossini, noted city philanthropist, a supporter of the party in government, active on a dozen political committees and a substantial donor of financial gifts. I have no criminal record, several awards, three of which were given to me by presidents, and a medal. I am also, finally, a television star. I'd like it if you could arrest me now. Because it will ensure that in a week's time you will be in a most unpleasant prison with the mutant erection of a career dog rapist deep in your colon.

Officer Stompanato a.k.a. Stomp

A sapient, talking police bulldog. He holds a grudge against Spider for emasculating him some years ago.

  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Inverted. In this case, it's the dog's attraction to humans that's an indicator of his depravity.
  • Brown Note: Spider's actions traumatized him so badly, just hearing his name causes him to go into a seizure. Oddly, he's immune to this when he himself says Spider's name.
  • Dirty Cop: When Stomp encountered Spider, he was trying to extort some strippers for protection money. Prompting Spider to, well...
  • The Dog Bites Back: More literally in this case. His entire motivation is that he had a "huge wanger", and Spider had it removed for trying to extort strippers.
  • Facial Markings: He has a pattern of the CPD badge shaved or branded into his forehead
  • Groin Attack: Courtesy of Spider paying a shady vet to have him emasculated.
  • Phlegmings: He's constantly drooling.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Not by his choice. His superiors decided not to press charges on Spider for his actions, knowing that if it went to court, they would be pressured into charging Stomp for corruption.
  • Rasputinian Death: Before he even finds Spider: he's hit by two cars, giving him a concussion, blood loss, and possibly a fractured skull; gets mauled and blinded by a group of cats; and doused in "holy water" (whatever it was, it burned). It comes to a head when he attacks Spider, misses completely, and ends up jumping off of a roof to his death.
  • Red Right Hand: The Facial Markings and the rings sealing up his left eye socket are all you need to see to know he's not one of the good guys.
  • Sanity Slippage: As his story goes on, he's clearly becoming more desperate for revenge as the plot goes on. It's clear he's already gone down this road a bit before his story even starts.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Again, more literal in this case. He has a subplot spanning three issues trying to track down Spider for revenge. It doesn't end well.
  • Talking Animal: Possibly as an uplift or a genetic experiment.
  • Unknown Rival: He gets called in to "check on" Spider, after the latter had to kill three hitmen who break into his apartment. Stomp spends three issues tracking down Spider, and Spider doesn't know about him until he chucks his ex-wife's head off of a roof. Stomp, blinded, jumps at Spider from a blind angle, only to miss entirely and precedes Spider's wife's head off the roof by a few seconds. The most warning Spider gets is a crunching sound before the "splooshing" sound of his wife hitting the water. Spider walks away, never aware that Stomp was trying to kill him.