About these quotes --
There are only two sorts of people allowed to read these. You may read them if you've already read Transmetropolitan, in order that you might better savor those lovely moments. You may also read them if you are certain that you will never ever ever read an issue, so that you might be enlightened. If you intend to read Transmetropolitan, go away! Come back later! You'll be happier reading these in context and spoiler free.
You should also be aware that many issues, and in particular issue #3, contain prose better than that which I have chosen to excerpt. The scenes build on one another; they resonate. Transmetropolitan is not about pull quotes, and the best writing is only good in context.
Spider: This city never allowed itself to decay or degrade. It's wildly, intensely growing. It's a loud bright stinking mess.
It takes strength from its thousands of cultures, and the thousands more that grow anew each day.
It isn't perfect. It lies and cheats. It's no utopia and it ain't the mountain by a long shot -- but it's alive. I can't argue that.
Royce: Your first deadline's tomorrow. I want to see eight thousand words. Printable words. I still remember that essay you wrote when the Beast got elected. I do not want to see the word "fuck" typed eight thousand times again.
Spider: I do not want your cheap brainburning drugs. They are useless for work. And I am a working man today. I want vasopressin, washed caffeine, jumpstart, gingko biloba, guarana, and any intelligence enhancer introduced in the last five years.
Kid: You some kind of health freak?
Spider: I'm a journalist, damnit.
Spider: They'll come and get you, you know. It's an election year for a law and order president. They'll come in and stamp on your bones, Fred.
Fred Christ: They wouldn't dare. They don't have a good enough excuse.
Spider: And what if they make one?
Change your tune, shit out your rhetoric, wear all your faces, Fred. Won't make a blind bit of difference. They want you slapped down, then you get slapped.
Spider: There's one hole in every revolution, large or small. And it's one word long -- people.
No matter how big the idea is they all stand under, people are small and weak and cheap and frightened.
It's people that kill every revolution.
Spider: You treacherous sack of shit, I can't work without a phone --
Royce: You're dangerous with a phone. Remember what you did when you were alone with a phone in Prague? Remember how many people died?
Spider: There was a time when I liked a good riot. Put on some heavy old street clothes that could stand a bit of sidewalk-scraping, infect myself with something good and contagious, then go out and stamp on some cops. It was great, being nine years old.
Spider: Y'see, they say journalism is the art of controlling your environment, but that's all wrong. I can't control anything with this typewriter. All this is, is a gun.
Spider: No! Fucking no! I don't want to be famous again! You miserable toad-screwing shit-sucking father-raping...
Royce: Hey. Get some perspective. I've just made you thousands of dollars, Spider.
Spider: Grandmother's corpse-fucking ass-tick-infested-monkey-come-drinking --
How many thousands?
Spider: The point is, the only real tools we have are our eyes and our heads. It's not the act of seeing with our own eyes alone; it's correctly comprehending what we see.
Channon: Treating life as an autopsy.
Spider: Got it. Laying open the guts of the world and sniffing the entrails, that's what we do.
Channon: So what do we do now?
Spider: Go listen to the address. Note down his lies. There will be many, so clear some memory on that handheld of yours. Then go home and write a column that'll make his eyes bleed and his sphincter collapse.
Channon: You're kind of fixated on loose bowels.
The Beast: You're a wimp and a freak, Jerusalem. All that shit you wrote about "turning our backs on the concept of compassion" if a vote went to me... nobody wants compassion. It doesn't sell, you can't make a living off it.
The City went to me in a landslide, and you know why? Because all it wants is decent television, a bit of spare change for booze, and a blowjob every Saturday night.
Spider: The boy's weird, Channon. You should trade him in. Or sell him for salvage.
Channon: Yeah, right. Take advice on relationships from a man whose ex-wife won't come out of cryonic freeze until he's dead...
Spider: Who told you that?
Channon: You did.
Spider: Silence. I am watching television.
Spider: You people don't know what the truth is! It's there, just under their bullshit, but you never look! That's what I hate most about this fucking city -- lies are news and the truth is obsolete!
Spider: So this Zealot comes to my door, all glazed eyes and clean reproductive organs, asking me if I ever think about God.
So I tell him I killed God. I tracked God down like a rabid dog, hacked off his legs with a hedge trimmer, raped him with a corncob, and boiled off his corpse in an acid bath.
So he pulls an alternating-current taser on me and tells me that only the Official Serbian Church of Tesla can save my polyphase intrinsic electric field, known to non-engineers as "the soul."
So I hit him. What would you do?
Channon: You've been taking jumpstart again, haven't you? You were quitting...
Spider: Ah, but now the IRS has agreed that I can write my professional medication off as journalist's equipment.
Channon: Do we have to work? I'm really not in the mood.
Spider: You're miserable, edgy, and tired. You're in the perfect mood for journalism.
Spider: Downloading is pretty fucking far from suicide, Channon.
Channon: All I know is that they're going to dump his mind into a bunch of machines the size of a fat virus and burn his body. Sounds like death to me.
Tico: Spider, you look like someone nailed a bat to your throat.
Channon: Your mind is downloaded out of your head and somehow spread across a million foglets. I get that. What I don't get is why. If you're bored of your body, you could buy a new one, or temp, or even go transient. Why become dust?
Tico: I don't know, Channon. What do you think we're giving up? Feeling? Listen, I can feel every tiny eddy in the air we're moving through. Can you? I don't have to shit anymore. What are you not giving up?
OK, faithful readers; listen up. Issue #8 is not amenable to quoting, because it's just one long Spider Jerusalem column. It's some of the best prose to date, though, so you should read it all anyway.
In a futile attempt to give you some of the feel, I provide this excerpt:
She saw the war that drove America crazy; saw it with her own eyes.
She saw the first step offworld.
She saw a severed city put back together with sledgehammers.
She saw William Burroughs and Nelson Mandela and Richard Nixon and The Beatles and Mother Teresa.
There was history in Mary's head; hard history, hard-lived and loved. And all Mary wanted was to keep seeing history.
Doctor: Okay, Mister Jerusalem, get naked. And take your hands off that -- we'll need to examine it.
Spider: You want to go out to dinner sometime?
Hannah: Sorry, no. I'm married, not hungry, infected with seven unknown diseases, gay, pregnant with lizards and clinically dead.
Spider: "Sorry, no" would have done all on it's own, you know.
Hannah: Just making sure.