Spider Jerusalem (Transmetropolitan) (DC Comics)

Spider Jerusalem

“It’s like working for a four-year-old boy with a massive caffeine high and a permanent yet very small erection.”
(Yelena describing Jerusalem with remarkable accuracy)


Transmetropolitan was a remarkable series by Warren Ellis, in 1997-2002. Taking place in an indeterminate, dystopian, cyberpunk  future it follows a crusading journalist, Spider Jerusalem, and his “filthy assistants”. They attempt to make things less worst.

A dangerous, possibly insane man, Spider Jerusalem is a very loud inheritor of the gonzo journalism  methodology, but cranked to 11 and with way better drugs than Hunter S. Thompson had.



  • Real Name: Spider Django Heraclitus Jerusalem.
  • Marital Status: Divorced.
  • Known Relatives: Ex-wife (deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Pupin Grove, variable.
  • Height: 5’10″ Weight: 140 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Bald (formerly brown)

Life in the big city

Welcome to future world of the Big City, home of several millions! The place is a severely over-crowded, noisy, smelly place. Commercial posters and noisy videos are seen everywhere, risking to overload people’s senses. In fact, a day in front of the television will affect you severely.

People are often living with technical implants, being hybrids between humans and animals or aliens (such as the Transient movement, who use a DNA template from an alien colony in old Vilnius), revived people from cryogenic sleep, such as the Revivals, or sentient nanoclouds, such as the Foglet community, which consists of people who have downloaded their consciousness into a cloud of nanites.

People have public sex in their homes and on the streets, and any preference is available for sale, including werewolf transvestites. Street violence and crime levels are relatively high, and political corruption is total (technology making more tricks available than ever before), complete with a fascistic police force.



In game terms, part of the population has DC Heroes RPG Powers and Advantages. For example, those who have switched their digestion system with a batch of genetically engineered bacteria that produces nutrition for them out of the thick cityair they breath, would have Life Support (no need to eat).

Or members of the Foglet Community will have Self Link: Fog (Always On). The Transients might have additional Vision Powers, although that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Some people have Extra Limbs and cyborgs, with SL:Gadgetry and other implants, are relatively common. Oddities, such as Alter Ego and Shape Change exists as well. In short, the level of technology enables the general population to have access to quite a few different abilities.

Medical technology has the answer to every possible problem. Drug use is common for many different purposes, such as for enhancing various mental abilities or physical functions or just for recreation; drugs against withdrawal exist as well.


Most people are descended from people who have been subjected to genetic manipulation, and are immune against a variety of negative effects, including drugs and disease.

Thus, much of the population has an enhanced immune system, eventually capable of defeating everything up to ebola and beyond.In this Genre, the lethality of drugs and disease are reduced; the unfortunate few who have no genetic enhancements against drugs/disease have Attack Vulnerabilities against the same.

There is good reason to assume that the drugs used are very strong and concentrated, in comparison to modern standards, and that cancer is a possible side-effect from some drugs even to a population usually immune to cancer.

Kids live exactly like the adults (they appear to have sex, use lethal violence and drugs etc, respect your elders is unheard of), and censorship does not exist, except when political matters are concerned. Strangely enough, statutory rape still exists in this world.

Melted pot

The city is composed of fragments of every culture on the planet and beyond. New religions are invented daily. Technology has long since run rampant, and there are many artificial intelligences built into household appliances. Some of these are on drugs themselves.

Spider Jerusalem Transmetropolitan art by Jim Lee

Science fiction like technology is so common and available that nobody thinks a minute about things that would have been considered magic even in our world. In fact, most often the thousands of revivals go insane upon their first contact with this new future world.

The city weather is fully controlled, the air is purified, and food exists in abundance for those who have money and so on. Many things, useful and not, can be created at home using a maker with a matter block (the Godti Maker seems to be a favorite).

The city is over-filled with sounds; the sound of laughter, Kodý drums, couples having sex, brief clatters of gunfire, and the sound of commercials and so on. Food is as mixed as culture and everything imaginable exists in shops, restaurants and fast food joints, including monkey burgers and caribou eyes.

But make no mistake, the city is not decaying. It is wildly, intensely growing. It is a loud bright stinking mess. It does take strength from its thousands of cultures, and the thousands more that grow anew each day. Although it isn’t perfect, it lies and it cheats. It’s no utopia, but it is alive.

It is the perfect place for journalism and thus Spider Jerusalem’s work.

Powers and Abilities

Spider Jerusalem is an intelligent, veteran journalist. As such is an excellent writer, researcher and verbal master. Spider’s natural aggression, which is often enhanced by drugs, makes him a reasonably effective hand-to-hand combatant and weapons specialist. He is capable of taking care of himself (or unwilling others).

He has a good deductive mind and still remembers the lost art of researching data through the Internet. Spider’s main strength is his intellect, and given time he can dig up dirt on anyone. He retains lots of useful connections, and a steely resolve to reveal the truth to the world.

Spider Jerusalem’s brand of journalism (part 1)

(DC Heroes RPG keywords in parentheses)

Jerusalem is a veteran journalist skilled in many subjects (INT) with lots of experience (HPs, Connections, Omni-Connection). He currently works for The Word or The Hole, where he has his own column used for discussing hot topics

Jerusalem is a controversial writer, and people love his work (Artist/Writer); the circulation of The Word increased by 25% in 2 weeks after he started his work there).

Jerusalem is a megastar (Local Hero), and nearly everyone recognizes his face. He’s usually greeted nicely, but almost immediately become enemies with the same people due to his own off-putting, aggressive manners (High INFL, low AURA or use of Intimidation).

His standard screening method, to find hot topics, is to watch TV and computer transmissions at home, and changing to a random channel every 20 and 25 seconds, respectively. When something interesting pops up he either leaves to visit a place related to those news, does a net search (which nobody else does anymore) or phones and harasses people.

Spider Jerusalem’s brand of journalism (part 2)

He will eventually dig up dirt about anyone (Scientist/Research). Jerusalem is a master of using the might of the pen to impact the truth of matters onto the general public. He does believe that the only real tools of a journalist are his eyes and his head (Perception Checks). Thus, he tries to correctly comprehend what his eyes see and what they do not see, all in search of the truth.

He believes in wiring up his own brain and gut and reproductive organs into one frightening machine that are all aimed at the world. He often uses drugs to do so. He also believes that journalism is not about plans and spreadsheets, but about spontaneity. It is also about human reaction and criminal enterprise.

A fake ID card is a must (the APs of these counterfeits being at least 6 APs) and he has several different ones to choose between.


Transmetropolitan is a comic book published by Vertigo comics, the alternative part of the DC Comics Empire. It deals with a journalist named Spider Jerusalem, a raving lunatic (sometimes) and voice of reason in a wacky futuristic urban world.

You’ve seen many visions of possible chaotic “world gone slightly mad” technologically insane futures. But rarely do the heroes of these worlds ever lay down the smack upon them. And that’s pretty much what Spider does.

Spider was a columnist many moons ago who wrote books (Shot in the Face and Waving and Drowning) that made him a star and beloved/hated public icon. He signed a book deal and fled to the mountains outside the city to write. He was sick of the city and felt that he could no longer get at the truth.

Back from exile

However, after staying there five years, he discovered that he couldn’t write a damn thing. The only way he could write was if he was in the city, which he hated and still seems to hate regardless of how it fuels him.

When he was called up by his old editor (whom Jerusalem refers to as the Whorehopper), who pointed out that Jerusalem still owned him two books, Jerusalem was forced to return to the city to work or be sued big time.

Reluctantly returning to the city, after paying five bucks (and a dead chipmunk) in tolls to get back into the city, he was soon on his way to assaulting receptionists. He was immediately hired by the newspaper The Word led by Mitchell Royce, housing two-headed cats, and walking his way through a nudie bar and into the heart of a riot. And all in his first week back.

His first column was about this riot in the Transients community, where the fascistic police force roamed free. It was broadcast live by the SPKF city network from Jerusalem who was the only journalist present in the area.

Machine politics

This event brought Jerusalem back to fame and a renewed hate towards him from the authorities. He has since covered the Transient movement (against old friend Fred Christ), the Foglet Community, the presidential election (the Beast against the Smiler) and much more. Spider Jerusalem remains the city’s most famous reporter.

Transmetropolitan follows Spider as he harasses people with the ugly, painful truth until they are practically driven insane, fill their pants up with defecation wrought of abject terror, or simply kick his ass. Then he writes articles about them.

This critically-acclaimed, Eisner-nominated comic is available in most comic book stores and is “suggested for mature readers”.

All of which are available at everybody’s favorite online, money-grubbing, life-force-stealing, mega-corporation (embodying everything Spider hates): amazon.com.


Spider Jerusalem is a slender, bald man and often wears a black linen suit of urban weight with generous cut. He often wears a pair of red and green shades, which is his on-board camera and recorder.

His body is full of various weird black tattoos (such as a circle with the word “Poti” in it on his back, a classic wavy sun shape, rings around the arms and so on; some of them are quite beautiful), fully visible to visitors as he often strolls around naked in his apartment (or on the streets when flipping).

He moves in a confident, rushing manner and sometimes even aggressively.


Spider Jerusalem has an extremely pessimistic outlook on life. He uses obscene and foul language and hates the city and all authorities. He hates them even as they activate and vitalize him; bringing out the best in him. He generally believes that all people are scum, no matter what they look like (in his own words).

He occasionally goes into a frenzy, thus attacking people while looking for material for a new column. This is caused creative overload as enhanced by the drugs that he uses. Of course, he has also installed lethal defense systems for home protection and has ready access to home-built weaponry for intimidation and protection.

Despite all this, Jerusalem is not a bad man, but merely disillusioned and realistic about the world around him. Despite his intensity, and being a man of deep, strong feelings, he has some unusual and important redeeming qualities. He believes that the truth has to be told (or reported) at any cost to the general public.

Nothing can stop his crusade. Everybody is a criminal that have to be exposed; and exposing the truth makes him ecstatic. Those are the moments that he lives for. Furthermore, Jerusalem is very perceptive, with a true journalist instinct. He never wanted to be famous, since fame and recognition makes his work harder, and hates to see himself in the television.


“I hate it here.” (Summarizes his feelings about everything, and which is also the name of his famous journal column in The Word)

“Hi. I’m Spider Jerusalem. I smoke. I take drugs. I drink. I wash every six weeks. I masturbate constantly and fling my steaming poison semen down from my window into your hair and food. I’m a rich and respected columnist for a major metropolitan newspaper. I live with two beautiful women in the city’s most expensive and select community. Being a bastard works.”

“I feel a column coming on.” (Feeling inspired)

“Move it over ! Yeah, you ! Eat shit and die ! I’ll drive where I fucking like ! Yeah ? Yeah ? Come here then ! The best part of you dried up on your mommy’s thigh…” (In the traffic)

“You miserable toad-screwing, shit-sucking, father-raping, grand-mother’s corpse-fucking, ass-tick-infested-monkey-come drinking…”

“I’m here to stay ! Shoot me and I’ll spit your goddamn bullets back in your face ! I’m Spider Jerusalem, and fuck all of you ! Ha !” (He won against the authorities)

“If you all loved me you’d all kill yourselves now.”

“And Santa Claus is dead ! I killed him ! I killed him with this !! ” (Holding his crotch) “And I left his stinking corpse in an underground cavern where it is raped by hundreds of toxic-effluent-crazed Gila monsters every second of every day !” (after which he really flips out – when asked about his plans for the winter)

DC Universe History

Considering the culture-beyond-anything-previously-seen aspect of the world of Spider Jerusalem, as well as its extremely advanced technology level, it is possible that the Big City exists even beyond the future time of the Legion of Super Heroes.

Or then the Big City could be one of the first rebuilt cities after the apocalyptic era of Kamandi.

The Word could be the future extension of The Daily Bugle, engaged once more in the revelation of truth.

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Spider Jerusalem

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Responsibility of Power
Int: 07 Wil: 09 Min: 04 Occupation: Outlaw Journalist
Inf: 08 Aur: 04 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 008
Init: 021 HP: 045

Artist (Writer): 08, Charisma (Intimidation, Interrogation): 08, Detective: 07, Evasion (Ranged only): 05, Martial Artist: 05, Scientist (Research): 08, Thief: 06, Weaponry: 04, Weaponry (Firearms): 05, Vehicles (Land): 03

Credentials (United Nations Sanctioned Press Corps Press Pass), Gift of Gab, Iron Nerves, Language (French), Local Hero (Journalist Legend), Omni-Connection, Scholar (Amfeed Systems), Scholar (Drugs), Scholar (Journalism), Sharp Eye.

The Word or The Hole Newspapers (High), Media Community (High).

MIA (Nicotine), CIA (Drug Abuse), CIA (Revealing the Truth), Serious Psychological Instability, Minor Rage.


  • Red-Green Shades [BODY 01 INT 01, Recall: 12, Shade: 03, Bonus: Recall is Audial (+1) and Visual)].
  • Bowel Disruptor [BODY 4, Energy Blast: 02, Flash: 04, Bonus: Flash has Extended Duration by 10 APs (+2), Limitation: Energy Blast is only usable on beings with a digestive tract (-1), Ammo: 10, Range: 02, R#02].
  • Lock-Raping Utility [BODY 03, Thief (Locks & Safes): 09].
  • Laptop computer.
  • Fake IDs (see below).
  • Various drugs (see below).

Spider Jerusalem’s Drug Life

Jerusalem is a regular drug user and abuser. He uses drugs, which in game terms are Pharms, to enhance his work efficiency and he uses drugs to relax.

To get started with an article, he usually takes Vasopressin, washed Caffeine, Jumpstart, Gingko Biloba, Guarana and some intelligence enhancer.

The intelligence and perception enhancers will increase Jerusalem’s INT (hyperactivity), WILL (intelligence enhancers) or MIND (increased concentration) scores temporarily by 1 AP, followed by Mental Penalties during withdrawal (of, at least, a +1 CS OV/RV of Perception Checks), unless he takes a drug against withdrawal.

He is also a chain-smoker, and prefers “Carcinoma Angels”, of which he has at least five gross at home at all times (although he does have a bag of Anti-Cancer prescription in his bathroom as well). Sometimes, he does suffer from long-term abuse effect, and it is clear that he can’t control his drug addiction (hence the CIA Drawback).

By Dr. Peter S Piispanen.

Source of Character: Transmetropolitan comics by Warren Ellis.

Helper(s): Sébastien Andrivet, Mark Ayen, Paul Soth.