It's worth note that I didn't see any of the Alien movies until I was about 19, but when I was a kid I developed a love that couldn't be shaken, even by Joss Whedon.
I was first exposed to Aliens around the time Alien 3 when my older brother's buddy told me all about the movie. I was 8ish at the time. Much like Knightfall, the ideas of the Alien franchise stuck with me like modern mythology (which I feel really speaks to the power of oral tradition, as well as my youthful impressionability). I of course was forbidden from seeing the movies because they were deemed too scary. I'd have to agree with my dad's call on that point.
So, failing the option of going out and seeing the movies I immersed myself in the Alien mythos in other ways. I was gifted a bunch of Alien 3 trading cards from the same older brother's buddy on my ninth birthday, for one. I also bought the Alien toys as often as I could. Eventually, I even made an Alien movie of my own using those toys, other action figures, and stop motion animation.
This eventually led to my interest in the Aliens comics.
|Not sure which issue this is the cover for, but you can bet I had a copy. (source)|
From age 8 to about age 15 I wasn't interested in anything that didn't have some amount of gratuitous gore in it. My friend at the time would tell me about the current Justice League comic at the time, or something of the sort, and I'd say something about how I wasn't "into that stuff." He'd chalk my disinterest up to my "Blood lust." He wasn't far off.
|Look at that furious fucking hell-rage. (source)|
I think that Todd McFarlane, while not creating anything particularly original, had a sense of what people wanted, although I have yet to take a look at sales figures from that time.
Following another comics-dry period, when I was 17 I ended up picking up something that would change me forever. I picked up Transmetropolitan.
Transmetropolitan spoke to that anger. It reached deep inside and grabbed it by the balls. It showed me that I wasn't the only one who was angry. It eloquently voiced my anger for me. As a result of this I didn't feel so alone.
Transmet is about a lot of things. It's about the future, corruption, foglets, society, politics, capitalism, and a gun that makes people shit themselves, however; it more than anything else, does what all superhero comics want to do. Transmet breaks down moral consequence, and shows us right from wrong (all without any superheroes).
Spider-Jerusalem is nothing if not an anti-hero. He's a Journalist doing everything he can to tell the truth, for a city full of people he hates. While the series is pretty black and white on a lot of (but not all) of it's characters it maintains a subtle gray-area with Spider.
Some might argue that Spider is only writing stories because he's under contract, but I would argue that it would be theoretically easy for him to phone it in, but he doesn't. He puts his balls all the way into it. He writes the cold, hard truth whether you like it or not, and certainly doesn't have to. This suggests a motivation deeper than contract. Maybe I'm seeing character elements that aren't there, but I don't think that's the case.
What Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson did with Transmet is something I keep hoping to see from current creators (of which they are both), and a few series have gotten close, but none of them ever reached me the way Transmet did. I think it was a bit of a time and place sort of thing that helped this series resonate so strongly with me when it did, me being where I was at that time, and Transmet being what it was. Either way, I'm immensely grateful that Ellis/Robertson put this together when they did.