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November 9, 2012 8:11 AM   Subscribe

Hellblazer, the DC/Vertigo comic starring Alan Moore created occult investigator John Constantine, is being cancelled at issue #300 to make way for a new comic set in DC's New 52 universe. Hellblazer was DC's longest running continuously numbered comic and it's cancelation marks the last of the DC Comics characters with Vertigo titles being taken back into the mainstream DC universe (previously). Vertigo was originally an imprint  for mature readers occult themed titles and creator owned work, though it has changed over the years with an adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo becoming the first Vertigo to receive TV advertising
posted by Artw (85 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
A previous Constantine exit.
posted by Artw at 8:12 AM on November 9, 2012


This new continuity is great because now Death can join the Justice League while Aquaman subs in for her, collecting souls while dispensing profound advice. And of course Dream can now be Batman's new sidekick.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:21 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not quite the first Vertigo comic to get a tv ad...

If the new Constantine series makes it to #12 I'll be surprised. I'm not sure why DC felt the need to bring it back into their superhero ghetto when it has managed to be relatively successfull these past three decades on its own.

It's interesting to see DC come full circle though. Vertigo was once concieved after all to give a consistent brand identity to DC's more "literary" titles (Animal Man, Doom Patrol, Hellblazer, Swamp Thing, Sandman) as well as to give the creators working on them more freedom, having actually learned something from the whole Swamp Thing 89/comics ratings debacle. In the early years there were a lot of attempts to get lightning to strike twice, to revamp/revitalise other "weird" titles like Moore, Veitch, Bissette and Totleben had revamped Swamp Thing, Gaiman Sandman and Morrison Doom Patrol and Animalman, then more or less accidentaly meandered into doing creator owned comics as well and now all the original titles have either long disappeared or are back in the DC fold...
posted by MartinWisse at 8:22 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Realizing how long it's been since those early Hellblazer issues that I loved is making me feel ooooooooold.
posted by immlass at 8:24 AM on November 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


When I realized they were still making the damn thing I stopped buying the old TPBs. Knowing I may never catch up, forever stuck on a Hellblazer treadmill filled me with a sense of dread. Now I can buy the rest and finish the series.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:30 AM on November 9, 2012


Arse-face is going to join the Teen Titans.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:30 AM on November 9, 2012 [12 favorites]


Okay, great, can we now please get a mystery comic where John Constantine, Detective Chimp, the ghosts of Ralph and Sue Dibny and Doctor Fate go around solving arcane murders?
posted by griphus at 8:30 AM on November 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also wasn't Dream part of the JSA? Or something? The JSA continuity is beyond me.
posted by griphus at 8:34 AM on November 9, 2012


Okay, great, can we now please get a mystery comic where John Constantine, Detective Chimp, the ghosts of Ralph and Sue Dibny and Doctor Fate go around solving arcane murders?

Close, but not quite.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:37 AM on November 9, 2012


American comics owes so much to Karen Berger, the woman who first brought Gaiman, Morrison, Delano, Ennis, Milligan et al to the U.S. market and supported their brilliant, strange work at DC and then Vertigo.

Unsung fucking heroine of comics if ever there was one.
posted by mediareport at 8:38 AM on November 9, 2012 [30 favorites]


I'm horrified at the thought that they're naming it "Constantine" because it's going to be the comic of that fucking movie.

Although honestly, I would've liked that movie a lot better if it hadn't taken a runny wet shit all over my favorite Hellblazer story, "Dangerous Habits", and especially taken one of John Constantine's all-time great moments of pure excellence and turned it into something that was done to him. /sigh
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:41 AM on November 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Here's an issue of Hellblazer that was pulled before its original release over a decade ago due to Columbine hysteria. It ran later in color, but this was the first time I remember the Internet actually fulfilling its promise of interpreting censorship as damage and routing around it.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:42 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


To be fair, it was only Hellblazer because Hellraiser was taken.
posted by Artw at 8:43 AM on November 9, 2012


Metafilter: I would've liked that a lot better if it hadn't taken a runny wet shit all over my favorite story...
posted by notsnot at 8:46 AM on November 9, 2012


This article from bleeding cool pretty much sums up what is going to change. :(

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/11/08/things-you-wont-see-in-a-john-constantine-comic-book-again/

Although honestly, I would've liked that movie a lot better if it hadn't taken a runny wet shit all over my favorite Hellblazer story, "Dangerous Habits", and especially taken one of John Constantine's all-time great moments of pure excellence and turned it into something that was done to him. /sigh

Seriously. I had hopes when i heard they were doing that story line for the movie, and saw a clip of the bloody feet descending. I actually thought they were going to have the balls to do what was in the comic. Then i saw Shia the beef as Chas...

After watching Bullet in the face though, Max Williams should totally play Constantine if they re did it right: http://nataliejill.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/guntervogler-smiling_bitg-ifc1.jpg
posted by usagizero at 8:49 AM on November 9, 2012


So, as someone who loved Delano's first 40 issues, thinks Ennis' "Dangerous Habits" is one of the greatest stories in Vertigo history and then stopped caring sometime near the end of Ennis' run, I'm curious how the later writers stack up. How's Milligan's run been recently?

And as long as we're reminiscing, here's Karen Berger talking about the origins of Vertigo in a 2001 interview at Sequential Tart:

"The books that eventually became Vertigo- because the Vertigo line didn't officially start until 1993 - all had some basis in reality. The key series all started in 1986 to 1988. Swamp Thing was the first pre-Vertigo book that I worked on, then Hellblazer, Animal Man, Sandman and then Shade. The last of the six core Vertigo titles was Doom Patrol. I wasn't editing that, but decided to include it into the line because Grant Morrison was working on it and the sensibility was very much like the other series I edited."

"During the late '80s I was really into working with the British writers," Berger continues. "The thing that attracted me to their point of view was that it was decidedly different from the American writers. They had more of an outsider's perspective and looked at the world differently. They brought an irreverence and a subversiveness to their work, and I really responded to that sensibility. Most of these guys were new to comics. Jamie Delano had the most experience out of the lot. He had done some issues of Captain Britain. Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison had only done a few 2000 AD Future Shock stories but nothing for the American market."

"The core Vertigo titles had already become their own little enclave in the early '90's," Berger states. "I had just come back from maternity leave and Jenette Kahn and (Executive Editor) Dick Giordano asked what I wanted to do with the titles I was editing. We talked a lot about the creative direction of the titles and the impact that they had in the market. We decided to create a separate imprint for them, a rare thing to do in those days, and to actively expand this sensibility. I came up with a publishing plan for the imprint, the Vertigo name and then we worked on acquiring many new projects. Vertigo is successful because of the many talented writers and artists who created so much quality material. We had a good game plan, a solid marketing plan and a lot of series in the can before we even launched. At that time a lot of people were surprised that we had so much together and that we were constantly doing new stuff. That we were consistent and did what we said we were going to do made Vertigo stand out from the other new publishing lines."

Berger is best known by most comic book fans for her innovative and creative work on the Vertigo line. "When Vertigo was first formed, it was coincidentally at the height of the speculative market trend and the best time to launch a line," Berger begins. "It seemed people were buying everything coming out and sampling lots of material. It was right when Image first started and the Death Of Superman and all that other stuff that was making headlines. This was an exciting time for comics and a wonderful time for Vertigo to launch from a sales point of view."

posted by mediareport at 8:50 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would really live a DC version of Marvel - The Untold Story. On the other hand, that one is depressing enough.
posted by Artw at 8:54 AM on November 9, 2012


To bad. I've been reading Hellblazer since its debut, and Pete Milligan's run has been one of the best yet.

Bringing Constantine into the DC universe seems a sure way to destroy everything that makes the character appealing. Venditti may be very good for all I know, but even the best American writers tend to get Constantine's British slang slightly wrong, and that's very off-putting for those of us reading the book in London.

That said, I'm amazed Hellblazer ever got to 300 issues anyway. How was it selling compared to DC's other titles?
posted by Paul Slade at 8:55 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I heard it was selling 9000, so... Not good.
posted by Artw at 9:01 AM on November 9, 2012


Bringing Constantine into the DC universe seems a sure way to destroy everything that makes the character appealing. Venditti may be very good for all I know, but even the best American writers tend to get Constantine's British slang slightly wrong, and that's very off-putting for those of us reading the book in London.

And conversely, one of the ways you can tell a comic book is by Garth Ennis is that everybody, regardless of their nationality, uses British English. Somebody needs to tell that guy that Americans only say "bloody" if they've been in England for awhile or if they're being pretentious.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:09 AM on November 9, 2012


Why don't they get rid of numbers, and just start putting dates-only on them? (Obviously they would be comically post-dated several months in the future, like Cars). Then no one would know which ones they shouldn't read!
posted by blue_beetle at 9:10 AM on November 9, 2012


There have been some terrible runs of Hellblazer - mainly when it's drifted into what I've always thought of as "Emo Magus" territory ("Oh my God. Everyone I love always dies. Waaaaaah").

When it's been good though, it's been very good. Trouble is, it's good because it takes a "Fuck Thatcher/the establishment" tone that will never feel genuine back in main DC continuity. This to me is Hellblazer done correctly, for example.

Okay, great, can we now please get a mystery comic where John Constantine, Detective Chimp, the ghosts of Ralph and Sue Dibny and Doctor Fate go around solving arcane murders?

Meet the Trenchcoat Brigade - John Constantine, Phantom Stranger, Dr Occult and Mister E. Never collected/re-released to my knowledge. I've got the singles though and it's alright.

I'm curious how the later writers stack up. How's Milligan's run been recently?

A few of the later runs are well worth a look (Diggle's run was great, for example), I've got them all at home and this has made me want to actually read them all again - happy to meMail you some suggested highlights in a week or so if you want.
posted by garius at 9:11 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


There have been some terrible runs of Hellblazer - mainly when it's drifted into what I've always thought of as "Emo Magus" territory ("Oh my God. Everyone I love always dies. Waaaaaah").

That long stretch around "The Fear Machine" where he's just kind of bumming around with the hippie travelers gets me every time I go back to do a reread.

Trouble is, it's good because it takes a "Fuck Thatcher/the establishment" tone that will never feel genuine back in main DC continuity.

I maintain that the three main antagonists of Hellblazer are Heaven, Hell, and the Tories.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:15 AM on November 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


I sometimes wonder how exactly much Karen Berger and Cat Yronwode are responsible for the modern concept of the comics artform.

Rather a lot, I suspect.
posted by kyrademon at 9:17 AM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh god yes. That was terrible. Think I'll be skimming quickly through that.

You're spot on about the Tories being a key protaganist. The only solace I took from thme getting back in to power was that it would hopefully lead to a decent Hellblazer run.
posted by garius at 9:18 AM on November 9, 2012


In Karen Bergerless alt-universes Neil Gaiman is probably just Kim Newman 2.0.
posted by Artw at 9:18 AM on November 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


In Karen Bergerless alt-universes Neil Gaiman is probably just Kim Newman 2.0.

I just recently read Anno Dracula and now I'm mad at myself for not buying it when I was 16 and first heard of it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:19 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not at all surprised, since the "new 52" has generally been one long exercise in throwing any number of babies out with the bathwater, but I'm still a little sad. Moore's Constantine wasn't just an antihero, he was an antisuperhero--street clothes and smoking and drinking and powers, on the rare occasion that he used them, that were actual rituals that took some time and preparation, not blasts of energy that only required throwing the goat and invoking the Alliterative Anus of Agamotto. (Doctor Strange's adventures were usually pretty to look at, thanks to the influence of Steve Ditko on later artists, but the bulk of his adventures have had as much to do with magic as it's actually practiced by any of the world's cultures as does Harry Potter.) A great deal of his work involved going around and talking to various people--an artist (also his girlfriend) and a nun and a stuttering teen nerd and a couple of bikers in an early adventure--and pulling their various talents together, something he did later in that story arc with more familiar magical characters. (That adventure ended with death of Giovanni Zatara, father of Constantine's ex-girlfriend Zatanna; Zatara dated back to Action #1, also the first appearance of a rather better-known comics character.)

Other writers kept pretty much to this characterization, grounding Constantine firmly in real life and introducing contemporary political and social themes in a much more natural fashion than the usual "The Teen Titans put on street clothes and hang out in the ghetto for a while" manner. Garth Ennis even had Constantine living on the streets for a while after an episode that ended with his girlfriend breaking up with him. The character also aged in real life, meaning that he was, at this point, fifty-nine. In a lot of ways, he ends up being more of the classic trickster than anything resembling Gandalf.

And, now, he's in something called "Justice League Dark", and they recently had an origin story for Constantine's trenchcoat, which is just about the stupidest fucking thing ever. (He's British. It rains a lot there. He bought a coat. There you go.) And there's one less reason to make that crosstown trip to the comics store every Wednesday.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:23 AM on November 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yeah, Constantine, at his core, isn't an occultist or a hero; he's a con man, and one who exemplifies Batman-style overplanning and having contingencies for everything while possessing a remarkable ability to improvise as the situation calls for. Dammit, he's my favorite comic character and Hellblazer is the only comic I ever read anymore; this really sucks.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:25 AM on November 9, 2012 [13 favorites]


Yeah, Constantine, at his core, isn't an occultist or a hero; he's a con man, and one who exemplifies Batman-style overplanning and having contingencies for everything while possessing a remarkable ability to improvise as the situation calls for. Dammit, he's my favorite comic character and Hellblazer is the only comic I ever read anymore; this really sucks.

You've pretty much nailed it there.

Constantine, written well, is a blag artist and a conman, with just a touch more sentimentality and morality than he'd ever admit. Magic just happens to be a tool of the trade that he's picked up along the way.
posted by garius at 9:31 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I choose to throw in with Ad hominem to take this as an excuse to read ALL THE HELLBLAZERS and continue ignoring Justice League Anything.

(They're preparing a JL spinoff that features the grim, gritty characters who do the dirty jobs the Big Seven don't have the guts for. One of them is Stargirl. Stargirl. Not making this up.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:33 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


American comics owes so much to Karen Berger, the woman who first brought Gaiman, Morrison, Delano, Ennis, Milligan et al to the U.S. market and supported their brilliant, strange work at DC and then Vertigo.

Don't forget Dave McKean's beautiful Hellblazer cover artwork!
posted by Skygazer at 9:33 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


It was my first exposure to Gaiman and Morrison via the Swamp Thing.

Constantine came out of that 80s Moore/Miller time when superheros suddenly became all sorts of complicated and anti-hero and gritty. He was my favorite (outside of the the Dark Knight/V for Vendetta/Watchmen stuff) character as well, until I lost the thread sometime in the early 90s. Plus, if I'm remembering right didn't Constantine have some connection to punk rock in some way.

It's a bit mindblowing to have a thing go back all the way to '88, which feels like millennia ago.
posted by Skygazer at 9:44 AM on November 9, 2012


Constantine was in a punk band called Mucous Membrane right up until, I believe, the incident which ended with him in Ravenscar Secure Hospital and the ghosts of his friends following him around. There's a one-off issue of Hellblazer set in that time and drawn by the guy who did some of the cooler illustrations in the Vampire: the Masquerade revised corebook. I can't remember his name but he's got a very, very distinctive style that well-serves the idea that it's a flashback (especially since nearly everybody looks kinda goth-punk the way he draws).
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:51 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


*Pulls out complete Hellblazers from #1 to the end of Ennis' run and strokes them lovingly.*
posted by charred husk at 9:53 AM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Pope Guilty: Tim Bradstreet? Good stuff.
posted by rewil at 10:23 AM on November 9, 2012


The last single issues I bought were the Chas miniseries (last year, maybe?) but I've kept up on the TPBs and graphic novels since back in the day (I have developed a habit of getting caught up with Constantine while on long plane rides). I'm kind of devastated.
posted by obloquy at 10:24 AM on November 9, 2012


Vertigo was great--so great that it took the entire Helix science fiction line to generate one title (Transmetropolitan) that lasted long enough to be folded into the Vertigo line. (Which is not to say that the Helix line was all bad, I really liked Vermillion and Cyberella.)
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:36 AM on November 9, 2012


I loved Delano's issues too, and dropped the series sometime during Ennis' run. I've picked it up from time to time over the years. Warren Ellis' and Brian Azzarello's arcs were both awful. Mike Carey's issues were the best Hellblazers I've read since Delano. I'll have to catch up on Milligan's in the trades - he is a great writer.
posted by OrderOctopoda at 10:37 AM on November 9, 2012


Ok, here's a Hellblazer question. For a long time, there was an uncollected issue that seemed to hold the key to everything that had gone wrong for Constantine: all his friends had died, or something, in some resurrection or haunting or demon raising they were trying to stop. (I forget, it's been a while.) So most of the early trades were dealing with the aftermath of this big event... but where's the issue? What happened? Was the story that started it all worthy of the stories that came later? If so, why didn't it ever get collected?
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:37 AM on November 9, 2012


It happened sometime before his debut in Swamp Thing, and is only referred to in flashback.

(unless you mean the time he got all his friends killed in Swamp Thing, because he dies that a lot. )
posted by Artw at 10:41 AM on November 9, 2012


Artw,

I either "see what you did there", or "please don't fix that typo"
posted by Twain Device at 10:47 AM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


anotherpanacea, maybe you mean "Newcastle" (issue #11)? It's in collected vol. 2 (IIRC the early TPBs did not originally come out in order).
posted by obloquy at 10:49 AM on November 9, 2012


Pope Guilty: Tim Bradstreet? Good stuff.

Nah, I adore that guy, but it's somebody else. I'll check when I get home and have access to my RPG books.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:04 AM on November 9, 2012


Oh and yeah, as ArtW says, it's told in flashback. It's a pre-Vertigo Delano issue (I have it in front of me in single-issue format; I don't think I have the TPB that includes it, but it does seem to exist -- and it was also collected in Rare Cuts).
posted by obloquy at 11:14 AM on November 9, 2012


If you've not read the American Gothic storyline in Swamp Thing, BTW, you really should - it's great stuff, and you can totally see why Constantine was a character people wanted more of.
posted by Artw at 11:29 AM on November 9, 2012


John Constantine: Hellblazer. You only live twice.

The decision by DC comics to cancel its imprint Vertigo’s longest running title Hellblazer and replace it with a new comic featuring its main character John Constantine in a new in-continuity title may not seem like that much of a big deal to outsiders. For the comics’ fans however, this represents the end of an era and an uncertain future.
posted by Artw at 11:36 AM on November 9, 2012


So, does this mean my mint first issue is still worthwhile?
posted by jadepearl at 12:06 PM on November 9, 2012


And, now, he's in something called "Justice League Dark", and they recently had an origin story for Constantine's trenchcoat, which is just about the stupidest fucking thing ever. (He's British. It rains a lot there. He bought a coat. There you go.)

Goodness, that's terrible. And pointless anyway -- Sting wore one in Quadrophenia. There you go.
posted by Gelatin at 12:27 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Satan's Bellboy.
posted by Artw at 12:28 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ugh, Justice League Dark was on my periphery and I was really, really hoping that in a few months someone would say "man, that's a great comic" because I really dig the concept but no, apparently DC Comics exists solely to disappoint me always.
posted by griphus at 12:31 PM on November 9, 2012


(Milky Way Dark is still a resounding success, FYI.)
posted by griphus at 12:32 PM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Constantine, written well, is a blag artist and a conman, with just a touch more sentimentality and morality than he'd ever admit. Magic just happens to be a tool of the trade that he's picked up along the way.

One of my favorite bits in the original Books of Magic mini-series was where Zatanna is hopelessly outnumbered by evil magicians in this club she's taken Tim Hunter to, and the bad guys are about to tear the two of them to shreds, and then Constantine appears in the doorway, striking a match and lighting up a Silk Cut -- and they all freeze and let the trio walk away.

Astonished, Zatanna notes that Constantine has no powers to speak of, but they were all terrified of him, and asks how he managed that. And he just smirks, "Never tell how you do a trick, darlin -- you taught me that."

I haven't been buying any comics regularly of late, let alone Hellblazer, but I've always appreciated its residing in an alternate reality where characters age (not just Constantine, but his niece Gemma, who wants to dabble in magic herself) and the forces of Satan are slightly less odious than the Tories (when they aren't one and the same).
posted by Gelatin at 12:36 PM on November 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yes, Newcastle. It was a single issue? Wow. I figured there was more to it than that (or that it had never been fully told and would be revealed in flashbacks over the series) but a single issue screwup generating so much angst just seems weak compared to all the screwups that follow.

BTW, Pope Guilty is right: Dangerous Habits is as good as this series has ever been.
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:59 PM on November 9, 2012


Damnit, you people. Now I'm going to have to read Hellblazer from start to finish again.

Also, I'm sure Pope Guilty will put me on his permanent shit list, but for some reason, the movie Constantine and the comic Hellblazer occupy separate spaces in my head and I kind of enjoy them both, but for completely different reasons.

Maybe it's just Peter Stormare and Djimon Honsou and Rachel Weisz and the whole style of the movie just kind of get past Keanu Reeves being a block of wood. For me, anyways. Maybe it's just that the movie is so far gone from the comic that I don't really even think of it as Hellblazer anymore. Shia TheBeef is lame, but fortunately a minor bit part.

I'm sorry Pope Guilty, please don't come to my house and put a hex on me. I do really love the comic in its own right.
posted by Fleebnork at 3:14 PM on November 9, 2012


Tilda Swinton was just perfect, FWIW.
posted by Artw at 3:28 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whatever title you put on your movie, you really cannot go wrong with Peter Stormare as the Devil. It's just not possible.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:39 PM on November 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ooh, if we can come out and not expect to be bludgeoned by indignant fans of the comic, I loved the movie. I also did go and read the primary story used from the comics, and enjoyed it, but when I went to read further I got swamped in the nihilism. Plus, illustrated violence tends to hit me harder than live-action stuff, for some reason...I ran into the same problem with League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Lots of lying awake at night trying to get images out of my head.

Besides, Tilda Swinton is my hero, I love Peter Stomare, Keanu is wooden but fun to look at anyway (and seems like a sweet man), Rachel Weisz is my spirit animal, and this movie inexplicably launched me into fandom, with the icons and the fic writing and stuff.
posted by PussKillian at 4:42 PM on November 9, 2012


Awwww man I was 14 when Vertigo started, and just started being able to afford a comics habit with my newspaper routes. For a few years after, I almost only bought Vertigo books. Sad to see it end, but I remember it really not sustaining far beyond 100 issues, let alone 300.
posted by Theta States at 4:55 PM on November 9, 2012


Fables is over 100, most of the longer Vertigo series seem to top out between 60 and 80 - of course Hellblazer was multiple runs by multiple writer/artist teams.
posted by Artw at 5:27 PM on November 9, 2012


I'd never really read any Hellblazer, and Constantine in Books of Magic was the first time I'd read anything with him in it, and yeah, the scene in the evil magicians' night club was pretty damn impressive. It got me interested, and later I saw the movie (which I kind of sort of like), and only recently started reading the series, though I ended up stalling after Dangerous Habits. I guess this gives me the reason to start up again.

Things like DCs decision to reboot this really mesh well with what's become my core belief of how the world works: It is the nature of all good things to eventually turn to shit.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:36 PM on November 9, 2012


Another slightly tricky thing with Hellblazer - unless the situation has changed since I last looked the trades are utter random and disorganized with no numbering system, many gaps and omissions, and generally a pain.
posted by Artw at 5:54 PM on November 9, 2012


Guillermo del Toro is in talks for a Justice League Dark movie
posted by homunculus at 6:17 PM on November 9, 2012


It's a really good concept so hopefully it'll be better than the comic.
posted by griphus at 6:31 PM on November 9, 2012


There's a lot to like in Constantine- the aforementioned Peter Stormare and Tilda Swinton in particular- it just kind of shits on my favorite character and my favorite story about that character, is all.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:04 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, Newcastle. It was a single issue? Wow. I figured there was more to it than that...

Well, it's a really powerful issue which had been building since the start; the previous hints had been so darkly vague and the payoff was so darkly awful that it worked beautifully to set Constantine's doomed guilt as a central part of the character. The grit of the series made a lot more sense after issue #11. This wasn't just some guy moping in a trenchcoat. He'd fucked up big-time and had the line of destroyed lives behind him to prove it.

And, of course, the line just gets bigger as the series goes on.
posted by mediareport at 10:26 PM on November 9, 2012


At the rate New 52 is going (and how deeply bad its going), how far away are we from JLA Babies featuring Wee Johnny The Heckblazer?
posted by Mezentian at 10:46 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of stunned that Constantine had 300 sequential issues. With how chaotic the trades are, I assumed they reflected intermittent miniseries.

can we now please get a mystery comic where John Constantine, Detective Chimp, the ghosts of Ralph and Sue Dibny and Doctor Fate go around solving arcane murders?

Oh so close.
posted by Zed at 12:09 AM on November 10, 2012


I'm reeling from the fact that Vertigo started up 25 years ago. And lasted 25 years.
posted by Mezentian at 12:24 AM on November 10, 2012


Reel no more, because Vertigo started in 1993; Hellblazer began life as a vaguely DCU mature readers book that was later folded into the Vertigo line.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:09 AM on November 10, 2012


Guy Davis, that's the one. Looks like he also did some work on Hellboy/BPRD, which makes a lot of sense.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:25 AM on November 10, 2012


It's funny to hear people talk about how DC is fucking over Alan Moore properties with this move, since a DCU Constantine is very much what Alan Moore originally had in mind; his Twilight of the Superheroes proposal presumes openly that Constantine is an up and coming character in the DCU and has an older version of the character shacked up with a woman who has become The Vigilante (!). The New 52 Constantine is in many ways closer to the original version of the character than the modern day Vertigo version...to my mind, Jamie Delano is more responsible for the Vertigo Constantine than Moore is, and it's really the Delano version that people think of (with a few Ennis shadings). The Constantine of Justice League Dark is basically the Constantine of '80s Swamp Thing, from what I can tell. He certainly resembles that character much more than he does the scar-faced, hulking, Dark Knight Returns-looking John Constantine that Simon Bisley has so masterfully rendered these last few years.

I was initially appalled by the idea of canceling Hellblazer in favor a PG John Constantine, but the more I think about it...Hellblazer has been an occasionally great comic, sometimes dire, often good and occasionally just treading water. In other words, it's basically been like every other comic that's run for three hundred issues. That's a lot of issues and it's probably more issues than any series really needs to run. I'm okay with it ending. I'm not sure a PG (or, I suppose, T+) Constantine hanging out with Batman is really the book for me, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. And I don't see the harm in it if the Vertigo version has lived out a natural lifespan, which -- to be honest -- it has if any book ever has.

Generally, I think there is something of value to adding the supernatural characters back into the DCU mix. I think there's a nuance that's lost when the spooky corners of that world are sequestered off somewhere else; the capes get darker to compensate, and (to be frank) the mature readers books sometimes get a wee bit pretentious to show just how far away they are from the pathetic, pathetic power fantasy comics printed on the very same presses (true believer). The nice thing about a superhero universe is that it should be big enough for everything. But on the other hand, letting those characters back into the DCU means taming them a little bit. That may not be such a terrible thing, though. The comics most like the Vertigo books of old are currently coming from other publishers, anyway -- Locke & Key, Prophet, Fatale, just off the top of my head (and there are more -- so many more) -- and so maybe it is just time.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:43 AM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't really care for the capes- the worst bits of Sandman are at the beginning where the DCU pokes its head in. If the new book has John Constantine rubbing elbows with Superman, I don't have a fuck to give about it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:17 AM on November 10, 2012


I heard it was selling 9000, so... Not good.

I'm always feel better as a comic book hater when I think that the industry has fewer readers than I do.
posted by Yakuman at 9:58 AM on November 10, 2012


it's really the Delano version that people think of

When I think of Constantine, I think of him screwing up Alec and Abby's love scene (Swamp Thing -- Moore), performing my favorite example ever of being willing to screw yourself over to hurt someone else (Twilight of the Superheros -- not even published Moore), and screwing over and flipping off the devil (Dangerous Habits -- Ennis.)

I don't really care for the capes- the worst bits of Sandman are at the beginning where the DCU pokes its head in.

...but I also liked his early appearance in Sandman. It and the contest in Hell were the best bits of Preludes and Nocturnes.
posted by Zed at 12:51 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


.
posted by clarknova at 4:06 PM on November 10, 2012


Now it's over, which of the Sandman trades are worth getting?
posted by Francis at 4:43 AM on November 11, 2012


I mean, of course, the Hellblazer trades. They've always seemed ... mixed in quality to me. (I already own the Absolute Sandman).
posted by Francis at 5:24 AM on November 11, 2012


The are horribly disorganized. First Delano issues are usually in trade, but not all the rest, random Ennis and Ellis storylines, a good bit of Azzarelo's was in print for a while but I didn't actually like that. All in all a mess, and don't hope for anything silly like spine numbers.
posted by Artw at 6:35 AM on November 11, 2012


Sandman and Preacher are fantastic at collection- individual stories in their order, with standalones and side-stories collected together.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:25 AM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


That big Invisibles Omnibus looks kind of cool too.
posted by Artw at 7:38 AM on November 11, 2012


...but I also liked his early appearance in Sandman. It and the contest in Hell were the best bits of Preludes and Nocturnes.

The diner was in there too, wasn't it? And, depending on how you divide things, The Sound of Her Wings.
posted by Artw at 7:39 AM on November 11, 2012


Karen Berger steps down at Vertigo.
posted by Artw at 1:46 PM on December 3, 2012


Man, I don't think I've ever seen so much love for someone in comics on Twitter.
posted by Artw at 2:05 PM on December 3, 2012


Milligan exit interview
posted by Artw at 2:48 PM on December 3, 2012


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