Where is John Constantine When We Need Him?

Where is John Constantine When We Need Him?

In which Grey laments the sorry state of John Constantine.

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Jesus, old Constantine sounds dull. If I want political commentary, I'll watch 'have I got news for you'. In the meantime, I want to see a magic man fighting demons.

I've read the first big ardc mentioned here and frankly that was beyond unreadable, political discussion is fine, this was "England is now a fascist regime who kills gay people and will become a full dictatorship", dear god relax, the right can be in power, England is still around. There was also something about captalists being demons and it's solved with a fart demon or something. Anyways when does it get gud?

inu-kun:
I've read the first big ardc mentioned here and frankly that was beyond unreadable, political discussion is fine, this was "England is now a fascist regime who kills gay people and will become a full dictatorship", dear god relax, the right can be in power, England is still around. There was also something about captalists being demons and it's solved with a fart demon or something. Anyways when does it get gud?

It doesn't get gud unless you're really grokking the themes. I remember loving the initial run's storyline of demonic brokers needing the Tories to stay in power to keep accruing souls for Hell, but that's because I'm cynical by nature. If you're an optimist or someone who's a mite more objective about the way politics and Big Business work, it'll strike you as being excessive.

But hey - that's to be expected, Constantine's a big Punk paean. The short-lived TV series played that down to the point where the title character was just another irascible Brit with some vague ties to a former Punk band. Matt Ryan was really just playing Harry Dresden with an accent, as far as I'm concerned.

So yeah. If the only thing you need is a guy flinging spells at ugly stuff, read Doctor Strange or the Dresden novels and comics.

inu-kun:
I've read the first big ardc mentioned here and frankly that was beyond unreadable, political discussion is fine, this was "England is now a fascist regime who kills gay people and will become a full dictatorship", dear god relax, the right can be in power, England is still around. There was also something about capitalists being demons and it's solved with a fart demon or something. Anyways when does it get gud?

Part of the problem is that the Delano era is a bog standard lefty rant. The Garth Ennis era was less political and has the most interesting story in Dangerous Habits and I gave up when Warren Ellis took over. Unless your views are from the hard left then dont bother with anything other than Garth Ennis written ones. Personally, I think the best Constantine appearance is in the Neil Gaiman penned Books of Magic.

If I was being honest the hard left politics limited the appeal of HellBlazer to a very small number of people that followed UK politics and were on the extreme left. To the average suburban American the politics of the Socialist Workers party has little appeal.

IamLEAM1983:

inu-kun:
I've read the first big ardc mentioned here and frankly that was beyond unreadable, political discussion is fine, this was "England is now a fascist regime who kills gay people and will become a full dictatorship", dear god relax, the right can be in power, England is still around. There was also something about captalists being demons and it's solved with a fart demon or something. Anyways when does it get gud?

It doesn't get gud unless you're really grokking the themes. I remember loving the initial run's storyline of demonic brokers needing the Tories to stay in power to keep accruing souls for Hell, but that's because I'm cynical by nature. If you're an optimist or someone who's a mite more objective about the way politics and Big Business work, it'll strike you as being excessive.

But hey - that's to be expected, Constantine's a big Punk paean. The short-lived TV series played that down to the point where the title character was just another irascible Brit with some vague ties to a former Punk band. Matt Ryan was really just playing Harry Dresden with an accent, as far as I'm concerned.

So yeah. If the only thing you need is a guy flinging spells at ugly stuff, read Doctor Strange or the Dresden novels and comics.

I did read a later issue with Constantine curing himself from cancer in the most awesome way ever and the whole thing with his nephew and sister in hell and loved it. The dark imagery, the brutality of the setting, it's awesome and some stuff did work in the first volumes but it got bogged down by the whole commentary. What about volumes 4-8? I see there's Garth Ennis which I heard horrendous good stuff about.

The reason Dangerous Habits is the de facto Constantine story is probably because it's the only really good Constantine story (which isn't a wisecracking cameo in another story). Wonder not why so much of Constantine is dull - wonder instead how that particular part was good.

inu-kun:

I did read a later issue with Constantine curing himself from cancer in the most awesome way ever and the whole thing with his nephew and sister in hell and loved it. The dark imagery, the brutality of the setting, it's awesome and some stuff did work in the first volumes but it got bogged down by the whole commentary. What about volumes 4-8? I see there's Garth Ennis which I heard horrendous good stuff about.

The cancer story is the first Ennis story. The next arc didn'the work for me however the next 2 are good. That's pretty much the Ennis run

Albino Boo:
Unless your views are from the hard left then dont bother with anything other than Garth Ennis written ones.

I have to disagree.

Hating Maggie Thatcher was the default setting for a lot of british culture in the 80s, be it Spitting Image, The Comic Strip Presents...", or Alan Bleasedale's Boys from the Blackstuff and G.B.H. Hellblazer fitted right in there. It might seem that Delano laid it on a bit thick (which he did sometimes, sure) but that was the norm - the tories were hated, and hated all the more for being seemingly untouchable and unshakeably in power for the entire decade.

Maybe it's a 'you had to be there' thing. Personally I loved the Delano run, and still have fond recollections of stories like Going For It (the aforementiond demon uppies), The Family Man and The Fear Machine, which was a bit of a mess but still interesting.

On the other hand I almost entirely loathed Garth Ennis' run. He's become a far better writer since but I never liked his take on Constantine, and his constant harping on about all things irish really pissed me off. I'd take Delano's 80s leftism over Ennis soaking the pages in Guiness any day of any year.

Sixcess:

Albino Boo:
Unless your views are from the hard left then dont bother with anything other than Garth Ennis written ones.

I have to disagree.

Hating Maggie Thatcher was the default setting for a lot of british culture in the 80s, be it Spitting Image, The Comic Strip Presents...", or Alan Bleasedale's Boys from the Blackstuff and G.B.H. Hellblazer fitted right in there. It might seem that Delano laid it on a bit thick (which he did sometimes, sure) but that was the norm - the tories were hated, and hated all the more for being seemingly untouchable and unshakeably in power for the entire decade.

Maybe it's a 'you had to be there' thing. Personally I loved the Delano run, and still have fond recollections of stories like Going For It (the aforementiond demon uppies), The Family Man and The Fear Machine, which was a bit of a mess but still interesting.

On the other hand I almost entirely loathed Garth Ennis' run. He's become a far better writer since but I never liked his take on Constantine, and his constant harping on about all things irish really pissed me off. I'd take Delano's 80s leftism over Ennis soaking the pages in Guiness any day of any year.

I was born in the early 70s and I was an adult by the end 80s. The broadcasting decisions of the BBC and C4 had very little relevance to sales in Orange County or New York State. The self indulgence of the British left in 80s had no impact beyond talking to themselves anymore than comics for Corbyn is going to sell out Madison Square Garden. Hellblazers ideology is why it got dumped because guys wearing spandex and rocket pants outsold it massively

Pyrian:
The reason Dangerous Habits is the de facto Constantine story is probably because it's the only really good Constantine story (which isn't a wisecracking cameo in another story). Wonder not why so much of Constantine is dull - wonder instead how that particular part was good.

Dangerous Habits didn't have an agenda and wasn't trying bash people over the head by saying unless you believe in x or y your are scum. It was focused and personal, you could empathise with Constantine in that story. The finale of that arc defined Constantine as character. There was no McGuffin that was going save the day and yet Constantine found a crack and without amazing powers bluffed his way through.

I love Hellblazer, and found the new stuff bland. Sure, arcs like "Royal Blood" sure laid it on thick, but that's what made them interesting - few other comics went that far. They weren't always the best told stories, but they are impassioned ones - driven by creative teams interested in telling political stories. For crying out loud, the first issue focuses on the dangers of rampant consumerism and the lengths people go to feed their desires.

The politics never got in the way of the story - instead they motivated the characters and their actions. It grounded a sarcastic, pessimistic mage in a real space, allowing readers to argue and debate their decisions. At the time, you couldn't ignore elements like the IRA, especially when a supporting character is Irish - of course it comes up. And even though the First gets fought during a racial conflict, he still gets stabbed by a succubus with a magic sword.

Everyone reading Hellblazer and running because the author doesn't like Thatcher missed the whole point. He's a biting satire of the norm of any day, an aged form of punk made flesh. His magical abilities are ridiculous, and frankly the least interesting part - he scares small demons away with a look. The world, founded in rebellion from religious, political, and social themes is what makes Hellblazer a great read. If you want Batman fighting mook of the week, go ahead. But ripping politics from Constantine not only neuters storytelling opportunities, it removes the ground nature of the character. It turns John, as Grey said, from a character to a sarcastic trench coat. It wasn't a book for the collector or well-off college kid. It was one for the angry and upset, and those who felt trapped in situations they couldn't move from. It allowed a safe laugh at political figures, while still telling fun tales. Upper class demons who trade souls like stock getting taken down by one founded through work and pestilence isn't a hard metaphor to figure out, but it's still a fun one to read.

Even Dangerous Habits rests on politics, with concerns about health care, availability of treatment, and the start of Ennis's Irish critiques. For crying out loud, a guy made a deal with the devil for better bear. Dangerous Habits worked as a type of reboot, clarifying John's antagonists and abilities in a in-character fashion, and influenced the following 250+ issues. But it was still political at its core. And it hardly exists in a vacuum, as the direct sequel arc leads to the racial riot orchestrated by Satan.

F-I-D-O:
I love Hellblazer, and found the new stuff bland. Sure, arcs like "Royal Blood" sure laid it on thick, but that's what made them interesting - few other comics went that far. They weren't always the best told stories, but they are impassioned ones - driven by creative teams interested in telling political stories. For crying out loud, the first issue focuses on the dangers of rampant consumerism and the lengths people go to feed their desires.

The politics never got in the way of the story - instead they motivated the characters and their actions. It grounded a sarcastic, pessimistic mage in a real space, allowing readers to argue and debate their decisions. At the time, you couldn't ignore elements like the IRA, especially when a supporting character is Irish - of course it comes up. And even though the First gets fought during a racial conflict, he still gets stabbed by a succubus with a magic sword.

Everyone reading Hellblazer and running because the author doesn't like Thatcher missed the whole point. He's a biting satire of the norm of any day, an aged form of punk made flesh. His magical abilities are ridiculous, and frankly the least interesting part - he scares small demons away with a look. The world, founded in rebellion from religious, political, and social themes is what makes Hellblazer a great read. If you want Batman fighting mook of the week, go ahead. But ripping politics from Constantine not only neuters storytelling opportunities, it removes the ground nature of the character. It turns John, as Grey said, from a character to a sarcastic trench coat. It wasn't a book for the collector or well-off college kid. It was one for the angry and upset, and those who felt trapped in situations they couldn't move from. It allowed a safe laugh at political figures, while still telling fun tales. Upper class demons who trade souls like stock getting taken down by one founded through work and pestilence isn't a hard metaphor to figure out, but it's still a fun one to read.

Even Dangerous Habits rests on politics, with concerns about health care, availability of treatment, and the start of Ennis's Irish critiques. For crying out loud, a guy made a deal with the devil for better bear. Dangerous Habits worked as a type of reboot, clarifying John's antagonists and abilities in a in-character fashion, and influenced the following 250+ issues. But it was still political at its core. And it hardly exists in a vacuum, as the direct sequel arc leads to the racial riot orchestrated by Satan.

I think you forget that that many people get rather tired of being lectured by well paid middle class marxists about what they should do. The inevitable victory of marxism leninism turned out not to be that inevitable and the sky did not fall down when the tories got elected. The politics of Hellblazer only appeal to narrow section and quite frankly pisses off more people. Hellblazer at its worst is fatuous exercise in virtue signaling only occasionally redeemed by an interesting plot. As I said unless you have hard left view avoid most of it because, in common with many pieces of agitprop, its only interested in talking to the ideologically pure in the first place. If you dont share Delano manichaean world view then you are evil. To quote the late Peter Cook "those wonderful Berlin cabarets which did so much to stop the rise of Hitler and prevent the outbreak of the second world war". At best, satire is ineffectual. At worst, it's counter productive because it annoys and alienates more people who get tired of being insulted for having a different view.

chocolate pickles:
Jesus, old Constantine sounds dull. If I want political commentary, I'll watch 'have I got news for you'. In the meantime, I want to see a magic man fighting demons.

That was the beautiful thing about it.
You got both.
Though fight wasn't always his thing.
Good old john was always a trickster and a bit of a bastard.
Powerful enough, yeah, but aware enough of the cost of magic to always try to hoodwink his opponents if he could.
It was a good take on magic and a great run.

I've always though John works best as a clapped out, old, cynical ex punk.
He fought the system and the system won.
Both culturally and magically.
Yeah, he's had his victories, but so few of them were clean and he sure had his losses too.

I know john only had so much life left before he got a reboot and de-aged.
He was an old man towards the end of the run prior to the reboot, but I still miss the original.
A lot.
The only thing I really didn't like was his incorporation into the DC main universe.
I know the imprints where his comics were kept got folded in, but it was a real shame to see him having to do exactly that thing which so many writers warned against.
Looking out of the window of a plane to see superman flying by.
Figuratively that is.
I don't remember who made that original quote, and I'm sure I've mangled it but it always struck me as true.

Some characters work better in isolation.
Part of their own world with it's own rules and tone.
As much as they tried to integrate John into the main DC universe and retain the elements of his character that fostered such a dedicated following over the years, they had to lose so much more to make those two disparate elements fit together.
DC universe john never felt like a comfortable fit to me.

I tried with the new series for a while, but eventually got fed up with it all.
A mix of crossover woes and resulting plotline derailments, along with a creeping sense that what I was seeing in the new john may eventually be a Constantine for a new generation of readers, but he sure wasn't my broken down old huckster of a magician I'd come to love and occasionally loathe (John could be a real shit sometimes).

Trenchcoats and Supermen don't mix well.
It's true.
Ask Rorschach how that turns out.

Albino Boo:

F-I-D-O:
-snip-

I think you forget that that many people get rather tired of being lectured by well paid middle class marxists about what they should do. The inevitable victory of marxism leninism turned out not to be that inevitable and the sky did not fall down when the tories got elected. The politics of Hellblazer only appeal to narrow section and quite frankly pisses off more people. Hellblazer at its worst is fatuous exercise in virtue signaling only occasionally redeemed by an interesting plot. As I said unless you have hard left view avoid most of it because, in common with many pieces of agitprop, its only interested in talking to the ideologically pure in the first place. If you dont share Delano manichaean world view then you are evil. To quote the late Peter Cook "those wonderful Berlin cabarets which did so much to stop the rise of Hitler and prevent the outbreak of the second world war". At best, satire is ineffectual. At worst, it's counter productive because it annoys and alienates more people who get tired of being insulted for having a different view.

You do realize that Delano is directly involved in only about 40 of the 300 issues, and that Constantine's politics and attitude changed over time and with each writer? Garth Ennis's books are very different - yes, Tainted Love deals with the treatment of the homeless, but considering John is actually homeless at the time, it's hardly lecturing the audience. Rather, it uses the setting to explore issues. Again, I can think of two points where Hellblazer got excessively political - the soul broker demons (one issue) and Royal blood, which features the British royalty as cannibalistic satanists.

As someone who thinks of themselves as a more "middle grounded" political person, I've never found Hellblazer's politics excessive, except in the above cases (a comedy and shock horror, respectively). Rather, the characters are written like people - with attitudes, politics, and ideas that may differ from the reader because, surprise, they're fictional characters. John's old punk rock and hippie friends probably ARE going to lean far left - and John makes as much fun of them as he does of Thatcher's maneuverings. And their views changed over time as well - the rocker who eventually realizes he's a descendant of King Arthur begins taking a more central political view, from his earlier punk attitude. People in the books are never evil because of their beliefs, they were evil because of their actions.

A work of fiction with political elements is hardly agitprop. And it went beyond the "ideologically pure" (what?) through lampooning everything that John found. I won't argue that it's a punk comic, but it's one committed to that idea. At its core, it's a book for the confused, upset, and angry. A form of rebellion through proxy, of being disillusioned with the world and everything shitty in it, no matter the origins of said shit. The central ideology is rebellion. What was fought against changed with each writer and arc. Dismissing it as purely leftist ignores decades of work and development of characters.

Hellblazer never was a book of destroying the man or toppling capitalism. It pointed out the excess and ridiculous of each system as John moved through them. The material and story themeing comes from the ideas of the market's frustrations and fears. Dismissing it as a minor audience doesn't do justice to demographics of the time. But what gave Hellblazer its identity, and the reason it stays in discussions of "best series" is that it refused to be afraid of pissing people off. It didn't need or want to appeal to everyone. It wanted to stay true to Constantine, which is why the recent reboot is disappointing.

And I heartily disagree with your view of satire. Funny you use a quote from Peter cook, who was known for his satirical work. And your quote's unfinished (and makes no sense in its current use), as in context it was a joke at the venues for political discussion in Berlin - not a place of comedy like he was creating. Saying satire's useless because writers and artists only use the tools available to them to voice their opinions and feelings on their world is something I cannot fathom. Modest Proposal, Animal Farm, White Noise, and even Colbert Report all used satirical lenses to bring issues and problems to light, even among people who disagreed with the premises. Those lampooned by the work are likely going to be upset, but isn't that the whole point?

F-I-D-O:

Albino Boo:

F-I-D-O:
-snip-

I think you forget that that many people get rather tired of being lectured by well paid middle class marxists about what they should do. The inevitable victory of marxism leninism turned out not to be that inevitable and the sky did not fall down when the tories got elected. The politics of Hellblazer only appeal to narrow section and quite frankly pisses off more people. Hellblazer at its worst is fatuous exercise in virtue signaling only occasionally redeemed by an interesting plot. As I said unless you have hard left view avoid most of it because, in common with many pieces of agitprop, its only interested in talking to the ideologically pure in the first place. If you dont share Delano manichaean world view then you are evil. To quote the late Peter Cook "those wonderful Berlin cabarets which did so much to stop the rise of Hitler and prevent the outbreak of the second world war". At best, satire is ineffectual. At worst, it's counter productive because it annoys and alienates more people who get tired of being insulted for having a different view.

You do realize that Delano is directly involved in only about 40 of the 300 issues, and that Constantine's politics and attitude changed over time and with each writer? Garth Ennis's books are very different - yes, Tainted Love deals with the treatment of the homeless, but considering John is actually homeless at the time, it's hardly lecturing the audience. Rather, it uses the setting to explore issues. Again, I can think of two points where Hellblazer got excessively political - the soul broker demons (one issue) and Royal blood, which features the British royalty as cannibalistic satanists.

As someone who thinks of themselves as a more "middle grounded" political person, I've never found Hellblazer's politics excessive, except in the above cases (a comedy and shock horror, respectively). Rather, the characters are written like people - with attitudes, politics, and ideas that may differ from the reader because, surprise, they're fictional characters. John's old punk rock and hippie friends probably ARE going to lean far left - and John makes as much fun of them as he does of Thatcher's maneuverings. And their views changed over time as well - the rocker who eventually realizes he's a descendant of King Arthur begins taking a more central political view, from his earlier punk attitude. People in the books are never evil because of their beliefs, they were evil because of their actions.

A work of fiction with political elements is hardly agitprop. And it went beyond the "ideologically pure" (what?) through lampooning everything that John found. I won't argue that it's a punk comic, but it's one committed to that idea. At its core, it's a book for the confused, upset, and angry. A form of rebellion through proxy, of being disillusioned with the world and everything shitty in it, no matter the origins of said shit. The central ideology is rebellion. What was fought against changed with each writer and arc. Dismissing it as purely leftist ignores decades of work and development of characters.

Hellblazer never was a book of destroying the man or toppling capitalism. It pointed out the excess and ridiculous of each system as John moved through them. The material and story theming comes from the ideas of the market's frustrations and fears. Dismissing it as a minor audience doesn't do justice to demographics of the time. But what gave Hellblazer its identity, and the reason it stays in discussions of "best series" is that it refused to be afraid of pissing people off. It didn't need or want to appeal to everyone. It wanted to stay true to Constantine, which is why the recent reboot is disappointing.

And I heartily disagree with your view of satire. Funny you use a quote from Peter cook, who was known for his satirical work. And your quote's unfinished (and makes no sense in its current use), as in context it was a joke at the venues for political discussion in Berlin - not a place of comedy like he was creating. Saying satire's useless because writers and artists only use the tools available to them to voice their opinions and feelings on their world is something I cannot fathom. Modest Proposal, Animal Farm, White Noise, and even Colbert Report all used satirical lenses to bring issues and problems to light, even among people who disagreed with the premises. Those lampooned by the work are likely going to be upset, but isn't that the whole point?

Peter Cook's point is that satire changes no minds. The Berlin carbert of the weimar was dominated by the communist supporting Bertolt Brecht and all the plays, jokes and musical numbers attacking Hitler did exactly fuck all because its was only talking to the converted. The Colbert report, the daily show only talk to audience that is already likeminded. The smug lecturing that satire engages in just pisses off everyone else and actually make those whom they target more popular. A Brit makes jokes about Trump on the Colbert report just plays into Trump's hands by reinforcing the narrative of poncy foreign lefties telling hard working blue collar Americans what to think.

I read all of Hellblazer and was quite sad when it came to end. Never got around to checking out anything of the new incarnation though... sounds like I haven't missed much.

"Three hundred issues of sprawling lore and expert character building from some of the greatest writers in the medium chucked in the bin so Constantine could inhabit the same universe as a man dressed like a bat and the king of the fish men."
Didn't he start out that way, before he and Swamp Thing got put in the Vertigo side of DC's publishing output?

IamLEAM1983:

inu-kun:
I've read the first big ardc mentioned here and frankly that was beyond unreadable, political discussion is fine, this was "England is now a fascist regime who kills gay people and will become a full dictatorship", dear god relax, the right can be in power, England is still around. There was also something about captalists being demons and it's solved with a fart demon or something. Anyways when does it get gud?

It doesn't get gud unless you're really grokking the themes. I remember loving the initial run's storyline of demonic brokers needing the Tories to stay in power to keep accruing souls for Hell, but that's because I'm cynical by nature. If you're an optimist or someone who's a mite more objective about the way politics and Big Business work, it'll strike you as being excessive.

But hey - that's to be expected, Constantine's a big Punk paean. The short-lived TV series played that down to the point where the title character was just another irascible Brit with some vague ties to a former Punk band. Matt Ryan was really just playing Harry Dresden with an accent, as far as I'm concerned.

So yeah. If the only thing you need is a guy flinging spells at ugly stuff, read Doctor Strange or the Dresden novels and comics.

Hey man, I'll tell you and Grey, that Matt Ryan's CONSTANTINE was frikkin' awesome! He OWNED that role, with humor, attitude, and you could sympathize with him! He even came back for it in an episode of Arrow, because that show's star (Stephen Ammel) and EP (Andrew Kreisberg) liked it.

OT: It sounds like these stories read better if you read them around the time they were written, when their subjects were more current. And if you already agreed with the writers' message.

Darth_Payn:
"Three hundred issues of sprawling lore and expert character building from some of the greatest writers in the medium chucked in the bin so Constantine could inhabit the same universe as a man dressed like a bat and the king of the fish men."
Didn't he start out that way, before he and Swamp Thing got put in the Vertigo side of DC's publishing output?

IamLEAM1983:
-snip-

Hey man, I'll tell you and Grey, that Matt Ryan's CONSTANTINE was frikkin' awesome! He OWNED that role, with humor, attitude, and you could sympathize with him! He even came back for it in an episode of Arrow, because that show's star (Stephen Ammel) and EP (Andrew Kreisberg) liked it.

OT: It sounds like these stories read better if you read them around the time they were written, when their subjects were more current. And if you already agreed with the writers' message.

There were occasional hints, like someone tried to talk him into having a fight between Swamp Thing and I think Darkseid, and Zatanna showing up to John's 40th. But for all intents and purposes, John was distinct. He didn't get folded into other series or care about events in much of the DC or Vertigo books. His stories and development never relied on outside works, barring the initial Swamp Thing appearances. But that said, he didn't solidify as a character until Delano started writing the standalone.

I also enjoyed the show. It definitely felt neutered from the series, but it seemed the best case for a season 1 network show on Hellblazer. Maybe it would have done better airing after Mr. Robot with a different edit, which showed people will enjoy critiques of their cultures on TV. But Matt Ryan looked like he stepped off the page.

As someone reading through the books with the new editions, they hold up for the most part. Some arcs like Fear Machine or Royal Blood are so grounded in topical events that it becomes a bit of a slog, but it doesn't affect the majority. Still a fun character driven series.

Darth_Payn:
Hey man, I'll tell you and Grey, that Matt Ryan's CONSTANTINE was frikkin' awesome!

I agree - saying his take on the character was basically a Northern England take on Dresden should really be construed as a compliment. :D

I'll admit I've always loved Hellblazer, but something about the tone of the comic series makes it feel like a more Noir approach would've worked wonders. Then here comes along Jim Butcher's freakish lovechild between Merlin and Sam Spade and well, I was sold. Assuming the Constantine movie is a bad memory, the only decent American take on the character - or on a similar concept - is Butcher's own staff-toting flatfoot.

Mikeybb:
snip

I'm still of the opinion that Books of Magic (the original mini-series) was one of the best Constantine portrayals, and it used all kinds of superhero references. Dr. Fate, Zatanna, and Deadman all made appearances. Mr. E even mentioned a personal meeting with Superman.

However that kind of presentation needs to be handled carefully. Constantine works best as a small-time magician who gets by on smarts and luck, not a Level 20 wizard who revels in besting the DCU. Writers have a bad habit of scaling up his powers to justify his presence, which is where things go wrong. (See: The New 52 Constantine and Injustice Year Three.)

inu-kun:

IamLEAM1983:

inu-kun:
I've read the first big ardc mentioned here and frankly that was beyond unreadable, political discussion is fine, this was "England is now a fascist regime who kills gay people and will become a full dictatorship", dear god relax, the right can be in power, England is still around. There was also something about captalists being demons and it's solved with a fart demon or something. Anyways when does it get gud?

It doesn't get gud unless you're really grokking the themes. I remember loving the initial run's storyline of demonic brokers needing the Tories to stay in power to keep accruing souls for Hell, but that's because I'm cynical by nature. If you're an optimist or someone who's a mite more objective about the way politics and Big Business work, it'll strike you as being excessive.

But hey - that's to be expected, Constantine's a big Punk paean. The short-lived TV series played that down to the point where the title character was just another irascible Brit with some vague ties to a former Punk band. Matt Ryan was really just playing Harry Dresden with an accent, as far as I'm concerned.

So yeah. If the only thing you need is a guy flinging spells at ugly stuff, read Doctor Strange or the Dresden novels and comics.

I did read a later issue with Constantine curing himself from cancer in the most awesome way ever and the whole thing with his nephew and sister in hell and loved it. The dark imagery, the brutality of the setting, it's awesome and some stuff did work in the first volumes but it got bogged down by the whole commentary. What about volumes 4-8? I see there's Garth Ennis which I heard horrendous good stuff about.

I figured this all came down to personal taste in the end. That whole article sounded like it was arguing that there was only one reason to enjoy Constantine. I was willing to believe him at first, since he argued that Constantine had no other appeal whatsoever, but clearly other readers here beg to differ.

I loved Hellblazer, but it was very much of it time(s), and maybe a little too 'British' to sustain the sort of circulation DC wanted.

There were ups and downs in the writing quality, but John was always such a great character he'd carry you over the wobbly patches, having him age more or less in real time was also a neat trick and one you'd be unlikely to get away with these days

Fanghawk:

I'm still of the opinion that Books of Magic (the original mini-series) was one of the best Constantine portrayals, and it used all kinds of superhero references. Dr. Fate, Zatanna, and Deadman all made appearances. Mr. E even mentioned a personal meeting with Superman.

I'll acquiesce to that statement just for the sheer quality of the mini series.
I did get a bit of a nexus of reality feeling from it though, extrapolating the swamp thing connection to explain john's presence, that young timothy was being shown many worlds rather than just one.
It's highly likely that may be an error of interpretation on my part rather than something actually within the story.
Even so, it does stand out as the best integration I can recollect in both method and quality.

As you highlight in the snipped part though, it's an integration that works best if done with subtlety.
Dipping into the edges of each other's "worlds" rather than bursting in through the ceiling.

How is Fables political as fuck? I've read all the 150 issues plus some of the miniseries, but apart from that o n e l i n e where Bigby said he was a big fan of Israel, I don't see anything genuinely political about it. Though maybe I have too narrow a definition about which things are really political.

*Reads article*

Yeah, that tracks. When I heard Constantine was going to be in the DCU I...had low expectations. But given his rant against the other magical types in universe I expected a lot more of his interactions with the other heroes to be more visceral. You know, like hating Batman on a level I can barely describe. They'd drive each other insane with rage.

Instead, I got the Books of Magic as an alien teleportation device and dropped the entire DC comics universe entirely.

 

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