Comics: Here comes John Contantine, the hero who used to be known as Hellblazer…

Published On November 10, 2012 | By Richard Bruton | Comics

DC Comics unveils latest addition to The New 52 – CONSTANTINE

That was the headline of the DC post on their blog earlier this week.

Oh dear.

We’re at this aren’t we? …..

That comes from Grant Morrison’s issue of The Doom Patrol where Danny The Street has a very trippy dream (issue 53 – art by Ken Steacy).

It also comes from a post from me back in May 2011, when we first got word of John Constantine appearing once more in the DC Universe proper. At the time we thought that was the writing on the wall for John, and the whole bloody Vertigo imprint to be honest, with DC taking all the DCU characters back into the fold; Constantine, Swamp Thing, Animal Man, all the magical types, all gone back to play with the capes.

It took longer than many expected, but here we go…. Issue 300 of Hellblazer will be the last for Vertigo’s longest running title. After that it’s back to the bright and shiny DCU with a bright and shiny new number 1 issue of Constantine.

Here’s DC’s PR blurb for this:

“Launching in March 2013, CONSTANTINE will be written by upcoming DEMON KNIGHTS writer andNew York Times bestselling author of The Homeland Directive and the sci-fi graphic novel seriesThe Surrogates, Robert Venditti, with incredible art by Renato Guedes (SUPERMAN).
“Few characters in comics are as complex and entertaining as John Constantine, and I’m finding him to be every bit as enjoyable to write as he is to read,” says Venditti. “It’s my goal to have the new CONSTANTINE series be equal parts familiarity and surprise.  This will be the Constantine we all know and love, but facing new and unexpected challenges from both inside and out.”
HELLBLAZER, Vertigo’s longest-running series which currently headlines John Constantine, will end with issue #300 in February. John Constantine has escaped, cheated, narrowly avoided and even reversed death on multiple occasions. Now, in the conclusion of “Death and Cigarettes,” longtime writer Peter Milligan and artists Giuseppe Camuncoli and Stefano Landini will test whether he’s got one more second chance in him, giving him the bloody best sendoff he deserves.”

Oh well. It was a good run, bloody great at times. I must admit to only dropping in every so often to the series since it hit three figures though. But heavens, the early stuff, from Delano and then Garth Ennis alongside some cracking artists – that’s a real impressive run of great comics. They took the quirky near cipher of a character created by Alan Moore, Steve Bisette, John Totleben and Rick Veitch and delivered a brilliant modern horror adventure series.

But sadly, according to DC, it seems that there just wasn’t enough Superman and Batman in them for modern audiences.

Exactly John.

I shall go and raise a glass of something nasty and alcoholic to you. I reckon we can safely say Vertigo as a publishing imprint will slowly be wound down now.

The good news is that you can all get the original series in collected form. DC are currently in the process of republishing the collections, reprinting the original series in chronological order. So far, four volumes have covered the run of Jamie Delano and guests, and Volume 5 in 2013 ushers in the first of Garth Ennis’ storylines, and still one of his very best; Dangerous Habits.


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About The Author

Richard Bruton
- Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he's written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard's day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children's graphic novel library in the country.

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