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  1. #31
    Marked for Redemption David Walton's Avatar
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    Never read a single issue of the Vertigo series, so I can't say I'm broken up.

    The reintegration of Vertigo characters into the DCU is probably a good thing--with this caveat.

    Done right, a character like Constantine can benefit from his unique corner of the DCU, much like Dr. Strange. The problem is there's a big push to fully integrate 'shared universe' characters in places where they don't fit.

    Dr. Strange is a great example. He should really be dealing with threats the rest of the MU doesn't even have a name for, and none of the heroes should be entirely comfortable working with the guy. I mean, if Doc Strange shows up, you know some serious #$% is about to go down that you can't handle.

    So it will work if it makes for a constrast. Getting Supes or Batman's reaction to unseen worlds they can't fathom. I mean, the capes aren't used to that and don't handle it well. That's fun. What's not so great is when everyone gets ho-hum about it and they've got Doc Strange or Constantine on speed dial and want them to join the Avengers or the JLA.
    Last edited by David Walton; 11-09-2012 at 08:00 AM.
    "I came to the conclusion that the optimist thought everything good except the pessimist, and the pessimist thought everything bad, except himself." -- G.K. Chesterton

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr chimp View Post
    Who's worth looking out for? I absolutely loved Siege by Martyn Pick - i thought that was really original. The Lengths looks pretty interesting. Read Leviathan By Edginton and D'Israeli which was nicely done.

    I dont know though back in the day you had Moore, Mckean, Morrison, Ellis, Ennis, Delano, Hewlitt, Milligan, Eddie Campbell, John Wagner, Alan Grant etc etc - just a slew of great writers but since then very little that's caught international attention. Equally, like you say marvel and dc might just be steering clear of british writers - just because they are usually an utter handful - turn your back for one minute and the Justice League will be being sodomized by Space Mushrooms or something.
    That image is going to cheer me up all day!

    Thing is, a lot of what I'd consider the cream of the current crop over here don't seem to be breaking into the US market, or even trying to, while a number of those who did seem to have turned their back on it (Bryan Talbot, for instance, is now concentrating primarily on projects that seem to be doing OK here in the UK but much better in continental Europe). I always thought Robbie Morrison (creator of Russian rogue Nikolai Dante) would have worked well on John Constantine, but he's done very little work in the States and has almost no interest in mainstream US comics.

  3. #33
    Say WHAT?!?!?!? FanboyStranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr chimp View Post
    Very few british writers seem to have made any sort of breakthrough in last 10 (?) years who could write the title though. Don't know if that stream of talent has dried up or gone elsewhere. Milligans JLD was pretty awful too - anyone who read that would have no interest in reading his hellblazer.
    The ideal guy to take over Hellblazer would have been David Hine, who actually did create a John Constantine analogue named Mike Hellman for Marvel UK back when they were pushing their Frontier Line. (Only appeared in the Frontier Comics Special, but he was primed for a mini named Evil Eye until Marvel USA neutered Marvel UK.) He's not too happy with the Big Two at the moment, howver, and prefers to do his own thing with Bulletproof Coffin and Storm Dogs.

    Lots of British writers could have done a good JC, though. Gillen and Cornell, as mentioned, but also guys like Al Ewing (who just did a story for the Vertigo Ghosts anthology), Si Spurrier, Si Spenser (who wrote the last Books of Majick series that had a few Constantines), or Robbie Morrison (who worked for Wildstorm). China Mieville works for DC at the moment (Dial H, edited by Karen Berger), and he wrote a JC short story for Hellblazer 250 as well as a bible for a new Swamp Thing series that was shelved. Plus-- and this is a bit pie-in-the-sky-- Pat Mills is bringing Marshall Law to Vertigo, and I think if he wrote an arc of Hellblazer, it would create some buzz.

    Also, I don't think a Constantine writer necessarily needs to be a Brit. Rick Veitch's run on Swamp Thing is really where John Constantine began to get fleshed out as something more than a mystery man. Simon Oliver, writer of The Exterminators and the upcoming Collider for Vertigo, wrote an excellent Hellblazer mini called Chas: The Knowledge a few years ago. (He was actually slotted to be the regular HB writer after Diggle, but something changed and Milligan got the job.)

  4. #34
    Senior Member dr chimp's Avatar
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    Co-incidentally I read Cradlegrave by John Smith today (which really freaked me out - i imagine it would be great if you like horror - but way too freaky for me). However, he would have seemed to be ideal for Hellblazer - but again just one fill in issue.
    "...so Hitler sends Iron Jaw's son to America to get revenge on Crimebuster." S.H.

  5. #35
    Senior Member Bad Wolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slam_Bradley View Post
    He was designed to look like Sting.
    I'm aware of that, which is why I mentioned that he doesn't look remotely like Sting for most of the series, so that Dan would feel comfortable checking the book out.

  6. #36
    Say WHAT?!?!?!? FanboyStranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr chimp View Post
    Co-incidentally I read Cradlegrave by John Smith today (which really freaked me out - i imagine it would be great if you like horror - but way too freaky for me). However, he would have seemed to be ideal for Hellblazer - but again just one fill in issue.
    He was up against Ennis to take over Hellblazer when Jamie Delano left. Karen Berger didn't like his writing style at the time, so she pushed for Ennis. Smith was also supposed to revamp Dr Fate after JM DeMatteis left the book, but William Messner-Loebs ended up with he job. The Fate revamp became the Vertigo mini Scarab. That was pretty much it for Smith at DC. (For that matter, I think the only thing that he did for Marvel for an Ultraverse crossover comic regarding the return of Phoenix after Marvel bought Malibu. All I can remember about it was Smith's name-- assuming it was not someone using the pseudonym "John Smith" not realizing that there's a pretty great British comics writer by that name-- and some of the worst art I've ever seen, even by early '90s standards.)

    Cradlegrave is pretty much the most subdued thing Smith has written for comics. It was a real change of pace for a guy who is known for his crazy, acid-drenched plots. He pushed the atmosphere and creepiness rather than bugf^ck elements. I loved it, but I love most of his crazier work, too. His best work is on a par with Morrison's best work, in my opinion.

  7. #37
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Wolf View Post
    I'm aware of that, which is why I mentioned that he doesn't look remotely like Sting for most of the series, so that Dan would feel comfortable checking the book out.
    And rest assured that I will at some point. The subject matter is too obviously right up my alley for me to avoid the series forever.

    So much to read (&/or buy) ... so little time.
    I tend to split superhero comics fans into "People who like Krypto" and "People who don't like Krypto."
    Basically, if you miss the wonder of a dog flying around in a little Superman cape, you're in the wrong hobby.

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  8. #38
    Senior Member dr chimp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FanboyStranger View Post
    He was up against Ennis to take over Hellblazer when Jamie Delano left. Karen Berger didn't like his writing style at the time, so she pushed for Ennis. Smith was also supposed to revamp Dr Fate after JM DeMatteis left the book, but William Messner-Loebs ended up with he job. The Fate revamp became the Vertigo mini Scarab. That was pretty much it for Smith at DC. (For that matter, I think the only thing that he did for Marvel for an Ultraverse crossover comic regarding the return of Phoenix after Marvel bought Malibu. All I can remember about it was Smith's name-- assuming it was not someone using the pseudonym "John Smith" not realizing that there's a pretty great British comics writer by that name-- and some of the worst art I've ever seen, even by early '90s standards.)

    Cradlegrave is pretty much the most subdued thing Smith has written for comics. It was a real change of pace for a guy who is known for his crazy, acid-drenched plots. He pushed the atmosphere and creepiness rather than bugf^ck elements. I loved it, but I love most of his crazier work, too. His best work is on a par with Morrison's best work, in my opinion.
    hmm interesting. Have to admit cradlegrave utterly freaked me out - which is a great talent in itself - but damn all those kids getting high off that woman was just an utterly horrible image and then suckling those dogs off her.... brrrrrrrr. I'd def read something else by him though if it was a bit less creepy / disturbing as the characterisation and ideas were excellent. Rock solid art too.
    "...so Hitler sends Iron Jaw's son to America to get revenge on Crimebuster." S.H.

  9. #39
    Dorkosaurus Wrecks GavinR's Avatar
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    DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio on 'Hellblazer' Cancellation, 'Constantine' Ongoing

    It is, however, worth noting that DiDio's statement feels somewhat disingenuously ignorant of the reasons why Hellblazer fans may be upset with the decision, and more like a sales pitch for both Hellblazer #300 and the Constantine series in general than any standalone comment about the reason for bringing the former series to a close and moving the character from the Vertigo imprint into the New 52 line. Perhaps this was one of those occasions when it might've been better to have said nothing than to say the wrong thing?
    I'm really quite certain at this point that DiDio has no idea what he is doing with the New 52.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr chimp View Post
    Milligans JLD was pretty awful too - anyone who read that would have no interest in reading his hellblazer.
    His awful run was actually why I didn't bother to pick up his run on Hellblazer. It was Lemire's run on JLD that actually made me interested in the character for the first time. I was interested in a Constantine solo book, even if had no connection to the JLD universe, but Milligan's work has put me off, so I never bothered. Given how violent and dark the mainstream DCU books are these days, I think that the right writer can still do good things with a Teen+ rated book. F-bombs don't make a story interesting, so not having them won't bother me.

  11. #41
    Modus omnibus in rebus Roquefort Raider's Avatar
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    I'm sorry to see any book go, but with Hellblazer it's more a bittersweet thing than an outrage. The series was a favorite of mine right from the start, because I had enjoyed the character so much in Swamp Thing. I had serious doubts about how well he'd do in his own book, since the character's main appeal was the mystery surrounding him, but although Jamie Delano and later Garth Ennis didn't write him at all like Alan Moore did, they created a very human, very attaching scoundrel.

    The thing is, however, that unlike the Supermen and Batmen of this world, John Constantine was allowed to age in real time. He had a hell of a party for his fortieth ("I'm an oooooold maaaan"!) and duly turned fifty later on, something few characters do. That made him even more human, but like any real-life story (or facsimile thereof) it has to end sometime. Sure, clever writers could come up with yet more problems to solve, more ghosts to chase, more demons to trick, but let's face it... John's already sold his soul to the devil (I don't know if he actually ever reclaimed it, come to think of it), had most of his friends and family members killed, lost the great love of his life not to violence but to common sense, and recently got married. It might be time to close up shop before the well runs dry. (Recent Hellblazer storylines, IMO, felt a little like déjà vu...)

    I have no interest in the Nu52 universe, but if DC wants to reboot John as a younger version of himself who hangs around superheroes (as he was in the 80s), then it's their call I suppose. It wont detract from the great run that Hellblazer had, something few comic books can brag of.

    Oh, and berk... There are many, many great runs of Hellblazer. I personally would avoid Warren Ellis' "Haunted", despite the praise that hisd fans often heap on it (his standalone stories are much better). My favorites are the Eddie Campbell / Sean Philips quartet of issues and the Paul Jenkins / Philips run that followed, the Preacher-like Ennis and Dillon run (all of it!) and the very creepy Azzarello - Corben sextet of issues. Jamie Delano's run was also very enjoyable, although the inks of Alfredo Alcala didn't suit the mag's tone at all.

    So Hellblazer ends... But even Sandman did, y'know?
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  12. #42
    Senior Member Eumenides's Avatar
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    John Constantine was a good supporting character in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, but to me he never had the legs to carry his own series. I know this is a silly statement after 300 issues, but the purposelessness of the character always irked me. He wasn't an active character, he had no objectives - he smoked and he drank, and things happened to him and he reacted to them. I think Jamie Delano did a lot to give him a complex personality, but he didn't give him a purpose, and his followers didn't either. He fought demons, he fought vampires, he always was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that's it. The book was basically a monster-of-the-week type of series. And depending on the the writer, the character's weakness was left fearfully exposed.

    Was anyone following Milligan's run? I mean, JC's trench coat gains live and starts causing crimes. What the hell?! Obviously there was no plan for him, it was just about moving paper into the printing press every month, something, anything. For me everyone after Delano was just writing fan-fiction, and that wouldn't have been too excruciating if they were writing fan-fiction about Delano's JC, but they were writing fan-fiction about Ennis' JC, who between runs seems to have been lobotomized. Delano's sober, grave and meditative man gave way to a carefree prick whom I never cottoned to, the Bastard everyone raves about. Everyone took him for granted and didn't bother to bring their A game to the writing, which oscillated between poor and alright. The only heights of excellence, to me, was Delano's Family Man storyline. Everything else, fan-fiction.

    I tried to like the character and the stories; I didn't. I'm not sorry to see them go.

  13. #43
    Senior Member Ish Kabbible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eumenides View Post
    John Constantine was a good supporting character in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, but to me he never had the legs to carry his own series. I know this is a silly statement after 300 issues, but the purposelessness of the character always irked me. He wasn't an active character, he had no objectives
    To each their own but 300 issues and 25 years,many other people enjoyed Hellblazer including me.
    No, he didn't go out on patrol to battle supernatural forces
    No one flashed The Hellblazer signal in the sky when needed
    No he didn't have a rogues gallery,a sidekick in training,a vow of vengeance against evildoers etc
    Just a guy who drank,smoked,fucked around and attracted weird shit.
    Thats why I liked the character

  14. #44
    Senior Member Eumenides's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ish Kabbible View Post
    No, he didn't go out on patrol to battle supernatural forces
    No one flashed The Hellblazer signal in the sky when needed
    No he didn't have a rogues gallery,a sidekick in training,a vow of vengeance against evildoers etc
    Just a guy who drank,smoked,fucked around and attracted weird shit.
    Thats why I liked the character
    I'm sure you won't find anyone here complaining that the problem was that Constantine didn't behave enough like a superhero. But your description does illustrate the poverty of the character - a guy who drank, smoked and fucked around, and that's it, nothing but the basic needs; an empty character for an empty age of constant gratification and sensuous thrills, a superficial character for superficial people who think a bit of drinking and smoking and fucking, and some swearing for good measure, somehow turns him more real than Superman and Spider-Man. A sixty-years-old character famous for aging in real time who in in 2012 still looked like a well-built guy in his forties, thanks to demon blood, the superhero gimmick to end them all. A realistic character without a fixed core who pulled new friends out of his ass whenever the new writer needed a new supporting cast because the old one was completely wiped out (how many lives has Constantine lived to have so many friends? And where is he keeping them all a mystery?), a character with a fixed continuity whose past nevertheless keeps changing to accommodate ever more facts and absurd storylines - what did 'Scab' add to his past? A character who, when everything was said and done, wasn't any less malleable and retconned and poorly handled than the average superhero.

    The character had problems, let's not pretend they didn't exist.

  15. #45
    Modus omnibus in rebus Roquefort Raider's Avatar
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    Aw, Eumenides, John was more than that! He was a mostly regular guy who, yes, enjoyed drinking and smoking, enjoyed female company and was a bit on the irresponsible side... But he was also a man who wanted to do the right thing, a guy who tricked the Devil into drinking holy water and smashed a bottle in his face to save the soul of a friend. An individual who knew defeat and shame, and the cost of hubris (his first botched exorcism of a little girl sent him to the loony bin and haunted him for years). John Constantine was the little man who resists the powers that be, the proletarian who does his best to make sure that everyone can continue enjoying the small pleasures of existence. He lost the great love of his life because he opposed a racist political party who resorted to violence. He made a personal enemy of the Devil because he wanted to save a friend. More, he eventually sold his soul (and probably damned himself forever) just so the Devil would stop harassing his friends.

    John Constantine was a real hero most of the time, and all the more heroic because he was deeply flawed. In a comic universe where most characters are gifted with super heroic qualities, the most he could rely on were a few cheap conjuring tricks, a lot of chutzpah and a conscience. But that didn't stop him from always trying to do right by the people who trusted him.

    The "monster of the week" aspect of the Hellblazer series is indeed unfortunate; I, too, found that were going that way after the Azzarello run... (we also entered that period common to any long running series, which is "what supporting character can we do horrible things to, now?" period). But that just means that no series can go on forever without becoming at least a little repetitive. I still think the first ten years of the mag are surprisingly well done and worthy of recognition!
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