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Sunday, December 18, 2005

HELLBLAZER - a long journey


I was just digging theough The Stack™ and I ran across one of the consistently great comic books ever - HELLBLAZER. This is one of DC's longest running titles (!) at 215 issues so far and no sign of an end. (HELLBLAZER actually predates the "Vertigo" side of DC, and the character of John Constantine was first introduced in an Alan Moore-written SWAMP THING #37.) It's sorta hard to describe what this book is about... John Constantine is a hard-living smoker, drinker and dabbler in magic for the good guys, but seems to be cursed with the fact that everyone around him ends up in a bad way, quite often due to his actions. He's no tragic figure though, because he's SUCH a hard sonofagun, to put it nicely. I can only think of about 20 or so issues of this title that were not that good - the rest range from very good to the best comics can be. The latest story arc sums John up well. It's a two-parter in issues 214 and 215. Titled "R.S.V.P.", it's a small tale about John getting an invite to speak at a party of magic-types just as he's closing the door to his past. In typical Constantine manner, John gives the party guests much more than they bargained for... and not in a good way. A great short story arc for new readers and another piece of the puzzle for old readers... HELLBLAZER rarely disappoints.

5 Comments:

At 12/19/2005 7:43 AM, Blogger Linnen said...

Easily one of my top 3 comics ever! Great write-up, Bill!

I'm sorry to see Mike Carey go, as I think he was doing a fantastic job on this book, but I'm anxious to see what the next writer (whose name I can't think of right now) has planned.

 
At 12/19/2005 4:30 PM, Blogger Bill at Comix Connection said...

You know, it seems that no matter who writes HELLBLAZER, they write it well. I'm waiting for Brian Keene's run on this book...

I just realized that the first issue of this comic is dated JAN 1988... we opened in FEB 1988 at Delco Plaza, and I think I remember us having this on the rack in that first 333-square-foot location. Weird.

 
At 12/19/2005 9:06 PM, Blogger GuyFawkes said...

Leave it to old drug dealer Bill to get me hooked on this one. My first issue of Hellblazer was free and I can't stop coming back for more. Great write up Bill. Everyone (except the kiddies) should at lease read the "Frozen Over" arc where John C is stuck in a middle America diner during blizzad and plays an ecellent game of cat and mouse with some would be robbers. Some of the best comics I have read.

 
At 12/19/2005 10:39 PM, Blogger Bill at Comix Connection said...

Yeah, "FREEZES OVER" is the best Hellblazer arc, bar none... then HARD TIME, then GOOD INTENTIONS, then HIGHWATER, then Gaiman's single-issue HOLD ME, then DANGEROUS HABITS, then...

Hmmmm. What a great book.

 
At 12/20/2005 8:33 AM, Blogger josh said...

Anyone who hasn't read Hellblazer is either under 18 or deprived. Go check it out. No-one needs to be left out.

 

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