Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Down At The Crossroads

     It's been a strange decade for Liverpool's favorite laughing magician. What started out as a potentially great idea on paper, turned out to be one that left more doubts and questions for the future of John Constantine. His most recent ongoing title, The Hellblazer, was cancelled back in August. Currently John is having to share the spotlight with the Batman in the Damned miniseries for the Black Label imprint. But as for plans for a new ongoing book, there have been no announcements made by the folks over at DC Comics at this time. This can certainly cause fans to voice their  concerns in the online forums of their choice. Perhaps the editorial staff at DC has decided to test the waters with the character by taking new chances with him on the Black Label. I kind of think of it as some sort of experimentation. Then again, there's another part of me who feels that DC may not be sure what John Constantine that they want to present to the public. On the CW series, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, viewers are given a far more tame and cleaner cut homogenized version of the character. It is as if I don't know what they are trying to sell to me on that show. It's not the John Constantine that I know. The one that I prefer is foul-mouthed, rude, arrogant, and thoroughly disheveled in appearance, all the while wreaking profusely of booze and cigarette smoke.
     Perhaps that is the issue in that DC is not sure how they want to present John, so they are opting to see what sticks. What is it that will make John Constantine stick? The answer to this complicated question is depending on who you ask, as it can be divisive in some arenas of discourse. The battle between hero and anti-hero, saint and bastard. Without question, it appears that DC has lost their way in how they want the character to be presented in future stories. I have always been under the impression that the characteristics that make John appealing to readers is his quick wit, charm, and lovable cynicism. He may not share the physical prowess as some of those within the capes and tights crew, but his cunning puts even Harry Houdini to shame. To say that Constantine is a slippery character would be grossly understating the obvious, he keeps coming back from seemingly impossible odds. His self-centered nature uncovers our own insecurities as people, that maybe we are not as morally good as we let ourselves on to be at the end of the day. During the Vertigo years, he was the only character who aged in real time and I think that is what made those stories so compelling. It wasn't just those spectacular covers that cast their spell on you visually. No, it was the self-destructive ugliness that John bore on his demeanor with everyone he interacted with each passing issue.
     This month will mark the thirtieth anniversary of John Constantine's tenure in DC Comics. This comes at a time when the direction to proceed is unclear. While sporadic appearances are good to show that he is being used, the cause for concern is that fact that he is perhaps being used improperly. A notion like this is understandably subjective. It is my hope that the character will return to more
darker and mature stories that were a staple of the Vertigo imprint in its initial heyday. John has never played well with others and he takes a lot of heat from multiple sides, which often leads him to live a lonely existence. Here is a guy who is haunted by the spirits that he chases on a regular basis. His essence exudes spiritual toxicity to all that he encounters. Loved ones and companions end up dead, damned, or even far worse. It is the price that he pays as he dabbles with the forces of dark magic.
     So why do a blog about John Constantine? With the exception of the various tribute pages on social media, there is not really all that much in terms of content devoted to our beloved anti-hero. However, there is a blog called The Laughing Magician that has a few informative posts. It has not been updated since the beginning of the New52 era. While there are plenty of those who primarily write about his live action incarnations in television and film, I intend to make a conscious effort to not dwell on those outlets. I may reference or touch on some of that content briefly, but on this site I will be focusing mainly on his appearances throughout DC Comics. I intend to skip around quite a bit, just to keep things fresh and interesting. This is an evolution in progress so I will be making improvements over time. I will do my best to keep the content somewhat organized and user-friendly to navigate. The posts will be sporadic and infrequent. Be rest assured that this site will not be removed or deleted, as I will be keeping it up for other fans. I will be adding content to it over a long period of time. I hope a podcast will eventually spring from all this, but that remains to be seen.


  1. Thanks for putting this together. Die-hard fan of the original 300 issue run. Not a fan of the new iterations of John, but interested in his continued existence. Some of newer incarnations remind me of John's quote "Christ, what a bloody awful mess!"

  2. The main problem I can see with Constantine is the exact same one that Marvel has with The Punisher. . .neither of them play very well with Superheroes. Marvel and DC want these characters that clearly belong in their own space to inhabit places where they aren't able to tell stories that give life to the characters. The last time Constantine was able to be the character he's meant to be was with Vertigo. The last time with Punisher was with MAX. I compare the two characters because I believe they are oddly similar in many ways, even though it might not seem like it on the surface. Anyway. . .a great first post and I'll keep my eye on this blog, since Constantine is one of my favorite characters.