Can the Upcoming CONSTANTINE Series Win Over HELLBLAZER Fans?

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Posted by inferiorego (27702 posts) - - Show Bio

Recently, it was announced that HELLBLAZER is coming to an end and that they’re giving the character his own series titled CONSTANTINE. John Constantine is becoming a strong B-list hero in the New 52, and he leads the way in the mystic side of things at DC.

Issue 300, which is currently DC's longest running comic, marks the end of HELLBLAZER under the Vertigo imprint. The comic debuted in 1988, five years prior to the inception of Vertigo. The book was known for its violence, sex, and overall, mature content. Over the years, the book hosted a slew of fantastic writers most comic fans are familiar with: Jamie Delano, Peter Milligan, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis, Brian Azzarello, Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis, and Andy Diggle, many of the writers hailed from the United Kingdom.

Since the New 52 reboot, however, John Constantine has become a bigger part of the DCU by leading a team in the book JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK. In addition, he's guest-starring in the current issues of ANIMAL MAN. DC Comics feels there is a need a book starring the character now, and in March, he will have his own title. Will fans of the HELLBLAZER book be satisfied with the new CONSTANTINE series?

This is not the John Constantine people are familiar with from the Vertigo series, however. As many people are saying, this is a watered-down version of the character. While it's true that a stand-alone CONSTANTINE book can't get away with the same things his Vertigo counterpart did, it's not as if they're throwing the whole character away. Writer Robert Venditti (X-O MANOWAR and upcoming DEMON KNIGHTS writer) reassured fans on his twitter page that this is important to him:

I have a TREMENDOUS amount of respect for Constantine and the creators who made him who he is. I'm taking this very seriously.

Upcoming CONSTANTINE writer, Robert Venditti

He went on to say that he plans on keeping the character recognizable and keeping the same tones. The majority of fans on the net have a bittersweet feeling about this, at best. Many of the creators are sad to see it go, and a few, like Warren Ellis, are jokingly calling it the "PG Constantine." And that may be true since the already established John Constantine, within the New 52 universe, isn't as crass as his Vertigo counterpart. Sure, the basic character outline is there, but the New 52 counterpart is a bit lighter to reach younger readers. So readers can safely assume the days ultra-violence and crass language are behind them.

However, Venditti is not new to writing revamped characters. This year, he took on a reboot of the classic Valiant book X-O Manowar, for a whole new generation and made it one of Valiant comic's top selling series. His challenge isn't as large with CONSTANTINE because the character was established last year in the New 52, but his experience with taking on projects like this make him a great candidate for the job. Readership interest will also grow as artist Renato Guedes (WOLVERINE, SUPERMAN) jumps on board as well.

While there are a few people excited about John Constantine getting his own book, even if it is a "PG" version of the character, will the book be sustainable? Can CONSTANTINE survive on its own or will it be cut later down the line? Over the past year, according to The Comics Chronicle's numbers, HELLBLAZER was selling around 9,400 issues, with September's numbers dropping down to 9,143. On the other hand, JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK, which Constantine appears in monthly, is averaging around 33,000 the past few months, with September's numbers at 34,000.

It's safe to say the first few issues will have inflated numbers due to reader curiosity, as it always is with every new series. Hopefully, it can sustain readers, so it's not just another New 52 series that ends up getting canned after a handful of issues. JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK seems to have a solid following, so a spin-off of that book, with an experienced creative team behind it, could lead to steady readership numbers.

Writer Jeff Lemire's run on JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK has added a ton of depth and development to this version of John Constantine, making him a favorite among JLD readers, so his own spin-off book isn't out of the question. So far, he's spent time searching for The Books of Magic, he won the House of Mystery in a poker game, and he's stolen Zatanna away from once friend, now enemy, Nick Necro. John Constantine has been pretty busy since his reintegration into the DCU.

There's a lot to work with, so much so that it can't be all contained within the just the pages of JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK alone. It's completely understandable that John Constantine can hold his own in his own on-going series. John winning the House of Mystery alone would be a great read. While it's a bummer that the character may come out a bit tamer to fit the DC mold, readers should still be excited that we get a little more Vertigo flavor in the DCnU. Sure, it may not be the John Constantine HELLBLAZER fans are familiar with, but there's a good possibility that there's enough to work with here to keep some fans happy.

The biggest question is "What's going to happen to Vertigo?" Aside from CONSTANTINE, SWEET TOOTH is also wrapping up in December. The imprint still runs FABLES, AMERICAN VAMPIRE, FAIREST, SAUCER COUNTRY and UNWRITTEN, but these two series ending leaves a big hole at Vertigo. Aside from the mini-series here and there, what's going to be the next Vertigo book people will latch onto?

All-in-all, fans will have to wait and see. CONSTANTINE debuts in March, 2013. What do you guys think? Will HELLBLAZER fans latch onto this book? Will you read it?

Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring is a writer, comedian, and first appeared on the cover of HOUSE OF SECRETS 13.

Check out his twitter and his podcast Mat & Lewis vs the Internet.

#1 Posted by VanAce (139 posts) - - Show Bio

It is the 25th Aniversery of Vertigo in 2013 so expect special issues/ miniseries. Also Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy have a 12 issue series starting some time in the spring. Expect it to be a big year for Vertigo.

It makes sense why they would do this so hopefully it will be good. Otherwise DC canceled a long running series for no reason.

#2 Posted by xtremekidx (576 posts) - - Show Bio

i think people should be happy that with the falling sales,they didnt remove him completely...me on the other hand find this as an opportunity to jump into the constantine character and if i like it might read hellblazer!

#3 Posted by KINCART (235 posts) - - Show Bio

I'll buy it!

#4 Posted by The_jackolantern (445 posts) - - Show Bio

No it want because comic book fans hate change! I'm going to give it a go tho. I like Justice League Dark and the way he is write in that so hopefully il like the new series

#5 Posted by MatKrenz (1234 posts) - - Show Bio

Im not buying it precisely because I don't want to read a watered down version of a character. It's going to be boring reading about a John Constantine who can't say and do half the stuff the real one did and I highly doubt any of Venditti's story might have the same emotional resonance that Ennis gave us with Dangerous Habits. It's just a decision I cannot support in any way possible. I will continue reading JLD but I wont pick up Constantine even if the word on the vine is that it's better than sliced bread.

#6 Posted by Outside_85 (9926 posts) - - Show Bio

Probably not all of them, especially those who cant read anything that doesnt come with the 'Mature Audience' label.

#7 Posted by Jack the Ripper (2225 posts) - - Show Bio

No, it can't, at least not this fan who won't be able to read this new series on a point of principle even if it turns out to be an amazing book. Hellblazer has consistently been my favorite ongoing series for the past couple years and it was exactly the fact they let fans keep John while DC readers got that awful version that I considered the saving grace of DC's legacy but I think this New 52 has successfully ruined any appreciation I have for the business side at DC and I feel like I should boycott their stuff just to prove a point even though I actually enjoy some of it. The stuff they've been doing to water down characters I never enjoyed when I originally tried all the books and I can't support any of that part of the universe anymore.

#8 Posted by judasnixon (6946 posts) - - Show Bio

Nope.

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#9 Posted by The Mighty Monarch (2299 posts) - - Show Bio

Ok, don't keep saying he's NOW getting ' his own book' because Hellblazer WAS 'his own book.' Stop implying Hellblazer wasn't his own series already, it's weird.

#10 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (34306 posts) - - Show Bio

No, Constantine will in no way fill the gap left by Hellblazer! Hellblazer had nudity, swearing and incestious demon rape, you really think youd get away with that in the DCnU? Hellblazer DID NOT have low sails, in fact it was about avrage for a Vertigo book! This is the last straw for me and quite frankley I find it disgusting, I wont be picking up another DC book

#11 Posted by danhimself (22683 posts) - - Show Bio

no Epiphany means no danhimself!!!!

#12 Posted by inferiorego (27702 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Mighty Monarch said:

Ok, don't keep saying he's NOW getting ' his own book' because Hellblazer WAS 'his own book.' Stop implying Hellblazer wasn't his own series already, it's weird.

Well, considering that they're technically two different characters, in a sense, and the DCnU version has always been tied to a team, he is getting his own book. Whatever, semantics. Don't hit me. I'm fragile. :P

#13 Posted by EQSguy (5 posts) - - Show Bio

i will pick up the first few issue to see if it i any good, i just hope this will bring some more depth to contantine in the dc universe which is what i believe i lacking in his jutice league dark portrail.

#14 Posted by The Stegman (25497 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm buying it, when before I wasn't buying Hellblazer, and I think this movie will increase John's popularity quite a bit.

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#15 Posted by NightFang (10197 posts) - - Show Bio

I was never really into Hellblazer, so i'll give the title a shot.

#16 Posted by alicemalice (74 posts) - - Show Bio

This was the final straw for me personally, with the new 52. I do not intend to buy another comic.

#17 Posted by inferiorego (27702 posts) - - Show Bio
#18 Posted by Mokey (188 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm not interested in a watered down Constantine, so no.

#19 Posted by TheGoldenOne (38849 posts) - - Show Bio
@Mokey said:

I'm not interested in a watered down Constantine, so no.

#20 Posted by ReVamp (22865 posts) - - Show Bio

No, never will. It could be even better, it still wouldn't win over the fans, lol.

#21 Posted by sethysquare (3843 posts) - - Show Bio

I wonder how many of these people complaining are actually reading Hellblazer.

For me, I'm perfectly fine with a new version of Constantine, I am a lil sad though that Hellblazer is going to end. As long as the execution is right, its fine by me.

#22 Posted by Fudgie29 (70 posts) - - Show Bio

Vertigo have been turning out some great comics like American Vampire & Fairest but hopefully they're working on something new. Im not sure how i feel about a new Constantine series but if its doing well then i'll consider it.

#23 Posted by The_jackolantern (445 posts) - - Show Bio

@jonny_Anonymous you fancy acting a ill more like a 14 year old girl that just found out her boy friend is with her just to get a hand job? You drama queen it's only a comic get over it

#24 Posted by chalkshark (1194 posts) - - Show Bio

I've done my level best to avoid "new" 52 Constantine, and outside of a guest shot in I, Vampire, have been largely successful. 25 years is a great run for the character, and when the Hellblazer series ends, so will end my association with that character. I have no interest in reading the version running around with all the capes in the "new" 52.

#25 Edited by Billy Batson (58268 posts) - - Show Bio

It's over a thirty years younger watered down version of a character, who's history has been changed. It won't be the same.

The greatest things about Hellblazer weren't the nudity (nipples!) or swearing (though I did love those aspects), but that characters aged in real time, they stayed dead (not counting ghosts), story lines meant something to the characters, you only needed to read this one series for the story (no crossovers whatsoever), creators weren't restricted by editors, and it wasn't tied to the rest of the DCU even when it was under the DC sign. They spent almost 25 years of separating the characters from the rest of the DCU and now they are doing the opposite? Smh.

I don't understand why DC couldn't give us both series when Hellblazer's sales were good when you take in the trade sales.
DC just gave a stab to the back to creators who were dreaming just to work on the title and to longtime fans.
Up yours, DC.
BB

#26 Posted by jpblair88 (45 posts) - - Show Bio

im personally very excited about Constantine by Venditti. hes a great writer and i really love how they have incorporated Constantine into the Mainstream DC. BUT cancelling Hellblazer isnt necessary. its a hit with the readers and has been one of the go-to books for those of us wanting more mature themes. its also of note that its the series gone the longest of both big publishers that has had no reboots or renumberings and John has never been de-aged at all. and its really sad that they feel the character cant support two books. if anything Constantine should only help Hellblazer's sales.

The biggest problem is that even though im sure Venditti is more than capable of writing good Constantine stories, the editorial mandates on material published in the Mainstream universe are far too restrictive. they would never today allow someone like the extremely morally ambivalent Constantine to have adventures along side Superman and Batman. even though the newer younger Constantine has a core like the original he is still far more in your face heroic than the original version. organizing the heroes and acting like a general is kind of like the original but the original is far more subtle in his machinations. i like it but its not the same.

ive heard the argument that they dont want to confuse the readers. but Constantine has been in the mainstream DCU since after Brightest Day and there was never confusion then! DC publishes out of canon Batman monthly. Marvel has an entire line dedicated to a different Ultimate universe. why would this suddenly confuse people?

another issue is Venditti is not British. the character is proven to be best written by British writers, Milligan, Gaiman, Ennis Ellis, etc. when an American like Azzarello or Lemire writes him its still good but it doesnt FEEL like John Constantine.

Im excited about the new series but i am very bitter they are ending the original Hellblazer series. its well before its time and there are, i believe, plenty of stories left in the old man.

#27 Posted by modunhanul (413 posts) - - Show Bio

Not every HALLBLAZER fans. Maybe some of them, but not all of them will read CONSTANTINE.

As for me, I will read CONSTANTINE though.

#28 Posted by sentryman555 (803 posts) - - Show Bio

God its like people haven't seen a reboot before. Its already happened to the rest of the DC universe! I'm just surprised this hasn't happened sooner. And I'm annoyed by the people saying even if its an amazing book they won't read it. Their is absolutely NO logic in that!

#29 Posted by Billy Batson (58268 posts) - - Show Bio

@xtremekidx said:

i think people should be happy that with the falling sales,they didnt remove him completely...me on the other hand find this as an opportunity to jump into the constantine character and if i like it might read hellblazer!

Hellblazer was doing just fine with its sales. They've been the same for a long time and the trade sells were good as good or even better.
What's exactly stopping you from reading Hellblazer?
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#30 Posted by The Stegman (25497 posts) - - Show Bio
@Billy Batson:  
 


@xtremekidx said:

i think people should be happy that with the falling sales,they didnt remove him completely...me on the other hand find this as an opportunity to jump into the constantine character and if i like it might read hellblazer!

Hellblazer was doing just fine with its sales. They've been the same for a long time and the trade sells were good as good or even better.
What's exactly stopping you from reading Hellblazer?
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Some people could get intimidated by it's sheer number of issues, I mean at nearly 300, it's daunting to just start reading it, that's personally why I avoided the series. I'm to lazy to start at issue #1, and I hate just ''jumping in'' at a random period.
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#31 Posted by Duncan (11447 posts) - - Show Bio

No. But now I can get the money to read old Hellblazer.

#32 Posted by Billy Batson (58268 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Stegman said:

Some people could get intimidated by it's sheer number of issues, I mean at nearly 300, it's daunting to just start reading it, that's personally why I avoided the series. I'm to lazy to start at issue #1, and I hate just ''jumping in'' at a random period.

That' just a lazy person's excuse. Did anyone actually have any problems jumping on Batman or Superman before DC New 52? No. Same thing with Hellblazer. It's not the same story going over for 300 issues. You can just jump at the start of a new writer's run or a story arc. And that's not really a hard thing to do, especially when it can be just a few clicks a away.
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#33 Posted by Green ankh (998 posts) - - Show Bio

Loved Hellblazer. I dont know why he cant be in both the 52 and Vertigo. Punicher ran in Marvel and Max lines that didnt bother anyone.

#34 Posted by pikahyper (12627 posts) - - Show Bio

This is going to backfire on DC to some extent, it will make them more money in the short term but it is not sustainable, by bringing Constantine to a larger audience and getting more new fans interested those new fan, many of whom are probably young, will want to explore the character further and all roads lead to Hellblazer so you have a chunk who are not legally old enough to buy Hellblazer trades and you'll get another chunk that only knows him because of the New 52 and what they buy will shock them and probably turn them off the character, not cause Hellblazer is bad but because it is not what they are expecting and then Contantine numbers will drop and probably end after 6 or 12 issues.

If it fails DC won't flip and restart Hellblazer cause it will confuse people and it will be them admitting they made a mistake so JC will just be gone and while sales at Vertigo were never as high as a mainstream book they were a steady source of profit for decades and that will hurt Vertigo now and long-term.

Moderator
#35 Edited by The Stegman (25497 posts) - - Show Bio
@Billy Batson:  
 


@The Stegman said:

Some people could get intimidated by it's sheer number of issues, I mean at nearly 300, it's daunting to just start reading it, that's personally why I avoided the series. I'm to lazy to start at issue #1, and I hate just ''jumping in'' at a random period.

That' just a lazy person's excuse. Did anyone actually have any problems jumping on Batman or Superman before DC New 52? No. Same thing with Hellblazer. It's not the same story going over for 300 issues. You can just jump at the start of a new writer's run or a story arc. And that's not really a hard thing to do, especially when it can be just a few clicks a away.
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And I'm a lazy person. It's not hard to jump on to Batman or Superman because they are relatively popular characters, even if you've never read a Batman comic before, due to his heavy exposure to the media, you probably know his general backstory, and his rogue gallery, same with Superman, and even then, they've both been revamped and rebooted quite a bit. Constantine however, isn't as popular, and although you can jump on at a new story arc,  the old stories are canon, and will be called back on at one point or another, a character will be referenced, a past even will be called in to play, and it'll leave you scratching your head. I am an all or nothing person myself, I either have to start at the beginning of a series, or not read it at all, I dislike just jumping on.
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#36 Posted by Lvenger (21066 posts) - - Show Bio

@Jonny_Anonymous said:

No, Constantine will in no way fill the gap left by Hellblazer! Hellblazer had nudity, swearing and incestious demon rape, you really think youd get away with that in the DCnU? Hellblazer DID NOT have low sails, in fact it was about avrage for a Vertigo book! This is the last straw for me and quite frankley I find it disgusting, I wont be picking up another DC book

Come on you can't drop DC because they ended Hellblazer. Yeah it was a great book and cancelling it is pointless IMO and the new book won't be nearly as good as Hellblazer but DC doing this has no bering on the rest of their titles. No offense meant but I find it really silly how some people go "Oh noes DC/Marvel ended my favourite series! This is an outrage, a travesty and I won't be reading DC/Marvel again!" Surely you still like some books from DC? There's no need to drop them based on this one thing alone.

#37 Posted by jacksonvillewriter (44 posts) - - Show Bio

I feel bad for the hardcore Hellblazer fans. For some of those people, this is their favorite book and has been for years. Even if Constantine turns out to be one of the best new 52 series to date, it won't be the same for the core fan base who have already made up their mind about the character through his reintroduction to mainstream DC comics over a year ago.

#38 Posted by judasnixon (6946 posts) - - Show Bio

They should call Constantine "Heckblazer."

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#39 Posted by FacetiousBeard (27 posts) - - Show Bio

Whilst I am enjoying Constantine in JLD, I picked it up because, although I wasn't a fan of the idea of a watered down Constantine, I loved the idea of him being a leader of a DC magic team because there is no greater candidate if one of them was Constantine. But Hellblazer was one of the titles I read early on and, for combined enjoyability and nostalgia, it is one of my favourite series. I will miss Hellblazer but I shan't get involved with the new series, though I wish Mr Venditti the best of luck. I shall continue with JLD, because I can enjoy tamer Constantine if he's leading, but I probably won't if he's alone,

#40 Posted by MisterKetch (253 posts) - - Show Bio

Probably not and I won't argue with them over it, this is a different version of the character they love after all and it wouldn't be unfair of them to not like it because of that. The biggest question is does the new Constantine series need to win over hellblazer fans? and once again the answer is No, JLD dark fans will pick this up as well as people who have read him in Animal man and liked him. As long as the writing is good this book will be fine.

#41 Posted by Standurd (12 posts) - - Show Bio

SO many people are upset that its getting canceled but if all these people actually went out and supported it by buying it then it wouldn't. More people are mad it's ending then people that buy it. If you don't want it to go away buy the damn comic every month.

#42 Posted by cosmo111687 (1489 posts) - - Show Bio

@Billy Batson: I just jumped in like three issues ago and have been loving it. It felt good to read a title that was separate, yet familiar to, the main DC Universe. And I agree with you, Billy, you can jump into a story-line just about anywhere in so long as it's a good book, and then fill in the gaps later. DC really shouldn't be cancelling Hellblazer. It's a real shame.

#43 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (34306 posts) - - Show Bio
@The_jackolantern: Who the hell asked you? 
 
@Lvenger: Sure I like some but I see no reason why DC should continue to get my money.  
#44 Posted by kagato (247 posts) - - Show Bio

Sure ill give it a go, seems to have a similar tone to Ghost Rider but darker, you can tell ive never read the series since i quite liked the movie, i dare say id hate it if i had lol.

#45 Posted by Lvenger (21066 posts) - - Show Bio

@Jonny_Anonymous: But over one thing? Still it's your decision. Is this a long abstinence from DC or a forever absence?

#46 Edited by cosmo111687 (1489 posts) - - Show Bio

I can't see the new series achieving this level of badassery. That's the saddest thing for me.

#47 Posted by Kneepawn (46 posts) - - Show Bio

I loved the old Hellblazer but seeing him in JLD was kind of refreshing in its own way. They did an amazing job bring Swamp Thing into the DCU so I have faith that they can do the same with Constantine.

#48 Posted by Billy Batson (58268 posts) - - Show Bio

Still hasn't got anything to do with the sales when they have been the same for years.

@cosmo111687:

Nice to hear and agreed :) Hopefully they'll start it again when the new series tanks :p
The whole series has been pretty much the same in quality apart from one meh run (I'm looking at you Mina) so the whole series is recommendable. Though if you're into Piffy, she's only been in Milligan's run :p
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#49 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (34306 posts) - - Show Bio
@Standurd: The book is not getting dumped because of it's sales, every Vertigo book sells about the same.
#50 Posted by snootchie_bootchies (131 posts) - - Show Bio

Yes, what will happen with Vertigo in the new 52? I will weep if i see, down the road sometime, a revamped Sandman comic.

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