A little history. John Constantine was introduced introduced in the pages of Alan Moore's Swamp Thing to be a blue-collared warlock. Originally designed after the British music star Sting, John Constantine would eventually establish his own appearance away from the Sting resemblance. Issue #37 (Growth Patterns) of Swamp Thing was John Constantine's first official appearance, an comic released in 1985. In issue #25 (The Sleep of Reason) there was a guy who looked more like Sting who appeared as an extra. John Constantine in the DCU defined "Fringe", he was never allowed to mingle more then a page in most of his DCU cameos. Alan Moore had him as a "savior" character, the initials JC could be a nod to the other savior "Jesus Christ". Later John Constantine would become an anti-hero and he would be seen more as an "anti-Christ" in the pages of his own series Hellblazer. John Constantine is given the gift to age in North American comics, which is a rarity. Giving him the ability to age in real time is more tribute to the "British" heritage of the Character. In Britain comics tend to be finite and characters like Judge Dredd were allowed to age in real time. Now John Constantine is in his 50s and has a permanent scar over his left eye. His eye is undamaged, but the scar is very visible. He still dresses in a suit and trench-coat and Silk Cut is still his smokes of choice, those features from Alan Moore's original creation have not changed over the years.
2010 celebrated John Constantine's 25 years in comics if we assume #37 is his first appearance and not # 25 of Swamp Thing. Happy Anniversary John Constantine.
To celebrate 25 years of John Constantine, Vertigo has single-handily released more titles with John Constantine in it this year then ever in his 25 year history. Original graphic novel Hellblazer: Pandemonium was held back to release on the anniversary year. John Constantine was also featured in one of Vertigo Crimes' launch books Dark Entries and the paperback was released this year as well. Hellblazer is uninterrupted, even with the scare of the DCU Vertigo character Mandate. House of Mystery Vol. 4 ( The Beauty of Decay) featured last years Halloween special which had a Hellblazer story in it as well. Other reprints with John Constantine released earlier this year was Swamp Thing Hardcover book 3. This hardcover features Growth Patterns, which is John's first appearance.
October is a special month because Hellblazer was more of a Christmas celebrated story, with stories from Winter's Edge and issue 250 if Hellblazer respectfully. It is not a trick this year, but a treat for just John Constantine fans. There will be 7 releases in October with John Constantine in it. Many are books long time John fans may have, but it October is a good month to explore John Constantine for those who never got to know him yet.
All of the below will have John Constantine in it.
- HELLBLAZER #272 (OCT-20)
- HELLBLAZER: INDIA (OCT-20)
- HOUSE OF MYSTERY ANNUAL #2 (OCT-13)
- JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER – CITY OF DEMONS #1 (OF 5) (OCT-13)
- JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER – CITY OF DEMONS #2 (OF 5) (OCT-27)
- THE SANDMAN VOL. 1: PRELUDES AND NOCTURNES - NEW EDITION (OCT-13)
- VERTIGO RESURRECTED (OCT-20)
November slows down on the Over-does of John. There is only three releases and unless you followed them from October, there is no reason to pick them up in November.
- HELLBLAZER #273 (NOV-17)
- JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER – CITY OF DEMONS #3 (OF 5) (NOV-10)
- JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER – CITY OF DEMONS #4 (OF 5) (NOV-24)
December is a nice way to end the year of John Constantine. Four more releases and two of them special and maybe releases for new John Constantine fans to check out.
- HELLBLAZER #274 (DEC-22)
- JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER – CITY OF DEMONS #5 (OF 5) (DEC-08)
- VERTIGO RESURRECTED: HELLBLAZER (DEC-15)
- VERTIGO RESURRECTED: WINTER'S EDGE (DEC-01)
If you haven't checked out John Constantine before, this is a great year to do it. Peter Milligan's ongoing run is still fresh enough to catch up on if you back stock now and wait the catch up, but read the trades first. Sandman is being recolored. City of Demons promises to be good. Pandemonium was a great read, same with Dark Entries. There are a lot of Specials for the those who can't find the older printings, such as the Winter's Edge stuff. Shoot is HUGE! I've read the black and white and loved it so much can't want to read it in paper form and in color. As an Anniversary gift to Vertigo's longest running ongoing character, try a few books out. There is a reason why John has endured 25 years. Think about it. I know by Christmas I will be one broke man.