Interview: Ray Fawkes Discusses the New CONSTANTINE Series

Posted by inferiorego (22581 posts) - - Show Bio

Recently, it was announced that Ray Fawkes would be writing the new CONSTANTINE series, with Jeff Lemire co-plotting. The series is set to debut in March.

John Constantine has slowly become a big part of the New 52, since he is one of the members of the JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK book currently. While the long-time running HELLBLAZER book is coming to an end soon with issue 300, fans will be able to read on with more adventures when this new series comes out. Writer Ray Fawkes took a few moments to answer some questions about this upcoming series.

Comic Vine: Currently, you're working with Jeff Lemire on JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK, and recently, it was announced that you'd be writing CONSTANTINE, again with Lemire. How did you land the new CONSTANTINE gig?

Ray Fawkes: Jeff and I were working very closely with Rob Venditti, who was originally set to write the book, and Constantine plays a major role in Justice League Dark. We were looking to ensure that the two titles worked well together - not that they'd cross over, necessarily, but that John's experiences in both titles would make sense, in the larger context of his life as a character. When Rob decided to step away from the book, the editorial staff at DC approached us as a logical choice, since we were already very familiar with John in the New 52. Of course, we were more than happy to step in.

CV: We've seen a lot of Vertigo elements make their way into the JLD book, and considering both you and Lemire are creators that have worked at Vertigo are there more characters or concepts coming over to either of the books you're working on?

RF: Well, yeah, probably. It's no secret that Jeff and I both have a strong love for many of the titles that ran under Vertigo's banner, and it's impossible to imagine that we wouldn't want to draw on some of the concepts and characters established there. It's also worth saying that we have a very strong respect for the creators who previously worked with characters like Constantine, Black Orchid, Swamp Thing, Madame X, and Shade the Changing Man, and while we a certainly looking to break new ground and take advantage of the freedoms that the New 52 offers us, we can't resist calling back to some of our favorite details.

And why should we resist? Vertigo was where many of these characters were given new life the last time around, and those iterations drew great elements from the previous versions in the DC Universe. We are taking the next step with them, not throwing out what came before.

CV: What is one Vertigo character or idea you'd love to bring over to your books and why?

RF: Can I say this? I'm going to say it. I'm nuts about Kid Eternity. Ever since Grant Morrison and Duncan Fegredo blew my mind with their three-part series, I've been nuts about him. I know that Jeff reimagined him in National Comics, but I'd love to find a way to get him into one of my books, even if only for a short time.

CV: What is your writing process when working with another writer?

RF: That depends on the nature of the project. With Jeff, it's very conversational - we're on a similar, but not identical wavelength, so it makes for an easy back-and-forth where both of us may be throwing in thoughts or concepts that the other hasn't considered. We tend to talk things out first, then go create our pieces separately, and then pass them back and forth a lot until we're both happy with the script as a whole.

With Constantine, though, that process applies only to the plots - I'm writing the scripts. We don't want Jeff to burn himself out, do we?

CV: What can we expect from the on-going CONSTANTINE series?

RF: You can expect cruel trickery, devastating mockery and ruthless violence. And that's just what John's up to while he explores the weirdest, darkest, and most insidious corners of the DC Universe. You can also expect difficult ethical choices, thoroughly harrowing villainy, and the occasional putting-in-ones-place of any character, and I mean *any* character who thinks they can't be brought down a peg. Nobody is off-limits when they cross paths with John.

CV: How will this DC version of Constantine compare to his Vertigo counter-part?

RF: Well, this version on John has witnessed the advent of the age of the superhero while firmly establishing himself as an in-the-shadows power player in this world. His psychological make-up is a bit different as a result - he's more physical, for one thing, often getting his hands a bit dirtier, and perhaps a bit more impulsive (though that may just be a factor of his relative youth). He also has a different agenda - one that I don't want to give away in too much detail here - that is directly related to the way power works in the DC universe.

CV: Will the events in the CONSTANTINE book be self-contained (within this and JLD) or do you have plans for something on a larger scale that could bleed into other books?

RF: That's hard to say right now. The plans for the first few issues show John operating under the radar of most DC characters, but his activities with the Justice League Dark, as well as the role he'll be playing in the upcoming Trinity War, will put him firmly on the map in a larger scale. Doubtless we'll be seeing him in other books - or seeing the inhabitants of other titles in his.

CV: Which character would you like Constantine to team up with and why?

RF: Zatanna. No question, in my mind. She's a perfect foil for him, really. Her approach to magic is wildly different than his, she is on a vastly different power scale, she has every reason to disapprove of his activities (and he of hers - you'll see why) and yet they share an undeniable attraction for one another. They ought to be fighting, but they care so much about each other than they can't keep their distance, even when they should. In a perfect world, they'd be happy together, fighting criminals like Nick and Nora. Too bad this world isn't perfect...

CV: Is this going to be a good starting point for new readers or should they start with more recent issues of JLD?

RF: CONSTANTINE #1 was written with an eye to the notion that readers may be picking it up without ever having read Justice League Dark, and I think it works very well that way. Our goal, really, is to make sure that each of the two books enriches the other without impinging on it, so you'll never *need* to be reading both, but if you do, you'll hopefully enjoy them both more.

CV: How do YOU pronounce it, ConstanTINE or ConstanTEEN?

RF: Haha! Now you're trying to get me into trouble! Let me put it this way: whichever way YOU pronounce it, if you happen to get it wrong, John's not the type of person to bother correcting you. He'd just double up on his next drink.

Thanks a bunch to Ray Fawkes for taking the time to answer these questions, and make sure you all check out CONSTANTINE (or Constanteen) this March!

Staff
#1 Posted by Grey56 (743 posts) - - Show Bio

I can't wait to see the flames from the Hellblazer die-hards. Pardon the pun. Not that I can blame them much.

#2 Posted by Trevel8182 (751 posts) - - Show Bio

I miss Hellblazer. :(

#3 Edited by VaizD (249 posts) - - Show Bio

"RF: Haha! Now you're trying to get me into trouble! Let me put it this way: whichever way YOU pronounce it, if you happen to get it wrong, John's not the type of person to bother correcting you. He'd just double up on his next drink."

Yes he is, and has before in Hellblazer. Oh god, I'm already part of the problem by nitpicking something like that. I'm just bitter that HB is ending :(.

#4 Posted by InkInk (181 posts) - - Show Bio

Not hyped for this one. I feel Lemire's Justice League dark has been pretty weak so far and I do not see this being any better just a watered down version a darker character.

#5 Posted by Billy Batson (57910 posts) - - Show Bio

Zzzzzz.
BB

#6 Posted by Billy Batson (57910 posts) - - Show Bio

@VaizD said:

"RF: Haha! Now you're trying to get me into trouble! Let me put it this way: whichever way YOU pronounce it, if you happen to get it wrong, John's not the type of person to bother correcting you. He'd just double up on his next drink."

Yes he is, and has before in Hellblazer. Oh god, I'm already part of the problem by nitpicking something like that. I'm just bitter that HB is ending :(.

How you spell the man's name

BB

#7 Posted by tomlikesfries (4640 posts) - - Show Bio

@Trevel8182 said:

I miss Hellblazer. :(

It hasn't even ended yet..

#8 Posted by Maxloomis (1 posts) - - Show Bio

Boy Impulse Comics is doing a great job of reimagining these established characters! I'm sure this will last as long as the Comet, the Jaguar and Frankenstein Agent of Shade. Can't DC just go broke like Wallstreet (blowing their $ on drugs and hookers) instead of giving everyone spikey haircuts and crappy stories?

#9 Posted by Billy Batson (57910 posts) - - Show Bio

BB

#10 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (32993 posts) - - Show Bio

This book angers me.

Unless it deals with John swearing, shagging and smoking in the UK with overtones of dark political satire and incestial demon rape then no deal.

#11 Posted by MadeinBangladesh (6571 posts) - - Show Bio

@Billy Batson said:

BB

IS that Alan Moore?

#12 Posted by MadeinBangladesh (6571 posts) - - Show Bio

Why the hell doesn't DC just Make it a mature comic and turn JLDark +16 comic also???

#13 Posted by The Stegman (23773 posts) - - Show Bio

I have no emotional baggage to Hellblazer, so I am completely excited for this.

#14 Posted by Blood1991 (8098 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Stegman said:

I have no emotional baggage to Hellblazer, so I am completely excited for this.

This and If I love it then I have 300 issues to catch up on. Win for my comic obsession lose for my wallet.

#15 Posted by Mucklefluga (2544 posts) - - Show Bio

@Jonny_Anonymous said:

This book angers me.

Unless it deals with John swearing, shagging and smoking in the UK with overtones of dark political satire and incestial demon rape then no deal.

Well i know for sure he won't be in the UK so i guess it's a no deal already for you.

#16 Posted by dondave (35985 posts) - - Show Bio

Why is everybody hating on the book when it hasn't even come out out yet? It might actually be good, nobody was really happen when the new 52 started in the first place but now you have books like Batman and Aquaman that are amazing

Online
#17 Posted by Mucklefluga (2544 posts) - - Show Bio

I so excited for this! I love Jeff Lemire and i love Constantine. I haven't read Hellblazer so this'll be a great start for me.

#18 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (32993 posts) - - Show Bio

@Mucklefluga said:

@Jonny_Anonymous said:

This book angers me.

Unless it deals with John swearing, shagging and smoking in the UK with overtones of dark political satire and incestial demon rape then no deal.

Well i know for sure he won't be in the UK so i guess it's a no deal already for you.

Yea he's going to be in Yew York with the spandex brigade

@dondave: Because for this to be good it ether has to be as dark as Hellblazer and we know that's not possible or the character has to be completely different and in that case they may as well have made it a Zatanna book instead

@Blood1991: this book isn't going to be anything like Hellblazer so liking the former doesn't automatically mean you will like the latter

#19 Posted by Blood1991 (8098 posts) - - Show Bio

@Jonny_Anonymous: Either way I've been meaning to start reading about Constantine after falling in love JLD

#20 Posted by bob808 (6766 posts) - - Show Bio

I can't wait to read it. I hope it will be good as Hellblazer.

#21 Posted by inferiorego (22581 posts) - - Show Bio

@dondave said:

Why is everybody hating on the book when it hasn't even come out out yet? It might actually be good, nobody was really happen when the new 52 started in the first place but now you have books like Batman and Aquaman that are amazing

Two reasons.

1. People are upset HELLBLAZER is ending.

2. Comic book fans love to get angry before things come out.

Many are quick to judge. If they don't want to read it, whatever, but I have a lot of faith in Fawkes since he is a Vertigo guy. This will bring the character to more mainstream DC readers. I'm a huge Vertigo fan (I finally started reading Hellblazer from the beginning 6 months ago) and although it sucks the character is ending there, I'm glad he has a home with people that will take care of him.

Staff
#22 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (32993 posts) - - Show Bio

@inferiorego said:

@dondave said:

Why is everybody hating on the book when it hasn't even come out out yet? It might actually be good, nobody was really happen when the new 52 started in the first place but now you have books like Batman and Aquaman that are amazing

Two reasons.

1. People are upset HELLBLAZER is ending.

2. Comic book fans love to get angry before things come out.

Many are quick to judge. If they don't want to read it, whatever, but I have a lot of faith in Fawkes since he is a Vertigo guy. This will bring the character to more mainstream DC readers. I'm a huge Vertigo fan (I finally started reading Hellblazer from the beginning 6 months ago) and although it sucks the character is ending there, I'm glad he has a home with people that will take care of him.

Can you really blame us though?

#23 Posted by Manhunter2070 (105 posts) - - Show Bio

Sounds good to me, I like DCU John as much as Hellblazer John, I was never a fan of the seperation anyway. 
 
I just feel If as many people complaining about Hellblazer ending actually purchased the book maybe it would still be going, in fact I'm sure DC kept it going longer then they would normally so it oculd reach #300 in the first place.

#24 Posted by inferiorego (22581 posts) - - Show Bio

@Jonny_Anonymous said:

@inferiorego said:

@dondave said:

Why is everybody hating on the book when it hasn't even come out out yet? It might actually be good, nobody was really happen when the new 52 started in the first place but now you have books like Batman and Aquaman that are amazing

Two reasons.

1. People are upset HELLBLAZER is ending.

2. Comic book fans love to get angry before things come out.

Many are quick to judge. If they don't want to read it, whatever, but I have a lot of faith in Fawkes since he is a Vertigo guy. This will bring the character to more mainstream DC readers. I'm a huge Vertigo fan (I finally started reading Hellblazer from the beginning 6 months ago) and although it sucks the character is ending there, I'm glad he has a home with people that will take care of him.

Can you really blame us though?

Yes and no. I'm having the same outrage now because Y is becoming a movie... and not a tv show, so I understand in a sense.

Staff
#25 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (32993 posts) - - Show Bio

@Manhunter2070: Hellblazer wasn't cancelled because of sales, it sold just as much as a hard-R rated Vertigo horror book ever would.

#26 Posted by spinningbirdcake (1430 posts) - - Show Bio

I'll be reading it. Lemire has been wonderful on JLD. I may get some hate for it but I hope it isn't the same take on the character. Otherwise, yes, there would be no good reason to cancel Hellblazer. If they change him up some then I'm all for it. This is coming from a fan of Hellblazer by the way.

#27 Posted by Manhunter2070 (105 posts) - - Show Bio
@Jonny_Anonymous: I guess it depends how you define good sales.  Vertigo does seem to run off trade sales rather than the single issues. I'm guessing DC felt it could probably double its sales if it was new 52 book. 
 
Don't get me wrong, I'm gonna miss Hellblazer too, and I'm disappointed they're not making it m-rated, and I sympathise for those fans who only like that version of the character.
#28 Posted by viin (563 posts) - - Show Bio

as long as the art is good I see this going well

#29 Posted by judasnixon (6403 posts) - - Show Bio

I guess the only person I can blame for this is myself for only reading it in trades.....

#30 Posted by Project_Worm (3376 posts) - - Show Bio

@Jonny_Anonymous said:

@Manhunter2070: Hellblazer wasn't cancelled because of sales, it sold just as much as a hard-R rated Vertigo horror book ever would.

It was definitely cancelled because of sales. Just not in the traditional sense, the purpose of ending Hellblazer is to bring on more readers, which will work. I mean I'm not very excited and I will at least pick up the first three issues

#31 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (32993 posts) - - Show Bio

@Project_Worm said:

@Jonny_Anonymous said:

@Manhunter2070: Hellblazer wasn't cancelled because of sales, it sold just as much as a hard-R rated Vertigo horror book ever would.

It was definitely cancelled because of sales. Just not in the traditional sense, the purpose of ending Hellblazer is to bring on more readers, which will work. I mean I'm not very excited and I will at least pick up the first three issues

As in it wasn't cancelled because of lack of sales but in the attempt to gain more? Yea ok I'd agree with that but I won't be picking it up, I don't see any reason why I should reward DC for doing things I don't agree with.

#32 Posted by kagato (247 posts) - - Show Bio

Im going to give it a go, ive never had the pleasure of reading the previous series so i dont have any hang ups about his story starting again or his move to the US, if its good ill keep buying it. I liked the character in the I Vampire crossover story so im excited to see what his character gets up to.

#33 Posted by KindleClay (9 posts) - - Show Bio

Looking forward to this new one! Hope it is good! Will they say "This is a good Jumping on Point" like they do?

#34 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6885 posts) - - Show Bio

Sounds like Fawkes is doing more of the work then int his collaboration then if you ask me. Still, I wanna try this out and see what the end product will be and see if it can be at least SOMEWHAT as good as Hellblazer was.

#35 Posted by dreamfall31 (544 posts) - - Show Bio

I understand people being angry, but Hellblazer barely sold 9,000 issues a month, which I'm sure DC wasn't too happy about. If a reboot gains them 10,000 more readers they're gonna do it. I'll probably go back and read the Hellblazer trades one day, but this "reboot" seems to be aimed towards people like me who are interested in the character, but were never going to pick up the single issues because of the series' long history. I hope it turns out good, but all the haters have to get over it. Not every comic series is going last forever!

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

I am definitely looking forward to this and hopefully it turns out an amazing read...

#37 Posted by Billy Batson (57910 posts) - - Show Bio

@MadeinBangladesh:

Well yes, he did create him.

@dondave said:

Why is everybody hating on the book when it hasn't even come out out yet? It might actually be good, nobody was really happen when the new 52 started in the first place but now you have books like Batman and Aquaman that are amazing

/reasons

BB

#38 Posted by Xorion (439 posts) - - Show Bio

Even tough I wanna believe it will be good I can't get passed the fact that hellblazer is ending for this to come

#39 Posted by BR_Havoc (1285 posts) - - Show Bio

OK I just want to throw this out but am I the only one that is not enjoying Lemire on JLD? I feel there is something his writing lacks in that book. I want Constantine to be as good as Animal Man but frankly I think the quality of JLD went down when Lemire started makes me think the co creator angle doesn't work for Lemire.

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