Happy Anniversary John Constantine.

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.

At #272 it is a little late to jump into Hellblazer monthly, unless you want to hold off reading them and catch up on Peter Milligan's trades first.  India is Peter Milligan's third Hellblazer trade and from Scab to India it is a nice set-up to the appearance of Shade the Changing Man that both Aztek and I are monthly raving about.  So trade-wise just jumping into Peter Milligan's run can be a fun idea.  The House of Mystery annual is a self-contained story so its a safe way to explore the Vertigo world, form short stories that feature Lucifer, I, Zombie and Hellblazer.  Hellblazer Demon City is a 5 issue mini-series running from October to December, these two issues could also be a nice intro to John.  Writer Si Spencer can write great horror comics at a street level and he showed that in Vinyl Underground. What some people forget, John Constantine was also a supporting character in Neil Gaiman's Sandman.  In the new edition new readers to Vertigo get a treat to see Sandman with the Absolute coloring, a more vibrant visual appeal compared to its older printing.  Neil Gaiman being a student of Alan Moore has always written John the way Alan would.   Vertigo Resurrected is a special release because for the last 10 years Warren Ellis' Shoot was censored and not allowed to be printed.  Because of the name of Warren Ellis alone, Vertigo Resurrected should be a hot seller. 
 
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.
 
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.
 Vertigo Resurrected: Hellblazer is 4 comics, to story arcs.  One collects the previously uncollected Mortal Clay as well as Body and Soul but Garth Ennis.  The other story is my Marvel's Jason Aaron and John Constantine's revisit to New Castle.  The other Issue is a Merry Christmas Gift, a collection of 10 short Christmas stories which feature many great comic talents and many of the "Fringe" characters of the DCU.
 
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.
 
Cheers.
 - Silkcuts
9 Comments
9 Comments
Posted by Silkcuts

 Cover to Vertigo Resurrected: Hellblazer

PanDEMONium

 Books three of Swamp Thing

 Cover of Shoot
Posted by aztek_the_lost

Wasn't Pandemonium originally intended to be released in 2008 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hellblazer but due to delays they changed it to 25th anniversary of Constantine? 
 
anyways, regardless of the circumstance, I'm glad he's been around for 25 years... and although I wasn't there in 1985 to welcome him into this world, I'm glad I could follow him on his journey...and if there's one thing I learned from him, apart from some British lingo that I occasionally and accidentally think in, it is this...don't ever touch his fags (BKV) 
 
still pissed they decided to recolor Sandman right after I bought the trades <____<

Moderator
Posted by Silkcuts
@aztek the lost:  I forget the hold up with Pandemonium.  I know it was finished for over a year and it was just being held on to so it can be released in 2010.
 
I have both the old trades and the Absolutes for Sandman, and I am thinking I shouldn't of purchased the Absolutes :(
Posted by johnny_spam

I know my brother will try to get some of these he is a huge John Constantine fan.

Posted by Silkcuts
@johnny spam said:
" I know my brother will try to get some of these he is a huge John Constantine fan. "
Its a good year to be a John Constantine fan. Its a good year to be introduced to him if someone was interested. 
Posted by Feliciano2040
@Silkcuts said:
Its a good year to be a John Constantine fan. Its a good year to be introduced to him if someone was interested. 
 
It's always a fucking good time to start reading Hellblazer !
Posted by Silkcuts
@Feliciano2040 said:
@Silkcuts said:
Its a good year to be a John Constantine fan. Its a good year to be introduced to him if someone was interested. 
 It's always a fucking good time to start reading Hellblazer !
agreed, but last year had made jump in points.
Posted by Squares

That was a fantastic introduction to Constantine! Thank you :)

Posted by Silkcuts
@Squares said:

That was a fantastic introduction to Constantine! Thank you :)

Thanks for finding this, I can't believe it is a year old already.