Comics · Fantasy · Queer

A to Z: John Constantine

I love Constantine, okay? It doesn’t matter that I first loved him as Keanu Reeves in 2005, and only started the comics because he appeared in Swamp Thing. I love him because if you’ve ever so much as thought about urban fantasy, he’s the character you just know exists somewhere. If you have magic in cities, you will eventually create this character… A slightly grimy cynic in a trench coat, chain smoking in a crime scene. You don’t know quite how he got where he is, but he can explain the magic in your nightmares, and knows where to find all the demonic stool pigeons. He’ll probably save your life, but never call him a hero.

John Constantine is the perfect incarnation of the type. Also, he is bisexual.

Hellblazer51Most people don’t know this, because most comic writers don’t use it! He first appeared in 1985. In 1992, somebody decided to drop a line about “boyfriends,” but it didn’t really come up again until Brian Azzarello’s run in 2000-2002, when we met one of those boyfriends. There’s a five-issue arc where they’re together again, but it’s not at all romantic, it’s all part of an elaborate revenge plot involving sex clubs and demons. Pretty much run-of-the-mill for the John Constantine: Hellblazer series at that time. Except for that, it’s usually either ignored, or comes up as dialogue references, not as a plot point.

In the New 52, the implications are stronger and there’s a smooch or two. I don’t find the writing to be that strong, (a crying shame coming from Jeff Lemire who I know can do great things), but still… it’s Constantine. Then there’s the TV show of course, where he’s not bisexual at all, but honestly I had no interest in seeing that even BEFORE they announced he’s straight.

Basically what we have here is an incredible antihero whose bisexuality is a natural element of his character, but who has a history of writers who either didn’t know about that part of him, weren’t sure what to do with it, or actively did not want to address it. I need more than that, please. More more more.

Recommended Reading:

I can’t really call these recommendations. I didn’t like them. But if you wanna find the character, here’s where!

  • 2000s: John Constantine, Hellblazer: Highwater by Brian Azzarello (pub. 2004, ISBN 978-1401202231). CN: Neo-nazis, BDSM, lots of sex and violence. That volume is getting difficult to find because people didn’t like it, but you’re looking for John Constantine, Hellblazer #170-174, the “Ashes & Dust in the City of Angels” storyline.
  • New 52:
    • Justice League Dark Vol. 1: In the Dark by Peter Milligan (ISBN 978-1401237042). The name is not at all the least-inspired part of this series, in which they took a cast of my favorite characters and gutted them to create younger, shallower versions.
    • Constantine Vol. 1: The Spark and The Flame by Jeff Lemire (ISBN 978-1401243234). This series is better, and I haven’t gotten far yet — it may go good places! Series is currently not being published during the Convergence event, but coming back in June.
Advertisements

28 thoughts on “A to Z: John Constantine

  1. I wanted to read some of the comics but I don’t really know anything about them. Is Hellblazer Vol 1, Original Sins a good place to start?

    Like

  2. I really like Constantine as well. Such a great character. Shame his comic series has ended now, those final few issue, where Constantine was on Earth 2, were excellent. Thought the TV series was quiet good as well once it got going, it was really beginning to hit its stride towards the end of the series. Hope it gets another series.

    Like

    1. I’ve heard good things about those issues, and I do love Earth 2! I’m told the title is returning (or being renamed) after Convergence, but I don’t know if it’ll be the same creators.

      You’re the second person today who said the show was getting good, so maybe I’ll check it out sooner rather than later!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They were really good issues that linked into the World’s End storyline over in Earth 2. Highly recommend it. Yes, there is going to be a new title, Constantine The Hellblazer, by Ming Doyle and Riley Rossmo, and it debuts in June after Convergence. Might be worth a look. Yes, I thought the TV series took a while to find its feet, but towards the end it really settled down. It started to take on a distinct look and tone of the comics as well. Hopefully it will get picked up for another season. The 1st season is worth a look though, you just have to get past those early episodes to really get to the good stuff.

        Like

  3. I’m going to have to try the New 52 version of this character… Sounds really cool~ Admittedly I shied away from the movie Constantine because of the intense religious feeling of the commercials, but my gf finally convinced me to watch it and I’m so happy I did!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I saw Constantine I was totally unaware of any prior material. It is QUITE the departure though, so I understand why people don’t like it/don’t want to watch at first. 🙂

      I do like the New 52 version I think, I just don’t really like his books — try ’em out and see, though. I’d suggest starting with Constantine instead of Justice League Dark.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I only know Constantine from the TV show, and I already love the character. I love “grey” characters in general 🙂 I’ve been pretending the show’s character is bisexual and they just haven’t mentioned it yet…they did get looser about showing his smoking as the episodes went on, so maybe they’d eventually bring it up. But I doubt the show will continue lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was upset they were going to avoid him smoking, but they made the weird decision on him having cigarettes and just never showing him actively smoking. Because implied smoking doesn’t do whatever they wanted to avoid? I don’t know. I’m glad they eventually put that aside and showed him actually smoking. It was getting silly.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, you have been busy today! 🙂 I first loved Constantine when he showed up in Books of Magic to train Harry Pexcuse me, I mean Timothy Hunter. 😉

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Epics from A to Z
    MopDog – 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

    Like

  6. I first “met” John Constantine when he had a small part in an early issue of Sandman. (“Hi, London, how are you? Still raining? Me, too.” I know that’s a misquote, but that’s how I always remember it. And I absolutely loved his line about “something trying to tell me somebody.”)

    Like

    1. Ha! There may not be a show for much longer, already hearing cancellation rumors. It really just looked like a Supernatural knockoff to me, although I heard it got better after a handful of episodes…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There can be only one Supernatural! I’ll wait to see if it continues, because there’s nothing worse than getting into a show for it to be cancelled. That has happened to me so many times! I’m watching Daredevil at the moment and I’m nervous in case it doesn’t take off 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

          1. It was released yesterday and I’ve watched two episodes so far. I enjoyed the introduction. I have to say I was a little nervous, but it’s fun! I’ll be doing a review, which I enjoy doing, so hopefully the fun will continue! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

Chit-chat

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s