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Returning Constantine To Hellblazer Status

In yesterday's big DC announcement (which we can all agree got a lot more traction than A-Force), it was interesting to note that John Constantine gets Hellblazer back in his title.

Relaunched by creators Ming Doyle and Riley Rossmo, it will still be marked separately from the original Vertigo series as Constantine: The Hellblazer. Yes, to those who have scoffed at my grammar sticklerness, it's all about a colon and an article.

But it's also about accepting that the character has a darkness that is going to sometimes not fit with the rest of the DC Universe, and that readers are hungry for idiosyncratic books. Like any ongoing title, Vertigo's Hellblazer had its dud stories, but it also attracted some of comics' best horror writers to create incredibly memorable moments.

At its best, the television series dances around that Hellblazer aspect. When the New 52 first co-opted Constantine, we speculated that he was being softened for multimedia opportunities, and we were proven right. But the TV series also proves that no matter how prettily you cast the actors, John Constantine has to get down and dirty. (At times, the series knows that, though it still hasn't given over to the idea that Constantine is, at heart, a jerk. Still, #saveconstantine.)

Overall, this move is a good sign that DC is doing the right thing. Some call it the "Batgirlization of the DC Universe" due to the success of that recent relaunch. It's really what the industry tries to do all along, but loses its way from in the pursuit of those magical IP dollars -- make good comics.

Here's to good comics!

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Derek McCaw

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