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A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 217

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at a classic scene from early in Garth Ennis’ Hellblazer run (I think you all know which one I’m talking about)…

Okay, to set up this scene from Hellblazer #45 (by Garth Ennis, Will Simpson and Tom Sutton), Constantine is dying of lung cancer, but to force the issue, he’s also opened up his wrist with a razor – this is all done to force the issue amongst three “devils” (remember, since this book shares a universe with Sandman, Lucifer is not in the picture anymore down there) to go to action, because Constantine has promised his soul to all three of them. Therefore, if he dies, they’d have to go to war over his soul. They realize that is not the best thing for them, so they are “forced” to keep Constantine alive…

After some painful cancer surgery…

Now, of course, the final page is “the” moment, but damned if Ennis doesn’t put in an almost equally great moment very subtly right before that moment – where he shows Constantine, who just got over lung cancer, picking up a cigarette and lighting up right away – that’s Constantine for you, perfectly. But so, of course, is giving three devils the finger (Ennis does a very nice job there of giving us his thoughts, because it makes the build up cooler, as opposed to just him giving the finger out of nowhere).

19 Comments

Tom Fitzpatrick

August 6, 2009 at 4:51 am

And of course, Keanu Reeves does the same thing in the movie adaptation CONSTANTINE, which borrowed from Ennis’ Dangerous Habits and Delano’s first two issue storylines.

Not quite the same thing…

I’ve always loved Constantine by Ennis (and Delano’s stuff, too)…

The way he plays demons off against each other…

Though this really is Ennis taking the blood transfusion idea (by Delano) to another level: You had him trick one demon? I’ll top that… how about three Princes of Hell?

And yes, I can still enjoy “Constantine” with the Plank in it. I just tell myself it was inspired by Hellblazer, rather than being Hellblazer…

Wooyeah! I love this story, as well as Ennis’s initial run, most of what I’ve read of Delano’s, hell, even some of Azzarello’s. Hellblazer is great. Constantine… well, that movie is a generic horror-action that I refuse to see again, as it barely gets beyond functionally retarded, plus it has both Reeves and Leboeuf in it.

In the movie they have him chew a fucking nicotine gum. I guess that for the mainstream it might seem just another mediocre film but for any comics fan that knows John Constantine that ending was a disgrace.

The final splash page should be made into a poster. Ennis’s run is definitely my favourite Hellblazer run of all time, closely followed by Mike Carrey’s.

i like that moment and also where the three demons argue about saving john. also loved how after the demons save john though creepy john rubs it in knowing once he dies they go to war. one of garths best works and amazed the editors let him get bye with John giving the demons the bird

Two interesting things about this scene, from an 18-years-later perspective: First of all, Constantine, being English, would probably give the two-fingered salute.
Second, I don’t think Vertigo allowed the F-word yet when this first appeared. This same scene, today, would probably include several uses of it (and I’m not using it here because I don’t remember if CBR allows it or not).

@Paul1963:

I believe that the first “fuck” in Hellblazer was in the very last page on the very last issue of Ennis’s run. Is there a writer more apropriate than Garth Ennis for that? :-)

If they were going to Americanize John Constantine, I don’t see why they didn’t cast Denis Leary.

“If they were going to Americanize John Constantine, I don’t see why they didn’t cast Denis Leary.”

OH HELL YES. I had never thought of that, but it would’ve been as close to perfect as any American Constantine could ever be.

The movie’s one-finger salute was a little different, more subtle, but a hell of a lot funnier. And almost better, since it’s as he’s ascending into heaven that he gives Lucifer-as-Truman-Capute the one-finger salute.

Last time I mentioned Denis Leary as Constantine here, some jackass jumped down my throat about it.

Daniel O' Dreams

August 6, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Oh hell yes. ever seen Rescue Me? Leary IS an American John Constantine. I always thought he would’ve been a way better choice than keanu.

I also thought if they wanted a younger sexier Constantine they could have gone with James Marsters (you know, Spike). Just because he’s British doesn’t mean they can’t SET the movie in America.

Daniel O' Dreams

August 6, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Oh Yeah, Topic! This was my favorite Hellblazer storyline. Ennis’ Rake At The Gates Of Hell was a close second. Ennis’ was the Hellblazer that was running when I was 18-19 can you tell? ;-)

So why don’t the three devils just come to an agreement, one of them gets Constantine’s soul & he gives the other two something of value? If I were one of those devils that’s what I would do.

Daniel O’Dreams, James Marsters is from California, he faked the British accent on Buffy & Angel.

Two interesting things about this scene, from an 18-years-later perspective: First of all, Constantine, being English, would probably give the two-fingered salute.

By the time this came out, the one fingered salute was probably about as common as the two fingered one here in England.

As for and American JC, for me it’s Dennis Leary or David Caruso

Movies are about money, not about who would best play the part.
Reeves has proven to be a box office draw.
Leary has proven not to be one.
That carries a lot of weight especially dealing with a property that does not have any significant mainstream exposure like say Spider-Man.

Back on topic, it is a cool moment. One thing I don’t get though is, sure the devils can let him live, but they could have at least done something horrible to him. Give him IBS or shrink his junk down to baby proportions.

Please forget the crappy movie, why Americanize him in the bloody first place! Tis an Englishman and this is key to his character. If there has to be a movie, leave it to us damn brits! Ennis run in Hellblazer is required reading for any comic fan.

I agree. I think Constantine should be English and the setting in London. I mean, they can do it for V for Vendetta, why not for Constantine?
And Constantine’s getting a sequel as well?
So we’re gonna have to be stuck watching Keanu as John again?
Bloody hell.
If you must, have an American play Constantine as an Englishman, then Johnny Depp would be great.

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