Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Every day in May we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!
Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).
Today’s list is the Greatest John Constantine Stories Ever Told!
10. Hellblazer #27 “Hold Me”
In this one-off issue by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, Constantine celebrates the life of a dead friend while a spirit torments people while just wanting to have a little bit of human kindness. Caught up in the mess is a lesbian couple looking to have a kid and a little girl who lost her mother. A touching one-shot by Gaiman and McKean.
9. Hellblazer #23-24, 28-33 “Family Man”
The previous story came in the midst of Jamie Delano’s “Family Man” arc, where Constantine is on the prowl for a disgusting serial killer known as the Family Man. There are a bunch of different artists on this string of stories.
8. Books of Magic (mostly #2, of course)
Books of Magic was Neil Gaiman and John Bolton introducing a new character, a young boy named Tim Hunter, to the various magical characters in the DC Universe. It was really well done. Issue #2 of the four-book series spotlighted Constantine.
7. Hellblazer #47-50, 52–55, 59–61 “Bloodlines”
This collection, written by Ennis and drawn by Will Simpson and Steve Dillon (the start of his run on the title), established Kit Ryan as Constantine’s girlfriend – Kit was most likely the most prominent of all of John Constantine’s girlfriends during the series.
6. Hellbazer: All His Engines
Mike Carey and Leonardo Manco come together to give us a brilliant original graphic novel designed for new readers and old (when the Constantine film came out), featuring Constantine traveling to Los Angeles where he is blackmailed into assisting a demon who has the niece Constantine’s old friend, Chas, hostage. Manco’s moody artwork beautifully matches Carey’s stark tale of terror.
5. Hellblazer #11 “Newcastle: A Taste of Things To Come”
Jamie Delano and Richard Piers Rayner show us a major part of Constantine’s life – the point where he and a bunch of his friends first summoned a demon. Things did not go exactly according to the plan, and the incident haunted Constantine for years.
4. Hellblazer #78–83 “Rake at the Gates of Hell”
Ennis’ swan song on the title, Rake at the Gates of Hell, really worked as a culmination of everything that had happened in his run from Dangerous Habits on, and the crash course that Constantine put himself and his friends (and Kit, the then love of his life) through come to its inevitable ending here, particularly Constantine’s challenge against the First of the Fallen. Steve Dillon drew it.
3. Hellblazer #62–67 “Fear and Loathing”
This storyline, by the future Preacher creative team of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, features the angel Gabriel, who is demonstrating that he can definitely hold a grudge for a long time. Plus, we see Constantine try to dissuade his niece from following in his footsteps. I think we all know how that turns out.
2. Swamp Thing #44-50 “Murder of Crows”
This storyline is often referred to as “American Gothic,” as well. In any event, it was the first major storyline for Constantine as he
manipulates guides Swamp Thing to defeat the ultimate force of darkness in the battle between good and evil. Alan Moore wrote it, Stephen Bissette, John Totleben and a bunch of other artists (Rick Veitch, I believe) combine for this epic tale that cemented Constantine’s place in the DC Universe.
1. Hellblazer #41–46 “Dangerous Habits”
Garth Ennis and Will Simpson combine for what is most likely the most famous Constantine storyline ever – the tale of how Constantine, dying of lung cancer, managed to turn his death into the ultimate con. The film, Constantine, loosely adapted this storyline.
That’s the list! I’m sure there is a lot of agreement and disagreement with the list out there! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!
And please vote for the lists that are still up for grabs here!
Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.