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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 268

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the comics posted so far!

Today we look at the Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon one-shot Heartland starring John Constantine’s one-time love, Kit Ryan…


One of the best remembered parts of Garth Ennis’ run on Hellblazer (and since it was such a well-regarded run, that’s saying something!) was the creation of John Constantine’s girlfriend, Kit Ryan (Kit being short for Katherine).

In this 1994 one-shot, we get to see Kit on her own with her family in Belfast in Northern Ireland.

Kit is visiting her grown brothers and sisters and they are charged with “watching” Rodney, the boyfriend of Kit’s estranged youngest sister, Bernadette, because he is black and Bernadette is going to visit an aunt of theirs who is, well, you know, racist.

So Kit and her brother take him out for a night on the town and they discuss life in Belfast in 1994…

Later, Kit and Rodney discuss the Ryan family history, specifically why Bernadette and Kit have such a rough relationship.

Naturally, this being Ennis, things get even more out of hand in the flashbacks (as we learn the main reason why Kit and Bernadette have issues) and then, well, things get even MORE out of hand in the present day between the two.

Still, like all of Ennis’ best comics, when you spend the time building the groundwork of strong characterizations with these characters, then even if the end result can be rough, it still WORKS.

And this definitely works.

I’d love to see more of these characters nowadays.

Oh, and what do I have to say about Dillon? He’s the artist all characterization-heavy writers want to work with, and with good reason – his stuff is just SO expressive.


You haven’t mentioned the name of the book. It’s Heartland (IIRC) for anyone who’s interested.

Thanks, Dan, fixed that!

Heartland is the book I throw – figuratively – at anyone who thinks Garth Ennis just writes sodomy slapstick. Such a great piece of character work.

Davey Boy Smith

October 2, 2010 at 4:51 pm

I, too, would love to see more of these characters. I want to know where they ended up in life, what Kit’s current relationship with Constantine is, what they think of the prosperous Ireland of 2010… There’s no disputing the quality of a work of fiction when its characters come alive to such an extent.

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