There is not much importance in giving an award of importance to someone of no importance. (Joseph Heller, from Picture This)
Last week Jeff Lemire let me know that he and Ray Fawkes are committed to keeping John Constantine’s life filled with self-sabotage, demons, sex, and all kinds of insanity. After a sneak peak at the script for Constantine #1 (on shelves in March) I found some points of interest, certainly enough to make me look forward to the release of Constantine in March), and Lemire kindly agreed to answer a few questions. Talking about his intentions and the future for our favorite misanthropic anti-hero gives me hope that the core issues Hellblazer was able to wrestle with may not be entirely lost in this forthcoming take on the character.
And now let us believe in the long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been. (Rainier Maria Rilke)
In 2012 a broader variety of author communicated their joy and intensity using the alchemy that is art and literature in comic books. The wealth of great comic books published in nearly every genre made me happier than I can say and when I put in my votes for the CBR Top 100 Comics of 2012 I was hard pressed to pick only 10 comic books to vote for. So for you, I’ve compiled 16 mini-reviews of my favorite comic books published in 2012. These books were enjoyable, intense, personal, and / or an evolution of the the comic book medium (and now I can’t wait to see what we’re going to get this year!) Continue Reading »
“And the good thing about feeling really happy, you know, Valentin? … It’s that you think it’s forever, that one’s never ever going to feel unhappy again.” (Manuel Puig, from Kiss of the Spider Woman)
Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Hellblazer #261, which was published by DC/Vertigo and is cover dated January 2010. Enjoy!
Continue Reading »
Ah! but it was something to have at least a choice of nightmares. (Joseph Conrad, from Heart of Darkness)
Today I found out that Hellblazer is cancelled, and John Constantine is moving into the main, general DC universe (see the CBR piece for more about the mechanics on that.)
Unable to come up with any decent new ideas, DC has gone from fiddling with one 30 year old Alan Moore creation – Watchmen – to messing up another: Hellblazer. Of course DC has forced itself to continue this practice of pillaging it’s own powerful history of creations because it has hobbled the creation of new ideas. A champion against creators rights, and infamously instituting a policy of marketing-driven, decision-making-by-committee, the comic book publisher has become a bastion of tired ideas and restrictively tedious comic books. In this brave new world, there is obviously no space for a renegade division like Vertigo, and the gradual dismantling continues apace, as they hand the reigns of Constantine over to an American writer and place John Constantine (a characters who’s very raison d’etre is the juxtaposition of his own very British strangeness within the mundane “real” world) in the DC universe
The other day I finally got around to reading Justice League Dark #0. Now you can tell me that this is “a different John Constantine than the one in Hellblazer” or that “DC is a different universe than Vertigo.” I don’t buy it. Those are rationalizations, excuses for screwing up a well-established, well-rounded character with a ton of history and a strong following. If DC’s relaunch and their publication of these issue #0′s was anything more than a depressing marketing move aimed at capturing the attention of a dwindling audience instead of trying to increase their appeal by deepening and widening the type of books they publish, they would not have messed up this character’s history so completely.
Aliye’s death, and its echoes, had been stilled by the greater horror of this mother’s death, which burned inside him like a smothered coal in the silence there. But Aliye had started dying from the moment his mother told him that they were not to marry, in spite of the bey’s gracious visit, in spite of the fine carpet, in spite of the words he has whispered to Aliye and which he had thought were true words. He knew then how it must end for her, though his mother said it would be otherwise. He wished that there were one fixed thing in the world that would never change, or disappoint him, or leave him, but he did not know what that might be, unless it was the idea of God, which was a certitude without delight or consolation. (Starling Lawrence, from Montenegro)
“What of the success of the Expulsion?” Carranque asked. The driver was momentarily silenced.
“Success for the Catholics?” I ventured.
“Certainly not, Señora.” Now it was Carranque who laughed. “The Expulsion of the Jews was an unmitigated disaster for the Catholics. For a brief time, Their Catholic Majesties feasted on the properties and treasures left behind by the running Jews. But after a very short while they awoke to the truth that their best and their brightest had fled. Gone were their merchants, their statesmen, their doctors, their artisans and their artists, their poets, their musicians, their singers, and their leatherworkers. Without its Jews, Spain dried up into the shriveled olive it is today.”
“So the success?”
“Was the success of the Jews — the Jews who fled to Morocco, to Italy, to Greece, to Turkey, to the Netherlands. They spread their art and learning across the Mediterranean, through the Strait of Gibraltar and northward into Europe. They made a virtue of exile, found their greatest reward in exile, found their humanity, their lost identity, in exile.” (Jonathan Levi, from A Guide For The Perplexed)
“Stories have no point if they don’t absorb our terror.” (Don DeLillo, from Mao II)
“How do you feel, Yossarian?”
“Fine. No, I’m very frightened.”
“That’s good,” said Major Danby. “It proves you’re still alive.” (Joseph Heller, from Catch-22)
For them it might stave off what he could not help but see with clarity: that the world was silent and cold and bare and that in this lay its terrible beauty. (David Guterson, from Snow Falling on Cedars)
It is demonstrably plain that, were the whole matter of victualling the world on a non-national footing taken right out of the hands of the strutting male and handed over to a dozen sensible women who do not want to have their children killed, politics, which are nothing but a glorified form of housekeeping, would long since have been deflated to the problem of running a canteen. (William Gerhardie, from God’s Fifth Column)