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Guest Harry Houdini

I hate Garth Ennis Hellblazer

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Guest Harry Houdini

Am I the only one who hates Ennis' Hellblazer? I say that because everybody seems to love Ennis characterization of John Constantine.

 

The John Constantine that I know and love is the one that first appeared in Moore's Swamp Thing, a smart, lean and sarchastic working class magician that seems to manipulate everybody around him. Jamie Delano also did a terrific work developing the character. I think Ennis seems to have a crush with tall, drunk, dirty tough guys drinking in bars, because that's how all his characters are.

 

Son of Man was one of the most ridiculous Hellblazer stories I ever read. If anybody wants to see the real Constantine in action, and not some blond and magic Jesse Custer, take a look in Original Sins and Moore's Swamp Thing.

 

Just a thought.

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Garth Ennis' Constantine wasn't a huge departure from the character, the main difference between Delano and Ennis' Hellblazer was the horror aspect - while Delano focused on a more subtle, psychological type of horror, Ennis did a much more upfront, visceral sort, which is basically his style. John wasn't out of character throughout Ennis' run, it was more of a different perspective than anything else.

 

Son Of Man, while not the most spectacular Hellblazer yarn out there, was pretty much just a fun story to read.

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It was a bit of a half-arsed return from Ennis, wasn't it ? It was a fun enough story but it felt like he was kind of half-arsing it - I liked the Alfie approach of him talking to the camera and the dead babies bit was suitably awful (in a good way).

 

I'm a huge fan of his blokes-down-the-pub stuff.

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It was a bit of a half-arsed return from Ennis, wasn't it ?  It was a fun enough story but it felt like he was kind of half-arsing it - I liked the Alfie approach of him talking to the camera and the dead babies bit was suitably awful (in a good way).

 

I'm a huge fan of his blokes-down-the-pub stuff.

I agree. I loved the Ennis JC, but Son of Man weak. I didn't like the little asides to the audience (I'm shagging a lesbian!), and the whold "crime boss is going to shit the antichrist" thing was a little too much, ya know?

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I enjoyed Son of Man for what it was, which was a silly OTT caper-cum-action movie. It's pretty much all I'd want from a brief 5-issue return.

 

Don't know about it being "half-arsed." I'd say that as a daft comedy horror story it was pretty much perfect in terms of pacing, plotting, characterisation and so forth.

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I don't *hate* him, but I don't actively like him either. For my money, he comes in third among the HB writers, but he might be vying for first if he had only toned it down some. There's a point where things stop being scary and/or shocking and just get cheesy, and Son of Man definitely hit the cheese line.

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But it was supposed to be cheesy! A deranged gang lord prolapsing out the anti-christ. How can you think that was supposed to be taken seriously?

 

Christ, you people! How can I be the only one on this board who makes sense?

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But it was supposed to be cheesy! A deranged gang lord prolapsing out the anti-christ. How can you think that was supposed to be taken seriously?

 

Christ, you people! How can I be the only one on this board who makes sense?

 

It would have been cool on the middle of Ennis' run, but for everyone awaiting Garth's triumphant return he fell flat.

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If you don't find Rick the Vic's sermon or Brendan's boasting about creating a "utopia" in a pub funny then you're beyond help.

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"Son of Man" was a joke with no punchline!

 

I liked Ennis' run second-best. I felt he fleshed some aspect of John's character out further to make him even more realistic. Gave him actual friends who he could sit in a pub with and talk shite, gave him a real love interest who wasn't just someone he ran into on his adventures.

As far as the horror elements, I definately liked Delano's psychological run much more than Ennis' in-your-face gore.

 

I'd say Delano's run was the quintessential John Constantine. That's the John I know and love! But, Delano's John was a far cry from what Alan Moore did with John on "Swamp Thing", obviously; and "Original Sins" was just Delano getting a feel for the character. It wasn't until issue #8 that I felt Jamie really realized who John was and what he wanted to do with him. I loved some of the earlier issues as well (but I felt that issues #1,2,6,7 were some of Delano's much weaker stories), but we had a satire piece in #3, and a story that John really played a very small part in with #5. Delano had John evolve throughout his entire stint.

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i find myself agreng with james, and with Christian's comment regarding the forst Delano issues - 3,4,5 are brill!

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oh, and just for the record - translating Original Sins is 10 times harder than translating Watchmen!

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Guest Harry Houdini

Another thing that makes me mad: essencially, John's appearance created by Steve Bissete and John Totleben was based on the singer Sting, small, lean and apparently weak, which I find really clever and realistic, since he drinks a lot and doesn't really do much physical work, trusting more in his mental abilities. But many artists (such as Steve Dillon and John Higgins) draw him with a big, strong and tough Dirty Harry style.

 

I really enjoy those first stories written by Delano, specially Hunger. I like his psychological horror, similar to what Alan Moore had done to the Swamp Thing. As for the trash-movie horror done by Ennis, I don't think that really fits with Hellblazer.

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Of course not every artist can keep the consistant look of Sting. Personally, I'd prefer it if we all voted on Bradstreet's Constantine being the John Constantine look.

 

On Ennis...

 

Ennis's run was and still is a very good run. While some issues and storylines are better than others, I feel like he gave the character more heart with more realistic relationships (ie: Ric, Brendan, Nigel, ect. Kit).

 

...and let's not forget we have some good supporting cast members who provided excellent space filler for "Reasons to be Cheerful." ;)

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Ennis is Ennis. People seem to either hate him, tolerate him or love him. I'm usually in the very last category...and while I found the "Son of Man" arc very amusing, his other forays into comedy series tend to be very awful.

 

On HB, I think he created the best supporting cast by far, and his creation of Kit is one of the best things that could have possibly happened to the series. Her presence in the title really fleshed out a lot of John's character, and gave him much more of a humanity to balance out the wonderful bastard-ness.

 

And regardless of how it inspired the film, "Dangerous Habits" is a great storyline with a brilliant twist. Easily one of the peaks of the whole series.

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I can't stand Ennis' IN YOUR FACE FUCKER humour. When he throws some humour into a book, I enjoy it. But, stuff like "Son of Man" or ESPECIALLY that made-for-FOX comic called "Adentures in the Rifle Brigade" just annoy me!

 

I agree with your comments about John's appearance totally though. Whether or not the artist can make him look just like a less-buff Sting or not, I don't really care, as long as he looks like JOHN. But that whole John's muscular or fat or Dirty Harry look pisses me off! THAT is not John!

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That's why I dislike Manco so much . . . John looks so bruiser-like. I expect he should be signing up as a bouncer any time now. :lol: As the sickly child, he should be more lithe, thin of frame, not anorexic but still closer to the frail end of the spectrum as opposed to looking like Guido the Mob Muscleman. :D

 

I do like that Manco makes him look older, which nobody's really done so far. But the frame is all wrong.

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I don't hate Garth's run, but towards the end of it I was in the place you're in now, Harry.

 

For me, there is a discontinuity — a departure as Zarathustra aptly puts it — between Jamie's and Garth's JCs. That used to piss me off. To read Jamie's run, and then follow it up by reading Garth's run, is to see that something special was lost.

 

On the other hand, something else was gained.

 

Jamie did it best, but there's much to enjoy in Garth's run.

 

- Jason

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I agree with you Jason.

BUT, Jamie Delano wrote a definitive end of "Hellblazer" when John died and was reborn (metaphorically).

Obviously, John would be different post-Delano. And, then, Ennis starts off his run by having John contract lung cancer and almost die again, selling his soul in the process. That will further change you, becoming the Ennis version of J.C.!

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Ennis' Hellblazer is far from my favourite take on the title, but he did come up with some cracking stories, and 'Dangerous Habits' in particular has to stand as one of the standout highlights of the series in the minds of everyone who isn't a cretin.

 

James is right about 'Son of Man'. It's not brilliant, but taken for what it is, it's fun enough. I wouldn't have wanted a 'triumphant return to the title' from Ennis at that point - he'd said pretty much all he had to say on the title in his original run, and anything which tried to replicate that would have been horribly anticlimactic. SoM works rather well as a jokey little aside for the series - I wouldn't be happy if HB was like that all the time, but the occasional foray into toilet humour, big demon cocks and unspeakably over-the-top gore never hurt anyone.

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I just re-read Son of Man two days ago...hense the new quote at the bottom of me posts....I loved it. I laughed several times out loud, people looking at me like I was crazy. Ennis really hits the nail on the head with his anti-religion, anti-Thatcher stance. We approach the subjects from different directions but end up arriving at the same place. My opinions of Garf have changed over the years.

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Son Of Man had a lot of good one liners from John in it though, i particularly liked the part where Chas asked John to "magic" the gun he was carrying away and John replies "Flibble flobble, flibble, kaplurf....Well bugger me, its still a gun!"

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