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lady_constantine

Your favorite Constantine,your least favorite

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Jason-Yeah, I guess that's why Ennis' John sounded like a 20-something, considering Ennis was like 21 when writing Hellblazer. Compared to the older-seeming Delano John being under 40.

 

I think Lady Constantine certainly has a point as to why it was harder to write John as an aging character, nearly at 60. It would have required the character to chance, and basically after the Paul Jenkins run, John stopped changing. He was aging in real life, but his characterization remained pretty consistent. It was the template Constantine written by Mike Carey, based on Ennis' characterization, but updated a bit.

Of course, we saw some changes with Azzarello and Milligan, but those were more just from bad interpretations of the character, rather than a real attempt to see John grow as a character, like under Jenkins.

Milligan regressed the character.

 

Alan Moore liked Azzarello's take, I assume, due to Azzarello wanting to take John back to basics. The whole mystery man intruding in others' lives, and often not for the better. That was Constantine under Moore.

The issue there is that when Moore was writing John, he was a supporting character in another character's book. It's hard to keep that sort of character going when they have their own title, which requires characterization and background.

It also gets hard to do after the book has been running for over 100 issues, and readers already know the background of this character. The character may seem dark and mysterious to strangers, but the readers just see it as poor characterization.

Plus, it is surprising that Moore liked Azzarello's version, considering that Azzarello's version was actually immoral. Moore's John was the most heroic incarnation of the character. Something we rarely saw of John during the Hellblazer run, where we thought of him as an anti-hero. Yes, he did good things. Yes, at times he showed heroic sides. But, for the most part, he was amoral. Under Moore, we saw John actually willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good and such.

So, Azzarello's version is really the furthest removed from Moore's version, even though Azzarello did sort of go "back to basics".

 

I don't really view John as an amoral bastard. I thought he was just some guy with bad luck struggling to keep shit together, and I wanted him that way.

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Jason-Yeah, I guess that's why Ennis' John sounded like a 20-something, considering Ennis was like 21 when writing Hellblazer. Compared to the older-seeming Delano John being under 40.

 

I think Lady Constantine certainly has a point as to why it was harder to write John as an aging character, nearly at 60. It would have required the character to chance, and basically after the Paul Jenkins run, John stopped changing. He was aging in real life, but his characterization remained pretty consistent. It was the template Constantine written by Mike Carey, based on Ennis' characterization, but updated a bit.

Of course, we saw some changes with Azzarello and Milligan, but those were more just from bad interpretations of the character, rather than a real attempt to see John grow as a character, like under Jenkins.

Milligan regressed the character.

 

Alan Moore liked Azzarello's take, I assume, due to Azzarello wanting to take John back to basics. The whole mystery man intruding in others' lives, and often not for the better. That was Constantine under Moore.

The issue there is that when Moore was writing John, he was a supporting character in another character's book. It's hard to keep that sort of character going when they have their own title, which requires characterization and background.

It also gets hard to do after the book has been running for over 100 issues, and readers already know the background of this character. The character may seem dark and mysterious to strangers, but the readers just see it as poor characterization.

Plus, it is surprising that Moore liked Azzarello's version, considering that Azzarello's version was actually immoral. Moore's John was the most heroic incarnation of the character. Something we rarely saw of John during the Hellblazer run, where we thought of him as an anti-hero. Yes, he did good things. Yes, at times he showed heroic sides. But, for the most part, he was amoral. Under Moore, we saw John actually willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good and such.

So, Azzarello's version is really the furthest removed from Moore's version, even though Azzarello did sort of go "back to basics".

 

I don't really view John as an amoral bastard. I thought he was just some guy with bad luck struggling to keep shit together, and I wanted him that way.

 

yes,he was a breath of fresh air next to 'caped crusaders'...he was human.i had learned to see azarello's john as some other entity (the laughing magician) and i just couldn't with miligan.i think he was unlucky havinbg to get to john at such a late point in the hellblazer series more than anything

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Jason-Yeah, I guess that's why Ennis' John sounded like a 20-something, considering Ennis was like 21 when writing Hellblazer. Compared to the older-seeming Delano John being under 40.

 

I think Lady Constantine certainly has a point as to why it was harder to write John as an aging character, nearly at 60. It would have required the character to chance, and basically after the Paul Jenkins run, John stopped changing. He was aging in real life, but his characterization remained pretty consistent. It was the template Constantine written by Mike Carey, based on Ennis' characterization, but updated a bit.

Of course, we saw some changes with Azzarello and Milligan, but those were more just from bad interpretations of the character, rather than a real attempt to see John grow as a character, like under Jenkins.

Milligan regressed the character.

 

Alan Moore liked Azzarello's take, I assume, due to Azzarello wanting to take John back to basics. The whole mystery man intruding in others' lives, and often not for the better. That was Constantine under Moore.

The issue there is that when Moore was writing John, he was a supporting character in another character's book. It's hard to keep that sort of character going when they have their own title, which requires characterization and background.

It also gets hard to do after the book has been running for over 100 issues, and readers already know the background of this character. The character may seem dark and mysterious to strangers, but the readers just see it as poor characterization.

Plus, it is surprising that Moore liked Azzarello's version, considering that Azzarello's version was actually immoral. Moore's John was the most heroic incarnation of the character. Something we rarely saw of John during the Hellblazer run, where we thought of him as an anti-hero. Yes, he did good things. Yes, at times he showed heroic sides. But, for the most part, he was amoral. Under Moore, we saw John actually willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good and such.

So, Azzarello's version is really the furthest removed from Moore's version, even though Azzarello did sort of go "back to basics".

 

Even our boy's characterization through the course of the TV series isnt that far off from, as you said, Moore's heroic incarnation as well bits of spell casting (albeit small occasions) world saver of Carey and the light show of #238 when against the Chelsea Smilers and the Spring-heeled Jack manifestation.

 

One could say the show in its own way succeeded where both Azzarello and the New 52 pitifully failed.

 

As for Milligan, the mmishandling got where i came to the conclusion that his John was just someone else with the Constantine name rather than the real John. Same with Kit, Gemma, and Angie. All four were unrecognizable (as well as Cheryl and Tony via flashbacks and the 1979 sequences of the Shade follies) and yet Shelly Bond allowed it (while Berger watched helplessly just as the Time Warner overlords were forcing her into leaving) just as Paul Levitz allowed DiDio to bombard the whole DCU with his asinine bias logic like the true Hollywood personality he is.

 

 

I do sense some form of extension when writing our boy:

 

*Moore and Veitch (as well as Nancy Collins and Mark Millar before he became barmy) presented a heroic side that never came back until the show which has said mixture above.

 

*Delano- older self loathing yet still a smooth operator.

 

Ennis presented a 20 something nature to where it became the archtype in when writing the character.

 

Jenkins- back to acting his age more compared to Rich and company.

 

Ellis may have been the first to retread to Ennis while calling back to Delano.

 

Carey as you mentioned and Mina carried it on.

 

Diggle's was still Delano!Redux as seen in his six parter for Swamp Thing

 

 

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As far as my takes on the various writers on Constantine go:

 

Guys I liked:

 

Moore: wrote what was probably the most "heroic" John (discounting Morrison's Hellblazer), and unlike Azzarello, his John was a genuine man of mystery.

Gaiman: pretty good John, felt that he did the best job of carrying on the mystery aspect of John's character. I wish Gaiman decided to write a Hellblazer special instead of The Sandman: Delays for his return to comics.

Delano: definitive take on John for me - the best balanced mix of self-loathing, bastardery, and grinning backstabbery.

Ennis: I found his John actually more relatable than Delano's, and I enjoyed most of his stories, but compared to Delano, there's just something that was lost. He seemed to be less of a bastard than Delano's John - I can't really see Ennis' John doing what Delano's John did to Ritchie Lester or Gary Simpson for example.

Jenkins: Of all the Hellblazer writers, I think Jenkins probably wrote the nicest (well, as nice as John can get) and most relatable John. If there was any interpretation of John I'd actually want to hang out with, it's be this one.

Carey: R.S.V.P. is probably my favorite conclusion to a Hellblazer run - John burning the artifacts of his past, Swamp Thing's favor, walking past all his ghosts, and standing alone in the dark as the rain begins to fall yet somehow still managing to get a few bitter laughs like fucking over the Tate Club's party - it got me teary.

Diggle: might not be a common opinion, but I found it a fun, nostalgic throwback to the old days. The only thing I didn't really like about Diggle's run was the Geoff Johns-esque retcon regarding the Golden Boy and all of John's miseries post-Delano.

Morrison: wrote a funny parody of Conjob in DP and Multiversity, and I found his two-parter pretty tense and unnerving with a hard-hitting downer ending.

 

Disliked:

Azzarello: The Azzhole is a hit and miss writer for me. Wonder Woman and Joker were hits, but Hellblazer was a very big miss. His John just came off as a massive douchebag who seemed like he was enjoying the misery that was happening to everyone around him. The only thing that prevented his John from being 100% unsympathetic was that most of the people in Azzarello's run were even bigger douchebags than him (SW Manor, the Highwater skinheads, etc.) Even in his one genuinely good story (Freezes Over), his Constantine is still the same grinning lunatic asswipe that's waltzing around in the rest of his run. The only time I enjoyed his John was the one issue where he sings Beatles songs in a pub, and that issue was still ruined by Azzarello shoving stupid heylookkidshesbatmanbutnotreallyimsoclever SW Manor shit in for half of it. In fact, I've started to play a game regarding Azzarello's stories called: "Delano did it better", inspired by South Park's Simpsons episode.

  • Recurring Mastermind Antagonist? Nergal > SW Manor
  • Bondage? Delano did it better in The Horrorist than John whips SW Manor for a couple of issues.
  • Picking up prostitutes? Delano did it better in Family Man than Bingo with Broads.
  • Screwing over racists? Delano did it better with John vs. The Football Hooligan Demon than all of Highwater.
  • Showing that humans, not boring 'ol demons and ghosties, are the scariest evil? Delano did it much better in Family Man than all of Azz's run.
  • Cruelty to Chas? Delano never had to resort to urine to show that John isn't exactly the nicest friend to Chas.

Milligan: wins the award for dumbest John. the only way this John's behavior could be explained: A) dementia B) Milligan not giving a care really C) possession by a yellow demonic moron bug but no matter what this is probably the worst portrayal of Constantine for me and the worst Hellblazer ever got, thanks to Milligan's character assassination of Gemma alone.

 

New52 John: an irredeemable shit that makes Azzarello's John look like Santa by comparison.

 

Indifferent:

Mina: wrote him well, too bad the same can't be said 'bout her story.

Ellis: don't remember much about his John as far as character goes actually.

Campbell: pretty bizarre story, no real strong feelings about his John take, but like Ellis, I do find myself wondering how Hellblazer would've turned out in the long run had he stayed on for a full run.

Injustice: I thought John popping up in the Injustice comic would be the dumbest thing ever, but his characterization was pretty good - why wasn't Taylor writing him in the New 52 instead of Fawkes and Lemire?

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I enjoyed all the incarnations of our john until Azz, but then things got make on track again until milligan's john (sorry, Pete),

 

Surprisingly, even though her stories were lackluster, Denise Mina's John was spot on, as good as any of the others. it's just too bad she mired him down in that blasted european football misadventure. as interesting as she made her John, all her other characters were just meh. but her John is among my faves with Jenkins, Carey and Delano.

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to minas defense, it was her debut in comics afaik. thats a pretty big handicap for writing a book, which specifically has such a snobby fanbase, that has been pampered by having the most prestigious authors in the industry on the book.

 

i also really liked ellis' john. iirc correctly, i thought back then that that is john the way he is supposed to be at that point in his life.

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to minas defense, it was her debut in comics afaik. thats a pretty big handicap for writing a book, which specifically has such a snobby fanbase, that has been pampered by having the most prestigious authors in the industry on the book.

 

i also really liked ellis' john. iirc correctly, i thought back then that that is john the way he is supposed to be at that point in his life.

 

YES.

 

the age thing.that so much.i say that was a complaint during later points.what was okay at thirty is NOT okay at 50

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I enjoyed all the incarnations of our john until Azz, but then things got make on track again until milligan's john (sorry, Pete),

 

Surprisingly, even though her stories were lackluster, Denise Mina's John was spot on, as good as any of the others. it's just too bad she mired him down in that blasted european football misadventure. as interesting as she made her John, all her other characters were just meh. but her John is among my faves with Jenkins, Carey and Delano.

 

Plus Vankin slacking off at the time didn't do her run any favors.

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7th circle, you don't have to defend Mina, I said her John was one of my favorites.

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i was more of defending her story, then defending her john. i think that her character depiction of constantine was spot on, is an unisono opinion in this forum. it was always the opinion that her stories lacked a little, not just by you. i just wanted to put that a little into perspective. i actually liked the idea with the football game resolution. she is way above the likes of azz and milligan, in her storytelling in hb i think.

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i was more of defending her story, then defending her john. i think that her character depiction of constantine was spot on, is an unisono opinion in this forum. it was always the opinion that her stories lacked a little, not just by you. i just wanted to put that a little into perspective. i actually liked the idea with the football game resolution. she is way above the likes of azz and milligan, in her storytelling in hb i think.

 

I re-read her run more than I ever will Milligan again save for Suicide Bridge (whilst pretending Epiphany is nowhere to be found)

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I really enjoyed the first couple issues of Mina's run, which were just slice-of-life. I'd re-read those first couple of issues and pretend that was the rest of Mina's run. Just John and this guy on a roadtrip...no destination in mind. No supernatural elements. Lots of good character moments.

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