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What Would You Put in a 30th Anniversary Collection?

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So DC hasn't forgotten about the 30th anniversary of Hellblazer, as they'll be putting out a celebratory hardcover collection later this year, just in time for Halloween.

However, with 300 issues, there's only so much you can include in one collection. The official solicit is:

Saga of the Swamp Thing #37 (where it all began)
Hellblazer #11 (Newcastle)
Hellblazer #27 (Hold Me)
Hellblazer #41 (Dangerous Habits Part One)
Hellblazer #63 (Forty)
Hellblazer #120 (Desperately Seeking Something)
Hellblazer #146 (Hard Time Part One)
Hellblazer #229 (collected here if you don't want to buy the upcoming reprint of Denise Mina's run to have all of Hellblazer in trade)
Hellblazer #240 (The Laughing Magician Part One)

What would you put in your Hellblazer 30th Collection?

For my personal selection, I'd try to stick to stories that function as stand-alones, leaving out Part Ones of longer story arcs:

Delano: Hellblazer #1&2, Newcastle, Mourning of the Magician, Dead Boy's Heart
Ennis: The Diary of Danny Drake, End of the Line, Forty - because you can't have a Hellblazer 30th Celebration and leave out Mange!, maybe the break-up issue
Jenkins: #100 - Sins of the Father, #119 - Undertow, and ofc the aforementioned 120
Ellis: Telling Tales
Azzarello: If I had to acknowledge Azzarello... maybe Lapdogs & Englishman? Or just to give the imaginary readers of this imaginary collection a big WTF, the issue where John gets a hooker and scams old ladies at bingo.
Carey: The Game of Cat & Mouse, Event Horizon, The Gift
Post-Carey: Perhaps Diggle's Vatican two-parter, or Ravenscar Casino

Gaiman, Morrison, and John Smith's fill-ins would make the cut as well.

(kind of surprised two of the bigger-name writers who worked on Hellblazer, Morrison and Ellis, are nowhere to be seen in the actual collection)

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A. Heathen    1,166

What a poor selection they have chosen. 

 

For a moment I was thinking 229 was the awful issue where Denise Mina explored London terrorism. That's a fair choice for Carey. 

 

I would have edited together vignettes from the stories in flashbacks rather than another useless compendium. 

The recent two page spread flashback of the demons Constantine has wronged would be an example but perhaps more of a sequence.

 

One page pin ups such as Newcastle by Leo Manco and the Last Temptation of Gabriel by P Craig Russell.

Maybe some folks who do art elsewhere- Graham Humphreys springs to mind. https://grahamhumphreys.com

That Mucus Membrane gig with everyone in the audience by Sean Murphy.

 

Fucking rehashed collections my arse

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dogpoet    490

I'd take Freezes Over for Azzarrello: that isn't even negotiable. Hard Time was a pretty great story, but just the first part? Meh. Freezes Over is short enough they could fit the whole story in a collection.

I'd definitely want Eddie Campbell's story in there as well. Another Part of Hell for Delano. maybe The Rake At The Gates Of Hell for Ennis, or maybe The End Of The Line if they only had space for a single issue story (okay, no Mange, but the story does give a good display of John's character and for once in an Ennis story he doesn't come across as having a frame of reference that's twenty years too young for a man of his age). The Game Of Cat And Mouse is the obvious choice for Carey, but maybe High On Life or the thing on Gruinard instead? John Smith's fill in is a given. As they're having the Swamp Thing story, include the Shade three parter rather than any of Milligan's run on Hellblazer. One of Ellis' single issue stories rather than Haunted. (Apart from Shoot they're all rather good.) Have the short from the first Winter's Edge anthology for Paul Jenkins and maybe bring in China Meiville and Garth Ennis' anthology shorts as well: has any of that stuff appeared in any collections apart from Ennis' short from the first Vertigo teaser anthology?

All that said: I like Ade's idea of a sort of cut and paste mash up a lot, and wouldn't it be nice if DC pulled their fingers out and commissioned a new Hellblazer story or two, rather than just going reprint?

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Ignoring the potential page count this would be...

Delano: #1 - 2, #7 ("Ghosts in the Machine"), #27 ("Hold Me")

Ennis: "Dangerous Habits" Part 1 or 5, #45 ("Dangerous Habits" - Epilogue), #50 ("Remarkable Lines"), #68 ("End of the Line"), #76 ("Confessions of an Irish Rebel"), "Rake at the Gates of Hell" Part 4, 5, or 6.

Jenkins: #97 ("The Nature of the Beast"), #100 ("Sins of the Father"), #104 ("Difficult Beginnings" - Conclusion), #106 and #107 ("In the Line of Fire" - Parts 1 and 2), #120 ("Desperately Seeking Something"), #128 ("How to Play with Fire" - Part 4)

Ellis: #142 ("Setting Sun"/"One Last Love Song")

Carey: #175/176 ("High On Life" - Parts 1 and 2), #181 ("The Game of Cat and Mouse"), #200 ("Happy Families"), #202 ("Reasons to Be Cheerful" - Part 1), #213 ("The Gift"), #214/215 ("RSVP - Parts 1 and 2)

Mina: #216 ("Empathy is the Enemy" - Chapter 1)

Diggle: #230/#231 ("In the Deep End" - Parts 1 and 2), #245/246 ("Newcastle Calling" - Parts 1 and 2)

#250 ("Holiday Special")

Milligan: #259 ("The Cottage")

Looking at the list after typing it out, it's not really celebrating a whole 30 years, but if we're going for the essentials, for both old readers and new readers coming in, these would be them. 

To compensate, put some other arcs in the back as a cover art showcase; Issue 225 is still both my favorite piece of Hellblazer art as well as my favorite piece of comic cover art.

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Christian    790
On ‎6‎/‎4‎/‎2018 at 8:37 AM, dogpoet said:

 

All that said: I like Ade's idea of a sort of cut and paste mash up a lot, and wouldn't it be nice if DC pulled their fingers out and commissioned a new Hellblazer story or two, rather than just going reprint?

 

Not really. Then, we'd have to spend a lot of money to buy an overpriced hardcover reprint book with a couple of pages of new material, while we already own everything else.

I hate it when they (editors, publishers) do that. They put out a "best of" collection of an author or a band on CD, and then they include a "bonus" all-new story or new song on it, just so they know that the completests who already own all of this material will be forced to buy the "best of" collection too. Even though we already supported the creator throughout his/her/their career, and own everything else included.

Besides, didn't DC do that with their WildStorm anniversary hardcover? They included a few new short stories to round out a book of reprints.

What would be really nice would be to see DC put out this overpriced hype hardcover collection for newer readers, and that they would release a nice, adequately priced softcover TPB with all new stories by some of comics greatest writers to commemorate Hellblazer and reward us fans who stuck with the comics for its 30 years, no matter how many low-points the book hit along the way.

That's what would be really nice. Of course, DC will never do that, when they can't even be bothered to release a readable monthly Constantine comic. It's like the anniversary of Vertigo, where the line is nearly dead and no one even noticed it was 25 years since the launch of Vertigo. At least DC was bothered to slap together an overpriced book for Hellblazer, in their spare time.

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dogpoet    490

Maybe they could just find a colourist to finish the art and stick out that Peter Hogan Marquee Moon thing instead of a hardback? I'd forgotten about that one...

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A. Heathen    1,166

It turns out that Rich Handley,  often of these parts has contributed some essays to this so at least there's something good involved. 

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dogpoet    490

Those should be worth reading. Maybe a nice substantial non fiction book would be the way to go on this? Essays on the various writers, historical notes, a timeline so you can connect the stories to the irl stuff those of them with a satirical element are referencing, a few interviews, if possible. There's certainly plenty enough material there for a decent sized non fiction book, either in a gosh-wow toilet read style, or the sort of full blown pseudo-academia pomo litcrit style that gets applied to non fiction about Grant Morrison, Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman's comics. The two styles could even be alternated depending on what's being written about...

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I do find it kind of funny that the 30 Year Celebration of Hellblazer omits the entirety of Milligan's run when he was writer with the longest tenure on the book.  "Suicide Bridge" or "The Cottage" would both be welcome additions, I think.  Still, I'm happy to see this collection, and in a related note it seems that Vol. 20 of the Hellblazer trades that comes out in January will be collecting both the first half of Diggle's run and "All His Engines", which is kind of a strange place to put that story instead of with Carey's run.  Guess we'll be seeing "Pandemonium" collected in those volumes as well eventually.

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5 hours ago, JohnMcMahon said:

Fashionably late as always, I'd have stuck to single issue stories for this yoke myself.

That's been a problem of all the anniversary hardcovers DC has been putting out in recent years, they pick random chapters of stories that make no sense without context.  For example, the Batman HC wanted an issue from Snyder and Capullo, fair enough given that team's popularity, so they choose...Batman # 2 from the New 52?  I think had they gone with a series of oneshot stories for the Hellblazer HC it would have made for a much more satisfying read, but would also have more casual fans going "where's Dangerous Habits?"  

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Lou K    1,090
5 hours ago, JohnMcMahon said:

Fashionably late as always, I'd have stuck to single issue stories for this yoke myself.

I was thinking the same.

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JohnMcMahon    592

So three slots then, here's two from me -

#33 - Sundays Are Different (Delano & Motter)
#120 - Desperately Seeking Something (Jenkins & Phillips)

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Yeah, I'm glad they're including # 120, that's one of my favorite issues.  Here's my ideal issue line-up:

Saga of the Swamp Thing # 37 (for posterity)
Hellblazer # 4 (Waiting for the Man, Delano's entry)
Hellblazer # 27 (Hold Me, Gaiman's entry, though not one of my favorite issues it's exclusion would be a huge omission)
Hellblazer # 40 (Forty, Ennis' entry)
Hellblazer # 120 (Desperately Seeking Something, Jenkins' entry)
Hellblazer # 140 (Locked, Ellis' entry and a good basic horror story)
Hellblazer # 213 (The Gift, Carey's entry)
skipping Mina entirely
Hellblazer # 238 (The Smoke, Diggle's entry)
Hellblazer Annual # 1 (Suicide Bridge, Milligan's entry)

I think that would give a pretty good overview of the series as a whole while sticking to the single-issue story motif.

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dogpoet    490
3 hours ago, Ixnay by Night said:

Yeah, I'm glad they're including # 120, that's one of my favorite issues.  Here's my ideal issue line-up:

Saga of the Swamp Thing # 37 (for posterity)
Hellblazer # 4 (Waiting for the Man, Delano's entry)
Hellblazer # 27 (Hold Me, Gaiman's entry, though not one of my favorite issues it's exclusion would be a huge omission)
Hellblazer # 40 (Forty, Ennis' entry)
Hellblazer # 120 (Desperately Seeking Something, Jenkins' entry)
Hellblazer # 140 (Locked, Ellis' entry and a good basic horror story)
Hellblazer # 213 (The Gift, Carey's entry)
skipping Mina entirely
Hellblazer # 238 (The Smoke, Diggle's entry)
Hellblazer Annual # 1 (Suicide Bridge, Milligan's entry)

I think that would give a pretty good overview of the series as a whole while sticking to the single-issue story motif.

Why would dropping the Gaiman be a serious omission?

It isn't like it's not collected elsewhere, or that anybody's going to buy a collection to get hold of it yet again (or that the collection you're proposing is ever even going to exist, come to that), so why not just dump it in favour of one of your real favourites?

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Christian    790

Because, they have to put "From the World of Sandman, Neil Gaiman Presents: Hellblazer!" on the cover of the collection, if they want people to buy the book. Including #27 is the only way that is possible with the Hellblazer comic.

I remember when "Hold Me" was only available in-print within the Midnight Days Gaiman collection, or in the official movie TPB. You either had to stick a TPB without "Hellblazer" anywhere on the binding amidst your collection, or you were forced to buy that abysmal movie adaptation book.

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Dave    280

They could just put the Constantine Sandman issue if they wanted to do that, too.

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