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Lost_Johnny

Taking a break from the big picture...

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This has been prompted by reading Hellblazer issue #51 Counting to Ten (the one where John goes into a laundrette) which I personally thought was one of the best issues I've ever read (fantastic art as well), it was exactly how I see JC on his days off from the main storylines :biggrin: and similar to some of the laundrettes I've visited!

 

I also really enjoyed issue #13 On the Beach which summed up many of my fears in the 80s about the threat of the nuclear age, it's dated now but a brilliant reminder of the paranoia of that time. When I mentioned it before though, Christian reckoned that while he liked it, others thought it was a bit lame.

 

Go on then what's good, what's shite and what's not too pretty either, in your view.

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A lot of my favourite Hellblazer stories are 1- or 2-parters. A quick list, off the top of my head (in no particular order):

 

#27 - 'Hold Me'. Obvious, perhaps, but still arguably the best single Hellblazer issue ever published, and one of my favourite Gaiman stories.

 

#31 - 'Mourning of the Magician'. Possibly my favourite Delano issue - which makes it a solid contender for my favourite-ever Hellblazer issue. Still one of the most revealing insights we've been given into what made John grow up to become who he is, and a beautiful tale in it's own right.

 

#56 - 'The Diary of Danny Drake'. My favourite Ennis issue by miles, and one of disappointingly few where his Constantine really feels like the same character Delano was writing. Cracking horror story which ambles along nicely enough for most of the issue, before turning around magnificently in the final pages, sending you straight back to the beginning to read through the whole thing again. Brilliant.

 

#63 - 'Forty'. Really, what's not to love about this one?

 

#118 - 'Life and Death and Taxis'. The more relaxed, slice-of-life side of Jenkins' run comes in for a fair bit of criticism, but I generally enjoyed it, and this is one of the best examples. No magic per se (although there's a hint to the contrary on the final page), just a superbly-put-together blend of comedy, tragedy, romance, drama, and emotional release. It's not necessarily Sean Phillips' finest hour, art-wise (having re-read it recently, I'd say a few pages betray their photo-referenced origins a little too clearly, with awkward poses and contorted facial expressions), but he still produces the goods for the scenes which really matter. A shame it got buggered out of continuity by a recent scene in Carey's 'Reasons To Be Cheerful', but that doesn't make the original tale any less effective. An undeservedly-forgotten classic.

 

#143 - 'Telling Tales'. A gloriously funny, wickedly atmospheric little shaggy dog story, made perfect by Frusin's best-ever artwork on the title. Far and away my favourite issue from Ellis' too-short tenure as HB scribe.

 

#162-163 - 'Lapdogs and Englishmen'. The one story where Azzarello unequivocally "got" Constantine. A few niggles aside (that unresolved subplot with the book, some awkward "English" slang), it's a cracking old-fashioned con-with-a-twist tale, and whatever can be said of the rest of Azzarello's run, this story at least thoroughly earns place in the canon of 'classic' Constantine stories.

 

#181 - 'The Game of Cat and Mouse'. A nicely-paced tense action story, with excellent use of location and one of the better Constantine 'tricks' I've read in a long time - no magic, just local knowledge and quick thinking. It's a side of the character we haven't seen in a little too long for my tastes, but I have to give Carey major props for nailing it so well here.

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As for me:

 

#2: A Feast of Friends: While the first issue was good, I absolutely loved this one. I think this is where Delano really nailed the character. And the whole thing was just cracking. One of my favourite Hellblazer stories ever.

 

#27: Hold Me: Mark summed this one up nicely.

 

#31: Mourning of the Magician: Ditto here.

 

#76: Confessions of an Irish Rebel: I always thought this one came together brilliantly. John and Brendan just walking around Ireland, talking about old times sounds like a cure for insomnia, but I thought it was a great story, and worked well as a semi-epilogue to Damnation's Flame.

 

#77: ...And the Crowd Goes Wild: Since I haven't read Danny Drake yet, this holds the title for my favourite Ennis single issue. Funny, charming, and just a great read. And anything with Spinal Tap in it is cool.

 

#140: Locked: John (and Ellis) at their most visceral, this one was gruesome, yet also a great read. John's obviously learned a few things since his last confrontation with a serial killer, and him keeping his cool in that room was great. But I admit, I'm slightly biased because Watford was in that issue, and I love everything featuring our favourite corrupt inspector.

 

And, though I've ranted on about it countless times, I once more have to mention my forever, undying love for One Last Love Song. Utter brilliance.

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Locked is one of my fave Hellblazer stories.

Also I liked the recent #201 (can't remember the title, but it was a nice little story about a ring that hapless thieves had relieved John of).

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nobody mentioned the fantastic #120 yet! ok, so it's a total in-joke issue, but I love it. some stunning Phillips art as well.

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That's another favourite of mine, yes. The Death cameo is possibly just a smidgen too close to cutesy indulgence for me, but the issue as a whole is just brilliant.

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Love, LOVE standalone issues, especially with a series like this. Much of HB is best left mysterious, and with longer story arcs the writer tends to have to overexplain things by default. The standalone issues allow the creative team to get a good creep on...

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[bangs head on table] Can't believe I forgot to mention Hold Me yes one of the best.

 

How about duffers? Issues #47 and #48 The pub where I was born and Love Kills just didn't fit in for me and the characters seemed somehow flat.

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You're not alone. Those are two god-awful comics, right there.

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Some of the Delano issues are hard to decide if you should include them as part of a one-shot or two-part list, you know? Technically, I guess "Dead Boy's Heart" is a stand-alone story? But, at the same time, it's part of a much larger plot that Delano was working on leading up to #39 & 40.

 

#3-Demon Yuppies satire

#5-Vietnam War issue

The Newcastle story-line would count, right?

#13-Nuclear fears

Grant Morrison's two-parter

#27-Gaiman's "Hold Me"

#31-"Mourning of the Magician"

#33-"Sundays are Different"

#34 & 35-I'm not sure if the following 3 counts or not, but they're my favourite issues of "Hellblazer", so I'm calling them stand-alone stories!

#36-John's future

#39 & 40-I guess this counts as a two-parter?

#51-by John Smith

#56-Diary of Danny Drake

#76-Confessions of an Irish Rebel

Darko Macan's two-parter

"Hellblazer Annual"-I guess this one would count as a stand-alone issue, eh?

 

Those are the ones that stand out off the top of me head.

 

EDIT:OK, I looked through my collection and here's what I forgot:

#62-My first issue of "Hellblazer"!

#67-Kit leaves John. Sure, you could say it's the beginning of a new story-line, but it stands on it own too.

#97-Nature of the Beast-Epilogue to "Critical Mass", but it doesn't say that in the comic, so it can count!

"One Last Love Song" by Ellis

"Lapdogs and Englishmen" by Azzarello

"High on Life" by Carey

Paul Jenkins' short story from a "Winter's Edge"-It's a Hellblazer story, so it should count.

"All Those Little Boys & Girls" (the Ennis story from "Winter's Edge")

 

THE HORRORIST-Not technically part of the "Hellblazer" comic, itself, but very much a "Hellblazer" story.

This is my favourite John Constantine story ever, so it must be included!

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"I also really enjoyed issue #13 On the Beach which summed up many of my fears in the 80s about the threat of the nuclear age, it's dated now but a brilliant reminder of the paranoia of that time. "

 

I don't think #13 is dated at all. Yes, the paranoia is not the same, and the Cold War aspects of it are dated, but at the same time, you're always hearing about how scary the thought is of terrorists getting their hands on nuclear weapons, as they will surely use them. Or, the attempted scare tactics America is trying to get going with "North Korea and Iran are after nukes"! Plus, America is continuing their nuclear weapons program, trying to create larger and deadlier forms of dispensing nuclear destruction on the world.

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As for me:

 

 

#76: Confessions of an Irish Rebel: I always thought this one came together brilliantly. John and Brendan just walking around Ireland, talking about old times sounds like a cure for insomnia, but I thought it was a great story, and worked well as a semi-epilogue to Damnation's Flame.

 

 

Was this the one right after john got back from the US? Absolutely BRILLIANT.

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Yeah Jay, that's the one. He gets delayed in Dublin, and ends up spending the night waxing lyrical with the ghost of Brendan.

 

One of my favorite (ok...one of my favourite) issues ever.

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Guest rubspiffyliftuptrickygogoasshams

"Lapdogs and Englishmen" (which I had autographed by the cover artist)

"Shoot" which I had to download. I liked it in spite of the controversy and hype.

"Telling Tales" was a great satire of the Reptillian conspiracy, possibly the most wonderfully absurd conspiracy theory I've ever heard.

"Locked" was good.

I don't recall the name, but it was when John goes and meets Kit & Brendan while she is shacking up with Brendan. They smoke some weed and sit and watch the sunrise as Brendan is puking. Then, he joins them.

#200 was entertaining. Even though it was a prelude to the current arc, it still counts as a stand alone. It was cool as a past-present-future artist issue, plus I instantly became a fan of Mssr. Manco.

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"Lapdogs and Englishmen" (which I had autographed by the cover artist)

"Shoot" which I had to download. I liked it in spite of the controversy and hype.

"Telling Tales" was a great satire of the Reptillian conspiracy, possibly the most wonderfully absurd conspiracy theory I've ever heard.

"Locked" was good.

I don't recall the name, but it was when John goes and meets Kit & Brendan while she is shacking up with Brendan. They smoke some weed and sit and watch the sunrise as Brendan is puking. Then, he joins them.

#200 was entertaining. Even though it was a prelude to the current arc, it still counts as a stand alone. It was cool as a past-present-future artist issue, plus I instantly became a fan of Mssr. Manco.

 

Spider...what the fuck is rubspiffyliftuptrickygogoasshams?

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My favourites include:

 

Hold Me

 

Grant Morrison's two parter Early Warning/How I Learned To Love The Bomb

 

How To Play With Fire arc

 

Critical Mass arc

 

Royal Blood arc

 

Dangerous Habits arc

 

Guys And Dolls arc

 

Delano's Family Man story arc

 

A Taste Of Things To Come

 

Hard Time arc

 

High On Life

 

Black Flowers arc

 

Dead Boy's Heart

 

Locked

 

Telling Tales

 

The Crib(not the story but the visuals blow me away, still think its got the quintessential Bradstreet image of Constantine in it)

 

Mourning Of A Magician

 

The Magus

 

Staring At The Wall arc

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Ooh, my favorite HB stories are all almost all standalones.

 

First off, about 80% of all the Delano issues are solid gold, and many of those were standalones, so I'm just going to leave those as assumed, and go with the more potent and classic tales.

 

25 and 26, of course. Gotta love Grant Morrison mucking it up with hellish Halloween masks and nuclear fear.

 

39 and 40, the Golden Boy tales. Mostly 39, but 40 is a trip, too. I still don't "get" all of it, but I tend to like those nuts that I can't fully crack.

 

51 by John Smith. The most unassuming story that you can't get wring out, like oil and grease stuck deep under your fingernails. This tale of the most ominous everyday life still fascinates and scares me.

 

97 . . . I love this look at John. It's not immensely deep, and not hugely surprising, but there's still something there that puts it all together in a way that feels revelatory, yet not apocalyptically so. It works like a subconscious epiphany, something always there that you just don't see.

 

120 is so much cheeky fun. A Hellblazer story that actually feels, I dunno . . . inviting? Whodathunkit?

 

162 and 163. Great characterization and fun from Johnny C's past. Tipping my hat to Azz, I'd have liked to see what his Mike-esque uuberplot would've been like.

 

200 and the Constanteenies are born. One of the very few issues I can truly say that I love from Mike's run. Great character interaction, and one of the only times I've ever liked the inclusion of the whole Green/Swampy aspect. The muppet babies actually showed promise here.

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I was going to respond in depth to this last night, but got way, way to tired to even think. Every stand-alone issue by Ellis are favorites (yes, even "Shoot").

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THE HORRORIST-Not technically part of the "Hellblazer" comic, itself, but very much a "Hellblazer" story.

This is my favourite John Constantine story ever, so it must be included!

Just read this story. Very well done, and terribly enjoyable. BUT, its a tad derivative of HB #1 and 2 IMHO.

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