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Mike Carey

Outgoing writer here

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Hi, people. Ade indicated that there was some interest in having a chat about my run on the book. I'm really happy to do that now that it's all done and the dust has settled. I felt a bit iffy about popping up here before, because I didn't want to constrain discussion of inidividual issues as they came out. I still came by for the occasional lurk, though.

 

So if anyone wants to talk to me - or has got anything to ask me - now that I'm the writer formerly known as, then please feel free.

 

And for the record, the outgoing writer will continue to be a reader. I know a bit more than you do about what Denise has planned, and it's all dark, wonderful stuff. You can't ask me about that, though. :cool:

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BTW, I show up here as "Michael Carey" because I forgot my old password and had to give myself a new user name. I wish I'd come up with something else, now: it looks a little odd.

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I just want to say thanks for storie that were entertaining enough to get me back to Hellblazer, after I was scared away by the writer before you.

All My Engines is one of the best graphic novels of the last few years. If we could have that as a movie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That and Lucifer is in my opinion the new Sandman.

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Thanks for coming around. I always wonder how much freedom DC/Vertigo gives its writers on a property they own. Did you have any problems with bringing back or killing off past characters or did Vankin and the powers that be give you pretty much free reign?

 

BTW I'm looking forward to the first Castor novel in a few months.

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Dito the above praise . I am also looking forward to the Castor Novel . I was wondering why you killed The Demon Constantine and what your feelings where on the character . Thanks for a great run and I hope to see you back on this title someday .

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Wow! "Hellblazer" is over for you, you just finished "Lucifer"....What are you going to do with all your spare time now?

 

It was a fun ride and your last 3 issues are classics.

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Well, thanks for the kind words. I've had a whale of a time on the book. Writing John gets to be quite addictive. Shawn, glad you've been enjoying Lucifer, too. I just put the last script to bed there - issue 75. Finishing both books within a few months of each other makes this a very strange time for me. Fortunately I've got a lot of new projects starting up.

 

Andy - I was given huge amounts of latitude. Even when it came to having Cheryl die, Jon only wanted to be sure that the story would give that event the weight it needed and deserved. He didn't try to talk me out of it. Maybe if I'd suggested killing Chas...

 

I'm trying to think of occasions where I had some plot idea in mind and it got vetoed or substantially derailed because Will or Jon didn't like the direction I was going in. Offhand, I can't think of any. They were both very supportive and very open to all the ideas I was coming up with.

 

On Lucifer I did once have a political reference removed from an issue.

 

Slick - I'm not sure that devouring the Demon Constantine removes him from the picture permanently. He's not made of real flesh - more a kind of congealed spirit. I like the DC, and I think there's potentially a lot more mileage in him. In some ways, he's a tailor-made nemesis for the real John, but also I think it would be possible to build a really cool story around the idea of the two of them having to work together to achieve something.

 

Anyway, don't rule out the possibility of him turning up again. "That is not dead which can eternal lie".

 

Christian - spare time really isn't going to be an issue. I've still got the third Castor novel to write (and if all goes well, some more after that). I've had a new Vertigo monthly approved, as well as the miniseries (Faker) that was announced at Brighton. I'm also doing some work for Marvel - a LOT of work for Marvel - that's really different from what I've done in the past and really exciting. I think this may turn out to be my busiest year yet. It does feel very strange, though, not to be writing Hellblazer and Lucifer any more. Those two books have sort of stamped themselves on my mind so much over the past few years that I still find myself turning over plot ideas in my mind for them and then remembering that I can't use them now. :blink:

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Hey Mike, nice to see you around man - I've changed your username to "Mike Carey".

 

All His Engines is probably my favourite ever Hellblazer read, so nice work on that one!

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Mr. Carey,

Your work on Hellblazer was my favorite--- and that's saying something considering the excellent talent the book has had over the years. Delano attracted me to the book, Ennis kept me coming back, and you sunk your hooks into me so that I couldn't get the stories out of my mind. I just finished reading your final issue yesterday and found it a fitting end to an amazing run.

In short: Thanks for a great 3 years!

Cheers

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Cool! You know I was panicking a bit about having nothing of yours to read by the end of this year. I just don't seem able to find superhero type comics that interesting usually, even by great writers.

 

I am going to miss Lucifer as much as I miss The Sandman. I only picked up Hellblazer at all because you wrote it. Glad to hear there is a new Vertigo monthly coming. I would go nuts otherwise.

 

Thanks for all the great stuff to read!

 

p.s. Any possibility of a Gem Constantine spin-off in the works that you know of?

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Ah! Back to my old self again. Thanks, John. Glad you enjoyed AHE. That just came right, somehow. Having the huge scope - a hundred plus pages for one story - inspired both Leo and me, and we just belted into it. I think it's one of the strongest things I've written, and it's definitely the closest I've come to really nailing John's character as I see it.

 

Nightpunch, thank you too. To be compared to Jamie is high praise indeed. I'm really glad you enjoyed the ride.

 

Alwayscrashing, as far as I know there isn't a Gemma book planned, but I think it would be an interesting thing to do. For my money, though, Ade's idea of a sort of "Legends of the Hellblazer" book has a lot of mileage in it. Like LOTDK, it would be a book that had stories about John, his current family, his ancestors, regular supporting characters from across the various runs and so on. The Lady Constantine mini that Andy Diggle did would have fitted right into a book like that, as would any Gemma stories.

 

I guess I don't see a situation where Gemma would sustain her own monthly series, but she's certainly a compelling enough and well-rounded enough character to weave some great three-part and four-part stories around.

 

Glad you enjoyed Lucifer. The new Vertigo monthly is again a horror/fantasy series, but with a different tone and approach and a different underlying logic. It's a smaller story, for one thing: more like folklore than epic. And the horror elements come in from a different angle, if that makes any sense. Lucifer was a mythologically themed epic with horror entering the mix in specific situations and plot-lines, usually in the one-off stories. This book is horror-themed but turns out to have a mythological/folkloric rationale.

 

We've just had an arist assigned, and it's someone with a very distinctive and very beautiful style. He's worked for Vertigo before, but we've never met or been on the same book. I'm very much looking forward to getting to know him.

 

Coming back to Hellblazer, one of the most pleasurable memories I'll take away with me from working on the book is being there when Leo came on board, getting to know his style and getting to write to that style. We hit some real highs together, I think: not to belittle Marcelo Frusin, who is also a great talent, Leo and I just worked, in the same way that Peter Gross and I on Lucifer just worked. It's great that he's staying on the book, but I'm hoping to do some more work with him in future...

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Hey, Mike... Just wanted to thank you for everything, from the signed comics, to you coming here to spy on us... :D

 

 

Also, i was wondering, about the unresolved Gemma/Succubi children plot thread, did you intentionally leave it for someone else to finish, or did you just change your mind...?

 

Did you change your plot direction at some point during the series, so it didn't end as you initially planned it to?

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Cheers for the run.

 

Specifically I appreciated the scope and use of the rich Hellblazer history.

John's dialogue was top notch too, and possibly the best.

 

I have bemoaned the loss of a strong political presence in Hellblazer(but that was years ago), but as you mentioned regarding Lucifer, Vertigo may not be that keen.

 

I know there have been insights throughout, but I was wondering what ultimately you envisioned for John Constantine.

You know Carey's Hellblazer:The End.

 

This may be covered in #215, but I'm stuck in South Africa now.

 

Your'e very much correct on nailing John's charcter in AHE.

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Hi Rogan.

 

You're welcome. I reckon you more than paid me back by introducing me to Bete Noire.

 

No, I didn't change direction: I always knew where I was going to end up in the last long arc - and building up the character of Gemma was part of getting there. So in that sense Bred in the Bone (originally intended to appear a bit later on in my run) was just a Gemma-centred story that nudged her on a bit, or more than a bit, from where she was when we first met her in Red Sepulchre.

 

But yeah, I did have a plot use in mind for the vampire children, and in the end I did something different. It had to do with Down in the Ground, and the whole business of what Gemma does while John is in Hell. But Down in the Ground had a big cast already, and I decided not to complicate matters by bringing the vampire kids back.

 

So they're there if anyone ever wants to use them. But it's a bit of an obscure by-way to revisit, so probably they won't reappear. Unless I pop back sometime, as Hellblazer writers sometimes do, for a second bite.

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well, i for one would love that second bite, like we had with Ennis...

 

And people mentioned that bracelet from Event Horizon maybe being set up to play a larger role later on, or was it originally intended as one of the announced self-contained short stories that signified a new direction with the new editor around ish #200?

 

Any chance of you working with Tim Bradstreet some day on some thing?

 

Also, glad you still remember La Bete Noire, hope you managed to share it with other people, it'll need all the good word of mouth it can get, when some publisher finally decides to print it in the US...

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Sorry, Testosterohne - I wasn't ignoring you there: I must have been writing my reply while your posts were going up. "Guest" up there is me.

 

I didn't mean to imply that Vertigo were fighting shy of political content. I think there are certain kinds of material that they don't want to handle at the moment: the bit that was censored in Lucifer was a glancing comment on the relationship between Bush and Blair.

 

I agree with you that the political dimension in the book was one of its strongest aspects under Jamie and then under Garth Ennis. I still can't read Rake at the Gates of Hell without being dragged back through time against my will to the monstous heyday of Thatcherism. I share - or at least I suspect I share - a lot of Jamie's and Garth's political perspective. There were various reasons why that doesn't surface in the book except in the odd detail. One is that in the murky age we now live in, it's a Labour government in the UK that dragged us into an unnecessary foreign war and that is currently treating asylum-seekers like sub-human refuse. The moral compass is broken, and I'm so powerfully pessimistic about politics in the UK and in the US that if I started in on that subject I'd sound like one of the self-medicated ranters you meet on the streets after chucking-out time. Another is that I have a suspicion that stories that nail themselves too tightly to the political realities of a specific time are harder to read out of the context of that time. Lucifer, to take an obvious example, *is* a political book - but it doesn't comment on current events.

 

My "Hellblazer:The End"? If I was pushed to it, I'd imagine a story in which John appears to get his ass well and truly kicked by his infernal enemies - probably with the First of the Fallen on centre-stage - and then after he's dead and damned there's a gradual but increasingly spectacular unravelling and we realise that he's carved them all up posthumously. That isn't how I ended my run, of course: I was just playing out the consequences of John's latest pyrrhic victory.

 

Rogan, I'd love to work on a story with Tim. We tried to set it up twice during my time on the book, and both times it fell apart on us. Someday...

 

The bracelet in Event Horizon was never meant to be a seed for a later story - I just wanted to do a stand-alone horror piece. I wish I'd managed to slip in a couple more, because both that and The Gift were really fun to do.

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Thanks again, Mike...

 

and ona totally unrelated note, will we see that kid from Switchglas Slide again in the pages of Lucifer?

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Hey Mike,

I enjoyed your work greatly but can you confirm to us that Hellblazer is alive and well and is in no danger because there has been a fair bit of speculation on this site lately.........plus can i have a job ? :biggrin:

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Will we see the kid from Stitchglass Slide again? Funnily enough, yes - in issue 70, which is the next one out. He's all grown up now, but still messing with people's emotions. 8-)

 

Hellboy, I really don't think you need to worry about Hellblazer for the foreseeable future. The monthly still skates along above the non-viability point for Vertigo books, but even if it didn't, the trades - old and new - continue to sell well. As with Lucifer, which has lower monthly sales than Hellblazer, that consideration makes all the difference. As far as I know, nobody has ever used the C-word in connection with Hellblazer. Sorry, the other C-word.

 

And yes, you can have a job. In light of the discussion above, you can have Tony Blair's. Tell him I said so.

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Thanks.

 

I hope some of you guys will check Castor out.  There's a certan Constantine-ish quality about the main character, at least in some of his moods.

 

Mike,

 

Was the backdrop of the Castor novel’s (the dead having risen and what not) partly inspired by the event’s leading up to and portrayed in ‘Starring at The Wall’?

 

Very much looking forward to the first Castor book, by the way.

 

Gordon.

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Mike, many thanks for making Hellblazer brilliant again, and for writing All His Engines, which I reckon is the definitive John Constantine story.

 

Can you see yourself doing a Delano or an Ennis and coming back to Constantine at some point in the future, or do you feel that you've exhausted everything you could do with him? Are there any unused Constantine stories that are just floating around in your head waiting to be put to paper?

 

With your run over, which storylines do you think stand up the best? Are there any which didn't quite come out quite like you'd imagined them?

 

You run is, as you've said, one big story and the flow from High on Life to Staring at the Wall is obvious. But when did you come up with the fallout from that arc? Were the amnesia/kids/Cheryl's death stories concieved at the same time, or did the ending come to you a little later on?

 

On a much more geeky note, what happened to the multiple memories John was suffering from in Reasons to be Cheerful? At the start of the arc, he was prepared to use a spell which would only make him worse in the long-term, yet it seemed that all he needed to do all along was get involved in a bar brawl. Did you originally intend to do something else with the memory subplot or was this exactly as you planned it?

 

Also, about that new Vertigo monthly - is that based on existing characters like Lucifer, or is it a creator-owned series along the lines of Preacher and Transmet? If it's the latter, congrats - both me and John have been saying you should have an original Vertigo ongoing all to yourself.

 

On Lucifer I did once have a political reference removed from an issue.

 

You've said that this was to do with the Bush/Blair relationship, but can you tell us the context? Who was saying it, in what issue and why?

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Gordon - not specifically, no. The core idea that kicked the whole thing off was a slightly different take on what happens or can happen when the soul of a dead person persists in the living world. I was thinking that a world with ghosts and zombies and werewolves and vampires is a lot to swallow if you have different rationales for the existence of all these groups. And then it hit me that you could cover the lot with a single premise - I mean, if one thing is accepted then all those other things become not just possible but inevitable. That was what I pitched, and it was on that basis that Orbit signed me to the three-book deal.

 

James - I'd love to come back. It takes a while to get the measure of John, and I'm sure there are more Hellblazer stories in me. If I do, though, it'll be a few years down the line.

 

Which storylines stand up the best? I'm proud of Red Sepulchre and Staring at the Wall: they both worked exactly the way I wanted them to. Apart from that, I think probably the stand-alone issues - well, Game of Cat and Mouse and The Gift, anyway - are the strongest. The issues from Black Flowers to Staring at the Wall didn't work out as well as they should have - partly my fauly, because I should have layered in the revelations about the Shadow Dog better, and partly art schedules buggering up my plans.

 

The second half of the run wasn't all planned in advance. I knew where I wanted to end up, but I didn't know exactly how I was going to get there. Reasons to be Cheerful, in particular, was plotted on the fly to some extent.

 

I don't think Nergal's tough love in Reasons to be Cheerful cured John's multiple memories - in fact, I don't think he ever was cured of them. What Nergal was doing was getting John over his immediate funk by putting him in a life-threatening position. Anger drives out fear. It's not good therapy, it's just how I imagine a certain kind of demon thinks...

 

The new series is creator-owned. Thanks for the good wishes: it does feel like a fairly momentous step, although I'd be the last to complain about playing with other people's toys. That's what I've founded my career on.

 

The Blair/Bush reference was actually fairly anodyne. It was the punk lyric in #45. "George Fucking Bush married Tony fucking Blair, the church was made of corpses..." It's stretching a point even to call it political, really, but someone in the editorial echelons thought it was offensive. A similar scruple led to a couple of minor changes in #33 so that it wasn't ever explicitly stated that Sabah Al-Dabagh was Muslim - even though he was a sympathetically portrayed and thoroughly decent guy. Someone clearly felt that Muslim sensibilities might still be offended by the story line.

 

However, those were the only two instances out of more than six years of stories when I was asked to make changes. I think that's an amazingly good average.

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