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Andy Diggle

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I'd like to see non-genre stories every so often, where John deals with an issue from his life or the fact that he's bored with life, before the next crisis comes along. More like the Paul Jenkins era format, only with a much more miserable John.

 

If by 'non genre' you mean straight up stories with no horror/fantasy/supernatural elements at all, I sure hope that doesnt happen because it wouldnt go down well with a lot of readers (myself included). None of the Paul Jenkins stories were totally non genre from what I recall. If you mean issues on the Jenkins template, I'm still rather wary - Critical Mass aside, I think the Jenkins run had some major problems. Often being unforgiveably boring is one of them.

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I'd like to see non-genre stories every so often, where John deals with an issue from his life or the fact that he's bored with life, before the next crisis comes along. More like the Paul Jenkins era format, only with a much more miserable John.

 

If by 'non genre' you mean straight up stories with no horror/fantasy/supernatural elements at all, I sure hope that doesnt happen because it wouldnt go down well with a lot of readers (myself included). None of the Paul Jenkins stories were totally non genre from what I recall. If you mean issues on the Jenkins template, I'm still rather wary - Critical Mass aside, I think the Jenkins run had some major problems. Often being unforgiveably boring is one of them.

 

Guest writer: HARVEY PEKAR - John Constantine's Cancer Year.

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Hellblazer #51, one of the most well liked issues of Hellblazer, revolved around John Constantine visiting a laundry and discovering how weird other people can be.

He spent an issue in a laundry!

 

There have been other issues of H.B. without any action, and people didn't run screaming from the comic store never to return.

 

I don't see anything wrong with every once in a while having an issue where John is miserable about his life, or what have you.

Not every comic has to be packed with action and adventure. Well, the superhero genre it's pretty well a prerequisite, but this is Vertigo.

There should be issues where John catches his breath amidst all the action.

I was down on Mike Carey's run due to it being action overload. This happens to John and then this happens and then this happens. No breathing space for the reader of John. I would've liked to see issues where John just sits back, thinks about how crazy everything has become and wonder how much longer he can take it before he snaps.

The end of Carey's run was so superb because it showed the psychological damage all that craziness had done to John.

It was what made Delano's run so superb. We always saw how everything affected John. He stopped every so often to deal with everything in his life, or lacking from his life.

 

A good number of fans read Hellblazer because they love the character of John Constantine.

How many people have come out of the current issues saying, "God, this was an awful comic! But, the characterization of John Constantine was wonderful! I'll give it an 8 based on John's dialogue."?

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Hellblazer #51, one of the most well liked issues of Hellblazer, revolved around John Constantine visiting a laundry and discovering how weird other people can be.

 

One of those other people happened to be a zombie.

 

He spent an issue in a laundry!

 

With a zombie!

 

I was down on Mike Carey's run due to it being action overload. This happens to John and then this happens and then this happens. No breathing space for the reader or John.

 

I agree with this, though. Not down on the run as a whole, but I do think that was one of its flaws.

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What is your favorite word?

What is your least favorite word?

What makes you randy [creatively, spiritually or emotionally]?

What scares you flacid [creatively, spiritually or emotionally]?

What is your favorite curse word?

What sound or noise do you love?

What sound or noise do you hate?

What profession would you like to attempt?

What profession would you not like to do, besides your own?

If Hell Exists, what do you expect to hear the Devil say when you arrive at the Jaws of Kerberos?

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Christian, reread my post. I did not say I had an objection to quiet issues with nothing much happening. I said I had objections to non genre Hellblazer stories ie. stories with no fantasy/horror/supernatural elements whatsoever. I didnt say I wanted stories full of action and adventure all the time, just that my Hellblazer should have some supernatural element in it. I don't think this is an unreasonable expectation given the kind of comic HB is. I'm the last person to have any kind of problem with characterization-based comics. It's just that if you want a comic book that is exclusively misery sans any kind of supernatural/horror spin, you probably shouldnt look to HB.

 

I liked 51 too and as James points out, there's a zombie in it. There's absolutely nothing wrong with quiet stories like that once in a while but when I read HB I like to know I'm reading HB and not a Chris Ware or Craig Thompson comic.

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... Man, I love Wikipedia!

It's the best thing on the net. The fact that YouTube is way more popular says something about western society. Thanks for being a good sport, even though I now worry that you have too much time on your hands. :)

 

Love is a survival trait which has evolved to increase the probability of parents' DNA being successfully passed on to the next generation. It ceases to exist upon death.

Spot the action/adventure writer. :tongue: I hope that soulless viewpoint isn't going to shape your run on Hellblazer. :)

 

 

I don't see anything wrong with every once in a while having an issue where John is miserable about his life, or what have you.

...

There should be issues where John catches his breath amidst all the action.

I agree that's desirable for a panel, or a page; but a whole issue? Hellblazer doesn't chronicle every second of John's life, just the bits that are entertaining. The catching of breath happens between issues. What you're describing might be best left to fanfic (not that there's anything wrong with that).

 

A good number of fans read Hellblazer because they love the character of John Constantine.

"Fans" is the operative word there. If John's character isn't seen to participate in entertaining stories, no new readers will come to love that character.

 

 

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to tell my friends that the new writer of Hellblazer said "sphincter" to me.

Edited by JasonT

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I don't see anything wrong with every once in a while having an issue where John is miserable about his life, or what have you.

...

There should be issues where John catches his breath amidst all the action.

I agree that's desirable for a panel, or a page; but a whole issue? Hellblazer doesn't chronicle every second of John's life, just the bits that are entertaining. The catching of breath happens between issues. What you're describing might be best left to fanfic (not that there's anything wrong with that).

 

Interesting debate, but I didn't want to pull the thread off-topic, so I've made another thread for this discussion here: http://hellblazer.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=4370

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Two questions for you, Andy:

 

What are your favorite Constantine stories?

 

What do you plan to say to Constantine should you encounter him in a London sandwich shop?

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What do you plan to say to Constantine should you encounter him in a London sandwich shop?

“Cosplay? Any [over-used word] could do it.”

 

What are your favorite Constantine stories?

The whole American Gothic arc from SMAMP THING; from Delano’s run, the first two issues of HELLBLAZER and the Vietnam story; the Grant Morrison/David Lloyd two-parter; the Gaiman/McKean issue; Garth’s cancer arc.

 

Will we see a return of the first person narrative?

 

Yep, although I’m only using it sparingly. I find it works nicely to ease you into the start of a story, but after that I tend to prefer to let the dialogue and visuals drive it. I wouldn’t want to spend the entirety of every issue showing you the inside of John’s head unless there’s a very good reason to do so.

 

Comics is a visual medium, and I think an over-emphasis on captions can drain some of the immediacy out of it. So don’t expect to see lots of “Despair hurls its nebulous weight at walls of incomprehension” type captions.

 

Best first-person Constantine captions ever? “Oh great. Dead of the Living Night. Night of the Living Dead. ...Whatever.”

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What is your favorite word?

I don’t really have one, but “amble” springs to mind.

 

What is your least favorite word?

I don’t have one, although it does piss me off when over-zealous editors insist on changing “alright” to “all right” - especially when they’re perfectly happy with similarly ungrammatical contractions like “dunno”, “wotcha”, “ennit” etc.

 

What makes you randy [creatively, spiritually or emotionally]?

Monica Bellucci.

 

What scares you flacid [creatively, spiritually or emotionally]?

The thought of something nasty happening to my daughter.

 

What is your favorite curse word?

Fuck.

 

What sound or noise do you love?

My daughter’s laughter.

 

What sound or noise do you hate?

Essex accents.

 

What profession would you like to attempt?

Screenwriter.

 

What profession would you not like to do, besides your own?

Baghdad taxi-driver.

 

If Hell Exists, what do you expect to hear the Devil say when you arrive at the Jaws of Kerberos?

“Atheist? Good. Line on the left, one cross each...”

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Andy:

 

I'd prefer short stories and one-off issues for Hellblazer. If it has to be a long arc, then something along the format lines of Judge Dredd: The Pit would be great- (One long arc under a single title, split into shorter stories and sub titles).

 

Which artists will you be working with?

 

Who would you most like to see drawing your rendition of John Constantine?

 

Which past Hellblazer artist would you like to bring back to Hellblazer?

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Andy, congrats on getting the conjob (unless you were coerced or in dire financial straits - in which case commiserations).

 

I tend to find I enjoy Constantine's cynicism most when reading the comic, if I'm being honest it's probably because I'm very sad and feel I can relate to this aspect of his character - the truth of mid-life crisis... look I'm not boring ok, two kids and a mortgage but at least I can relate to a fictional comic book character who's a right cynical bastard! I was just wondering what aspects of Constantine's character appeals to you most, what's the main buzz when writing Hellblazer?

 

Anyway good luck with it, the synopsis for your first issue sounds right proper ace - oh and as you asked I love two issue stories (the Morrison/Lloyd one also being a personal fave) but really whatever it takes - a mixture is good - the unexpected etc.

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Which artists will you be working with?

Leo Manco and Lee Bermejo are staying on interiors and covers respectively. Maybe the occasional fill-in artist if and when Leo needs a breather.

 

Who would you most like to see drawing your rendition of John Constantine?

Well I’m thrilled to be working with Leo - his characters can really act with their eyes, which is a rare talent in comics art. I’d also love to see Lee Bermejo, Tim Bradstreet, Steve Dillon, Sean Phillips and Jock back on the book. Beyond that, off the top of my head and in no particular order - Ben Oliver, Ben Templesmith, Chris Weston, Duncan Fegredo, Ed Risso, Kilian Plunkett, Mike Mignola, Phil Hester, Tim Sale, Ryan Sook. Probably lots of other names I’m blanking on right now...

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There's your issue 250 sorted out, Andy. ;-)

 

I'm intrigued by your Gamekeeper teaser in that Virgin comic.

 

More questions:

 

Is John Constantine fated to follow his family lineage or is it something he has grown into?

 

Would you consider a crossover with the DCU if they come begging for one? If so which character would you most like to have JC meet up with?

And what would he say? (Of course, I ask this so that you'd never be able to use it once stated here ;-) )

 

If you were to take one of the supporting cast for a stand-alone solo story, who would that be?

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Is John Constantine fated to follow his family lineage or is it something he has grown into?

That's something I may well be addressing in the comic, so I'll say no more for now.

 

Would you consider a crossover with the DCU if they come begging for one? If so which character would you most like to have JC meet up with?

Nick O'Teen.

 

If you were to take one of the supporting cast for a stand-alone solo story, who would that be?

Probably Chas.

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Christ, I'm probably not even one of the younger readers on this forum any more, am I? In any case, I got the Nick O'Teen reference. Wouldn't it be ironic if Superman gave him cancer when he x-rayed his lungs to look at all the tar?

 

Andy: when did DC first approach you to work on the book and how long did it take you to develop your long-term plans?

 

And the question that always gets trotted out when a new writer comes along: if Hellblazer were to finish while you were writing the book, would you kill off John or have him walk off into the sunset?

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Superman doesn't *really* have X-ray vision, it's more like thermal imaging that didn't really exist back when he was invented. He probably gave Nick O'Teen TB with his super-breath.

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Superman doesn't *really* have X-ray vision

 

Then how d'you explain this, eh? EH?

 

Superman_x_ray_vision_small.jpg

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Will Chas continue to be somewhat set apart from Constantine (as he was in the closing parts of Carey’s run) or will he revert to amiable sidekick? ;)

 

 

Gordon.

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