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Charlie K

How do you get to heaven in Hellblazer?

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Yeah I wasn't sure which way to read

 

 

Begin with the letters, then work your way up to the complete words. After that, sentences should follow fairly easily.

 

Good luck! A world of pleasures awaits you on the other side.

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Counting this post, we've had three people saying Brian Azzarello's Hellblazer was good and one saying it was crap. So the consensus on Azz is "good". :tongue:

 

 

Well, that and the whole reference to "asking his dad" when John made the bargain for his friends during the chat. As I recall that is--my books not being with me here in Toronto.

Ah - hadn't remembered that line. Been too long since I read the issue, clearly.

Ditto.

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Counting this post, we've had three people saying Brian Azzarello's Hellblazer was good and one saying it was crap.

 

If I'm allowed to add the vital "-but-with-some-significant-flaws" caveat, make that four people.

 

None of the significant flaws I can think of would relate to the characterisation of Constantine, incidentally (although that would account for a few minor ones).

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Intriguing...

 

Yeah, I'd say "good with some significant flaws," but for me JC's characterisation was the significant flaw: Brian's scripts were otherwise great, they just didn't seem to have John Constantine in them.

 

What more significant flaw has got you swimming against the tide, then? His über-arc? The suggestion of bisexuality? :smile: The trivial and over-complained-about bit with the dog? (See how I set you up there?)

 

We've probably been over this before. Possibly even in a more appropriate thread.

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No, actually if you notice, I sided with Qusoor almost all the way, including his assessment of Azzarello's run, so that's two totally negative votes for Azzarello. I'm not sure what the rest of you guys read.

 

Yes, his John Constantine characterization is a major flaw, since the book was Hellblazer, which is supposed to star John Constantine, but it's far deeper flaws than that. I would not have read any of the stories, except Freezes Over perhaps, if they were not in the Hellblazer comic book. I have never reread any of Azzarello's run either, nor do I have the slightest inclincation to ever do so. Granted, another problem was that his over-arching idea did not work, as John Constantine played as the cipher against others impressions of him doesn't work for the reader over 100 issues into a series.

His stories were stereotypical and cliched. Hard Times was copied from an HBO series. Good Intentions is nonsensical, and its portrayal of small town "red necks" is degraded. High Water started off well, but quickly ate itself alive with its own pretention of having something new to say about neo-Nazis, and by the end was left with one of the stupidest endings I've read in a comic. Ashes and Dust I don't want to even start on, as it's totally flawed and doesn't even read coherently on the most basic pretensions of sensibility in non-linear story-telling, with characterization for the major villain lacking or taken from stock antagonists. The plots all seem to be Azzarello writing after spending a marathon watching a list of Hollywood's "edgiest" movies for ideas. It's filled with attempts at "shock value", rather than showing any literary techniques. The dialogue is hideously cliched, including every African-American man talks like he's straight from an inner-city street gang, all the characters seem to rely heavily on using the word "motherfucker" in everyday speech. It's like reading a transcript of what a Hollywood writer feels a person from Chicago would talk like applied to all characters, mixed in with a white collar bias of "working class" jargon. The whole run just does not work, regardless of if it is supposed to be a John Constantine story.

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No, actually if you notice, I sided with Qusoor almost all the way, including his assessment of Azzarello's run, so that's two totally negative votes for Azzarello. I'm not sure what the rest of you guys read.

 

Yes, his John Constantine characterization is a major flaw, since the book was Hellblazer, which is supposed to star John Constantine, but it's far deeper flaws than that. I would not have read any of the stories, except Freezes Over perhaps, if they were not in the Hellblazer comic book. I have never reread any of Azzarello's run either, nor do I have the slightest inclincation to ever do so. Granted, another problem was that his over-arching idea did not work, as John Constantine played as the cipher against others impressions of him doesn't work for the reader over 100 issues into a series.

His stories were stereotypical and cliched. Hard Times was copied from an HBO series. Good Intentions is nonsensical, and its portrayal of small town "red necks" is degraded. High Water started off well, but quickly ate itself alive with its own pretention of having something new to say about neo-Nazis, and by the end was left with one of the stupidest endings I've read in a comic. Ashes and Dust I don't want to even start on, as it's totally flawed and doesn't even read coherently on the most basic pretensions of sensibility in non-linear story-telling, with characterization for the major villain lacking or taken from stock antagonists. The plots all seem to be Azzarello writing after spending a marathon watching a list of Hollywood's "edgiest" movies for ideas. It's filled with attempts at "shock value", rather than showing any literary techniques. The dialogue is hideously cliched, including every African-American man talks like he's straight from an inner-city street gang, all the characters seem to rely heavily on using the word "motherfucker" in everyday speech. It's like reading a transcript of what a Hollywood writer feels a person from Chicago would talk like applied to all characters, mixed in with a white collar bias of "working class" jargon. The whole run just does not work, regardless of if it is supposed to be a John Constantine story.

 

You've only read it once, and you were pissed off. Try re-reading it now that you're older and calmer. And disinclined.

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somewhere on the net I remember something about the prison story that started it off, and while i thought the art cheesy I did like the dialogue, but by the end of that, with John as king in the electric chair, it was like erm what, now this is boring....maybe I missed something though, have to get the trades and actually read it .

 

VT

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I'm sure being older I'll dislike Azzarello's run even more. I was more inclined to enjoying that sort of thing, being younger. Now, being older, I enjoy reading most of Paul Jenkins' run.

When the Azzarello run was first coming out, I was still really excited about Hellblazer. I looked forward to it every month and it was my favourite comic. About half-way through Good Intentions this feeling started to sag, but I kept buying every month, but by the end of Azzarello's run, I looked back and realized just how little I enjoyed any of it. I think that realization set off a chain reaction.

As I've often said, I find it sad that I don't really enjoy the majority of Hellblazer anymore. I love Delano's run, of course, and consider it brilliant standing alongside my favourite comic work, and as mentioned, I've come to really appreciate what Jenkins did on the book, which I once considered almost wholly boring.

But, the rest of the series leaves me quite cold (barring one or two part stories, such as John Smith or Darko Macan or Grant Morrison, mind).

I used to consider Ennis' run amazing and only slightly below Delano, but going back to reread large parts of it post-Azzarello, I recognized it actually wasn't very good and seemed slightly juvenile to me. Then I did the same with Ellis and it seemed really over-wrought.

So, I just hang onto my cherish of Jamie Delano's Hellblazer now.

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Good rant, Christian. I completely agree. And I HAVE read it again, and liked it even less then. There are two redeeming features of Azzarello´s run:

1) Frusin´s art, which is, at times, spectacular (shame he wasted it on such poor JC stories. Imagine if he´d been at the top of his game during Carey´s run)

2) Freezes over, which works.

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There are two redeeming features of Azzarello´s run:

1) Frusin´s art, which is, at times, spectacular (shame he wasted it on such poor JC stories. Imagine if he´d been at the top of his game during Carey´s run)

2) Freezes over, which works.

 

4_logo_phpBB5.jpg

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virginiatiger said "somewhere on the net I remember something about the prison story that started it off, and while i thought the art cheesy I did like the dialogue, but by the end of that, with John as king in the electric chair, it was like erm what, now this is boring....maybe I missed something though, have to get the trades and actually read it ."

 

 

yeah, it was like John was in OZ, the HBO prison drama. even through we know John could walk in and out by the snap of a finger if he wanted too.

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Since you asked.

 

Azzarello's Hellblazer stories (other than Freezes Over and Mad Dogs) can be summarized as either promising but failing to deliver or failing to promise (especially Good Intentions and whatever that finale was called. Actually I take that back, his finale is a brilliant idea for a story, but executed without skill).

I reckon his Constantine as a cypher was okay - I quite like Hard Time at the time and still do - but he should not have tried to keep that one note going. And he floundered whenever he went in to something that required more understanding of Constantine's established persona (girls tied to trees, dealing with Nazis).

 

Denise Mina had a great ear for Constantine. If her characterisation could've been grafted onto Azzarello's story ideas and Warren Ellis could've written the ending we would have had much more than the sum of the parts. (This is not a put down of Ellis, by the way, he just knew how to end a story in them days. Especially a short one.)

 

Looking back, Delano's reads like The Young Ones watches these days. I can see what I liked about it and still like his flowery lyrical prose, but even Rik Mayall played a character who loved Thatcher in later years. The art is too patchy for my tastes over all but there are some gems.

 

I've said my piece about Ennis's Irish Theme Pub version, but the stories read quite well in the story telling dept even if some of the characters are not my c.o.t.

(his Ellie and Chas are among my favourites).

 

Paul Jenkins' gentle soap opera makes an excellent bedrock for the series, he had some great stories, and kept the series format with less of his persona being grafted on to Constantine (which is of course because he put all that into the rather dreadful supporting cast - all based on his friends ;) At the time I really enjoyed it and the arcs I have re-read since have been okay.

 

Those two chaps benefitted from excellent solid art performances from Steve Dillon and Sean Phillips respectively. I could look at the latter all day, but if I looked at Dillon's for too long I might get an afterimage burnt on my eyes. I am not about to criticise Warren Pleece's work on the series too much, it's just one of those taste things and for me his grim and gritty best is better than Frusin's deteriorating cartoony style (see above about images burned onto eyes ? My retinas still have that smile etched on them) even though for some of his run the story did not really suit it. My ideal artist would be Manco, but for a number of reasons, since the start of his work with Carey there's been an increasing amount of too quick work and not good stories. If he was Sean Phillips, this would not be a problem as Phillips is quick and economical and consistent. For that reason Phillips has been the best artist on Hellblazer.

 

I like Mike Carey's run a lot.

I have liked Andy Diggle's run even more.

However I like Carey's single (and double) issue stories and of course the OGN more than any of the above.

 

Just thinking of the ongoing run of Diggle's, I think it's the way he uses the established continuity discreetly and the way he builds his own, he's also been better at Constantine playing his cards close to his chest (to fool the long-time readers, and to tell a story).

Some people don't like it, but I think we've all spent too long reading shit comics to worry about how bad the okay ones can be.

As was said at the time, Carey's longer story reads very well but it got too long in the "to be continued" stakes.

 

DISCLAIMER: If any of the above does not match what I have said before, I have changed my mind, and yet I am still correct and this is all still FACT.

 

In summary:

Writer: Diggle

Artist: Manco for the set pieces, Phillips for the storytelling

Cover: Bradstreet

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There are two redeeming features of Azzarello´s run:

1) Frusin´s art, which is, at times, spectacular (shame he wasted it on such poor JC stories. Imagine if he´d been at the top of his game during Carey´s run)

2) Freezes over, which works.

 

4_logo_phpBB5.jpg

Exactly. You do it too. The only difference is that you're Wrong, and I'm Right.

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Plus, this may simply be my youth & inexperience speaking, but I kind of hated the Fear Machine.

 

YAY! Another one!

I think that makes 2 of us.

 

If I'd have been buying Hellblazer at the start I wouldn't have seen this arc out.

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3 Shug, 3.

 

Although, I was buying it and carried on doing so despite having rarely really enjoyed reading the book.

 

I'm a stupid [over-used word].

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3 Shug, 3.

 

Although, I was buying it and carried on doing so despite having rarely really enjoyed reading the book.

 

I'm a stupid [over-used word].

I also found it an abrupt change from all of the dark, urban grittiness that preceeded or followed that arc, and almost dropped the title at that point (as it was, I left off for a few months then needed to scramble to find the back issues). It has matured well for me over time however. Still, could have been shorter.

 

That does it. I think I am about to embark on a reread of the entire run. Anybody care to join in with me?

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Plus, this may simply be my youth & inexperience speaking, but I kind of hated the Fear Machine.

 

YAY! Another one!

I think that makes 2 of us.

 

If I'd have been buying Hellblazer at the start I wouldn't have seen this arc out.

I've shared my distaste for that story-arc myself at some point. It had some good stuff in there, but too much boring hippie crap really.

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3 Shug, 3.

 

Although, I was buying it and carried on doing so despite having rarely really enjoyed reading the book.

 

I'm a stupid [over-used word].

I also found it an abrupt change from all of the dark, urban grittiness that preceeded or followed that arc, and almost dropped the title at that point (as it was, I left off for a few months then needed to scramble to find the back issues). It has matured well for me over time however. Still, could have been shorter.

 

 

This sounds like me, except I only started reading Hellblazer under Ennis, so the parts about "dropping the title" obviously don't apply.

When I first bought the Hellblazer back-issues, I found this and the meat story to be the horrible exceptions to what was an otherwise brilliant run by Jamie Delano.

But, yes, reading it when I got older, I feel the same way as Bili.

The meat story is still awful though.

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How do you get into Heaven? Well, John Constantine took Nergal to the gates of it, didn't him.

By the way... read the Bible. They describe exactly how do you get to Heaven in general. If I find it cold and barely empty, I'll be no surprised... HAHAHA!

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Above, when we were talking about Azzarello? I kind of liked Hard Time. It was kind of like a model of what John plans when he gets to Hell.

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Try as I might, I cannot remember a damn thing about Jenkins' run except, like, "Widdershins," and that one about King Arthur with "Rich the Punk."

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Try as I might, I cannot remember a damn thing about Jenkins' run except, like, "Widdershins," and that one about King Arthur with "Rich the Punk."

 

Well, there's the arc where Rich the Punk's adorable kid gets possessed and John has to battle it out with some creepy Victorian-looking demon to get his soul back--that one was good.

 

Oh, and the kind of crap one about Dani's family.

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