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JohnMcMahon

Hellblazer Novels In The Works

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"Me, though, I see Constantine as a guy looking for redemption--not going straight, just not full-on wallowing in the gutter anymore. I see him as thinking "been there, done that, squire" and now he's reaching for a higher connection." - John Shirley, talking about his upcoming Hellblazer novels.

 

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It's that dreaded 'R' word again...:)

 

I have trouble getting excited by this, I must admit.

 

Particularly amusing was this paragraph;

 

Especially impressive--and a bit of an, er, eye-opener-- was the HIGHWATER group of episodes, about Constantine's cat-and-mouse game (they exchange who's cat and who's mouse) with a decadent, twisted super-billionaire name of Stanley Manor, involving pseudo-Christian neo-Nazis (which Azarello has got down to a T, he gets into their twisted minds chillingly well), S&M clubs, and forays into bisexuality...

 

in which he loses the sympathy/tolerance/interest of about half the members of this forum in one fell swoop...

 

I'm curious about how this'll pan out, but ultimately I'm not a fan of franchise spin-off novels at the best of times (why not just put out a couple more OGNs, eh? The character's eminently well-suited to the format), and I suspect it won't be worth the effort. I could be wrong, though.

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as he rates Azzarello's issues as his favourites, I don't think this will necessarily be a good. and why the fuck bother with novels if there are still about 120 issues of Hellblazer that haven't been collected in trades?

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I think this is a good thing. I've been wanting some prose Constantine stories (not counting the Vetigo Winter's Edge stories) for ages now and it sounds like it'll actually happen. I've never heard of this John Shirley character before but now I will pick up the novelization (if I can find it) and try to imagine OUR Constantine in place of the Keanuteen.

 

I'm glad that Shirley is reading the comics and say what you will about that quote but it isn't much different than how Paul Jenkins wrote the character.

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I was being a little mean-spirited quoting that bit about Redemption but it seemed appropriate given recent discussions.

 

I have to admit that I got a good-natured chuckle out of his shock at the content he found in the actual comic!

 

He could do with cleaning up his site a little, bit hard to read through with all that text thrown together like that.

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I'm not actually too bothered about the use of 'redempton' - although the context in which it's been brought up regarding the film didn't fill me with confidence. I don't think it's always a defining feature of John's character, but there are some very good HB stories dealing with John seeking redemption in one form or another.

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Well John Shirley is coming at this with an outsider's perspective so he doesn't know he is suppose to hate Azzarelo. He is alledgedly a good horror novelist and if these novels come about I'm sure they'll be the straight to paperback variety that perhaps some sci-fi fan will pick up cheap while waiting for a train at Victoria Station and be intrigued by this character and therefore be more willing to seek out the comic. I can't tell what the quality of the novels will be but I'm sure they'll have input from the editors at Vertigo and won't be totally crap. More Constantine is usually a good thing and it looks like these books will treat the character with respect.

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I agree re. the Azzarello hatred - I've said as much before, on these boards and elsewhere. The guy wrote some very good stories during his run - the fact that John wasn't entirely 'himself' as we've come to know him shouldn't be allowed to utterly overwhelm that fact.

 

It still amused me, though.

 

I've never been overly fond of prose Constantine stories either in theory or in practise, myself. Not sure why - he just seems better suited to the graphic medium as a character, to me at least.

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*Snarfs into his root beer*

 

Interesting. I like that Shirley's all fired up and surprised. Unfortunately, the novels that follow a film are generally cheap and quickly written, and I don't know John Shirley from Adam, although the prose from the first chapter of the novelization isn't bad. (linky)

 

More importantly, this does lead me to believe that DC does care about what has happened to the character, and want to get their own, long-lived version more exposure, although it will be interesting to see what they put on the cover, and how much Shirley makes sure the reader knows John's blonde and British. Certainly, I'd rather Tim Powers wrote the book, but you can't have everything. I will remain decidedly neutral about this until I sit down and read the Constantine novelization in full.

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I've never been overly fond of prose Constantine stories either in theory or in practise, myself. Not sure why - he just seems better suited to the graphic medium as a character, to me at least.

 

Of course, a character's original medium is always the best but I think these books are a good idea. That prose piece by Dave Gibbons was not Constantine at his finest and even the Delano one was a wee bit overwritten. So a long as he keeps Constantine in character and not having him levatating over Tibet I'll be picking these up for sure.

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Wow. One minute your talking about more OGN's the next there are novels coming out. I don't know what to say about it other than I'm interested now. We all know I'm all about seeing more Hellblazer stories, novel appeal more to me too.

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How bizarre!

 

Anything that gets our John some more publicity is alright by me, and the advantage of the novel format is that if they're awful I won't have to worry about them being counted as canon.

 

It'll be interesting if these things take off and we get lots of people who know Constantine through his novels rather than the comics. I'd like to see if the comic-book Constantine accurately portrays what they imagine the novelisation Constantine to be like...

 

Also, the man's clearly an anti-(American) establishment liberal, so he's at least in the right mindset to be writing Constantine.

 

If anyone wants to contact Shirley (I know there's a Contact link at the bottom of that page but I can't be arsed) then do invite him over here for a chat. I'd be welcome to vet his manuscripts for authenticity. :D

 

The only thing that worries me is that he's American, so we might have to put up with some Azzarello-style Dick van Dyke Cockneyisms. I haven't read the rest of his work though, so who knows?

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hmmm... intriguing news... i'm mildly interested in this, since novels could mean more internal monologues and longer plots.

 

 

i wonder will the novelizations be loaded with references to prior storylines ('course, Newcastle and Kit DO desreve to get mentioned), but i hope the past storylines won't be a contrivance, but fun teasers into the comics title...

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Guest spiderlegs

I'm afraid this is a thinly veiled attempt to tie in with the films. Will we get an Americanized novel Constantine, too?

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It sounds alright, and it sounds like the guy really wants to keep the spirit of the comic around (and even if he's really going on about Azzarello, I can't say he's wrong or any less likely to put out a good book for it).

 

I'll give them a chance, and would really love it if Mr. Shirley could impress me (and all of us) with his books.

 

Thought this would be a good snippet for people who don't really feel like wading through the site:

I can tell you that --barring a change of course by the publisher--the first two Hellblazer novels to come, titled WARLORD and SUBTERRANEAN, are based on the Vertigo John Constantine, not the movie John Constantine.

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I didn't see anything naming them. I'm sure AOL/Time-Warner owns a book publishing company, right? I'd suspect that's who it'd be coming out under.

 

I also went ahead and sent him an invite to the forum. Not sure if anyone else did, but I said he'd be more than welcome to come shoot the breeze or just lurk about.

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Excellent. I'd love to see how he compares the movie and the comic (though obviously he might be hamstrung by the fact that his work involves both).

 

I'll pick up the first novel for sure, though it'll be weird reading about him in prose...

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The prose stories about J.C. published so far (Gibbons & Delano's) were very short stories.

I don't know about this....even though the "Star Wars" novels have at times been good and are usually decent, MOST of the cross-over novels (from movies, TV, comics, etc.) are usually pretty piss poor!

I wonder if this will be geared towards teens?

 

WARLORD?-John Constantine, American air force captain in charge of dropping an atomic bomb on the Soviet Union should the need arise, is sabotaged by an evil Commie double agent who he believed to be his friend (Chas?!). His plane crashes and he is thought dead....EXCEPT he is now in a land that time forgot! He grows a beard and put on a Viking helmet....The new Warlord is born! :biggrin:

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I don't know about this....even though the "Star Wars" novels have at times been good and are usually decent, MOST of the cross-over novels (from movies, TV, comics, etc.) are usually pretty piss poor!

I wonder if this will be geared towards teens?

 

I think they'll be geared toward the casual sci-fi/horror novel reader which probably skews to late teens/early 20s and it seems like they'll be soft 'R' rated. I would think they'll be stand alone stories with perhaps just brief mentions of past events. I wonder why Mr. Shirley was chosen for these particular projects? From his bio it does seem like he has plenty of knowledge about the occult and probably the writing chops to pull these off. As soon as I can find a copy of his film novelization in the stores I'll be able to form my own opinion.

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WARLORD?-John Constantine, American air force captain in charge of dropping an atomic bomb on the Soviet Union should the need arise, is sabotaged by an evil Commie double agent who he believed to be his friend (Chas?!). His plane crashes and he is thought dead....EXCEPT he is now in a land that time forgot! He grows a beard and put on a Viking helmet....The new Warlord is born! :biggrin:

 

I wouldn't mind seeing John Constantine in Skartaris, to tell you the truth :)

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Guest john shirley here...

Well. I was vacillating about whether to chime in here as there seems a bit of hostility. (But who am I to talk, years ago I wrote a column called Pointless Hostility.) I shouldn't be surprised to see from some certain persons here that fannish sense of entitlement and cynical, snobbish closemindedness that comes with identifying strongly with a fantasy character. Maybe there's some justice in that--what with the price of graphic storytelling nowadays, you probably deserve some feeling of entitlement. You paid for it. Christ I can't believe the prices in comics shops...

 

I don't know why I should be alienating anyone, remarking on neonazis, S&M, and bisexuality. I didnt' say anything to suggest I disapproved of bisexuality or S&M if that's what you mean--I've been bisexual, practiced S&M (I was a dom, lived with a sex slave), and probably know more about it than most. I was a member of the Club O and the Hellfire club in NYC. Am also a recovering drug addict. Been there...done that. I put out a number of records, too, with songs about prostitutes and mysticism amongst other things. The best one was John Shirley: Obsession from Celluloid records (also featured Africa Bambaata and Material, if you know your progressive stuff). And I was a punk singer for years (see "Johnny Paranoid on the downloads page at www.darkecho.com/johnshirley). The point is I'm not exactly a straight-guy coming in to clean Constantine up. . .I was just surprised to see it so explicit in a comics format. I mean, I grew up reading the Justice League of America. Have pity.

 

As for Brian Azarello, I'm sure there are fans of the series who like his work. What I liked was how well he nailed the pseudo-Christian neonazis. He did his homework on those pricks. I wrote a series of books partly about the resistance to a new neonazi culture and govt, ECLIPSE, ECLIPSE PENUMBRA and ECLIPSE CORONA so it's sort of on my mind. Especially now--with a damn theocracy slowly taking over the USA.

 

I like Garth Ennis a lot...Jamie Delano.

 

The novels won't be aimed at any particular demographic. They'll inevitably be "John Shirley novels" as much as Constantine novels, I can't help that. But since I very much respect the Hellblazer series, they'll be as true to it as I can make it, while being John Shirley novels.

 

I think I got the original Constantine novelization gig because of my book DEMONS. And maybe my book BLACK BUTTERFLIES contributed--there are stories in it that are as dark as anything in Hellblazer, and possibly more based on real life.

 

I've spent 17 years studying a form of mysticism intensely and some years before that investigating the occult and spirituality. So I can't help but bring that to the books but will do it without advocating any particular 'school'...

 

I am however, not a diabolist (though I have friends who were OTO and others who are Temple of Set).

 

I work for the other guys.

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Welcome to the boards! I hope you decide to stick around, or at least occasionally poke your nose in - we're not generally too hostile, I assure you. I wouldn't worry too much about the 'harsher' criticisms you may occasionally run into (including my own, probably - I'd be the first to admit that I can get a bit worked up about this sort of thing) - as you say, it rather comes with the territory, unfortunately. Feel free to bite back, as it were, if you feel anything anyone has said is particularly unreasonable.

 

Just to clarify - the comments based on the quotes taken from your site are part of a long-running 'debate' between members of this board, and the Hellblazer-reading community in general, about the various qualities of Brian Azzarello's run on the title. Few people have a problem with the themes he chose to address in his run - some of us (myself not included, actually - I'm one of the few regulars here who genuinely liked the bulk of Azzarello's Hellblazer, the occasionally dodgy Dick Van Dyke-styled Cockernee terminology aside), however, objected somewhat to how he actually chose to do so. Glad you enjoyed the trades.

 

Good luck with the books, and I hope you enjoy working with the character.

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Guest Guest
I think this is a good thing.  I've been wanting some prose Constantine stories (not counting the Vetigo Winter's Edge stories) for ages now and it sounds like it'll actually happen.  I've never heard of this John Shirley character before but now I will pick up the novelization (if I can find it) and try to imagine OUR Constantine in place of the Keanuteen.

 

I'm glad that Shirley is reading the comics and say what you will about that quote but it isn't much different than how Paul Jenkins wrote the character.

 

 

About my site's design - yeah I was experimenting with a kind of mini newspaper front page format, but squeezed into a computer screen it doesn't work that well and we've been planning to redesign it. I think I'll try to get the webguy who did it for me to change it this week to two columns and maybe some artwork...I havent seen the Paul Jenkins stories yet, I'm still getting caught up.

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