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A. Heathen

The Hellblazer writers poll 2010

  

15 members have voted

  1. 1. Group A: Delano v Ennis

    • Delano
      11
    • Ennis
      2
    • cannot decide
      2
  2. 2. Group B: Jenkins v Carey

    • Jenkins
      6
    • Carey
      9
    • cannot decide
      0
  3. 3. Group A: Azzarello v Diggle

    • Azzarello
      4
    • Diggle
      10
    • cannot decide
      1
  4. 4. Group B: Mina v Milligan

    • Mina
      0
    • Milligan
      13
    • cannot decide
      2
  5. 5. Group A: Delano v Azzarello

    • Delano
      14
    • Azzarello
      1
    • cannot decide
      0
  6. 6. Group B: Jenkins v Mina

    • Jenkins
      14
    • Mina
      0
    • cannot decide
      1
  7. 7. Group A: Ennis v Diggle

    • Ennis
      10
    • Diggle
      5
    • cannot decide
      0
  8. 8. Group B: Milligan v Carey

    • Milligan
      4
    • Carey
      10
    • cannot decide
      1
  9. 9. Group A: Ennis v Azzarello

    • Ennis
      11
    • Azzarello
      3
    • cannot decide
      1
  10. 10. Group B: Jenkins v Milligan

    • Jenkins
      9
    • Milligan
      5
    • cannot decide
      1
  11. 11. Group A: Delano v Diggle

    • Delano
      12
    • Diggle
      2
    • cannot decide
      1
  12. 12. Group B: Carey v Mina

    • Carey
      13
    • Mina
      1
    • cannot decide
      1
  13. 13. (for next time) I prefer Warren Ellis to the following writers (tick all that apply)

    • Delano
      2
    • Ennis
      5
    • Jenkins
      6
    • Azzarello
      10
    • Carey
      4
    • Mina
      13
    • Diggle
      8
    • Milligan
      6


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Based on the number of issues in the Hellblazer series.

 

* 1–24: Jamie Delano

* 25–26: Grant Morrison

* 27: Neil Gaiman

* 28–31: Delano

* 32: Dick Foreman

* 33–40: Delano

* 41–50: Garth Ennis

* 51: John Smith

* 52–83: Garth Ennis

* 84: Delano

* 85–88: Eddie Campbell

* 89–128: Paul Jenkins

* 129–133: Garth Ennis

* 134–143: Warren Ellis

* 144–145: Darko Macan

* 146–174: Brian Azzarello

* 175–215: Mike Carey

* 216–228: Denise Mina

* 229: Carey

* 230-244: Andy Diggle

* 245-246: Jason Aaron

* 247-249: Diggle

* 250: Delano, Azzarello, Dave Gibbons, China Miéville and Peter Milligan

* 251 onwards: Peter Milligan

 

After casting your votes, nominate your THREE favourite multi-issue stories, your THREE favourite single issues and your ONE favourite Hellblazer spin-off (series or OGN, see list below).

 

* Mike Carey (All His Engines graphic novel)

* Jamie Delano (Bad Blood miniseries, Hellblazer Annual, The Horrorist mini-series and Pandemonium graphic novel)

* Andy Diggle (Lady Constantine mini-series)

* Garth Ennis (Heartland and Hellblazer Special one-shots)

* Peter Hogan (Love Street miniseries and Marquee Moon[1] one-shot; both advertised as The Sandman spin-offs, but feature Constantine)

* Paul Jenkins and John Ney Rieber (Hellblazer/Books of Magic mini-series)

* Mat Johnson (Papa Midnite mini-series)

* John Ney Rieber (The Trenchcoat Brigade mini-series)

* Simon Oliver (Chas: The Knowledge mini-series)[2]

* John Shirley (Hellblazer novels Subterrenian and Warlord)

* Ian Rankin (Dark Entries Vertigo Crime OGN staring John Constantine)

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multi issue stories:

Dangerous Habits

Critical Mass

Haunted

 

single issues:

#120 "Desperately Seeking Something"

#181 "Game Of Cat And Mouse"

#11 "Newcastle"

 

Spin-off.. damn that is hard. Ennis' Hellblazer Special was one of the first HB things I read, so it holds a special place, but it's not half as good as All His Engines, The Horrorist or Pandemonium. Probably All His Engines (the art is just so fantastic).

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Multi-issue arcs:

 

'The Family Man'

'Freezes Over'

'Staring At The Wall'

 

Single-issue stories:

 

#31 'Mourning of the Magician'

#56 'The Diary of Danny Drake'

#120 'Desperately Seeking Something'

 

Spin-off:

 

'Pandemonium'.

 

I don't know if I'll still think that in a few months' time - it's the most recent one I've read, so I may be over-rating it slightly - but right now, I prefer it to both 'All His Engines' and 'The Horrorist', which I'd previously have been torn between.

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Favorite multi-story arcs:

Last Man Standing

Freezes Over

Staring at the Wall

 

Favorite single stories:

120 Desperately Seeking Something

181 Game of Cat and Mouse

....? I am going to have to come back to this one and fill it in later, because there just aren't any single issues that are standing out to me as much as those two. The only one I can currently think of, actually, is 168 A Fresh Coat of Red Paint, but very much not because it's good.

 

Favorite spinoff: All His Engines

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My memory of stories is nowhere near good enough to choose the regular series votes...

I might take the time and get around to perusing my collection (or the database) and adding my votes later.

 

For now, I'll choose as my Favourite Spin-Off:

The Horrorist mini-series by Jamie Delano

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Yet another vote for Game of Cat and Mouse, along with Another Part of Hell and Confessions Of An Irish Rebel.

 

Family Man, Rake At The Gates Of Hell and the nifty Eddie Campbell story whose title I can't remember offhand.

 

Haven't read most of the spin offs, but let's say Delano's Annual. (You've missed the Hellblazer Secret Files thing off that list, btw.)

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After casting your votes, nominate your THREE favourite multi-issue stories, your THREE favourite single issues and your ONE favourite Hellblazer spin-off

 

Dangerous Habits

Critical Mass

The 1st 2 Issues

 

Can't remember the names of all the singles

 

Cat and Mouse

#51

The bit about Chas' ma and the monkey

 

Tough call on the spin offs. It's a toss up between All His Engines and Pandemonium.

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Multi-issue stories:

Dangerous habits

Family man

Staring at the wall

 

Singles...Hm:

The Gift

Game of Cat and mouse

and....uh, I'll get back to you

 

Spin off:

All his engines

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The Gift

Bugger. I knew I'd forgotten something...

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The idea is so brilliant that I think it - deservedly, for the most part - gets a lot of credit for that, despite massive flaws in the execution. Such as dialogue like "an empty bed -- empty like your frigging soul!!!", which I think remains one of the worst lines ever to appear in Hellblazer. So bad, in fact, that I just remembered it almost verbatim despite not having read the story in years.

 

So far, that, 'Critical Mass' and 'Rake at the Gates of Hell' are the only multi-issue arcs people have named which wouldn't have been on my shortlist, with hooligan-hybrid and demon yuppies being the standalones I wouldn't have considered. Of those, 'Rake...' is the only one which I think is completely wrong-headed.

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It's not a brilliant idea though. It hobbles the book; where do you go after beating the devil? Surely if you, a supernatural protagonist, have beaten the devil (albeit a very poorly written one)surely that makes you untouchable? Where do you beleivably go from there?

 

Also, after Neil Gaiman had given us an interesting take on the devil with his subtle, nuanced take on Lucifer Ennis blunders in with his (surprise, surprise) blokey, boo-hiss, pantomime villain schtick.

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With the aim of variety, I'm reluctant to give any writer more than one nomination in each category - which means I've had to leave out Critical Mass and Red Sepulchre. But here goes:

 

3 Favourite multi issue stories

 

Staring At The Wall

Last Man Standing

In At The Deep End

 

3 Favourite stand-alone issues

 

#62 End Of The Line

#181 Game of Cat And Mouse

#238 The Smoke

 

Favourite one-off

 

Pandemonium (but Dark Entries ran it close)

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It's not a brilliant idea though. It hobbles the book; where do you go after beating the devil? Surely if you, a supernatural protagonist, have beaten the devil (albeit a very poorly written one)surely that makes you untouchable? Where do you beleivably go from there?

 

 

Well, for a start, you make it a pyhrric victory - he wins the battle, but it's made fairly clear even within 'Dangerous Habits' that he's most likely lost the war. He hasn't flat-out beaten the Devil, he's just tricked him into solving a specific problem.

 

Besides, while I know you broadly hate all but those dozen-or-so issues of Hellblazer which somehow sidestep your filters, surely the fact that at least some of them post-date 'Dangerous Habits' is enough in itself to prove, even on your own terms, that it categorically didn't "hobble the book"?

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The idea is so brilliant that I think it - deservedly, for the most part - gets a lot of credit for that, despite massive flaws in the execution. Such as dialogue like "an empty bed -- empty like your frigging soul!!!", which I think remains one of the worst lines ever to appear in Hellblazer. So bad, in fact, that I just remembered it almost verbatim despite not having read the story in years.

 

So far, that, 'Critical Mass' and 'Rake at the Gates of Hell' are the only multi-issue arcs people have named which wouldn't have been on my shortlist, with hooligan-hybrid and demon yuppies being the standalones I wouldn't have considered. Of those, 'Rake...' is the only one which I think is completely wrong-headed.

Hang on, you wouldn't have said that Ennis' game had improved quite a bit between Dangerous Habits and Rake At The Gates Of Hell?

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Nope - I think the main arc of Ennis' run follows a distinctly downward trajectory through one missed opportunity after another, culminating in a massive anticlimax. In fact, aside from 'Dangerous Habits', which I think is good but not amazing, none of his major multi-parters work for me at all. It's especially disappointing because, in contrast, a lot of the stand-alone short stories are among the best things he's ever written.

 

The potential is there in several of his major stories (most notably the down-and-out arc collected in 'Tainted Love' which, had it not been thrown away in three desultory issues, could have been an all-time highlight of the series), but almost without exception, I find the execution desperately-lacking.

 

But this is getting wildly off-topic, and besides, it's a conversation we've had before. It's been a while, though, so if John feels like splicing the (ir)relevant posts off into their own thread, I'd be happy to go through it again. It's always fun.

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Fair enough. I can see where you're coming from with that one, but for myself I'd argue that Dangerous Habits is pretty much a heap of steaming shit the whole way through, while several issues of Rake work very well indeed (for my money the first issue doesn't put a foot wrong, and neither does the issue that's mostly concerned with Constantine throwing a tantrum at a Priest. Everything Ennis does well is highlighted in those, and the clusterfookery that spoils most of the rest of his run is conspicuous by its absence. As you say, though, we're unlikely to agree on that one.

(Does that mean that you wouldn't consider the absolutely phenomenal Finest Hour as a single issue story in its own right because it's part of Tainted Love? What sort of tomfoolery is dat? You need to lighten up, effendi. That one nearly beat out [Whatever it is] Of An Oirish Rebel in my own list, and in hindsight probably should have. It's a beautiful story. 22 of Ennis' finest pages ever.)

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That one blurs the line - it's a corking good single issue, but the arc to which it serves as the conclusion is still a crushing disappointment. I can see why you might have assumed I think otherwise, based on the way I phrased my last post.

 

I wouldn't go so far as to call it "22 of Ennis' finest pages ever", mind. It's a story he's told variations on plenty of times, and while 'Finest Hour' handles it well, I don't think it's the best of them.

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No question, but I can't think of any other offhand that were single issue stories. I'm sure there's a few, but none that spring to mind at the moment.

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Well, for a start, you make it a pyhrric victory - he wins the battle, but it's made fairly clear even within 'Dangerous Habits' that he's most likely lost the war. He hasn't flat-out beaten the Devil, he's just tricked him into solving a specific problem.

 

Besides, while I know you broadly hate all but those dozen-or-so issues of Hellblazer which somehow sidestep your filters, surely the fact that at least some of them post-date 'Dangerous Habits' is enough in itself to prove, even on your own terms, that it categorically didn't "hobble the book"?

But it isn't a pyhrric victory over the course of Ennis' tenure on the book, it's a taste of turds to come.

 

As for my distain for the book, I have to say that I've been pretty positive towards it since Carey came on board. I've enjoyed large swathes of Carey, Diggle and Milligan's runs but it's still difficult to up the jeopardy level for the character when he's beaten the fucking devil. Even a devil as shit as TFOTF.

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That can be manipulated to good effect, Tom. Have you read The Last Shaft?

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But it isn't a pyhrric victory over the course of Ennis' tenure on the book, it's a taste of turds to come.

 

As for my distain for the book, I have to say that I've been pretty positive towards it since Carey came on board. I've enjoyed large swathes of Carey, Diggle and Milligan's runs but it's still difficult to up the jeopardy level for the character when he's beaten the fucking devil. Even a devil as shit as TFOTF.

 

Well, I think I've already covered how I feel about the rest of Ennis' run, so there's not much to add there. But I still think that you're seeing a problem where there isn't one - I don't buy the idea that the only way to follow up on "protagonist overcomes an obstacle" is with a "protagonist overcomes another, bigger obstacle", and that's the only way that your "how do you top that?" objection has any real validity.

 

As it happens, in the immediate aftermath of Ennis' run, Jenkins made the huge mistake of trying to do just that - and consequently, all of the John-versus-the-First stuff in his run falls pretty flat - but the other half of his run, where he goes in completely the opposite direction to Ennis and makes the book more low-key and personal, works just fine. Since then, there've been examples of both approaches, both successful and unsuccessful.

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3 Multi-issue stories:

 

#102-104 Difficult Beginnings

#14-22 The Fear Machine

#59-61 Guys & Dolls

 

3 Stand alone issues:

 

#229 the one with John Paul Leon as guest artist

#141 The Crib

#120 Desperately Seeking Something

 

Favorite one-off:

 

All His Engines (though I enjoyed Dark Entries)

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