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Demon Chas08

Revisitations 3: The Paul Jenkins Years (1995-1998)

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Third verse, same as the first two. Essay retrospactive, Pros and Cons, panels and (this time) mini series (Eddie Campbell's 4 parter, The Horrorist, Hellblazer/Books of Magic)

 

 

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The only time I found Hellblazer to improve after Delano left. The second best run on the book.

Issue #97, the epilogue to "Critical Mass" would be my favourite part of the Jenkins' run, and would be the highest non-Delano/John Smith story on my list of favourite issues of HB.

 

Negatives:

a.)I didn't like most of the supporting cast, found them annoying. Dani was good though.

b.)Jenkins' run did begin to go downhill towards the end. I'm not as critical as "How to Play with Fire" as some are, but it was flawed, at best.

 

As far as "extras":

I never cared for the Eddie Campbell story-arc. I didn't enjoy it at the time, and it's never grown on me.

 

Hellblazer & Books of Magic should never have happened. It was one of the worst stories to take place in each respective book up to that point. It did nothing for Hellblazer, it did nothing for Reiber's Books of Magic. It served no purpose.

 

The Horrorist, on the other hand, usually ranks as one of my very top John Constantine stories ever written. I absolutely love it. At times, it even tops the rankings, ahead of anything in the Hellblazer monthly proper. Sometimes, a few earlier Delano stories can beat it.

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I just remembered Jenkins wrote a short story in Winter's Edge anthology that was really good. I can't forget to mention that one.

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I do admit, I have a soft spot for this era. I bought more back issues of it whilst following Carey and Mina's run, Now I have the complete run (albeit via torrent) to enjoy the whole ride. I like the supprting characters. Sorry, Christian. I'll take them over Milligan's Mary Sue and her Mobster daddy anyday

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Yes, but a piece of shit doesn't automatically make rancid meat better.

I'm not saying Jenkins' cast was rancid, just annoying. I'm just making the point that by picking the worst thing ever, it doesn't make something that is bad wonderful just because it isn't the worst we'd ever see.

Sure, you liked them. OK. But just because they didn't piss me off every month, like Milligan's pieces of cardboard, doesn't mean I'm going to not find them annoying.

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I actually rather liked Jenkins' supporting cast. Okay, there was a bit of a media trope for smugly noncomformist "drop outs" at the time, but Jenkins' lot were far more convincing than any of the alleged crusties you used to see on the telly back then. Also, having his protagonist associate with members of the permanent underclass tied in nicely to the Matter Of Britain stuff Jenkins spent the best part of his run discussing.

 

(I still much prefer the Eddie Campbell four parter though.)

 

It's worth remembering that for all of Delano's complaints about Ennis giving Constantine a taste for Guinness, that was far more Jenkins' work, so if the Delanoids like Christian are looking for a serious issue with Jenkins, that might do it...

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Yeah, that seems a pretty superficial complaint about John.

I think the hard-assed, bi-polar John of Ennis was the far bigger game changer after Delano, than the human/humane aging John of Jenkins, regardless of what John was drinking when.

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I think the hard-assed, bi-polar John of Ennis was the far bigger game changer after Delano, than the human/humane aging John of Jenkins, regardless of what John was drinking when.

 

Is Constantine bi?

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John Constantine is Bi everything!

He's also am-BI-dextrous!

Now, DC wants you to BI everything related to John Constantine!

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Jesus I shouldn't read these threads unless I've got a couple of drinks in me. Even Ennis, even Azzarello, wrote better stories than what we're getting now. It's all so fucking hollow.

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I just found the Campbell back issues in a shop I don't usually frequent (because it's in my home town not where I live now).

Anyway I like them 2 issues in. Digging the ghosts. I sort of feel like it wouldn't be a bad story to adapt to tv.

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So, one of my Christmas gifts from the wife was the Art of Sean Phillips hardcover from Dynamite, and within is a pretty decent recap/account of his time working for Vertigo (I adore Phillips' work, easily my favorite Hellblazer artist). I recommend picking it up if you have the extra cash, because it had some really interesting behind-the-scenes info from his time working on Hellblazer, including interviews with Delano, Jenkins, Axel Alonso, Karen Berger, and Eddie Campbell. I had no idea, for example, that Campbell was meant to be the for-real ongoing writer of the series following Ennis, but was essentially forced off after one arc by editorial (Alonso admits in the book that he didn't like Campbell's ideas for the book, particularly what he'd turned in for "Warped Notions"). Anyway, yeah, awesome book!

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So, one of my Christmas gifts from the wife was the Art of Sean Phillips hardcover from Dynamite, and within is a pretty decent recap/account of his time working for Vertigo (I adore Phillips' work, easily my favorite Hellblazer artist). I recommend picking it up if you have the extra cash, because it had some really interesting behind-the-scenes info from his time working on Hellblazer, including interviews with Delano, Jenkins, Axel Alonso, Karen Berger, and Eddie Campbell. I had no idea, for example, that Campbell was meant to be the for-real ongoing writer of the series following Ennis, but was essentially forced off after one arc by editorial (Alonso admits in the book that he didn't like Campbell's ideas for the book, particularly what he'd turned in for "Warped Notions"). Anyway, yeah, awesome book!

 

If only Bob (Schrek) and Brandon (Monteclare) gave Campbell another go to spare us Milligan....

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I'm glad it happened though, since I did not enjoy Campbell's first story, and I love the Jenkins run.

Would Campbell have improved for me? Campbell can be an incredible writer (read: Bacchus), so maybe. Although, by standards of HB, if a new writer doesn't start off strong, signs are not looking good for the rest of the run (ignoring Delano).

But, had Campbell not been to my taste on HB, I'd be here today saying that I read 300 issues of HB, and I didn't really like any of it after Jamie Delano. How sad would that be? Down enough that I say I liked very little of it outside of Delano and most of Jenkins, as is!

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I dunno, I think it's a shame we didn't get more Campbell. It was definitely a mistake to start with something so sprawling and road-trippy (the only HB story I can think of that's more long-winded and meandering is the similarly divisive Fear Machine), but I really like it. It needed more rewrites, and the pacing is just bizarre, but there's so much interesting stuff in it, and for the 'solution' to be so mundane (while still supernatural) is bathetic to the point of being quite moving. It fits Dashwood's real-life legacy nicely. The more I read the story, the more I like it. Great opening page, too.

 

That said, the Jenkins that filled the rest of the trade is definitely better, so maybe it was all for the best. Even if (and I think I said this earlier) Jenkins' first issue is probably the worst 'first issue' by any HB writer. Which isn't really his fault.

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