This fall, the legendarily shifty magician-for-hire John Constantine is returning to the series that made him infamous. John Constantine, Hellblazer will hit shelves in November, as a part of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Universe imprint.
Although he’s now got a TV series, numerous TV cameos, and a movie under his belt, John Constantine began his career in the pages of Hellblazer (although his true first appearance was in an issue of Swamp Thing). His lonely, cynical adventures through the urban hellscape of London became the soon-to-be-defunct Vertigo Comics’ longest-running series, closing out with its 300th issue in 2013.
By that time, John’s name was better known than that of his series, thanks to 2005’s Constantine, starring Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, and Shia LeBeouf, not to mention Peter Storemare as Lucifer and Tilda Swinton as the angel Gabriel — it’s underrated! And with DC’s New 52 reboot, he had been more fully incorporated with the main DC setting, in a succession of ongoing series that dialed back a bit on Hellblazer’s characteristic realism.
Still, the character’s last solo series shuttered in last year. 2019’s Hellblazer promises to bring the character back to his Vertigo tone.
“I was thrilled when I was told that John Constantine — the original, demon-haunted one who first showed up in Swamp Thing’s “American Gothic” story — is coming back to his murky and dangerous roots,” Gaiman said in a DC Comics press release. “More magic and more darkness and not a few gods and dreams are here for you to explore.”
The new series, written by Simon Spurrier (The Dreaming, X-Men Legacy) with art by Aaron Campbell (Green Hornet, The Shadow), won’t pick up from the current DCU John Constantine, but from a plot point of Gaiman’s 1990 miniseries The Books of Magic.
From DC’s press release:
John Constantine finds himself haggard, bloody, and dying in an epic magical war—a battle that will soon consume the world. As he lies there, the vision of a young Tim Hunter stands above him, the naive youth seeing firsthand what his destiny holds. Horrified, Hunter flees back into the past, and Constantine is left behind to die.
Now, years later, Constantine reemerges, physically un-aged but with all of his memories intact—and yet the world has passed him by. Constantine must now fathom a new world torn apart by the same old political and social woes, while attempting to discover how he returned after all this time.
In 2018, Gaiman oversaw the creation of the Sandman Universe — a small imprint of four series continuing the story of his legendary Sandman characters — and the addition of John Constantine, Hellblazer marks the beginning of its second year, with third arcs for all of its current series, The Dreaming, House of Whispers, Books of Magic, and Lucifer.
Sandman Universe’s “Year Two” will kick off with a one-shot issue in October, The Sandman Universe Presents Hellblazer #1, from Spurrier and artist Marcio Takara. Constantine’s story will continue as John Constantine, Hellblazer begins in November.
Here are the full covers for The Sandman Universe Presents Hellblazer #1 and John Constantine, Hellblazer #1: