John Constantine is an unconcerned, somewhat amoral occultist with a British working-class background. He's a hero, of sorts, who manages to come out on top through a combination of luck, trickery, and genuine magical skill. The Original Sins collection is a loosely connected series of tales of John's early years where Constantine was at his best and at his worst, all at the same time.
Jamie Delano aka A. William James began writing comics professionally in the early 1980s. Latterly he has been writing prose fiction with "BOOK THIRTEEN" published by his own LEPUS BOOKS imprint (http://www.lepusbooks.co.uk) in 2012, "Leepus | DIZZY" in April 2014, and "Leepus | THE RIVER" in 2017.
Jamie lives in semi-rural Northamptonshire with his partner, Sue. They have three adult children and a considerable distraction of grandchildren.
The fact that so many of these reviews say something along the lines of "It's not as good as the movie!" or "Too much political commentary and the art is dated!" just goes to show that some people - comic book readers in particular - are interested solely in watching entertainment with eyes glazed over. Others are more interested in learning something and seeking literary substance. Most comics merely provide the former, so just let us have a few intelligent comics without complaining that they wouldn't make a good movie!
PS - Anyone who thinks Keanu Reeves' portrayal of John Constantine was better than the original Sting look-alike of the comic has no room to complain that the colourist sometimes changed his eyes from blue to green.
It took me so long to read this that I've forgotten most of it. That's what having a two month old and sleeping like crap will do to you. I'll revisit Hellblazer again sometime down the road since I like the character.
This is the very first volume that will span one of the longest running series for Vertigo, and I can honestly say that John Constantine was not an easy man to love at all. Fortunately enough for this comics, he curiously remains a readily compelling titular character for the Hellblazer series. A man of action, deep thought and snarky humor, Constantine can win us over if he'd just bother trying yet he also manages to effortlessly cruise the pages of this book with an enigmatic charm that manages to be both unnerving and personable. Jamie Delano's writing of this volume features a hefty prose with balanced verbosity and showmanship that often works best when it lends itself to symbolism, subtlety and satire (as seen in issues A Feast of Friends, Go for It and Ghost in the Machine, which are all personal favorites of mine).
Collecting the first nine issues, Hellblazer: Original Sins was teeming with lots of creative and innovative potentials for a top-notch paranormal series that I came to expect from Hellblazer. However, there are two insufferable issues here and there (notably When Johnny Comes Marching Home whose heavy-handed yet ultimately diluted writing was alienating, diminishing my enjoyment for the events in the issue; and Extreme Prejudice which had a serviceable plot progression but barely enough tasteful commentary that I expected could have been a worthy follow-up to the delightfully satirical Go For It).
Still, this first volume of Hellblazer had given us a lead character whose mistakes, inclination to cowardice and often very callous decision-making became very detrimental not only to his person but also to the people who surround him or are in direct contact with him. It's in the nine issues of Original Sins that we see what a miserable life John Constantine chooses to live and how sometimes it's because of his reckless choices that got him to that state in the first place.
Though we could just enjoy the material solely for its metaphors, commentary and sardonic comedy, the driving force for Hellblazer: Original Sins that we should pay close attention to in order to fully appreciate the magnetism and scale of this series is this remarkably flawed and petulant hero caught at the center of it. We have to watch him fail time and time again until we just want to smack some sense into him ourselves. But then he would surprise us anyway whenever he would find some strength of will somewhere to pick himself up; and do it just as stubbornly and ferociously as we have come to know him of--and later on probably love him for.
John Constantine's journey in this volume has been filled with mental anguish and guilt. His baggage is a tremendous pain in the ass and every time we are allowed to glimpse inside his damaged psyche, we are not prepared for the quantity of heartbreak he had been carrying all this time. We don't feel completely sorry for him, however, because most of the losses have been self-inflicted; we can sense the arrogance and hot-blooded impulse underneath that false laid-back attitude he projects--and we know these qualities had endangered him and the people he loved along the way. It's through this paradox that I think we learn to see ourselves reflected in an unsettling yet very honest way as well.
In reviewing the nine issues, I was dully focused on John Constantine's growth as a character, taking note of his responses to the circumstances unfolding around him. And I find that I can understand the dark places he's coming from and keep coming back to. His story so far is one that echoes our own shortcomings and self-doubts; that nagging sense of paranoia that often makes us believe that all the things we touch will just turn into shit. That is the overall frame of mind that Constantine is currently operating in. But he wouldn't have survived decades of this chaotic life of his if he didn't know how to persevere.
I sincerely hope that the next handful of issues for the second volume will continue to further discuss the conflicts not just in the ongoing plot but also within our lead character. Granted, John Constantine is the most interesting aspect of Hellblazer for now. I can't wait until we start talking about Newscastle (a game-changer featured in issue #11).
RECOMMENDED: 8/10 *In a nutshell, Hellblazer: Original Sins is a fantastic introduction to John Constantine as a character and the world and monsters--real, imagined and personal--that he must face.
This is where it all started. This first volume of Hellblazer set the tone for the decades of John Constantine stories to follow. And it was a pretty good start.
We have here a horror comic that ventures well into the realm of the weird. It isn't so much the story itself but some of the happenings within the story. We start off with an African hunger demon loose in America. Then we find demons posing as yuppies trading human souls as commodities. (Some symbolism there to be sure.) Then we have a child abductor who picks the wrong child to abduct: Constantine's niece. Then a really eerie story where an entire company of soldiers in the vietnam war goes MIA in 1968 only to reappear 20 years later. Running throughout the series we have two "cults" operating on Earth. One works for Heaven, the other for Hell. Cap off the volume with the possible rebirth of Jesus and you have a pretty eerie collection of stories.
The art may not be to everyone's tastes, but it first the series perfectly. Overall a good beginning to a popular series.
I'm going to attempt to read the entire Hellblazer series this year. The series has its ups and downs I'm sure, but it gets even better from here.
This is a re-read for me. I originally read the graphic novels around 1990/91. The rating (given from memory so many years later) comes from the feeling that I had when I read these stories about Constantine - I loved these stories and the more I read, the more I loved them.
The re-read stems from the fact that I'm watching the TV show Constantine. I wanted to refresh my memory about these stories. I'd forgotten so much. I had forgotten that Zed was a character and I didn't realize the episodes were taking ideas from these original stories.
Reading them now, it feels a bit dated at times. It always was political, geared toward Great Britain in the late 80's. (And greed and capitalism aren't exactly passe right now, either.) Some of the stories I enjoy more than others. I always love it when Swamp Thing comes into the picture so I was happy to see him show up in the last story of this trade paperback. Same feeling about Papa Midnite. The ghosts that haunt John, the allusions to Newcastle, the red demon - good stuff.
Some stories held up to the re-read better than others, but there are some good, horrifying moments. Looking forward to continuing to read these Hellblazer comics and bring back more memories.
It says a lot for a horror/dark fantasy graphic novel series to have a successful run of nearly 30 years. That’s a good run in any genre, especially in the comic book industry. “John Constantine, the Hellblazer”, the longest-running series in the DC Vertigo line, started in 1987 and ran until 2013. It was resurrected in other titles, and, as of today, is still going. The series inspired a major motion picture and a short-lived NBC TV series.
I’m not sure why I waited this long to finally read “Hellblazer”. Part of it might be due to the 2005 film starring Keanu Reeves, a movie that I didn’t like at all and, frankly, still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Yet, the comic series had been running for nearly two decades before the movie, so I can’t exactly blame it on that.
I do know that in 1987, I was in eighth grade. I had other things going on then, and my tastes in comic book genres did not include brooding, philosophical working-class British dabblers in the occult heavy on socio-political commentary with a strong liberal bent. I liked superheroes wearing Spandex, and I was also discovering that I liked magazines with naked women in them. So, there’s that...
Regardless, I’m just glad that I decided to start reading them now. “Hellblazer” is, hands down, one of the coolest graphic novel series I have ever read.
The origins of Constantine are still a mystery to me. Supposedly, Constantine first appeared in the pages of Alan Moore’s now-famous series “Swamp Thing” (It’s on my “to read” list, to be sure), and then writer Jamie Delano and artists John Ridgway and Alfredo Alcala decided that he deserved his own series.
Constantine, as a character, essentially represented everything I didn’t like as a teenager. He had no actual super powers. He was kind of a dick. He smoked. And he didn’t actually help anybody, except maybe occasionally by accident. He also spent a lot of time making fun of Christianity, liberal do-goodism, happy people, etc.
As a 47-year-old, the guy’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a perfect anti-hero.
The first volume, “Original Sins”, compiles issues #1-9 of the series. The very dark (and British) comic book artwork reminds me of a few things---the British comic books “2000 A.D." featuring Judge Dredd (a series that I discovered young and have loved ever since) and some of the early EC horror comics of the 1940s and ‘50s (a late-in-life discovery).
If you were not aware of his origins, in the first several issues, Constantine sets himself as a kind of stereotypical old-school detective, replete with a trenchcoat and a cigarette always dangling from the corner of his mouth. Everything about the comic book screams “noir”. There’s a catch, though, because Constantine isn’t solving the typical crimes. The crimes he’s after have a sinister and supernatural fragrance. They are crimes that most cops or shamuses would write off as unsolvable or too weird.
Constantine is reminiscent of John Connolly’s series involving another brooding detective named Charlie Parker, who also engages in supernatural and otherworldly investigations. Unlike Constantine, though, Parker is empathetic, compassionate, and a decent human being. Strangely enough, I think the two would probably get along, because despite their vast differences in personality, they are, basically, working on the same side.
Hellblazer is one of the more long-running of Vertigo’s graphic novel series and has had at least half a dozen different writers. I’d read one of the trade paperbacks before and wasn’t fantastically impressed, but Original Sins by Jamie Delano (who was the first writer to work on this series) has won me over. As written by Delano the notorious John Constantine, working-class sorcerer and bad boy, really is an intriguing character. He’s bad-tempered, arrogant, somewhat selfish, very unscrupulous, quite bloody-minded, and generally hard to get on with. He’s also a man haunted (literally) by his mistakes. On the other hand he has a strong dislike of injustice and a particular hatred of bullies and thugs, he has passionate left-wing political views, and at times he displays a reckless courage. He can be a right bastard, but he’s still one of the good guys. The main story arc involves a struggle between the forces of Hell (who are quite nasty and scary) and a fundamentalist Christian sect (who are nastier and much more scary). Constantine also finds himself battling demon yuppie soul-brokers from Hell, and there’s also an interesting episode that combines William Gibson-style cyberspace computer hacking with magick. Overall it’s highly entertaining and Constantine is a fascinating character. It’s quite violent and the tone is dark and cynical. I recommend this one.
I've been aware of Constantine for a long time, mostly through cross-overs with other comics, and the Reeves movie (which I actually liked sorry for the heresy) I hadn't really read through much of his actual stuff though.
Jumping into Original Sins I was surprised at a few things, one is just how heavily politicized it was. Constantine takes on skin-heads, demons during election year, supports a friend with AIDS and pops over the U.S. to witness a Vietnam flashback. I dunno why I was so surprised, I guess in today's weirdly preachy/don't be too obvious with your message approach from most literature it was odd to see comics hitting a message more obviously than x-men/minority angle.
In terms of the story the monologue was pretty OTT, this is on of the true Noir pieces, with ridiculous amounts of monologuing about how scabby the city streets are and how messed up JC feels. The story themselves are pretty good with John typically out-witting opponents rather than your traditional comic super-hero battles of flashy action. The contents of the novel are pretty dark even by today's standards which makes me question if all our gritty reboots have missed the point that its not literal darkness that makes stories that way...
There is just something about the asshole antihero that makes me weak in the knees -- and John Constantine is an A-grade asshole. He frequently (and sometimes randomly) abuses the people around him in a way that's both shameless and hilarious. Character aside, the plots work, they're fast-paced and they're twined together, and the comic book dialogue snaps and crackles when it's not drowning in deliciously cheesy bombast.
To be honest, about the only criticism I have here is that some of these subplots and stories toe the line of bland decency -- socially sanctioned horror, as it were. I feel like they could have a lot more impact if the writers were willing to cross the last few taboos on their merry path to hell.
Original Sins contains the first nine issues of Hellblazer. I was first introduced to these comics a few years back, but I didn't complete more than a flip-through before putting them on the 'maybe later' shelf in my mind. I can't for the life of me remember why because this was pretty damned awesome.
This time around I bought it, read it on the train and totally ignored all the odd looks I got for reading comic books in my drab office clothing. Delicious.
Damn, Jamie Delano really did write the best version of Hellblazer. All John Constantine is and will be is already present in this one first novel.
The first story, about Mnemoth, is perfect, all that Hellblazer is and should be. The Tatcher story is a cute and fitting gag, the third is mostly setup for John's family, the Damnation and Redemption armies, the vietnam story is horrifying.
John comes across as the ultimate anti-hero, a coward, a basket case. It's amazing how our general image of him is as 'a cool dude', seeing how much time he spends crying, wimpering, running away and doing nothing. I guess a cool internal monologue does wonders for you! This is just how I like my John Constantine, though. Strong and weak, the perfect Wheel of Fortune (though in the Vertigo Tarot Deck, he is The Fool).
I do like the single stories best, I think the series loses some of its punch with the more drawn out stories. But as a whole, the entire volume is harsh and unapologetic (much like the artwork in that regard). I love it from cover to cover.
The only downside is that it ends on a cliffhanger, and thus doesn't stand on its own. But I guess "the start" never does.
I really *want* to love this. Creepy as all hell, and Constantine makes for an intriguing reluctant paranormal crusader anti-hero. Maybe it's just inherent to the medium of graphic novels and me not being used to it, but the storytelling feels disjointed and fragmentary and I just can't get invested.
I don't know what keeps me coming back to the Hellblazer comic. Perhaps it's the fact that there's a good collection of them at the library, and I know more or less what to expect from them, at least in terms of literary quality. Perhaps it's the artwork, which is the usual Vertigo, very grisly and colorful and fun to look at. I certainly don't much like the overall joyless cynicism of this world, or the overtly, insulting and pandering political jabs that pop up every other issue. I don't like the black-as-tar writing: and yet I do, I do like the sickly purple prose of Constatine's inner monologue, the overdone, nauseating cranky poetics of his head.
I guess I like the Constantine character. His certainly isn't an envious life, but there is a certain charisma about him that makes him an almost emulative role model (perhaps I would've made an ass of myself by trying to speak like him in high school). He's a good character, fun at least in theory, and that's what keeps me coming back.
Still, though. I like the idea of his world, but often not the execution. Yuppie demons are a fun idea- why make it so dullishly dark and grotesque? And please don't hit me over the head with another asinine Viet Nam story, you sodding British bastards. There's not enough ensuing between issues here, we are made too often to fill in the blanks about whatever reason Constantine is ready to hang himself for the hundredth time this morning. Why's it all got to be so goddamned bleak and dark all the time? Where's the fun in that?
These aren't really fun stories to read: they promise some fun, in the trickster guise of Constantine, but at the heart of the whole universe is a mirthless, unrepentant plodding vacuum of thoughtless nothing. A dearth of philosophy, fun, or the fantastic. A straw pig leftist dirge on the horrors of the world and how all us capitalist dogs are going to die along with the brainless God we fucked into being. Hellblazer is the most nihilist thing I've ever actually sometimes enjoyed reading.
And still I read it, mostly because it is smart or at least smart enough and available at the library. It's a shame I read it all out of order: clearly some character development is lost that way. For some reason I think Neil Patrick Harris would make a good Constantine in a movie if he could pull off the voice and be slightly gruffer.
This totally throws you into the world of Constantine from beginning to end and it's just utter crackers and it's such a good read if you're after something slightly bizarre. Constantine is a proper geezer, his accent is all over the place he's a bit of a trash bag to be honest, he's a complete mess and nine times out of ten he just makes any situation worse, but that trench coat wearing trash bag tries his best.
At first it comes across as a bunch of collected stories with Constantine having to deal with a whole heap of different messes, and the artwork really lends to the story and the colouring is bright as heck but i love all that. But the volume does start to all come together and overall it's such a good read, it can appear outdated from the writing to the art but it's still definitely worth your time picking this one up.
2.5 stars. I was torn between 2 and 3 stars on this one and ended up with 2.5. Better than okay but not quite "I like it" material. Let's just call it pretty good. Part of the reason this doesn't rate higher is that I know some of the later Hellblazer work is outstanding and so this suffers from comparison.
The 1992 and 1993 prints of "Original Sins" collect Hellblazer issues #1-9, the first nine issues of the series. The new 2011 printing also includes Swamp Thing #76 and #77, in which John makes his first comics appearance.
These issues were originally published in 1987/1988, just as the Vertigo imprint was coming into existence -- while most other comics were still in the old "spandex-suited superheroes" game. So be aware -- the colors are often a bit garish and weird, the quality of the art lacks something when compared to modern comics, and the stories still have that scent of DC and the comics world in general on them. These issues are mostly done in a sort of noir/horror genre, which was a fairly common alternative to superhero stuff.
Alan Moore's Swamp Thing makes some appearances in this book, as well as later ones; it was in Moore's Swamp Thing title that Constantine first appeared, and Moore's vision was likely a strong influence on the Hellblazer title, if not the Vertigo imprint as well. In the most recent edition of Original Sins, those Swampt Thing issues are included. But within this collection, at various points in the first nine issues, you see Delano really start to get a feel for the character, for the stories this character needs woven around him, and for a new way of telling stories in comic books. Jamie Delano's work on Hellblazer, not fully uncollected in trade form until 2013, had been sadly unknown to most readers of the title until that point. Happily these well-planned updates are finally working to remedy this and other similar gaps.
First up, the grim and terrible dealings with a hunger-demon John's old friend accidentally unleashed upon New York City while in a pathetic heroin low; then the stirrings of trouble with various demonic forces in London, including the beginnings of trouble with Constantine's old enemy Nergal. The stories get better and more cohesive, the art and garish colors serve as a visual element, a reminder of the 80s setting. And character-wise, we get a good look at the web of guilt and self-loathing that John is caught in while he struggles to do what he sees as the right thing -- often a terrible thing that is the best of all options he can find. From Lester to Midnite to the Sudanese mystic and Zed and Ritchie, you get a sense of a world in which enchanters and sorcerors and psychics and other players lurk in occasional corners, weave strange schemes behind the scenes, and every now and then come into contact and conflict with each other.
Happily, the Delano Hellblazer books that sequentially follow this one have also now been published:
BOOK 4: Hellblazer Family Man - Collects issues #23-24 and #28-33 (skipping Grant Morrison's #25 and #26, and Neil Gaiman's #27)
As of April 2012, what would be BOOK 5 -- collecting issues #34-40, the last storyline of Jamie Delano's run -- has not yet been published. The storyline concerns John's discovery about his brother, and some mysterious happenings at the ruins of Ravenscar, a place to which John is ancestrally linked. Here's hoping we soon see a TPB called "The Golden Boy" or something like that!
EDIT (April 2012): There will finally be a trade for the missing issues #34-#40! It looks like it will be called "Dead Boy's Heart". ISBN as yet unannounced.
EDIT (June 2015): I don't know what happened to the "Dead Boy's Heart" trade, but issues #34-40 have simply been included into the new run, placed at the beginning of the new 2014 Hellblazer Dangerous Habits trade alongside Garth Ennis' fine initial work.
The beginning is horrible. Especially the second story. And I didn't care much for the art either. It gets interesting towards the end where a story spans several issues and "the plot thickens" but overall it's not that interesting. [second read]: the first story seems better now (Constantine really is a bastard, and that story makes it clear from the beginning). Jamie Delano really hated Margaret Thatcher apparently, as the second story is full of associations between her and demons, devil spawn and the road to hell (a common thread that is picked up later; I think this is the most Margaret Thatcher filled comic series I have ever read). In the last arc: some nazis, some christian cult, some magic and demon semen that prevents the second coming: like Preacher but done badly. It's badly done, it ages poorly, the art is mediocre and the story, when it's not ridiculous is just preachy or pandering. Still, it is the foundation for a fantastic series that is true to its roots. I don't think you can get a good picture of Constantine as a character (his personality, motivation, guild, friends, history) without going through his early years.
Before I start my review of what is a truly good comic, I'd like to climb on my soapbox for a brief moment in response to Delano's Leftist screed, which for some reason was included in the intro of my volume, wherein he wastes my time declaring his hatred for Thatcher and Bush (the father). Um thanks for that Jamie Delano. But see..here's the thing- if I wanted to listen to leftist lectures I'd read Howard Zinn, who at least has a PhD from Columbia and did Post-Doc work at my Alma Mater (a little, unknown school in Boston across the way from MIT-technically in Cambridge, MA). I do not take kindly to being lectured by a ponce with a high school degree. Thanks for sharing though Delano. As this was written in 1992, Delano also took some time to lecture me about global warming. Ohh thanks again high-school grad.. BTW his cute quip about buying a boat to live on "cheerfully sailing about, sneering at the capitalists marooned on their skyscraper-islands in the flooded financial districts of the Northern Hemisphere..." *lol* sooo ummm it's 2021..are you on your boat sailing cheerfully through the flooded remains of civilization? Oh no? Gosh where is your boat then? Ohh still in the harbor where it's been sitting since 1992? Gotcha..again thanks for sharing. BTW with all this bleating about "capitalism" what did you do with your checks for writing Hellblazer? Ohhh you used it to buy a boat..hmmm..gotcha. Shows the truth of the saying "If the Left didn't have double standards, then they'd have no standards at all."
But, this isn't about his virtue signaling and lecturing-it's about his book. Know what? It's really good. John Constantine's Hellblazer is dark, grim and witty. JC is not a hero. He is a trickster and mage of amazing ability. His ability to manipulate others, including demons, is amazing but he's not terribly good at keeping those close to him alive.
This anti-hero deals with a variety of supernatural issues. While the artwork isn't much beyond mediocre, the stories are excellent. I especially enjoyed the first one about the demon of gluttony -not only for the story, but also because it introduces Papa Midnite (awesome character). The ending of the story is great, but does show being Constantine's friend can have serious consequences.
All of the stories have a wonderful dark appeal. But, mostly it is JC who shines. Haunted by his past failures and generally not showboating his magic skills like Dr. Stange, JC in a subtle and understated way is very powerful and dangerous. With the ability to outthink and manipulate even demons (as proven in the story about the demonic bankers) is second to none.
A truly wonderful volume, filled with dark and edgy stories that will please anyone who isn't looking for guys in capes, magicians in strange costumes, etc- JC's attitude, his sayings and most of all-his actions make him a phenomenal character.
While I can do without being lectured by half-educated leftists, the comic itself is a work of art. I shall certainly be reading more of Hellblazer and recommend that you do as well. It's a great setting Delano has created and well worth your time to immerse yourself in it.
La verdad es que tenía rato sin emocionarme tanto por un cómic. Pecados originales es una edición que cuenta con los primeros 9 números de 300 de la tan aclamada saga de Vértigo: Hellblazer.
En Hellblazer nos encontraremos con el personaje de John Constantine; un hechicero arrogante, amoral y callejero que a lo largo de los 9 números será protagonista de varias desventuras trágicas en donde habrán encuentros con demonios, fantasmas, sectas, otros hechiceros, asesinos, monstruos, etc en un formato episódico donde si bien hay una especie de continuidad en las historias, cada una funciona como un capítulo individual que bien podría ser su propia historia de horror.
Jamie delano hace un trabajo excelente con el guion pues logra transportarnos a un contexto histórico diferente donde plantean un crítica social a la homofobia, el miedo al sida, el alcohol y las drogas, los estragos después de la guerra de vietnam y claro, el fanatismo religioso pero lo hace de una manera inteligente involucrando al personaje de Constantine en varias situaciones donde sus habilidades mágicas y de estafador son requeridas.
Pecados Originales es un volumen invaluable, ya no solo por si eres fan del personaje o si quieres conocer a Constantine en sus inicios, tambien porque al menos para mi es una de las mejores etapas que he leído en cómics para adultos.
I'm not sure I can say I like this. The subject matter is quite unpalatable, really. I do have this attraction to occult detective stories, and that's Hellblazer in a nutshell. Constantine is not what I'd call a good man. His compass is flawed, but in his own way, he does try to make things right or do the right thing, even if it's for selfish reasons. He considers himself neutral in the good versus evil war. However, his acts more often than not add to the good side of things. If not, I probably would write him off. The tragic thing about Constantine is that he has left a trail of destruction in his wake, people whose lives were destroyed or taken due in part to a connection to him. I think that this weighs on Constantine, but it doesn't seem to motivate him to change his crooked ways. I did like how he manages to manipulate demons who think they have the upper hand. I wouldn't ever recommend making deals with demons, mind you, but it's amusing that Constantine does and always pulls a fast one over them.
The artwork is vivid, but it doesn't really appeal to me (a lot of yucky imagery), although I like Constantine's looks. Sometimes he looks like Billy Idol, sometimes more like a young Sting. I can see how inspired Joss Whedon was in his crafting of Spike and Giles' characters. Spike has Constantine's punk, don't care leanings, and his use of British insults. Giles' youthful peccadilloes seem very much like Constantine's youthful dabblings in the occult.
I'll keep reading this series, but I think this is one I will have to take regular breaks in between. However, I'm enjoying getting Constantine's background, especially since I am loving Justice League Dark, and since NBC is having a Constatine series starting up this fall.
You all know how much I love Constantine. I have brought it up quite a bit in every area of my life so I am obviously thrilled to be re-reading this amazing series. Constantine is my everything. I have loved him from the age of 12 when I first picked this exact collection up and I still adore him to this day.
Great book. I'm actually somewhere around 4.5 stars on it. I've always enjoyed stories about John Constantine. He is a problematic but likable character. This one had some tough moments, as you would expect from a Constantine story. I really enjoyed it.
John Constantine is my BAE. Ugh now I feel dirty using that term. Hang on....
(Takes a shower)
Okay I'm back. Anyway if there is one character in comic history that I most connect with, it's probably John Constantine. I'm not really the type who has a massive boner for American style, larger than life, deck-myself-in-pride parade-colours, fight for truth justice and all that stuff, type heroes. I like my heroes to be more human, to be more flawed and capable of mistakes. And John is nothing if not that in spades. There are times when you could barely call him a hero. But sometimes that's what heroes are. Just people who TRY to do the right thing.
Jamie Delano's run on Hellblazer introduces us to John through some pretty standard setups that would become typical through the entire 300 issues. Some bad shit is going on - more often than not related to John - and he's called in fix up the mess. In the meanwhile his actions fuck up people's lives and leave his loved ones all the worse for it. Delanos's run on Hellblazer is distinct in that its a lot more political that some later writers. Much of this can be attributed to the history of the time. Britain was being run by Margaret Thatcher, a woman known for being a snobby high-class elitist that the working class hated. So a lot of Delano's work reflects that discontent of the time, and John being John makes for a good foil. A working class hero with no patience for powers of state or authority.
Like with Azzarello's run, I'm going to split my review in quick capsule looks at each story in Original Sins and pick them apart. A quick shout out here. I LOVE Dave McKean's cover art. Seriously if I ever get published, I want his art on the covers of my books. Anyway:
Hunger & A Feast of Friends: A hunger demon has been let loose on New York by John's mate Gary and its up to John to clean up the mess. This story is decent for an opener. It shows us all the characters we can expect to interact with and the plot is entertaining enough with John trekking from London to Africa to New York for a final confrontation with the demon. Along the way, he fucks over Gary (although given Gary caused this, it's a little harder to sympathise with him) and John feels the pain of his actions through the ghosts of his dead friends haunting him. The art style is a mixed bag. Its suitably detailed and graphic at times, but other times it feels a little too loose, like chicken scratch on the page.
Going for it: Souls on Hell's stockmarket are going through the roof in the midst of Britain's election. John becomes intrigued when a string of yuppies are found dead in unusual circumstance. How is it all connected? John's going to find out. Of all the stories in Original Sin, this one is probably the most political. Given that the upper class are literal demons here, its not hard to see the parallels and I can understand if people think this one's a little too on the nose.
Waiting for the Man: Someone has kidnapped John's niece and he's going to find who and give them a right bollocking. This story is the beginning of a larger myth arc that plays out through the early parts of Delano's run, revolving around the Resurrection Crusade and Zed, John's first of many lovers. The story also introduces us to John's extended family. The story overall is split into two parts with Gemma (John's niece) had her part reading a little like a creepy gothic flash fiction piece. The Resurrection Crusade are your typical apocalypse cult sort but we get enough here to wonder what's going on.
When Johnny comes Marching Home: A small town in Iowa has literal Vietnam flashbacks when the ghosts of the town's dead soldiers come home for a repeat performance of the war. In this story, John is more of an observer, helpless to watch the horror of the events play out. The narrative overall is split again and in some places feels chaotic and confusing to the point where I got muddled reading it. I'm not sure if that's a bad thing or if that was the intent.
Extreme Prejudice: The demon Nergal creates a monster out of four skinheads and sends it after John. This one feels like a breather story after the last one, with a light hearted tone and some comically stupid villains in the form of the skinheads.
Ghosts in the Machine: Zed has been kidnapped by the Resurrection Crusade, John's friend Ray has been beaten to death and John's trying some cybermancy. The first thing that popped out at me here was the artwork. Wow, the usage of old computer graphic style to show Ritchie travelling through proto-cyberspace is an orgasm for the eyes.
Intensive Care: In the last issue, John threw himself from a train. And now Nergal's shown up by his bedside, making him a deal he can't refuse. This piece is a bottle episode, taking place in John's hospital bed and is a good indicator of John's handling of things more powerful than him. It's an intimate character piece that helps to develop both John and Nergal and where they stand on things.
Shot to Hell: John's feeling pretty shit. No seriously, there's no big magic show, no villains to fight, no great plan. It's John traipsing through London, drinking, feeling sorry for himself, being chased by his inner demons and finally pulling his arse out of the gutter. How many other comic will devote an entire issue to a character doing that? Actual sodding character development? The story ends with John making a deal with Swamp Thing (this was from a time when John was still aligned with DC before Vertigo went in a different direction) and getting ready to wage war on the Crusade and Nergal.
And this is where the collection ends. Just before things are about to get real and honestly, its fine just like that. Original Sin gives the reader just enough of John to get an idea of what he's like, where he will go and what he's capable of to understand if further reading is needed. John is not a good guy, but he does his best and with the types of stories that are told and the world he inhabits, that's all anyone can expect. The stories are a mixed bag with no real standouts, but they're enjoyable, varied and unique all in their own way and I think that's what matters.
God, I love John Constantine. He’s definitely one of the most interesting characters in DC, and so fun to read.
The arcs collected in this book were trippy, depraved, creepy, and much more. I really enjoyed the writing and artwork— it was all very 80s. Even though Delano’s writing was a bit over the top at times (i.e. “I trail my mind’s dark, swirling waters for the elusive fish of memory. Contact made— cold, wriggling realization swims my blood.” Like... reel it in a bit, Delano), I thought his style was perfectly suited to Constantine’s character and world. And don’t even get me started on those gorgeous covers. Wow.
Basically, I really liked these issues, but I will say that some of it was a bit boring and repetitive. That’s to be expected with comics, though. All in all, definitely worth a read if you like horror, magic, or self-loathing chain-smoking occultists (or all of the above).
Esta es una historia que puede resultar pesada de leer, desarrolla ideas alejadas de lo que la gente está acostumbrada. Vemos un mundo de magia, sin túnicas ni varitas, donde el mago urbano John Constantine resuelve casos relacionados a demonios y posesiones. Uno de los puntos fuertes de este comic es su protagonista, este no es el tipico experto al que todo le sale bien, por el contrario, comete errores, se mete en problemas y en muchas ocasiones lo pasa terriblemente mal, incluso metiendo en situaciones críticas a quienes le rodean. Delano llenó de melancolía y desesperación está historia, haciendo de Constantine un personaje muy humano, el cual sufre constantemente de un debilitamiento de su sentido de la moral tras vivir ciertos acontecimientos en su historia. Un mundo oscuro, diferente a lo que la gente espera cuando escucha la palabra "magia", el cual es recomendable leer pues aunque se sienta pesado, es una joya de los cómics que no decepciona.
I admit I picked this one up because I really liked the movie. I’d been warned that the movie was nothing like the actual comic, but all the elements of the movie that I enjoyed most were present.
The art is dated and doesn’t add much, but the writing is amazing, especially in the middle story, a supernatural tale of war life and rural reality colliding most violently, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”. “Waiting for the Man” also features some very disturbing sections, but like the rest of this volume it’s full of loose ends and set ups for later plot lines.
A lot of the imagery in the movie did come straight from the comic, as did large portions of the plot. In fact, I have to wonder, other than the comic Constantine being blond and English rather than Keanu Reeves, what the complaint is. The same callous, ballsy Constantine finds himself dragged into paranormal threat after paranormal threat, often by a damsel in distress. While it’s made clear that he’s neutral and not on the side of heaven, hell or the ethereal, most of the plots in HellBlazer: Original Sins have Constantine coming up against the demonic side of things more than anything else.
It’s definitely a good read, filled with strong, emotional writing and gritty, interesting characters. But beware, this volume leaves off, literally, in the middle of a scene so you might want to buy volumes one and two together.
"Hellblazer : Original Sins" (Vertigo, 1992) sisältää Hellblazer-lehden yhdeksän ensimmäistä numeroa, jotka ilmeistyivät alun perin vuosina 1987-1988. Käsikirjoittajana toimi Jamie Delano ja taiteesta vastasivat John Ridgway ja Alfredo Alcalá.
Sarjakuva toimii parhaimmillaan edelleen kohtalaisen hyvin, mistä on kiittäminen paljon päähenkilöä John Constantinea (joka sai ulkomuotonsa Stingilta, kuten kaikki tietänevät). Constantine on klassinen antisankari, jota ei voi pitää millään tasolla nuhteettomana veikkona; tarinoissa päähenkilö joutuu venyttämään moraalin rajoja ja uhraamaan ystäviään kuin shakkinappuloita ikään, mutta vastapainoksi syyllisyys painaa alituiseen trenssitakkiin verhottuja hartioita.
"Original Sins" näyttäytyy kirjoitusajankohtansa lapsena ottaen kantaa Englannin sosiaalisiin ongelmiin ja poliiittiseen tilanteeseen. Erityisen mieleenpainuva on tarina "Going for It", joka huipentuu Margaret Thatcherin uudelleenvalintaan vuonna 1987. Like I said, there's more than one road to hell...
Lopputulos jää tähtiasteikolla leijumaan jonnekin kolmen ja neljän tähden välimaastoon. Kauhusarjakuvan ystävien kannattaa ehdottomasti ottaa "Original Sins" haltuun, vaikka henkilökohtaisesti pidin kuvitusta aavistuksen verran luontaantyötävänä ja joitakin juonilinjoja vähän turhan kosmisina. Lukukokemusta saattoi kyllä rajoittaa myös puutteellinen sanavarastoni, sillä käsikirjoituksessa ei kielellisesti mennä sieltä missä aita on matalimmalla.