Books

Hellblazer: Original Sins (comics book review)

I have to admit, until recently I haven‘t been a comics reader. Of course, I have been aware of so many great titles, and I was never rejecting them, just not being an avid reader or actively looking for them. As a kid in a commie regime, we haven’t had much possibilities to get our hands on comics books, save some regime-approved titles (but those were sooo damn great, to say the least). But as for classics as a Western reader knows them, nope. Nada. Unless you’ve had some connections, then you were able to get a copy of French magazine Pif! which published comics stories (but who knew French, right?). So my love for graphic novels has to be postponed.

Constantine TV series

Then there came a short-lived TV show of Constantine, unfortunately cancelled after only 13 episodes (bastards!!!!) and I‘ve fallen in love (figuratively) with the cheeky English character, so nicely played by Matt Ryan. And although, as many of you no doubt know, he makes an appearance in other shows, I miss that show.

So one day I decided to get myself a copy of Hellblazer, which is the other title for Constantine‘s adventures. And boy, there are so many of them, but as usual with my routine, I aim for the very beginning. Although there are quite a few comics releases with Constantine, I‘ve opted for Original Sins, Vertigo‘s re-release of the original first adventures of trenchcoat magician.

To be precise, this beautiful release contains first 9 comics stories from original Hellblazer comics, plus two stories from Swamp Thing, namely issues #76 and #77. I am little disappointed they haven‘t included the very first appearance of the occult detective from Swamp Thing #37 ((and it could be probably nicer if those stories from ST would go first, as I got a little lost) , but I guess „you can‘t always get what you want“. So I‘m not complaining, being far from absolute completist.

Alan Moore, the creator of Constantine

Created by the celebrated comics author Alan Moore, John Constantine got more of his life through writer Jamie Delano and artist John Ridgway, but we can‘t forget other artists working on the releases, as was writer Rick Veitch, artists Alfredo Alcala, Tom Mandrake, Brett Ewins, Jim McCarthy, colorists Lovern Kindzierski a Tatjana Wood, and letterers Annie Halfacree, Todd Klein and John Constanza.

What I have to say, though, these tales are fantastic. I can‘t remember when I‘ve got so absorbed into the story as while reading first few stories. Gripping, suspense and with a morally questionable hero not hesitating to sacrifice anyone to get his goal accomplised, what‘s there not to love, right? It‘s definitely not a children‘s comics and if a reader has some experiences with British way of life and thinking (it hasn‘t changed that much from the 80s, I guess), the pleasure of spending time reading this title is enormous.

That being said, do I plan to continue reading Hellblazer and related titles of John Constantine‘s (mis)adventures? Of course, what a daft question!

Rudolf Schütz

A father to two little perpetuum mobiles called kids, Rudolf is a main force behind The Rubber Axe webzine, a bookworm, musick lover and a movie fan - not to mention his virgin forays into the comics and board/card games.

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