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Feature
The 10 Best Hellblazer Stories
With a new John Constantine TV show planned, what plots should they use?

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John Constantine: ex-lunatic, ex-punk, black magician, detective, smoker, trenchcoat wearer, bastard. Tearing through 300 issues of Vertigo’s Hellblazer (and beyond into the milder new Constantine series), it’s just been announced that he’s also being developed as the hero for a potential NBC TV series, the pilot of which is currently being written by David S. Goyer. With that in mind, we cast our minds back over his DC history, and mused which of Constantine’s best stories might be ripe for adaptation. It’s likely that very little of what lies beneath will actually find its way to the screen, but it’s fun to dream…

[There are spoilers ahead, for those who might be thinking of getting started on the comics].

WORDS OWEN WILLIAMS
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The 10 Best Hellblazer Stories | Newcastle
Newcastle

The Hellblazer comics occasionally flit back to Constantine’s early years across their run, filling in family back story and adding detail like his membership of punk band Mucous Membrane and his strangulation of his twin in the womb with his own umbilical cord. But it’s the infamous Newcastle story that is absolutely the key event in his history, pitting him and his ill-fated “crew” against the demon Nergal for the first time. In a nutshell sparing you the details, the attempted rescue of a young girl from the clutches of Hell goes disastrously wrong, and Constantine ends up committed to the Ravenscar mental institution.

Jamie Delano and Alan Moore teased the actual events of Newcastle for some time before Delano finally filled in the blanks in Hellblazer #11. That approach, rather than using Newcastle as a starting point, might be best adopted by the TV series too: setting up an entire supporting cast who don’t survive into subsequent adventures would be an interesting twist, but probably isn’t something a US TV network would risk.

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1 sting
Constantine's turns in Swamp Thing and Sandman are better written and somehow more memorable than in Hellblazer More

Posted by hemibell on Monday May 12, 2014, 21:51

2
Just as long as he s Scouse this time! More

Posted by subcircus on Sunday October 20, 2013, 18:19

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