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Recent Acquisitions

It’s been an interesting week with several things ‘converging’ for me: a forgotten pre-order item, a purchase substituting for a convention, and my largest single “back issue” purchase ever.

First off, last weekend I happened to to see a link on Facebook to some group called Something Valiant. I clicked through, and found some stuff involving classic Valiant stuff, so did not immediately click away.

I noticed a post offering Harbinger #s 2-5 for a very reasonable price, shipped–and messaged the poster to inquire if they were still available (not seeing any comments on the post). They were, so arrangements were made.


Easily my biggest “back issue” purchase in this regard–for what I paid for “only” 4 issues. However, considering I’d expected to pay significantly more per issue and not get them all but dropped in my lap from one source, I’m very happy with the purchase, and will certainly reach out to this seller again in the future as I whittle down my “missing” list of classic Valiant.

Another surprise arrival this week was the new Hellblazer volume.


This is the 11th volume in this incarnation of the series, reprinting it from its start including key tie-ins and such, and incorporating a numbering so it’s not just a bunch of random volumes.

hellblazer_tpb_thicknessIt turns out that I apparently had pre-ordered this from Amazon several months ago and forgot about it. So when it showed up, it was a very pleasant surprise.

I continue to be quite impressed with the size of these volumes, particularly for the cover price. Though this would easily be a $40+ volume from Marvel, this one carries a $24.99 cover price…and thanks to Amazon I got it for less than $12.

Though I grouse about Marvel‘s pricing, they make up a significant chunk of my graphic novels collection due to various clearance and blowout sales and such through the years, as well as having a lot of stuff I’m truly interested in.

A couple years ago, I was quite impressed when I came across the X-Men: The Age of Apocalypse Omnibus at Carol and John’s. It was very far out of my price range, though more recently I’d lamented realizing it was out of print, and so had been jacked up astronomically beyond my price range by “third party sellers.” So when I more recently learned of the Age of Apocalypse Companion I didn’t even consider pre-ordering it from anyone…no sense having the companion volume without the main.


I was listening to a recent episode of the Collected Comics Library and learned that there’s to be a new printing of the main omnibus in the first part of next year, in time for the new movie. So, rather than beat around the bush and put it off, I found a mostly-reasonable price online and bought this volume, knowing I’ll be able to pair it up in the spring (and for what that’s gonna cost me, I certainly would not want to be trying to buy TWO omnibii nor “risk” this one going out of print!).

Plus, I had decided that I was not going to be attempting to attend a particular convention I had been considering, so with gas money and admission I would not be spending, as well as other random purchases I would not be making…I was able to justify (to myself) this rather large singular purchase.


If you look to the right in the photo above, you’ll see a quarter leaned up against the volume–showing just how thick this companion edition is.

And below, it currently has a place on a shelf with the last Omnibus I’d bought, as well as the recent TMNT by IDW hardcover.


Constantine: The Hellblazer #1 [Review]

constantinethehellblazer001Going Down

Writers: Ming Doyle, James Tynion IV
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Colorist: Ivan Plascensia
Cover: Riley Rossmo
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Group Editor: Brian Cunningham
Assistant Editor: Amedeo Turturro
Editor: Andy Khouri
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: August 2015
Cover Price: $2.99

I was planning on skipping this. I don’t much care for a watered-down version of the Vertigo/Mature Readers take on the title character, gave up on Justice League Dark early-on for not “starring” Constantine, and generally figured there’s more “history” for the New 52 Constantine than I really care to spend money playing catch-up on. But…this is a #1. New creative team (far as I’m aware), and it’s “only” $2.99. So I figured I’d check it out, give it an issue or so to show me what it’ll be…might as well for the price.

We open on a naked Constantine in a store, using his abilities to “con” a fresh set of clothes out of the employee. When John’s ghost-friends cause a stir, he ultimately finds himself in the company of a female demon who he finds is arranging to have a “soul farm,” so he winds up working the situation to a fairly predictable conclusion through his usual means.

Of course, that “usual” is based on my knowledge of the character from the past, from the original Hellblazer title (that was part of the initial Vertigo line and long anchored the imprint until a couple years ago) moreso than I know of the “mainstream” New 52/DC version.

The art for this issue was a bit off-putting for me when I opened the issue…particularly as I wasn’t even sure the character on the first page was actually John Constantine or not. Granted, I’m not used to seeing the character in the Birthday Suit, and some of the blame probably could be placed on the writing as well, the issue opening as it did. Once things move along a few pages, the art grew on me a bit, to where I’ll accept it much as any other Constantine or Hellblazer artist. Though, with only this single issue, I cannot say I’m likely to count Rossmo among my favorite who’ve worked on the character. However, I can definitely say that I enjoyed a 10-panel double-page spread with a sideways layout…it was different, engaging, effective in conveying so much in that part of the story, and really stood out to me for not just being more of the same.

The story was pretty good overall, and other than the obfuscated colorful language, this really felt like it could be a Vertigo issue. Though we do get left with a cliffhanger, and join the story “in progress” in and of itself the issue does give a “complete” story: We’re introduced to Constantine, his ghost entourage, and see a bit of his personality and nature by his actions, obvious intent, narration, and characters’ commentary. We’re introduced to a particular threat/situation, see his reaction to it, and get a resolution. Then we’re given a question that (ideally) hooks us into coming back for the next issue. Or in short: this is an effective first issue, doing what I would expect of a first issue.

While a first issue is not much to go on, the fact that this issue is devoid of superheroes/superheroics (only a passing mention that they even exist) is a welcome thing. My hope with this title is that it’ll be DC‘s way to have their cake and eat it, too: a solo title featuring John Constantine, BEING John Constantine, without the superheroes’ interaction…just Constantine doing his thing in his own world of sorts. But he’s part of the “main universe,” too, and thus remains available for stories that would call for his brand of involvement. I enjoy seeing him dealing with the superhero crowd…but when I pick up a book starring him, I’m not doing so for superhero stuff.

This title’s “subtitle” of The Hellblazer seems tacked-on and like some afterthought given its size and rather obviously being “just” a font rather than a focused part of the title logo. That strikes me as being a sort of appeasement, like saying “Ok, ok, we get it, y’all want a monthly comic with Hellblazer in the title!” (Granted, I understand the title Hellblazer was only ever initially used because Hellraiser was not available).

As a first issue and not knowing how dark the title may go, how long it’ll last, whether it will cross over directly with and mingle with the superhero stuff…taken by itself I think this is as close as we’re gonna get to a return to the classic Hellblazer book. As a fan of that series, I do recommend giving this a shot. I suspect readers of the recently-ended Constantine will appreciate this as well. And overall–in this day and age of seemingly EVERYTHING being $3.99+, this is a $2.99 book for the moment, so I’d recommend getting this even just to “support” the price point if you’re a single-issue buyer.

I’ll probably be back for the second issue and go from there. For my $2.99 this time, the issue was definitely worth the purchase and read, and my buying any more issues at all will be due to this fact, as I’d had every intention of outright ignoring anything DC put out for the foreseeable future.

New (to me) TPBs to Start December

Along with new comics, this week I scored several bargain volumes:


The Marvel volumes were all 90% off so cost me $1.50 to $2 each…less than HALF the cost of a SINGLE ISSUE.

And the Hellblazer volume I got for $5, less than 1/3 its cover price.

Everything in the photo above for basically the cost of 3 single Marvel issues.

Yet I’m probably most thrilled with the Hellblazer volume as it gets me one book closer to a full run of the Hellblazer trades, outside of the new “complete” editions being published every few months.

Acquiring Critical Mass (and TPB pricing)

Usually, I’m not one for buying a tpb the week it comes out, nor for buying it at a shop instead of waiting to get it on Amazon or some other site or finding it at a used book store.


But this volume is a bit of a milestone: it begins the collection of Paul Jenkins‘ run on the title–brand-new-to-collected-format material I have been interested in reading for well over a decade!


I’ve been trying to keep up with these new editions, and fully intend a serious re-reading project at some point. Until then, though, I add to the shelf, while removing my older editions to make space for these numbered editions.


This volume collects 13 issues, and while not the thickEST of the Hellblazer volumes in this new run, it’s still a very nicely-thick book. The best part is that despite that whopping issue-count…the cover price is STILL ONLY $19.99. And truthfully, I felt the need to buy this one in-store because so few volumes carry such a REASONABLE, respectable ratio of price-and-content.

I’ve no doubt that a Marvel volume of this size/this many issues would be at MINIMUM $34.99 if not $39.99. Of course, for Marvel, that’d be a “mere” $3/issue contained within as opposed to the seeming “standard” of $4-$5/issue contained.

This volume works out to about $1.54/issue…which is LESS THAN COVER PRICE for the individual issues it contains. Truly a benefit of the format, and a large part of what draws me in: the bargain of having en entire story or run of issues in a single volume…at a better price than the single issues. All the more as these issues are from the mid-1990s so nearly 20 years old and (at least in my experience) not the easiest to come by in bargain bins.


These new editions are becoming a larger part of my overall Hellblazer library. With many of these replacing 2-3 prior volumes, I’m also liking how the collection is shaping up with the thicker volumes instead of a bunch of skinny little things.

I’d thought this 9th volume wasn’t going to replace anything, but then realized that the first issue of the collection–#84–wraps up the material reprinted in the Hellblazer: Rare Cuts volume. At the time, that volume had stuff that hadn’t previously been reprinted, but it was primarily from the earliest part of the series–and these editions have filled in the gaps that Rare Cuts had tried to fill.

With this volume carrying to #96, I figure volumes 10 & 11 will be completely “new” content to my collection, with Son of Man picking up at #129. With several months between volumes, that won’t be something to worry about until next year sometime.

What’s going to be particularly “interesting” to me is when (if?) these catch up to where I “joined in” around #160/161 or so; or just as much a few issues earlier with the start of Azzarello‘s run.

Updating the Hellblazer Library before Constantine

I virtually NEVER buy collected volumes “in-person,” sticking to single issues for in-person purchases, due to pricing. However, I have been quite highly impressed with the re-issued Hellblazer volumes the last year or two.


This week, I picked up volume 8, which is a rather thick volume, and very certainly physically FEELS like a big book, well worth its cover price. As with the earlier volumes, this one is basically a merging of two of the “original edition” volumes into a single book.


The new Hellblazer vol. 8: Rake at the Gates of Hell contains the issues previously collected as the un-numbered volumes Hellblazer: Damnation’s Flame and Hellblazer: Rake at the Gates of Hell. This volume is rather significant for ME, as the original Damnation’s Flame was the first Hellblazer book I ever read and it–along with a Secret Files and Origins issue–were my initial introduction to the series and the John Constantine character.


Part of the heft of the physicality of the volume seems to be that the paper might be slightly thicker…or somehow less compressed. Even with less covers, this new volume is actually fatter than the two original volumes whose issues this contains.


Now, if I was looking at a Marvel volume collecting this many issues, or simply being this thick, I would certainly expect it to be–at MINIMUM–a $35 book, more likely $40, if not a $50 paperback. But here from DC (well, Vertigo) this is a “mere” $19.99 or to use my above rounding, it’s a $20 book. What makes that EXTRA appealing is looking at the two older editions that I bought over ten years ago.


When I bought Damnation’s Flame back somewhere in 2003 or so, it was $16.95…and as that predated my online ordering and such, I actually paid cover price plus tax at Comic Heaven.

And in 2004 or so when Rake at the Gates of Hell was put out, it was itself $19.95. A $17 book and a $20 book–$37ish total–yet now in this new edition the entirety is only $20.


Given that these new editions are actually NUMBERED and contain extra issues the original volumes did not (the original edition of vol. 1 did not contain the Swamp Thing issues, for example. Vol. 1 now has them so you’re NOT left on some cliffhanger that you have to leave the series of volumes to resolve. And this time through–at least so far, in July 2014–the volumes share a cohesive trade-dress so they actually look like a series.


I’m still missing several of the later volumes of the series, though still filling in those holes, despite the chance that I’ll be double-dipping, “upgrading” to the new editions if the entire series actually gets collected. As-is, vol. 8 takes us up to #83…at this rate, I do imagine we’re looking at an eventual 30 or so volumes if these make it through to the 300th issue; possibly 31-32 if various specials and such get factored in, maybe more if any of the spotlight minis (Lady Constantine, Chaz, Papa Midnight) get mixed in.

The next question is going to be how to “recycle” my old editions. Sell ’em on eBay? Sell them as a lot? Sell them individually? With these new editions, those old ones are technically out of print–so based on the APPARENT “logic” of Amazon 3rd-party resellers, I should probably sell them for about $50-$140 apiece, right*?

(*Actually I’d consider looking toward roughly $10/ea if I could sell ’em all at once, maybe put that into the new editions of Preacher or even Lucifer, with Lucifer having the weight as I already have old editions of Preacher but have yet to read Lucifer at all)..

Ending the Year: A Quarter-Century Collection Unified

shelf00For the first time in several years, I actually have my comics “library” whole, in one space (outside of some Walking Dead books out “on loan” at the moment). I’ve attempted to arrange the collection in a number of ways over the years, but keep changing stuff here and there. This latest “reunification” was no exception.

Previously, I’d had my Marvel Oversized Hardcovers grouped together, separate from the “regular size” hardcovers and premiere edition hardcovers and paperbacks. Several months back when I reorganized my “last 2+ years” shelves I didn’t do that separation, and decided I liked having stuff together like this more than the sleek look of all the hardcovers lined up together.

I went with a quasi-alphabetical scheme, “grouping” stuff like Avengers, Captain America, Essentials, Spider-Man, Ultimate Universe, X-Men, and such with other stuff peppered throughout. Within these groups I put stuff mainly in story order or in the case of numbered volumes, numerical order with the entire cluster roughly where they’d begin in-story (with a few exceptions for appearances).

And now, showing off the collection in detail!


Annihilation, Avengers, and Captain America. While I consider AvX more an X-story, the prominent titles on the spines and the AvX logo just made it totally fit better with the Avengers stuff, and keep my head from exploding at putting big A volumes in with the Xs…


I decided to put my Essentials in the E range, as the word Essential is so prominent on the bulk of my editions (notice that it’s hardly noticeable on the third Classic X-Men volume/current trade dress, instead more closely resembling the Omnibus styleage. (Over on the DC side the Showcase Presents volumes are grouped by character as the “Showcase Presents” is rather small and the character/title far more prominent.)


The Heroes Reborn and Infinity Gauntlet/etc. stuff are some of my favorite volumes and I wanted them together, so let the Hulk stuff jump the alphabet slightly (with the added excuse that Incredible DOES come before Infinity).I still am missing Infinity Crusade vol. 2, and intend to snag the new edition of Infinity Abyss soon, and likely Infinity next year sometime. As my only real Silver Surfer volume, the Rebirth of Thanos is shelved here as it was a definite prelude to Infinity Gauntlet, and the Thanos – Marvel Universe: The End is here as well as a continuation of the Thanos/Infinity stuff.


My Spider-Man and Thor collections are relatively small. Spider-Man’s basically all from bargain bins. The oversized Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimates collections are some of the more “premium” books in my collection. Ultimate Spider-Man vol. 1 and Ultimate Marvel Team-Up were–I believe–my first two Marvel hardcovers. Pretty high on my list to track down yet are Ultimate Spider-Man vols. 6 through 9 and the Death of Spider-Man Omnibus.


The X-Men have largely dominated my hardcovers…the Grant Morrison New X-Men books starting things off; a bargain bin for Supernovas and Rise/Fall of the Shi’Ar Empire continuing things, and the “premium” Messiah Complex/Messiah War/Second Coming ‘trilogy’. Bargains yielded Fall of the Mutants, Mutant Massacre, X-Tinction Agenda and X-Cutioner’s Song; and I’ve had my eye on the Age of Apocalypse Omnibus and believe there’s an Age of Apocalypse Companion coming out next year, both of which would be cool to have, though likely a bit less physically readable than the five-volume paperback series.


Stuff like Rogue, Longshot, and Magik (with only 1-2 volumes) got shelved elsewhere; but “general X-related” and Wolverine stuff fell here to be WITH the X-Men stuff, if a bit out of alphabetical order. Due to their size, the various digest-sized stuff got grouped here rather than get lost amidst the full-size/oversized volumes. I put the Crossgen books here as well since they’re now under Disney WITH Marvel; and size-wise they’re a good fit.


And for the first time since returning to active publication, I finally have all my TMNT stuff together and all my Valiant stuff together.


My Superman collection has continued to expand. While I could replace the Death/Funeral/Return of Superman volumes with the Omnibus…these paperbacks are my original editions from 1992-1993, so they remain with the 2013 Omnibus. I’m yet a couple volumes behind on the Man of Steel paperbacks, and there are a number of Silver/Bronze Age themed collections that I don’t have yet.


With a bit of spillover from the Superman shelf, the bulk of the Batman stuff fits just below. I’ve had eyes on the newer Knightfall volumes, and do want to get those eventually, as they’re far superior to these original 3 editions (though vols. 1-3 are each from different printings/trade dresses prior). I’ve also had my eye on the new printings of No Man’s Land.


Green Arrow and Green Lantern have always been a good fit together; especially as I’ve so few GA as to be negligible compared to the GL books. I need to catch  up on the first couple Green Lantern hardcovers in the New 52, plus the Wrath of the First Lantern and The End, (and perhaps paperbacks for GL Corps to that point) but I think I’m almost ready to close out my keeping up with having the entirety of the Johns GL saga/”era”…whether or not I track down any of the tie-in Blackest Night volumes I don’t yet have. For lack of better placement and keeping a few inches to ‘grow’ I also shelved Astro City here. I believe I’m missing a single volume from having the complete run in one edition or another, outside of any collected volumes of the current Vertigo incarnation.


My ‘general DC’ stuff is a bit less organized; more a clustering. Somewhat alphabetical, but then I grouped the big events: Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour, Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, 52, Final Crisis, and Flashpoint. The Shazam books got stuck right after Flashpoint as a couple volumes are in the Superman books, and I didn’t get really “into” Shazam until the New 52 volume came out.


Hellblazer, Sandman, and Y: The Last Man headline my Vertigo shelf. I do want to “upgrade” my Hellblazer volumes to the newer printings for the early stuff, except I think vol. 2 is already out of print while 1 and 3-5 may not be? I may also “downgrade” the All His Engines to the softcover just to “fit in” more. I’m looking at doing the same with the Sandman: Endless Nights volume. Watchmen sits alone without any Before Watchmen as it’s physically smaller and if I’m to ‘buy into” the Before Watchmen stuff, I want it to physically match with the original.


I’m still missing a volume of Preacher, and am not happy that to get it I’ll likely have to get the new trade dress that may have some overlap due to the volumes’ issue counts being messed with. Alternatively I’ve considered just revisiting the series with the newest editions that seem likely to be fewer volumes but thicker all the way through. For lack of other placement, the zombies fit nicely here, as does my GI Joe.


Since reading the novelizations of the comics in the ’90s, I’ve been quite a fan of Dark Horse‘s Aliens stuff…and the novelizations continued into the AvP stuff…so by extension I’m a fan of their Omnibus series, and hope to expand it, at least on the Aliens side. I then have other misc. Image and Image-type stuff, and while Marvel published the Ender’s stuff, that’s it’s own thing, so fell here.


My DIsney, Archie, Usagi, and Bone stuff wound up down here, followed by Highlander and a true “mixture” of remaining stuff. Having the Death and Life of Superman novel (anniversary edition) on the shelf next to the hardcover didn’t work for me, but I’ve got both because of extra material in the paperback, so it’s relegated here. Several other volumes wound up here that I’m hanging onto but don’t otherwise fit with what they ought to, for me.


Finally, my comics “reference” and novels wound up on the top of the bookcase. Thus they reside with the comics stuff, but there wasn’t otherwise room to give them their own shelf with the current arrangement.

While going through the entire collection, I did do a bit of “weeding,” pulling a number of volumes I’ve grabbed off $1 tables and such; or that I got years ago when I thought I just wanted “more volumes” “in the collection.” I’ll probably wind up “weeding out” some of the Essentials volumes.


…and here again is the entire collection as “presented” last Friday, now with the closer-up shelf-by-shelf detail above.

The End of Hellblazer

hellblazer200I was dismayed a couple months ago to learn that the long-running Hellblazer (I believe next to Archie, this is just about the longest-running uninterruptedly-numbered series out there, PERIOD, with Spawn and Savage Dragon from Image being the closer competitors to the claim). But that’s merely a principle thing to worry about…not than 300 is anything to sneeze at.

I’d fallen away from this title over the past half decade or so, maybe more…in a way, longer than I was following it, perhaps. But I’ve been catching up on the collected volumes–having long since decided I preferred to read about John’s adventures in larger chunks, rather than try to parse out the complexity via memory and a month-long gap between issues. My Hellblazer collection rivals my Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern collections, and even surpasses my TMNT collection.

But that’s still the surfacey stuff. Issue numbers, quantity of books on a shelf.

I worked at a summer camp in the summer of 2001, and while there, came across someone else who was into comics. While I was firmly “into” mainstream super-hero stuff…he was much more into the Vertigo-type books…Sandman, Preacher, Hellblazer, etc. Partway into that summer, he loaned me Damnation’s Flame, and I think I read the volume cover-to-cover in one sitting. Knew next to nothing about the character, but still followed along quite well, enjoyed the story…and I was thrilled when he loaned me whole stack of later issues–primarily from Paul Jenkins‘ run on the book. I devoured those issues, basically “maxing out” what my friend had with him (the rest of his collection being at home in Australia).

hellblazerrecentThere was a small comic shop near the camp, so I was able to get a couple of the then-most-recent issues at the time (in the #160/161/162 range). I believe there was also a Secret Files and Origins type issue out that made a huge difference for me filling in some gaps and adding to my immediate knowledge of the character. Not long after, knowing he might visit a comic shop while on a weekend trip, I’d given him some money, and my friend came back with the Original Sins tpb (the old version, now inferior to the most recent Hellblazer vol. 1).

So for the summer alone, I got to sample the earliest issues of the series, two “middle runs” in the series, and the most recent (Azzarello) issues. Back at school, while I’d largely let other comics “slide,” I began keeping up with Hellblazer for most of the following year; I particularly remember pulling a number of “quotes” from the issues, when I was “collecting quotes” from comics (stuff from narration or characters themselves that worked well outside of context as statements on life and such).

I then took a year or so “off,” frustrated by the monthly grind of story chunks vs. entire stories. Shortly after graduating college, I re-visited a comic shop and found that the ENTIRE PAST YEAR was still available at cover price, so caught up in one fell swoop, devouring those issues and then staying on-board again for awhile. I also backtracked and caught up on the entirety of the then-available TPBs…and 2003 into 2004 kept up with newer TPB releases like Rake at the Gates of Hell, an Ellis volume, and a couple others.

When I began as a reviewer for comixtreme.com (now cxPulp.com), Hellblazer was one of the series that wasn’t being regularly covered, so I claimed it, and wrote a number of reviews as the #100s came to an end, and the early 200s. (In retrospect, it appears the only review that’s actually made it into this blog under the Hellblazer heading is a review I wrote over 4 years ago when the series hit #250).

I have a number of memories associated with certain periods of “binge reading” of Hellblazer –primarily that first summer at the camp, Autumn after college graduation, and a couple years later, spring before grad school graduation. I anticipate similar memories when I dive into a recently-acquired stack of TPBs, and catching up further beyond those.

I was thrilled a couple years ago, now, when Constantine showed up in the Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing mini though that turned out to be just a precursor to the New 52. I think I dropped Justice League Dark after only an issue or two for its then-distinct-lack-of-FOCUS on the DCU Constantine…which in retrospect will mean further volumes to acquired to also play catchup on Constantine. But really, I remember enjoying the notion that the Hellblazer Constantine was still around and a distinct character…while the DCU John Constantine was closer to the character’s original roots, and largely a different take on the character. I was actually interested in multiple interpretations.

lifeofwalt006While it may be a rush to judgment, it truly seems to me that cancelling the Vertigo title in favor of a new DCU title is a disservice, as it seems highly unlikely that the new Constantine will be more than (in a broad stroke) a “dumbed-down Hellblazer.” A tamed version without the “twisted” elements that were a distinct part of the character.
That the Hellblazer character was a chain-smoking, womanizing English con-man was somehow rather appealing to me as a reader–so much the opposite of myself. And if opposites attract…that would certainly explain some of it.

I picked up this week’s Hellblazer #300–the final issue of a 25-year run going back to 1988 or so–because it was the final issue. However, the issue seems to be part 3 of a 3-part story…and I’m painfully aware of the fact that there’ve been probably 70 issues of story progression and development since I last regularly read the series.

However, there’s still something familiar to it–I was definitely aware of a history to things…and where I expect some might be put off or disinclined to buy a single issue ending a series, for me it leaves me eager to catch up on the last few years of the series (and perhaps it’s also having that task yet in front of me that keeps me from being as discouraged as I’d otherwise be with the series ending). This was like skipping a couple seasons of a tv show I’d followed, but tuning in for the series finale and then realizing I actually did miss keeping up with the series and want to go back and watch the remaining seasons.

hellblazerlibraryI have to admit that I got to the end of #300 and thought “what? That’s IT?!?” And maybe it was stuff I missed from parts 1 and 2 of the story, or something simply totally going over my head, but the final page left me clueless–as of this writing, I don’t know what actually happened nor what it “means,” as a finale to the series.

I’d like to say that I’ll boycott Constantine #1 on principle–and maybe if it were just about anything else, I would–but I think it’ll depend on my mood the week the issue comes out; I’m not adding it to my pull list, but I may request the single issue be pulled for me, the week it’s due out.

I neglected somehow to mention another “period” of memories I hold with Hellblazer: shortly after I started writing reviews for cxPulp, I joined the staff of the university newspaper The Daily Kent Stater, and had the only in-print review I’ve ever written for a graphic novel where I reviewed the new hardcover OGN All His Engines. I also got to attend an advance screening of the Keanu Reeves film Constantine on a press pass…my only such experience to this day.

And perhaps that’s the more sentimental thing for me.

I joined the ride around #162, so have been around for 138 additional issues…close to half the run.

Here’s to hoping what comes next does some justice to the true legacy of Hellblazer and the John Constantine character.


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