After a move to the regular DC Universe, a movie, a TV show and even the announcement of a YA graphic novel, John Constantine will go back to basics in a new Hellblazer title this fall, as part of the Neil Gaiman-curated Sandman Universe line.
The day before Halloween will bring a one-shot by Simon Spurrier and artist Marcio Takara titled The Sandman Universe Presents Hellblazer. That’ll be followed by a new ongoing titled John Constantine, Hellblazer by Spurrier and artist Aaron Campbell.
“Year One was just the start. Now you get to inhabit the worlds, books and houses we built for you,” said Gaiman. “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. More magic and more darkness and not a few gods and dreams are here for you to explore.”
Here’s how DC describes the series, which looks back at the original Books of Magic miniseries that introduced Tim Hunter:
In THE SANDMAN UNIVERSE PRESENTS HELLBLAZER #1, the story begins in a moment originally seen in Gaiman’s miniseries THE BOOKS OF MAGIC. 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. But most troubling of all are the rumors of a new young magician named Tim Hunter, a boy destined to be either the greatest sorcerer of all, or the greatest threat to the world. If history is repeating itself, then is it John’s role to die all over again? Or is John here to stop the cycle—and stop Tim Hunter?
“Hellblazer’s the one title I’ve always aspired to write. Ever since John Constantine slunk from Alan Moore’s brain into Swamp Thing, dropping secrets like grenades, bewildering vegetables, and spinning mysteries, I’ve been drawn to his misadventures with eerie gravity,” Spurrier said. “John Constantine is the cynic’s magician: a man of selfish drives and cataclysmic self-knowledge, who tries to do the right thing in spite of himself, in spite of the cost, in spite of the vile and violent world he occupies. He may not be the hero we need, but he’s definitely the bastard we deserve.
“In this new era, everything is different. Everyone and everything he loved and knew is dead or despises him. Alone, angry, older, and wiser, he beholds a world that is clearlygoing insane. The shadows are deeper than ever. So he does what he does. He breathes smoke. He grins to himself. And he goes to work.”
The original Hellblazer title kicked off in 1988, following the character’s appearances in Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing run. It became a Vertigo title when that line was born, and was published for 300 issues. After launching their “New 52” publishing initiative, DC eventually integrated Constantine back into the regular DC Universe, where he appeared in his own title and in Justice League Dark.