DC Pride Book Club Week 5: CONSTANTINE: THE HELLBLAZER (2015-) #1-5 🌈

September 23rd has been celebrated around the world as Bi Visibility Day or International Celebrate Bisexuality Day since 1999. The day aims to provide a platform to the bisexual community and their supporters and to bring global attention to the social, economic and cultural prejudices and challenges faced by bisexual people.

To commemorate the occasion, we will be reading CONSTANTINE: THE HELLBLAZER (2015-) #1-5

REMINDER: The Constantine (2005) movie is leaving the service at the end of the month. If you watch it/have watched it and would like to discuss it here, you may.

:sparkling_heart::purple_heart::blue_heart: :sparkling_heart::purple_heart::blue_heart:

• Stop by to share your thoughts, reactions, and answers to discussion questions as you read the story.

Spoiler discussion begins RIGHT NOW and lasts until next Monday (9/30) evening!



:large_blue_diamond: CONSTANTINE: THE HELLBLAZER (2015-) #1-5 :large_blue_diamond:

  1. How familiar are you with Constantine? Is this your first time reading his solo adventures?

  2. What did you think of Georgiana, the Heckblazer?

  3. What are your feelings regarding ghosts getting killed?

  4. What did you enjoy the most about the art style in this book?

:nerd_face: Share your thoughts on the reading overall and let’s discuss :nerd_face:

:dizzy:Links to First Issue:



Oh, what an awesome comeback! :smiley:

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@Jay_Kay It just made sense for it to make a comeback today :slight_smile:

Beginning issue 1 and it starts off with a bang :eyes:

This is a great idea @nu52, thank you! It’s great seeing this book club back (for a second I thought this was an old thread).

Pride is a yearlong event! We also have a few other upcoming dates to keep in mind maybe, like October 11 (National Coming Out Day) and mid-November (Transgender Awareness Week).

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@Mae Welcome! LOL, I hadn’t thought about people thinking this was an old thread.

I was thinking about doing something for October because of National Coming Out Day and LGBT+ History Month.

I actually also wanted to do something before Oct. 15 for Hispanic Heritage Month featuring Bunker, but I don’t know any stories that focus on him and I don’t read Titans. I’m also struggling to find stories about trans people that really focus on them or at least have them be important to the story. I welcome suggestions.

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The use of color is this series is amazing. I love the deep reds in this sequence at the very start of issue #1. I appreciate the way they made his eyes glow. It’s subtle, but it works really well to convey that Constantine is using his powers. I also like how the shading kind of looks like charcoal.


Just finished up these issues and really enjoyed them. From what I’ve read, I feel like this is the closest I’ve seen the true-blue Vertigo Constantine since being added into the DC Universe.

“How familiar are you with Constantine? Is this your first time reading his solo adventures?”

Like I implied, I have read a good chunk – not all of it, but when I was first getting into comics, Vertigo was if not it’s heyday, then at least a really good time. I devoured a lot of Hellblazer trades after getting past some of the more well-known superhero stuff, as well as Sandman, Preacher, and Transmetropolitan.

“What did you think of Georgiana, the Heckblazer?”

She’s…alright. I mean, I think the story she had with John, Gaz (who I kept confusing with his taxi driver in the classic series Chaz and throwing me off) and especially Veronica is proper tragic for all involved. However, I don’t think we got to know much more about her other than she hates John because he stole her girlfriend, she’s prudish, and is a strict perfectionist. Of course, there wasn’t much time to really get to know much about her.

Like, I want to know…why the heck is she called the Heckblazer? I mean, no one even calls John “Hellblazer” so it can’t be her flipping the bird to him. Also, the solicit of the issue that introduces her mentions she’s worked with the superhero community…?! …Where?! When?!

“What are your feelings regarding ghosts getting killed?”

I ain’t afraid of no ghost, but I am afraid of existential nothingness forever and ever.

Uh. Ahem. Anyway. The images of the ghosts haunting him is definitely a good way to start what could easily be someone’s first introduction to the character. It’s sad that it all kind of goes away by the end – though John being John, I’m sure he’ll have a new set of ghosts to haunt him before long! :ghost:

“What did you enjoy the most about the art style in this book?”

Reilly Rossmo is pretty good – he has this expressive and cartoony and yet gritty and sketchy style that fits pretty well with John, and for dark stories like this in general. Ming Doyle’s art during the more flashback-y issues was also solid – though a lot more sketchier in areas than I remember her being in the past in books like The Kitchen.

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Oh, and since this is kind of part of why it’s in this Pride Week – I do like the nod of John being bisexual in this series. It was something that was kind of hinted at in the Vertigo series, but wasn’t really expressed or explored too much. While part of me wishes there was more prominent sort of “good guy” bi male characters as sort of role models, that doesn’t make characters like John any less valid. Lord knows Kate Kane is an amazing lesbian character partly because she is a complete hot mess of a human being that almost puts her cousin to shame.

That said, when I saw this nice looking guy that owns the restaurant with his two kids chatting up John Constantine and offering him a drink, I couldn’t help but think of the following meme:


As for a Hispanic Heritage month, do you mean stuff with Bunker specifically as part of Pride Book Club, or a Hispanic Heritage book club? With Bunker, sadly he doesn’t get that much play outside of Scott Lobdell – in fact he recently brought Bunker back in Red Hood: Outlaw.

As for other transgender characters – Ystin in Demon Knights is a great one, though he’s definitely coded by the writer as more gender-queer.

There’s also some interesting stuff in Legion of Super-Heroes during the Five Years Later run – sounds kind of problematic in today’s terms, but for it’s era it’s rather progressive.

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Also, Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love is pretty great, a gothic haunted house romance involving a woman conflicted with feelings between her fiancee and her non-binary best friend. Oh and Deadman there too.

Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol might work too with not just characters like Danny the Street, but with Rebis, the intersex combination of the original Negative Man and his female doctor.

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I want to read that

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@Jay_Kay I need to read the Vertigo stuff Constantine was in. I never have. I still mean to read Swamp Thing at some point. I also want to read Preacher because I have been loving the show.

I agree that we don’t get to know much of Georgie, but we do get a good feel of the four (G, Constantine, Veronica, and Gaz) and it’s sad what happens to them. I definitely would want to know more of her. I like that she took magic in a different sense. I haven’t really seen her personality type depicted in the magic side of DC much, if at all.

Maybe she’s the Heckblazer because she’s the uptight counterpart of John and “hell” can sometimes be a “bad word” so people say heck instead. I don’t remember her being referred to as the Heckblazer in the story. I might be wrong, but I only saw it in the summary and the title/cover. I’m not even sure what a Hellblazer is. It’d be cool to see her helping the London based heroes (how many of them are there?) and getting to explore that corner of DC. Wonder Woman used to be based out of England in the New 52, so I’d like to see this character come back. She might in this series, I haven’t read on, but it’d be cool to see her in Justice League Dark since Tynion co-wrote this and is writing JLD.

The poor ghosts. Veronica did a number on them. Seeing ghosts must be strange as heck, but seeing them die must be a whole other level of weird. Even for John. I think there are too many ghosts haunting John for then to truly go away. I mean, it didn’t look like that many of his personal Caspers got killed.

Yes! I was like, “Aww how cute.” Then I remembered John had just come back from the store where he was all bloody and mind controlled that woman into giving him free clothes even though she probably ended up getting fired. Oliver seemed like a sweetheart. I was surprised to see him back in the second issue. It makes me think he might come back.

It’s also nice that Constantine’s bi identity wasn’t erased. It’s also cool that he wasn’t the only bi character in the book. Veronica was with both Georgie and Constantine and has solid relationships with both of them.

I would probably make a Bunker story line part of the Pride Book Club. Luckily, the general Book Club covered Blue Beetle. Bunker has cool powers, but I just never read Titans. Thanks for all of those recommendations. I would have to try to find specific issues to focus on.

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@dccoolboy90 You should! It’s pretty goo so far :slight_smile:

Fun fact about the title – originally the Vertigo series was planned to be called “Hellraiser,” until DC discovered there was a popular horror franchise and had to change it at the last minute.

As for Oliver, all I’ll say is check the cover for issue #6.

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@Jay_Kay I just checked the cover. I’m nervous for Oliver. He seems like a sweetheart and based off of everything we learned in these issues, people that get too close to Constantine don’t end up too well.

I think the name changed worked in the series’ favor. Hellblazer is iconic now.

  1. How familiar are you with Constantine? Is this your first time reading his solo adventures?

I know very little of comic book Constantine. The most I had read of him prior to this has been in Rebirth’s Justice League Dark. I’ve seen him in animation and live action. His Keanu version is apparently nothing like the comic version, but I still like American Constantine :slight_smile:

  1. What did you think of Georgiana, the Heckblazer?

I was intrigued by her relationship with Constantine and their old group of friends. I did like the history they shared and how deep it went. She was there at the beginning of Constantine’s career. I enjoy that she is able to get things done and the part where she played John because she actually knew where the Incubus was and had been there for hours prior was great.

  1. What are your feelings regarding ghosts getting killed?

That was sad. These ghosts were still haunting John because most of them had tragic endings and never got closure. Now, they really never will get closure. It is crazy to think that they’d all just cease to exist. As I was reading this title, I was finishing up AHS Apocalypse and they had something similar going on with magic and souls getting wiped out. It’s pretty much made worse when we find out Veronica is the one killing the ghosts and she’s the one that takes out Gaz. Then John tricking Georgie into taking out Veronica so that he’d keep his hands clean was another gut punch to poor G.

  1. What did you enjoy the most about the art style in this book?

I liked the art by Reilly Rossmo. It definitely gave me the DCYou vibes I loved so much during that era. I liked how fitted they made John’s clothes. All of the characters had personality that leapt off of the page from the artwork alone. Then the art changes in issue 3. I like the present day stuff, but it reminded me a lot of Gotham Central. The John in that art is massive and comes off more like a detective than a spell caster. The flashback scenes had like an anime/Boom Studios vibe. I could dig it. Issue 4 wasn’t as good with the art. It felt rushed at parts. Incomplete even. Then with Reilly Rossmo returning to issue 5, it felt weird. The story had changed and gotten darker and the John that had been depicted in the previous two issues was so vastly different to the version from the beginning that it almost felt like a different book altogether at times. Still great art, but Georgie somehow looked like she was done with water colors or something to give that effect while no other character was.

Overall, I loved the story. I really could feel for the ghosts when they were scared or flying off trying not to get caught by the tentacle monster that was devouring them. The flashbacks really worked for me. I could get behind John even though his actions were not always the best. I’m also looking forward to seeing more of Oliver, even though I do fear for him if he gets too close to Constantine.