The End Of Hellblazer

Contributed by Elizabeth Fernandez. Elizabeth is an editor, writer, artist, and co-creator of the ongoing comic The Code Crimson.

constantine1preview
DC recently released a preview from the upcoming Constantine series, launching March 2013

After 300 issues, Hellblazer will be no more. Published under the Vertigo imprint, the long-running horror comic about magician, con artist, liar, rogue, and occasional hero John Constantine is beloved by many. It’s been a groundbreaking series and an incredible run, where many of the giants of the comic book industry have dabbled in the dark. It’s also one of the few instances in American comics where the lead character, alongside his friends and family, has been allowed to age in real time. Recently married, he’s had a plethora of friendships and romantic entanglements with women and occasionally men, a wide circle of acquaintances, and a niece he’s watched grow up. In Hellblazer’s place, DC is launching a new comic called Constantine, a development I am approaching with mourning, trepidation, and hope.   Bisexual characters are often villains, likely depraved, frequently treating their sexuality as just another tool in their arsenal.

We’re not all like that in real life.

 

hellblazer7small
A lover asks an old friend of Constantine about their relationship

Wolverine’s son Daken seems to me an unfortunate example of that sort of character, a sociopath who’s willing to have sex with anyone who can help him further his schemes, while caring little for anybody in return. His collection of powers even includes a gift for using pheromones to manipulate others into desiring him.

hellblazer173
Constantine muses about hate and shares a kiss

Personally, I’m grateful when LGBT characters, in any medium, have their sexual identity treated casually, as just another facet of their personalities. Captain Jack Harkness of Torchwood, for example, is an intensely sexual bi character, omnisexual is the term frequently used to describe him, but even that is just one small aspect of who he is, blending with his charm, humor, leadership abilities, self sacrifice, ruthless defense of the greater good, and loyalty towards those he cares about.

Hellblazerstanley173
S.W. Manor recalls his torrid relationship with Constantine

I’ve always loved complex characters. John Constantine, casually outed as bisexual in issue 51 of Hellblazer, is one of my favorites. I adore his lust for life, his capacity for love, his guilt and vulnerability, even as he has always remained a bitter, cynical, manipulative, paranoid jerk. A man of strengths and weaknesses, often wry, prone to brooding, and occasionally wise, frequently willing to fearlessly stand against demonic threats and powerful magic. He’s someone who has come to terms with the fact that he will always be a scoundrel, but doesn’t let that stop him from saving the world and falling in love.

jldark0
Zatanna and Constantine have had an off and on relationship since early on in Hellblazer
hellblazer51small
Constantine broods during a lonely moment

Bisexuality as a character trait often disappears in adaptations. Mystique, a complex character who has had significant long term relationships with both men and women, has so far shown no evidence of bisexuality in the X-Men movies. Constantine has had his own film version, in which they took the London-based English magician and turned him into an American Catholic living in LA. Whatever strengths or weaknesses present in the film version of Constantine, it was so different from the Hellblazer comic that I barely noticed his missing bisexuality.   So far, the version of John Constantine in the main DC universe hasn’t shown any evidence of attraction to men beyond a veiled joke or two, but I hope they’ll keep it as a character trait. DC could easily decide to retain Constantine’s bisexuality. Apollo and Midnighter, one of the longest running gay couples in comics, were married and raised a daughter before being brought back by DC in the New 52 as members of Stormwatch, and they seem to be starting their whole relationship over. DC has even recently reintroduced Green Lantern Alan Scott as an openly gay man.

hellblazer276small
Constantine stumbles home from his honeymoon

I hope they keep up this trend and allow John Constantine to stay true to his character. It would be fascinating to see DC explore every facet of this complicated man, and a rare chance to see a bisexual hero heading up a high profile comic.

jldark9
Constantine awakens to find a strange man in his room
March 9, 2015
© 2019 Gay League. Website design by Anton Kawasaki.