Hellblazer is a contemporary horror comic book series published by the Vertigo imprint of DC Comics. Its central character is the streetwise magician John Constantine. It has been published continuously since January 1988.
The initial creative team was writer Jamie Delano and artist John Ridgway, with Dave McKean supplying distinctive painted and collage covers. Delano introduced a political aspect to the character: "...generally I was interested in commenting on 1980s Britain. That was where I was living, it was shit, and I wanted to tell everybody."
Hellblazer's main character is portrayed as a kind of confidence man, doing morally questionable things, sometimes for the greater good. Constantine usually triumphs in his conflicts through guile, deceit and misdirection, but often makes more enemies in the process than he defeats. Indeed, it is a common theme in the book that Constantine is unable to effect any lasting change or enjoy unequivocal victories. While sometimes striving for the good of mankind, Constantine is often manipulative and a dangerous person to have as a friend, as the lives and souls of those around him become perilously involved in his misadventures. He takes pains to protect himself from direct attacks, but his friends and relatives are often endangered in order to strike at him. The spirits of deceased friends haunt him, individually or as an entourage of ghosts.
Constantine has made appearances in other comic book titles, such as The Sandman, Lucifer and Shade, the Changing Man. He was a recurring supporting character in both Swamp Thing and The Books of Magic throughout their numerous incarnations.
|Title||Issues collected||Writer(s)||ISBN||Issues and/or story arcs reprinted|
|Original Sins||1–9||Jamie Delano||ISBN 1-56389-052-6||"Hunger", "A Feast of Friends", "Going for It", "Waiting for the Man", "When Johnny Comes Marching Home", "Extreme Prejudice", "Ghosts in the Machine", "Intensive Care", "Shot to Hell"|
|The Devil You Know||10–13, plus The Hellblazer Annual and The Horrorist 1-2||Jamie Delano||ISBN 1-40121-269-7||"Sex and Death", "Newcastle: A Taste of Things to Come", "The Devil You Know...", "On The Beach", "The Bloody Saint", "Venus of the Hardsell", "Antarctica"|
|The Fear Machine||14–22||Jamie Delano||ISBN 1-40121-810-5||"The Fear Machine"|
|The Family Man||23-24, 28-33||Jamie Delano, Dick Foreman|| ISBN 1-40121-964-0|
|"Larger Than Life", "The Family Man", "Thicker Than Water", "Sick At Heart", "Fatality", "Mourning Of The Magician"|
|Rare Cuts||11, 25–26, 35, 56, 84||Jamie Delano, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis||ISBN 1-40120-240-3||"Newcastle: A Taste of Things to Come", "Early Warning", "How I Learned to Love the Bomb", "This is the Diary of Danny Drake", "Another Part of Hell"|
|Dangerous Habits||41–46||Garth Ennis||ISBN 1-56389-150-6||"Dangerous Habits"|
|Bloodlines||47–50, 52–55, 59–61||Garth Ennis||ISBN 1-40121-514-9||"The Pub Where I Was Born", "Love Kills", "The Lord of the Dance", "Remarkable Lives", "Royal Blood", "Guys and Dolls"|
|Fear and Loathing||62–67||Garth Ennis||ISBN 1-56389-202-2||"End of the Line", "Forty", "Fear and Loathing", "Dear John"|
|Tainted Love||68–71 plus Hellblazer Special and short story from Vertigo Jam||Garth Ennis||ISBN 1-56389-456-4||"Tainted Love", "Down All the Days", "Rough Trade", "Heartland", "Finest Hour", "Confessional"|
|Damnation's Flame||72–77||Garth Ennis||ISBN 1-56389-508-0||"Damnation's Flame", "Act of Union", "Confessions of an Irish Rebel", "And the Crowd Goes Wild"|
|Rake at the Gates of Hell||78–83 plus the Heartland one-shot||Garth Ennis||ISBN 1-40120-002-8||"Rake at the Gates of Hell", "Heartland"|
|Son of Man||129–133||Garth Ennis||ISBN 1-40120-202-0||"Son of Man"|
|Haunted||134–139||Warren Ellis||ISBN 1-56389-813-6||"Haunted"|
|Setting Sun||140–143||Warren Ellis||ISBN 1-40120-245-4||"Locked", "The Crib", "Setting Sun", "One Last Love Song", "Telling Tales"|
|Hard Time||146–150||Brian Azzarello||ISBN 1-56389-696-6||"Hard Time"|
|Good Intentions||151–156||Brian Azzarello||ISBN 1-56389-856-X||"Good Intentions"|
|Freezes Over||157–163||Brian Azzarello||ISBN 1-56389-971-X||"...And Buried?", "Freezes Over", "Lapdogs and Englishmen"|
|Highwater||164–174||Brian Azzarello||ISBN 1-40120-223-3||"Highwater", "A Fresh Coat of Red Paint", "Chasing Demons", "Ashes and Dust in the City of Angels"|
|Red Sepulchre||175–180||Mike Carey||ISBN 1-40120-485-6||"High on Life", "Red Sepulchre"|
|Black Flowers||181–186||Mike Carey||ISBN 1-40120-499-6||"The Game of Cat and Mouse", "Black Flowers", "Third Worlds"|
|Staring at the Wall||187–193||Mike Carey||ISBN 1-40120-929-7||"Bred in the Bone", "Staring at the Wall"|
|Stations of the Cross||194–200||Mike Carey||ISBN 1-40121-002-3||"Ward 24", "Out of Season", "Stations of the Cross", "Happy Families"|
|Reasons to be Cheerful||201–206||Mike Carey||ISBN 1-84576-450-1 ISBN 1-40121-251-4||"Event Horizon", "Reasons to be Cheerful", "Cross Purpose"|
|The Gift||207–215||Mike Carey||ISBN 1-40121-453-3||"Down in the Ground Where the Dead Men Go", "The Gift", "R.S.V.P."|
|Empathy is the Enemy||216–222||Denise Mina||ISBN 1-40121-066-X||"Empathy is the Enemy"|
|The Red Right Hand||223–228||Denise Mina||ISBN 1-40121-342-1||"The Season of the Zealot", "The Red Right Hand"|
|Joyride||230–237||Andy Diggle||ISBN 1-40121-651-X||"In at the Deep End", "Wheels of Chance, Systems of Control", "Joyride"|
|The Laughing Magician||238–242||Andy Diggle||ISBN 1-40121-853-9||"The Smoke", "The Passage", "The Laughing Magician", "The Mortification of the Flesh"|
Other collections include:
Constantine: The Hellblazer Collection is a movie tie-in which collects the official film adaptation as well as Hellblazer numbers 1, 27 (written by Neil Gaiman), and 41. All of these issues are available in other collections: #1 in Original Sins, #41 in Dangerous Habits, and #27 in Neil Gaiman's Midnight Days, a collection of Gaiman-penned stories.
Hellblazer: Papa Midnite, collects the five-issue spin-off mini-series written by Mat Johnson. It is set during the early part of the "Staring at the Wall" story arc.
Hellblazer: Lady Constantine collects Andy Diggle's four-issue spin-off miniseries.
There have also been a couple of original graphic novels:
All His Engines by Mike Carey involves Constantine trying to solve the mystery of a strange sickness sweeping the globe. It also includes a character summary and history of the series taken from Vertigo Secret Files: Hellblazer.
Note that Tim Bradstreet also supplied cover art for an unpublished version of issue 141. The story that would have appeared in this issue, "Shoot" by writer Warren Ellis and artist Phil Jimenez, was deemed unsuitable for publication after the Columbine shootings, as it focused on an FBI agent investigating school shootings.
Additionally, there were two covers commissioned for issue 218: the solicited one by Greg Lauren showing John Constantine being crucified, and the published one by Lee Bermejo showing Constantine lighting a cigarette in the wind. The reasons for the change of cover remain unknown.
Other Hellblazer covers have also been commissioned but not used, and are available for viewing here
Note that Hellblazer #75 and #142 each contained two stories by two different artists. Issue 75 contained "Damnation's Flame part 4: Hail to the Chief" with art by Steve Dillon and "Act of Union" with art by William Simpson. Issue 142 contained "Setting Sun" with art by Javier Pulido and "One Last Love Song" illustrated by James Romberger.
Phil Jimenez supplied art for "Shoot", a Warren Ellis-penned tale focusing on high-school shootings that would have been the original issue 141. It was removed from the publishing schedule after the Columbine shootings occurred.
The first adaptation of Hellblazer ever filmed for the screen is one of the scenes in the documentary feature film The Mindscape of Alan Moore and was shot in early 2002. The dramatization consists of the John Constantine character wandering through London and in the film ending experiencing a mystical epiphany of sorts.
In 2005 Constantine was released, a feature film that did not use the same title as the comic book, although the protagonists were of the same name, and the main plot was loosely based on several specific issues.