12 Days of Christmas – Best SFF Characters of 2013 – Day #7: John Constantine

Seven days into the 12 Days of Christmas and in the firstst blog post of 2014, I turn my attention to the foul mouthed anti-hero John Constantine, originally of Vertigo Comics – but now a regular feature in DC Comics’ New 52. Read More to find out why Constantine makes this list.

JOHN CONSTANTINE

I have one favourite sub-genre, and that’s Urban Fantasy. I love fantasy stories set in built up metropolitan areas whether in London or Chicago, and give me a non-Paranormal Romance book in this genre and it’ll be on my TBR list before you can say “Dresden Files”. This is something that’s started with the aforementioned work by Jim Butcher, having spread out into the likes of Kate Griffin, Ben Aaronovitch, Kevin Hearne, Neil Gaiman and more, has also moved into the comics medium in recent months with John Constantine, who was first introduced in Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing Saga which I haven’t got around to reading as of now but am looking forward to reading more of it.
My first exposure with Constantine was with Ray Fawkes’ new series earlier this year following the integration of the character to the main DC Universe (along with Swamp Thing) from Vertigo Comics. I tried out the first two issues of the series but didn’t like where it was going, and it wasn’t until Trinity War and Forever Evil that I really got my next exposure to the character and in the middle of Forever Evil: Blight it became quite clear that Ray Fawkes’ series had improved a lot since those first two issues and I have now added Constantine to my pull-list as a result of this. However, this brief exposure (along with Trinity War) aside, up until a couple of days ago was my only experience with John Constantine and if you’d have asked me to make this list then he wouldn’t have made it. However, this is mainly thanks to one of my last few reads of 2013 – a graphic novel which I picked up on a whim in Forbidden Planet London purely because it featured Constantine and because it bore the title of one of my favourite songs (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds). The Red Right Hand by Denise Mina and ended up really enjoying it, so as soon as I got back from London I made it my number one priority to order Original Sins off Amazon, the first Volume in the main Hellblazer series, and that is currently in the post.
There are several things that make John Constantine great, and that’s not just because he’s one of the few British born Comics characters. He’s a strong anti-hero and very memorable character and whilst not the most likable person out there, he certainly leaves a strong presence as a flawed and enjoyable character to read about. I have also managed to watch the Keanu Reeves-starring Constantine movie this year as well, but it wasn’t as good as it could have been given the wealth of source material available and wasn’t really involved with the character at all. 
However, there is a Constantine TV series on the horizon from none other than David S. Goyer – that does certainly look a bit more promising than the movie given Goyer’s strong previous outings in Man of Steel, Da Vinci’s Demons & The Dark Knight Trilogy, it’s really a good time to start getting invested in the character. My main New Year’s Resolution for 2014 is to read all of the Hellblazer graphic novels, so by the time 2015 rolls around I should be fully up to date on the character, so things should be very good indeed. 
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