Tuesday, 24 June 2014

John Constantine and Hellblazer

A little while ago, my Young Man showed me a copy of a film called Constantine, starring Keanu Reeves. It seemed strange and depressing - the main character never seemed to have a lucky break and was followed around by hordes of insects. The saving grace of the film was Tilda Swinton as a mad Angel Gabriel.

Later I found out that the main character was supposed to have come from Liverpool....
And in the last week or so, I have seen a trailer for a new TV series about the same character. This time he really does sound Liverpudlian (though the actor,Matt Ryan, is Welsh) which gives the character a sort of gallows humour and cockiness that Keanu Reeves never managed to put across. It looks very promising, and on the strength of it I picked up an odd copy of one of the comics that I found in Addyman's bookshop in Hay-on-Wye.
It was a good choice, as it turned out, being a self-contained story from 1989 by Jamie Delano and Ron Tiner. It's about Jerry, an acquaintance of Constantine's who turns out to be a fictional character - and other fictional characters keep turning up to take him back to the world of fiction, because only the really famous ones (who are also free of copyright) have the right to roam the real world. Among the characters they meet along the way are Sherlock Holmes, Peter Pan, and Nancy and Bill Sykes from Oliver Twist.
The first character to tap his way across the pages is Blind Pew.
"Blind Who?" asks Constantine.
"From Treasure Island, you illiterate plebian!" says Jerry, who has just been handed the Black Spot.
And that's the point where I thought I've got to read more of this....

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