This week on the Major Spoilers Podcast, the crew of two is taking a look at Matthew’s favorite character of all time – John Constantine, Hellblazer, and the Dangerous Habits trade.

John Constantine is dying. As a sorcerer literally haunted by the demons of his past, John is no stranger to mystic bedevilment or supernatural horror. But it’s his chain smoking that ultimately brings death to Constantine’s front door. John Constantine has lung cancer. Though condemned to hell, Constantine continues to laugh in the face of this all-too-serious world. Despite it preternatural overtones, this story is actually a down-to-earth tale about life, death, and the little details in between.

As always, the Major Spoilers Podcast is nothing without comments from great readers and listeners like you. You can use the comment section below, drop us a voice mail by calling (785) 727-1939, or record your comments and send it as an MP3 file in an email to

Here’s your chance to be heard on the show! Give us your thoughts on this book, or if you want to share your thoughts on the state of the comic book industry, or anything else that might be on your mind drop us a line. Only the most awesome comments (good or bad) make it on the show, so get your stuff to us right away!

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. tidge
    June 28, 2010 at 8:14 pm — Reply

    I have very mixed feelings about this story arc.

    On the positive side: It was a decent enough story following Jamie Delano’s masterful (but difficult to penetrate) inaugural run. It presented JC with a serious problem of his own making, and he had to trick his way out of the problem.

    On the negative side: It inspired/allowed Garth Ennis to turn the Hellblazer comic into an immature collection of juvenile behavior with absolutely none of the subtlety of Delano’s (or Moore’s) take on the (by then, well-established 40-year-old) character. I stayed with the book for about another year hoping it would improve, but ended up dropping it forever…picking up only the later Delano issue.

    I have no objection to Ennis’ approach to writing comics. They obviously appeal to plenty of readers. I only object to his branding existing, well-loved comics with *his* style.

    2 slices of Guinness-soaked meatloaf for these (six?) issues; 0 slices of meatloaf and a filthy ashtray full of squandered potential for the entirety of the Ennis run.

    BTW, was it ever explained in-comic why JC had the love-affair with Guinness? I can understand Ennis’ personal appreciation for the drink, but it never struck me as a particularly Liverpudlian drink to favor.

  2. Damascus
    June 28, 2010 at 9:49 pm — Reply

    Strange things are afoot at the Seventh Circle of Hell.

    Sadly, my only experience with John Constantine has been the Keanu Reeves movie. I don’t judge the comic based on the movie, but it does still make me hesitant towards wanting to read the books. The creators need to get a little more involved in production so that their works aren’t bastardized and it pushes people away from the source material. I’m still interested in possibly reading some, but that’s only from hearing Matthew waxing eloquent on the subtleties of the character and plot lines. I suppose the Keanu movie wasn’t all bad, they did kill Shia LeBouf in the movie. That and really, I’d never even heard about Hellblazer or John Constantine before it came out.

    I’ll tune in and see if The Matthew Show can say just the right thing to make me use my food money for a day and go buy some Hellblazer.

  3. June 29, 2010 at 11:27 am — Reply

    Tidge, I have to completely disagree with you (except maybe on the guinness thing) While I agree Garth Ennis has his juvenile moments, his stories reflect the ugly parts of humanity that most of us choose to ignore. I think the sub plot with John’s friendship with Matt, the older man with cancer, really shows that. Dying of cancer is not pretty or subtle, and Garth Ennis tackled it well.

    There’s also the gambit that he pulls off to save himself from cancer – I don’t want to spoil anything before the podcast – but I cannot think of a more defining moment to Constantine’s character than that. The movie ruined it by changing it into a typical Hollywood ending – he makes the right choice and gets the girl too (not that there was a girl in the comic)

    Damascus, if you think the Constantine flick was a great concept, poor execution, look no further than the Hellblazer comics. They bear little to no resemblance to the movie other than names. (I’m pretty sure I heard a rumor around hollywood that this was actually a script written without knowledge of the Hellblazer comic, then adapted when the similarities were noticed)

    I still think that the only way they could make another, good Hellblazer flick would be to go back in time 20 years and cast Bill Nighy as John.

    • tidge
      June 29, 2010 at 6:58 pm — Reply

      I stand by my assessment. The first arc was decent enough, but the rest of the Ennis run degenerated into juvenile shenanigans. It was quite a difference from the original “Sophisticated Suspense” upon which the Vertigo line was founded.

    • Damascus
      June 30, 2010 at 12:33 am — Reply

      What fortuitous circumstance be this? I do love me some Bill Nighy, so yeah, I’d watch something like that. Another guy who looks like he could pull off some of the same vibe that Nighy has is Christopher Eccleston. Many may think that’s silly, but I’m really ignorant on who John Constantine really is and therefore I’m speaking out of my butt. Just think that anyone would be better than Keanu. Litany, you build a time machine and I’ll help you go kidnap a younger Bill Nighy and maybe Bill Nye too while we’re at it.

      Science Rules!

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