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  1.  (9562.1)
    Where to begin with Hellblazer? Not too familiar with John Constantine but might give it a go.
    • CommentTimeFeb 18th 2011
    Dangerous Habits was a good start for me, I found. It also provides a good crossover if you've seen the Constantine film. You too can bitch about what it COULD have been.
  2.  (9562.3)
    I second that. DANGEROUS HABITS is a brilliant start to Garth Ennis' run, which is my favorite. At times inconsistent: Ennis, less experienced back then, would sometimes indulge himself too much in subplots that interest him but don't fit well with the main character. Also, it suffers at the start due to Will Simpson's artwork, which sways wildly between "remarkable" and "astonishingly amateur". Soon, however, Steve Dillon swings in and saves the day. Regardless of the aforementioned problems, it's a great run full of brilliant moments.

    Brian Azzarello also made Constantine shine in HARD TIME. I wasn't so keen on the rest of his run, but that particular story (beautifully illustrated by Richard Corben) makes the most of its premise.
  3.  (9562.4)
    Honestly, I say start with the begining. I like the Delano feel. I like the straight up mystical horror aspect of it.
  4.  (9562.5)
    Start from Swamp Thing - American Gothic at minimum, then do Hellblazer from stem to stern. You can leave out Azzarello's run if you like - never did like his take on Conjob. Of course Our Guv did a fine run - even the controversially banned Shoot is available now.
    Make a point of reading Gaiman's one issue, "Hold Me" - haunting, sad and sarky all in one.

    The 2 actual novels by John Shirley are sadly crap.
  5.  (9562.6)
    The Horrorist, by Jamie Delano and David Lloyd is standalone, tighter than a really tight drum, and cold, cruel, unforgiving and addictive.

    There isn't a bad intro to Hellblazer, though, in terms of comics, as there aren't really any bad John Constantine comics.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2011
    Start with Delano, then Ennis. Try and read their runs in order, if you can. Aside from those, Wozza's book 'Haunted' is brilliant and Jamie Delano's 'Pandemonium' is very, very good. Oh, and Ennis' 'Son of Man' is a laugh, as far as the standalone stuff goes.

    The rest of it is hit and miss, with some utter gems, but a lot that ranges from just okay to quite poor. I keep buying Hellblazer because it's the one thing I've got a complete run of, but to be honest, it's not been that great for years. I hated Azarello's run, but some people think it's good, so

    There's plenty there to pick from that's good, even if you keep to Delano, Ennis and Ellis' stuff.

    And no matter what anyone tells you, there has never been a film based on Hellblazer. Well, aside from a few episodes of Supernatural that kinda count.
  6.  (9562.8)
    And no matter what anyone tells you, there has never been a film based on Hellblazer. Well, aside from a few episodes of Supernatural that kinda count.

    Truer words were never spoken.

    I'd put in a good word for Mike Carey's run - felt the most genuine since Delano. Not sure where they're going with Milligan's run and the whole...
    John marrying a 20s mob boss's daughter

    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2011
    Well, I'd say Mike Carey's Felix Castor books are better than his run on Hellblazer and marking the same territory. They almost feel like they're what he really wanted to do, but couldn't for some reason. I'd recommend anyone spend money on those instead.
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2011
    > Start from Swamp Thing - American Gothic at minimum

    According to the description that's in this anthology, apparently.
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2011 edited
    Ennis's Son Of Man is definitely a good place to start. Constantine's inner monologue alone is worth the purchase price.
  7.  (9562.12)
    Ennis' stuff is pretty good and tight, not drawing quite as much on the epic backstory. It's also quite terrifying.

    I recommend at least one of Delano's books though, because they're when all the major milestones happened, and they so perfectly capture this sense of post-punk aimlessness and general frustration. I found them to be a lot more definitive of everything that followed than I had expected.
    • CommentAuthorSolario
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2011
    For newer, not previously mentioned, stuff, I have to say I enjoyed (and am enjoying) both Diggle's and Milligan's run. And the two parter with the documentary about Mucous Membrane (Constantine's old punk band) that Jason Aaron did was wonderfully cruel.

    I really found Son of Man to be quite boring and Ennis not really bringing his A-game, but with all these recommendations I guess I have to reread it.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2011
    Oh, Son of Man's not epic cosmic horror played out in real human terms, of the kind which characterised the rest of Ennis' run, but it does have some lovely storytelling tricks in it, and it's quite funny in a twisted way.

    Actually, another thing comes to mind, which isn't actually Hellblazer, but with is brilliant, although sadly not collected to the best of my knowledge - Peter Hogan's Sandman Presents: Love Street. I really wish he'd won the job on the main book when he was up for it.
  8.  (9562.15)
    how about that... the governor has written some Hellblazers! I better take a look into those
  9.  (9562.16)
    Late to the party but I have to say something just because I'm also a Hellblazer completist - I'd say start with Swamp Thing, read Delano's and Ennis' in turn then you can skip as much as you like [though I liked Azzarello and Warren's stuff] but you MUST read Diggle's - it was the last good run that actually felt like Hellblazer: murky morality, politically motivated and satirical with a good bit of actual back-story meta-play.

    After that, the only thing I've really liked was China Mieville's single-shot in the #250 issue - twas funny, light but philosophically interesting and not only featured demonic bankers but bankers that were physically demons trying to [or giving lip service to] be helpful.
    • CommentAuthorepalicki
    • CommentTimeFeb 21st 2011
    I loved Diggle's run, although it felt a little too short and too tidily wrapped up. I'm not sure I'd suggest it to someone without much previous exposure to the character, because it draws so heavily on his history.

    I really liked HARD TIME, the start of Azzarello's run on Hellblazer. The rest of his run was hit-and-miss, but Hard Time is great.

    Has anyone read DARK ENTRIES, Ian Rankin's Vertigo Crime OGN (which is also a John Constantine story)?
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeFeb 21st 2011
    Re: Dark Entries - don't bother. It's pretty meh.
  10.  (9562.19)
    DARK ENTRIES is like that classic early Delano story with the demon bankers. It's let down a bit by the art.
    • CommentTimeFeb 21st 2011
    Actually, that's a good way of explaining it, Warren. I enjoyed it. It was quite well-written. Just...that art.