Hellblazer Cancelled: New 52 Constantine Coming: An Editorial
By Andy Frisk
November 8, 2012 - 13:53

As reported at CBR, DC Comics is bringing Vertigo's longest running, and current flagship, title Hellblazer to a close with issue #300 and moving John Constantine fully and completely into the New 52 with the launch of Constantine (March 2013). For some this might be great news, for others this is horrible news, for many its a "whatever," but for long term followers of DC Comics this is yet another dismantling of a key property that has defined the publisher for decades and will continue to rework the publisher into an unrecognizable entity for many long term comic book readers.

A strong case can be made that Hellblazer  isn't really the flagship title of the Vertigo line of books anymore and that Fables is. This really and truly might just be the case as Fables is constantly spinning off other ongoing titles (Fairest) and mini-series (the Cinderella group of minis comes to mind). If a title is selling well then there are plenty of spin offs launched to capitalize on the sales. There haven't been as many Hellblazer graphic novels and spin offs recently.

The only problem is that magic based characters in the DCU usually don't sell well or last long. DC Comics does much better job in the mainstream with their sci-fi and gritty superhero properties. It's hard to name one magic based character that has driven a long termed title consistently in the mainstream DCU. Andrew Bennett of I, Vampire seems to be holding his own currently, but I suspect that is because vampires are still quite popular with the pop culture crowd. John Constantine thrived, and definitely had found his own little niche, at the Vertigo imprint. Will he be able to replicate this type of success in a setting where he will be forced to bump up against Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman? I hate to say it but I really doubt it.

The only silver lining to this news is that Robert Venditti (Surrogates, X-O Manowar) will be writing Constantine. In an interview with CBR he also stated that he'll keep writing X-O Manowar currently, much to the relief of fans of the relaunched Valiant Comics line. The same interview introduced Venditti as the new ongoing writer of Demon Knights. Venditti will be taking over for Paul Cornell (a personal favorite of mine), and I can think of no one else who I'd like to see replace Cornell.

All that being said though, the constant re-tooling of characters at DC Comics that either wipes away their long, and familiar, histories or completely reboots them is getting old, and it's only really just begun. 


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