For someone who started off in the supporting cast of Swamp Thing, John Constantine has had (and continues to have) a great run in the comics.

For some reason, it is considered cool in some journalistic circles to write about comics.

A while back, one of the pink papers carried a large story on Constantine. Among the various things it got wrong was that it was comics writer Alan Moore who came up with the idea of modelling Constantine on Sting. And that it was Moore who created the Hellblazer series featuring Constantine.

Constantine: World-weary adventurer.

Well, as they say, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, especially if you don’t have a clue about the subject on which you are writing.

Steve Bissette and John Totleben, two A-list illustrators, were the people who came up with the idea of a comic book character modelled on Sting.

Moore, who was collaborating with them for a reprise of Swamp Thing, thought this was a great idea.

And so, John Constantine was born as a supporting character in the series.

DC later took the character and had Jamie Delano do a series around it. This was the genesis of Hellblazer.

So, Moore didn’t come up with the Sting idea; Hellblazer was someone else’s creation; but he did create Constantine. So, our friend in the pink paper got two on three wrong (par for the course, I would say).

There are fan sites devoted to Constantine on the www, and Wikipedia has a fairly large and mostly accurate entry on him, so those of you interested in the details would do well to head there. Despite a profusion of authors writing the still-ongoing series (including several A-listers such as Brian Azzarello, Mike Carey, Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis), Constantine remains a world-weary, chain-smoking, hard-drinking, yellow trench coat sporting magus who would rather use his smarts than any complicated spells to get the better of everyone from the lords of hell to minor occult cults. There has been one Constantine movie out (starring Keanu Reeves, and although I have said this before, I will do so again—why didn’t they get either Jude Law or Ewan Macgregor to play the part?) and there is every reason to believe there will be more, especially since DC is showing no signs of wanting the franchise to end.

There is only so much you can do with monsters, assorted devils, and occult cults, and the very fact that the franchise has run this long (Moore created the character in 1985; Delanao’s first Hellblazer comics came out in 1988) is credit to the storytelling abilities of the various writers who have played guardian angel to Constantine as he has wandered from one misadventure to another.

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