Hellblazer - Creative Arts

The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005

Creative Arts

Vertigo Comics, comic series first published in 1988.

The star of this comic book series, the master sorcerer John Constantine, first appeared as a character in the horror comic-book series Swamp Thing. He is a featured character in many graphic novels and is also featured in other Vertigo comics including Books of Magic and The Sandman. Constantine reportedly dated Zatanna while they were in college. (See Zatanna, page 235.)

A film adaptation of Hellblazer, featuring Keanu Reeves as Constantine, is scheduled for release in 2005. Allegedly his creator Alan Moore modeled Constantine’s physical appearance after the singer Sting.

Constantine has no standard super-powers similar to a conventional comic-book hero; his magical powers consist of magical skill and knowledge. This trench-coated, chain-smoking sorcerer anti-hero initially used these magical powers for unethical goals. (Chain-smoking eventually led to lung cancer; however Constantine was magically able to force the Lords of Hell to heal him.) He is still a brutal practitioner when needs-be in order to save his skin from his many enemies, however Constantine has now dedicated himself to realigning the world’s balance towards good and righteousness. (Or at least away from evil.)

Constantine derives from the mold of the classic medieval sorcerer whose interests lie in demons and hell. Like Mandrake (see page 229), he is a master hypnotist; Constantine is also shown conducting séances and exorcisms and creating sigils. Constantine is a hereditary witch; his family includes a tremendously long line of occult practitioners. He began his own occult education during adolescence and is truly a master, however he is also an egotist who frequently overestimates his talents, landing him in scrapes from which he must magically extricate himself.