Another Lame Letter

HELLBLAZER #63, DC Comics/Vertigo, March 1993
Time for another of my gay-sounding letters to the editor! I'm not gonna talk about the comic it was in, but rather the comic it commented on. Hellblazer is one of DC's premiere horror comics. You might know it as Constantine, the movie with Keanu Reeves in it that was made before DC got with the program and started caring about their properties (the pre-Batman Begins era, shall we say). All you really need to know anyway is that John Constantine is a right bastard that dabbles in the occult and regularly gives the Devil the finger.

This issue was from the Garth Ennis years, and I'll admit right now that I wasn't that keen on his stuff. Later, I'd come to love his splat-shock-no-taboos kind of horror in Preacher, Hitman, et al. But with Hellblazer, I just thought he was screwing with characters that were not his to screw with. The book used to be subtle and now it was about blowing a guy's nuts off in the light of day and similar shenanigans.

But now that I "get" Ennis, I'll reread the issue I sent a complaint about and see what I think. Give me a minute... I'll let you read the letter while you wait. It pretty much summarizes the main points (also included: the counter-argument from another reader). Click on the image to make it legible.
Wow. Am I lame or what? Mr. Green rightly puts me in my place. Of course, I haven't changed my mind. I'm still anally anti-drug. But calling it "the real horror"? Cripes, I can lay it on a thicker than Brad Pitt's accent in Snatch sometimes. (See? Did it again. Hyperbole, thy name is Siskoid.)

Like it says on there, it's Constantine's 40th birthday, and a bunch of his pals throw him a drunken binge (the word "party" just doesn't cover it). Nothing better to get him out of his current funk, right? That's his little arc, but along the way, Ennis has some fun bringing in a number of guest-stars from across the more mystical side of the DC Universe. If I had any objections, it's because he wasn't paying any respect to these comic book icons. The Phantom Stranger shows up, and John pisses on his shoes by mistake. Swamp Thing is invited (or rather, summoned out of broccoli), but it's for this:
And then there's Zatanna of the Justice League of America positively shit-faced. Usually she "backwards-speaks" to cast spells (read each word in reverse to see what she's doing!), but here, I just think she's thoroughly stoned. Still managed "dloh gib taf tnioj rof em" though.
Hey, it's all fun and games now, and yes, I do "get" Garth Ennis. Never liked Zatanna that much anyway (until 7 Soldiers), strictly a B-grade Justice Leaguer, so what was I moaning about? Ok, not Ennis' best work, but it's got a couple of fun drinking tales and a few good laughs at the expense of a couple of all too serious characters. It gets my belated thumbs up. Oh, Mr. Green, can you ever forgive me?


Stephen said...

that is pretty funny. gonna keep my out for it. is this reflective of ennis''s run?

Siskoid said...

Pretty much. There's more than one "drinking" issue and plenty of irreverence (though rarely at the expense of other established characters like this).

For all my moaning here, I did buy and read Ennis' entire run. Still no Preacher though despite the same credentials.

SallyP said...

Hey, I have this, and I did think that it was a hoot. I do remember at the time however that there was a bit of shock that Zatanna, a member of the Justice League was getting stoned with Constantine, but what the heck. We all need to let our hair down sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Very good post. I am glad you decided to recycle this one from your faux-blog now that fame and f... (ok fame) has blessed this blog.

So don't worry, I won't spill the beans. Your secret is fine with me.

Oh, frag!


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like (21) Activities (23) Advice (74) Alien Nation (34) Aliens Say the Darndest Things (8) Alpha Flight (25) Amalgam (53) Ambush Bug (46) Animal Man (17) anime (53) Aquaman (71) Archetypes (14) Archie Heroes (10) Arrowed (20) Asterix (9) Atom (31) Avengers (59) Awards (33) Babylon 5 (140) Batman (680) Battle Shovel (13) Battlestar Galactica (134) Black Canary (22) BnB 2-in1 (40) Books (61) Booster Gold (16) Buck Rogers (20) Buffy (6) Canada (72) Captain America (69) Captain Marvel (57) Cat (156) CCGs (60) Charlton (12) Circles of Hell (6) Class (11) Comics (3990) Comics Code Approved (12) Conan (15) Contest (13) Cooking (15) Crisis (78) Daredevil (33) Dating Kara Zor-El (5) Dating Lois Lane (23) Dating Lucy Lane (13) Dating Princess Diana (11) DCAU (404) Deadman (9) Dial H (128) Dice (10) Dinosaur Island (16) Dinosaurs (67) Director Profiles (9) Doctor Who (1686) Doom Patrol (22) Down the Rabbit Hole (7) Dr. Strange (17) Encyclopedia (28) Fantastic Four (56) Fashion Nightmares (19) Fiasco (14) Films Within Films (6) Flash (87) Flushpoint (86) Foldees (12) French (49) Friday Night Fights (57) Fun with Covers (56) FW Team-Up (37) Galleries (9) Game design (26) Gaming (111) Geekly roundup (770) Geeks Anonymous (47) Geekwear (13) Gimme That Star Trek (61) Godzilla (53) Golden Age (441) Grant Morrison (75) Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction (8) Green Arrow (50) Green Lantern (87) Hawkman (40) Hero Points Podcast (13) Holidays (241) House of Mystery (16) Hulk (44) Human Target (8) Improv (34) Inspiration (45) Intersect (5) Invasion Podcast (44) Iron Man (50) Jack Kirby (87) Jimmy Olsen (74) JLA (97) JSA (26) K9 the Series (30) Kirby Motivationals (18) Krypto (202) Kung Fu (100) Learning to Fly (11) Legion (130) Letters pages (6) Liveblog (12) Lonely Hearts Podcast (21) Lord of the Rings (18) Machine Man Motivationals (10) Man-Thing (6) Marquee (89) Masters of the Universe (9) Memes (39) Memorable Moments (35) Metal Men (5) Metamorpho (65) Millennium (72) Mini-Comics (5) Monday Morning Macking (7) Movies (457) Mr. Terrific (6) Music (73) Nelvana of the Northern Lights (9) Nightmare Fuel (22) Number Ones (60) Obituaries (42) oHOTmu OR NOT? (80) Old52 (12) One Panel (301) Outsiders (167) Panels from Sheena (5) Paper Dolls (7) Play (77) Podcast (500) Polls (5) Questionable Fridays (13) Radio (16) Rants (20) Reaganocomics (8) Recollected (11) Red Bee (26) Red Tornado (10) Reign (563) Retro-Comics (3) Reviews (52) Rom (116) RPGs (540) Sandman (23) Sapphire & Steel (37) Sarah Jane Adventures (70) Saturday Morning Cartoons (5) SBG for Girls (4) Seasons of DWAITAS (100) Secret Origins Podcast (8) Secret Wars (25) SF (30) Shut Up Star Boy (1) Silver Age (371) Siskoid as Editor (35) Siskoid's Mailbox (10) Space 1999 (51) Spectre (21) Spider-Man (100) Spring Cleaning (15) ST non-fiction (19) ST novels: DS9 (8) ST novels: S.C.E. (19) ST novels: The Shat (2) ST novels: TNG (9) ST novels: TOS (13) Star Trek (1727) Streaky (2) Suicide Squad (39) Supergirl (90) Superman (1062) Supershill (11) Swamp Thing (24) Tales from Earth-Prime (7) Team Horrible (4) Teen Titans (85) That Franchise I Never Talk About (53) The Orville (29) The Prisoner (5) The Thing (54) Then and Now (4) Theory (51) Thor (52) Thursdays of Two Worlds (43) Time Capsule (8) Timeslip (7) Tintin (23) Torchwood (62) Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms (5) Toys (65) Turnarounds (7) TV (193) V (6) Waking Life (1) Warehouse 13 (9) Websites (102) What If? (103) Who's This? (212) Whoniverse-B (11) Wikileaked (3) Wonder Woman (84) X-Files (246) X-Men (103) Zero Hour Strikes (27) Zine (5)