DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio on ‘Hellblazer’ Cancellation, ‘Constantine’ Ongoing
DC Entertainment co-publisher Dan Didio has heard the outcry resulting from the cancellation of the long-running Hellblazer series in favor of the more mainstream Constantine title next year, and he’s got something to tell you all. Namely, that if you’re sad about the cancellation of Hellblazer, he’d really like it if you buy Constantine.
In a statement released on the DC Comics The Source blog, Didio wrote,
We’re supremely proud of Vertigo’s HELLBLAZER, one of the most critically-acclaimed series we’ve published. Issue #300 concludes this chapter of Constantine’s epic, smoke-filled story in style and with the energy, talent and creativity fans have come to expect from Peter Milligan, Giuseppe Camuncoli and Stefano Landini. And no one should worry that John is going to hang-up his trenchcoat – he lives on in March, in the pages of the all-new DC Comics New 52 ongoing series, CONSTANTINE, by writer Robert Venditti and artist Renato Guedes.
There are those who’d point out that DiDio’s statement ignores the fact that Constantine will be featuring the younger, rebooted version of the Hellblazer character that’s been appearing in Justice League Dark for the last year, and not the version that fans have been enjoying for the past twenty-four years — bringing to an end not only DC’s current longest-running title, but also a continuity that has seen the character age and grow in real time, almost entirely uniquely for a mainstream comic character — and they’d be right. They may also point out that it’s unlikely that the New 52 line would support a mature readers take on John Constantine, but instead offer something that may match Hellblazer when it comes to on-panel gore and viscera (Something that doesn’t seem to be lacking too much in some of DC’s mainstream line, perhaps surprisingly) but is unlikely to offer a take consistent in either attitude towards sexuality or language with that seen in the Hellblazer incarnation since its origin in 1988, and they’d be right there, too.
Which isn’t to say that Constantine will be a bad book — With Venditti and Guedes as creators, it’s likely to be very good indeed, in fact — or that the character shouldn’t be mixed with the more mainstream elements of the DC Universe; after all, he did appear in Crisis on Infinite Earths, way back when. It is, however, worth noting that DiDio’s statement feels somewhat disingenuously ignorant of the reasons why Hellblazer fans may be upset with the decision, and more like a sales pitch for both Hellblazer #300 and the Constantine series in general than any standalone comment about the reason for bringing the former series to a close and moving the character from the Vertigo imprint into the New 52 line. Perhaps this was one of those occasions when it might’ve been better to have said nothing than to say the wrong thing?