John Constantine: Hellblazer Heads to the Sandman Universe

After almost a decade of appearing in the DC Universe proper, rubbing elbows with Batman, and headlining a Justice League Dark comic, John Constantine will return to the Sandman Universe just in time for the Vertigo imprint that was his home for so many years end. DC announced today that this fall, a John Constantine, Hellblazer series will join the lineup of their Sandman Universe titles, currently published under the soon-to-be-extinct Vertigo imprint. Constantine's journey back begins October 30 with a special issue The Sandman Universe Presents Hellblazer #1, from Simon Spurrier and Marcio Takara.

The one-shot will be followed by a new ongoing series, John Constantine, Hellblazer, from Spurrier and Aaron Campbell beginning in November. During its initial run, John Constantine: Hellblazer was the longest-running Vertigo title ever published, running for 300 issues between 1988 and 2013. He debuted in Swamp Thing and appeared in the Sandman Universe titles before moving on. Following DC's line-wide 2011 reboot "The New 52," Constantine and Swamp Thing made their way over to the superhero side of DC's publishing empire as part of Justice League Dark. In the years since, John Constantine, played by Matt Ryan, has been featured in his own, Hellblazer-inspired TV series and animated movie, as well as on Arrow and DC's Legends of Tomorrow in a version somewhat more informed by his recent comics appearances. Constantine had two different ongoings between 2011 and now under the DC banner, but neither of them reached the audience in the same way Constantine's Vertigo book did.

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(Photo: DC Entertainment)

“Year One [of the Sandman Universe books] was just the start. Now you get to inhabit the worlds, books, and houses we built for you,” Neil Gaiman said in a statement. “I was thrilled when I was told that John Constantine — the original, demon-haunted one who first showed up in Swamp Thing's 'American Gothic' story — is coming back to his murky and dangerous roots. More magic and more darkness and not a few gods and dreams are here for you to explore.”

You can check out the official synopsis here: In THE SANDMAN UNIVERSE PRESENTS HELLBLAZER #1, the story begins in a moment originally seen in Gaiman’s miniseries THE BOOKS OF MAGIC. John Constantine finds himself haggard, bloody, and dying in an epic magical war—a battle that will soon consume the world. As he lies there, the vision of a young Tim Hunter stands above him, the naive youth seeing firsthand what his destiny holds. Horrified, Hunter flees back into the past, and Constantine is left behind to die. Now, years later, Constantine reemerges, physically un-aged but with all of his memories intact—and yet the world has passed him by. Constantine must now fathom a new world torn apart by the same old political and social woes, while attempting to discover how he returned after all this time. But most troubling of all are the rumors of a new young magician named Tim Hunter, a boy destined to be either the greatest sorcerer of all, or the greatest threat to the world. If history is repeating itself, then is it John’s role to die all over again? Or is John here to stop the cycle—and stop Tim Hunter?

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(Photo: DC Entertainment)
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Hellblazer's the one title I’ve always aspired to write. Ever since John Constantine slunk from Alan Moore’s brain into Swamp Thing, dropping secrets like grenades, bewildering vegetables, and spinning mysteries, I’ve been drawn to his misadventures with eerie gravity,” Spurrier said. “John Constantine is the cynic’s magician: a man of selfish drives and cataclysmic self-knowledge, who tries to do the right thing in spite of himself, in spite of the cost, in spite of the vile and violent world he occupies. He may not be the hero we need, but he’s definitely the bastard we deserve. In this new era, everything is different. Everyone and everything he loved and knew is dead or despises him. Alone, angry, older, and wiser, he beholds a world that is clearly going insane. The shadows are deeper than ever. So he does what he does. He breathes smoke. He grins to himself. And he goes to work.”

The Sandman Universe titles, which also include The Dreaming, House of Whispers, Lucifer, and Books of Magic, are currently published under DC's Vertigo imprint, which the publisher recently announced will close up shop in January. The first trade paperback collections of the current Sandman Universe books will be released throughout this month.