Hellblazer Officially Returns, 3 Years After Writer Railed Against Its Cancellation

Summary

  • Spurrier & Campbell’s John Constantine: Hellblazer run returns after three years – something which almost never happens in comics.
  • A preview of Dead in America stresses that this new series will continue the canceled 2019 series.
  • Spurrier raged against the series’ cancelation during the COVID pandemic, but the creative team and fans gave this run the support to return from the dead.


Hellblazer has officially returned, three years after its writer railed against its cancelation by candidly stating “I am not ready to let Hellblazer go.” In 2019, DC released John Constantine: Hellblazer to great acclaim. The book restored Constantine to his dark roots in London, but due to low sales the book came to an end, with writer Si Spurrier telling fans:

It didn’t make enough money to persuade the right people, whoever they are, to keep it running. To take the risk. To let it grow. To wait – as conventional wisdom might once have dictated – for the first arc to be collected as a trade. That’s their right. That’s the business, that’s comics in 2020. Doesn’t mean we can’t be ****** as all hell about it.

Spurrier was not shy about his feelings on the matter, describing himself as “utterly ******* furious” and detailing his “poisonous steaming rage” in a viral blog post. Now, three years after its seemingly permanent end, Hellblazer returns in the brand-new Dead in America. The preview opens with an unidentified body pulling itself out of the ground by the Hollywood sign. The action then switches to an underground tunnel in Saint Augustine, Florida, the location of the mythical Fountain of Youth.

However, the book’s credit page also takes pains to bring fans up to speed, filling them in on the characters and dangling threads from the previous run. This is a truly unusual occurrence for comics – usually, the best-case scenario after cancelation is a new creative team and direction, not an explicit return after several years in the wilderness. John Constantine: Hellblazer – Dead in America #1 is written by Spurrier, drawn by Aaron Campbell, colored by Jordie Bellaire and lettered by Aditya Bidika.

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Spurrier & Campbell’s Hellblazer Was a Triumph Worthy of a Second Chance

It’s Rare That a Creative Team Gets This Kind of Resurrection in Comics

JOHN CONSTANTINE HELLBLAZER #1 spurrier run

Since John Constantine’s introduction almost 40 years ago, he has headlined a number of titles. Some are firmly set in the DC Universe, while others take place more in their own separate continuity – or at least on the far, far fringes of superhero-dom. A prime example of the latter was Si Spurrier and Aaron Campbell’s John Constantine: Hellblazer. Solely for mature readers, Hellblazer was a return to form for the character. The book met with acclaim from both fans and critics, but was canceled during the pandemic. The project was clearly deeply personal for Spurrier, who admitted “this has broken me” at the time, despite admitting that cancelation is a constant threat in comics, and something he had experienced before.

Indeed, many fans had taken Spurrier and Charlie Adlard’s Damn Them All as an unofficial continuation of the themes Spurrier wanted to discuss in Hellblazer, as the BOOM! Studios comic stars the niece of a London mystic who is clearly meant to evoke Constantine. Whether or not that was the intent, Spurrier got his second chance regardless, as DC not only publishes a new follow-up, but takes pains to make it clear to fans that this story follows directly from the previous 2019 run. It’s a major statement about DC’s belief in the project, and signals how fans and the creative team have kept this take on John alive.

Three years after raging at the cancelation of Hellblazer, Spurrier is bringing John, Noah and Nat back from the grave – particularly literally in Constantine’s case. Hellblazer has never been quite like any other comic, and now Spurrier and Campbell have pulled off a Constantine-level magic trick by bringing Dead in America to fans who thought they’d never get more of this beloved run.

Source: Si Spurrier

John Constantine: Hellblazer – Dead in America #1 is on sale January 16 from DC Comics!

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