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A Hell(Blazer) of a week.

22 Jul

I have been reading comics as mentioned the other week for close to 30yrs. And a small portion of that time I have spent a small fortune buying, selling and re-collecting, after my first collection was burnt in a fire. Amongst those were the Uncanny X-men run from #180-295. Some of the greatest X-Men stories told were written during those years. But I am digressing. Anyway, I restarting collecting 10yrs ago and haven’t stopped since. As well as you know writing and creating my own. 

Hellblazer Pandemonium Jami Delano is a Must Read.

One of my top 3 fave non-super-powered is John Constantine, Hellblazer from Vertigo, (Batman and Punisher are the other two). John was created by Alan Moore back in issue #37 in Saga of the Swamp Thing. That character has is the longest running non-hero comic book. I had a couple opportunities over the past few years to get my hands on #37, but due to lack of funds or having already committed myself to other books, I missed out.

Hellblazer: Rare Cuts is a good starting point.

   The character of Constantine is so rich with lore and mysticism that there is so much that you can do with him with ruining the history as long as you stick to the archetype. John is the Trickster, the Court Jester and The Magi all in one.  It was this that after setting myself to reading from Hellblazer #1 to the lastest that was available in October last year that led me to write Black Waters, my own take on John Constantine,

Intro to Black Waters©, by Aru Singh. 2011

 Writing a 148+ page Hellblazer standalone graphic novel based in the Fiji was not something I gave much thought to. I was waiting for my plane ride back to Auckland from Nadi Airport, after a stressful trip back from my ex’s father’s funeral and I guess I needed to clear my head and so I just started writing. It was messy but after some rewriting it came together. I have no idea what I am going to do with it. I did have a guy consider working on it, to see if we can get DC Vertigo to look at it, but after discussing it I thought to let it rest for a bit. And who knows, I might illustrate it myself after I get Zero completed.

Thats the background to how much I like the John Constantine Archetype. The following is 3 amazing events which took place in the last 6 days.

Event 1.
  Last weekend while at Zinefest I stopped by a comic shop and bought the DC Direct Collectible Figure of John in his Hellblazer set-up. It wasn’t in the store but they would have it the following week. This  was an out-of-the-blue purchase.

Event 2.
  Having gotten home and still feeling unwell I had stayed up and was browsing comic on an online auction site and came across Saga of Swamp Thing #37 from June 1985. It was on Buy Now for $5 + $3 for Delivery. I actually have my comic shop guy, Jeremy at Gotham Comics here in New Zealand looking out for one. I better tell him I got a copy now. This comic goes for around US$30+ and around US$90 on milehighcomics So, I was quite excited about this. 

Event 2.
   If you look in the letters section of this months Hellblazer #281 you will see at top right hand side my very own letter. I have never written a letter, that I can remember to a comic company about one of their comics, so when I heard talk that they might be bringing Hellblazer in to the main DC Universe with Superman and Batman etc. I thought I better send a message. So, I can’t remember when but a couple weeks back I got on the Vertigo site and left a message. 

Hellblazer #281

Now, you are probably wondering why I shared this with you guys? Well, I thought you guys might like to share in my hell of a week. 

Further info John Constantine, Also, Straight to Hell. Both sites were helpful when I was writing the graphic novel. 


Stewart’s Slate : Review of Chronicles of Wormwood

21 Feb

The Chronicles Of Wormwood graphic novel (Collects Chronicles Of Wormwood #1-6)

Writer: Garth Ennis
Art: Jacen Burrows

Garth Ennis roasts the hell out of religion again in a story about cable TV excec’, Danny Wormwood: The Antichrist.

As serious a subject as this sounds it doesn’t stop this being one of the funniest books Garth has ever written. He may be gifted with supernatural powers and his father is in deed Satan (he took the form of a dog and raped his mother to conceive him) but Danny Wormwood isn’t a bad guy at all. Once he learned the dark truth of his origin he renounced his father and all his plans for armageddon, moved from London to New York and set up his own company producing shows for cable TV. He lives with his girlfriend and pet rabbit Jimmy, who he has gifted with human intelligence and the ability to speak, turning him into the greatest comic book side kick the world has ever known, his best friend is the permanently brain damaged, black reincarnation of Jesus Christ and for the unholy adversary to all that’s good and Christian in the world, Danny Wormwood is a very likeable protagonist even if he is having an affair with Joan of Arc.

This is a bizarre premise for a story by anyone’s standards and the level of sheer, depraved, laugh out loud weirdness in some parts of it surprised even a seasoned Garth Ennis fan like me. Not just what happens but what Jacen Burrows has been allowed to illustrate. As usual I don’t want to give anything away but I don’t care what comics you normally read, you won’t believe what Wormwood does to a barman with his magical powers after he insults his friend!

During the story the status quo of Wormwoods life is interrupted by his father and the Catholic church (headed by a monumentally perverted Australian Pope) trying to kick start armageddon in a last ditch attempt to make the increasingly agnostic world pay attention to them again.

Yes you can draw a lot of comparisons between this and Garth Ennis’ Preacher series. Its a sideways look at religion and popular culture where neither God, the Devil or the Church are portrayed as being all they’re supposed to be in the eyes of the faithful. I did however enjoy this book a lot more than any one of the Preacher graphic novels alone. Although there is another smaller Chronicles Of Wormwood graphic novel available (The Last Enemy) and another one (Last Battle) set for release in July, Wormwood isn’t an ongoing monthly series so this book has a definite beginning middle and end and there seems to be a lot more going on and definitely a lot more to laugh at in this one graphic novel than in any single part to the Preacher storyline. I said it at the beginning of the review and i’ll say it again. Funniest story of Garth’s that I’ve ever read. I lost count of the amount of times I burst out laughing in total disbelief of some of the outrageous gags they’ve thrown in here. I’m almost surprised they were allowed to publish the book with the way it portrays parts of the Catholic church.

Great artwork, engaging storyline, brilliant humour and as with all Garth Ennis’ work, outstanding dialogue and characters. Essential reading for fans of Garth Ennis and definitely worth a read for anybody who enjoys a good black comedy. A fabulous example of how good adult comics can be.

SCORE 8/10


The Chronicles Of Wormwood: The Last Enemy

Writer: Garth Ennis
Art: Rob Steen

A short follow up story to the original Chronicles of Wormwood 6 part mini series, this is more of the same really. Outrageously funny and probably very offensive Roman Catholics.

Ok then you may have thought the last one sounded pretty shocking but check this out: The Pope sends a massive eunuch monk hit man to kidnap Danny Wormwoood’s best friend Jesus and bring him to the Vatican so he can use his God given healing powers to cure his aids which he contracted after having lots of unprotected sex with lots of different people and wackiness ensues. This is made all the more complicated for Danny as he is in the process of rekindling his relationship with Maggie.
Not quite as cerebral as the first one and Rob Steens artwork is a little disappointing compared to Burrows but it carries on with the same great characters as the first book and the off the wall adult humour is still there so if, like me, you loved the first one then you’ll definitely like this one too. Jimmy the talking rabbit plays an even bigger part in this one too which can only be a good thing. Seriously, he should get his own mini series!

SCORE 7/10