Anyone who has been a reader of mine for any length of time has probably caught on to the fact that I like myth and magic in my reading and watching. Comics are no exception. I like Zatanna and Wonder Woman, and of course, Constantine. I was first introduced to Constantine while reading Sandman issue 3, Dream a Little Dream of Me, and have been in awe of his gifts since. In this article, we will touch on the show as well as the movie. He also is featured in animated stories too.
A little background on John Constantine first, though. Constantine was created by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, and John Totleben, and the person they based his appearance off of was Sting (a singer/songwriter popular in the 80s). He debuted in Swamp Thing issue 37 in June of 1985. Since then, John has popped up in multiple universes and even has his own solo series, Hellblazer. On his Wiki-Fandom disambiguation page, you see just how many times Constantine has been re-birthed. I tell you that to tell you that I will not be going through all of these. This is an overview, otherwise, we will be here for quite some time, but it is interesting to take your time going through those.
John Constantine is described as “a working-class magician” and is extremely knowledgeable in all things occult. Some of his identifying traits are chain-smoking, his English accent, and his trench coat. His trench coat is so intrinsic to his character that he is part of the Trenchcoat Brigade. He has powers and abilities that are pretty consistent through his different incarnations. This includes astral projection, illusion casting, energy projection, and demon summoning to name a few. There are loads more. John is an accomplished con artist and master escapist to add to all his magic as if he needed more, he is quite powerful
Constantine has had dealings with all kinds of people and beings. He has helped people with and without magical gifts, conned demons, beat up vampires, and assisted the Lord of Dreams, Morpheus, which is where I met him. After Dream escaped from Roderick Burgess, he tracked his bag of sand to Constantine. He wasn’t far off, Constantine’s ex-girlfriend, Rachel, had stolen it. When they found her, she was mostly dead. John’s only request of Dream was that he grant her a gentle death with peaceful dreams. Constantine deals with, on a semi-regular basis, the Justice League, enough so that he headed the Justice League Dark with other lesser-known DC characters. He dealt with other mages aside from him, and they formed the Newcastle Crew, who are all unfortunately dead save for John. John was also a musician and was part of the band Mucous Membrane. His stage name was Johnny Con-Job, and was the lead singer.
John Constantine moved from just comics to animated movies and shows and has been made into a live-action show starring Ryan, and a movie that starred Keanu Reeves. I reviewed Constantine- House Of Mystery in my Would Andie Watch It series, and my co-worker, Linda Maleh, covered Constantine: City Of Demons, which is a couple of the animated movies. Fans of Constantine have strong opinions about the show and movie. Starting with the movie, I liked it. I didn’t know enough about Constantine to be bothered by what the movie got wrong. Plus, I love Keanu Reeves, so I am a bit biased. Reeves’s Constantine did not wear a trench coat, have an English accent or residence, and is not blonde. I can see where it would irritate fans. I hate it when they re-imagine characters that are close to my heart, such as Elena Gilbert (I’m looking at you, The Vampire Diaries). The TV show Constantine (2014) was shown on the CW but was canceled after 13 episodes. This Constantine, played by Matt Ryan, had the look and sound but not the smoking. Even though the show did not last, Ryan’s Constantine showed up in the Arrowverse. My favorite moment was when Constantine brought Green Arrow to Tom Ellis’s Lucifer in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. I literally cheered. At one point, Keanu was asked what movie he would love to make, and he said that he would want to make a second Constantine, but no one wanted to for years. Finally, it looked like it was going to happen, but when James Gunn stepped up to the DC plate, projects had to be looked at again, putting Constantine 2 on hold.
What do you know about Constantine? Did I miss any points? I didn’t put anywhere close to all of his powers into the article, but he is quite the powerhouse. I think Constantine, Wonder Woman, Dream, Death, and Ra’s al Ghul are my top five favorite DC/Vertigo characters. Who are yours? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time, have fun storming the castle!