Hellblazer Issue 3
Cover Date: March 1988
Writer: Jamie Delano
Artist: John Ridgeway
Colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
Letterer: Annie Halfacree
Editor: Karen Berger
So the start of a new story and the beginning of the demise I have with Jamie Delano’s writing.
I have no problem with authors putting their political beliefs in the pages of the comic they are writing. I don’t have a problem with people disagreeing with me. But i do believe that it is lazy writing. Brian Bendis tweeted recently “If the writer is doing his job the antagonist and protagonist have both expressed their desires perfectly.” This was in respnse to those critising Brian for the views that he put into his new creator-owned book at Marvel, Scarlett. I could not agree with the statement more than i do.
Right form the cover we understand where Delano is coming from. If you take a quick look at the graphics, there is a zombified Magaret Thatcher head, as well as a sign that says, “Voting Tory will Damage your Health.” For those not up on your british political parties, the Tory party is also what is known as the Conservative party.
Right from the get go we see a man jogging and not being able to catch his breath. we then see two people appear next to him seeming to urge him on, finally causing the man to collapse and die.
The book then jumps to Constantine who is on the scene to investigate what seems like a string of “yuppie” deaths in an area where they would not normally be found. Delano goes so far as to write narration saying ‘I am not here for social commentaries,” but then uses the entire book to preach to us who greed and capitalism and even simple profit is the work of the devil.
For those who don’t know the process of coloring a comic, it can be stripped to two basic steps. First is Flatting, and in comics now is the second step which is rendering (effects would be a third step.) comics from this time period where basically just flatted and not rendered. What this means is a base color is put in beneath the lines of the inker in order to add colors where it is meant to be.
Now look at the panel on the right. The top two-thirds of the page are either yellow or green, while the bottom third is fully colored. Would it have killed Lovern to throw in some flesh tones or different colors for the chairs or the clothing. It looks too simplistic and basically like someone who cannot get their work in on time or does not care about the presentation. I can not wait for her (or him, i do not know which) to be off this book so i no longer have to see this shoddy worksmanship.
We are then introduced to Blathoxi, the lord of Flatulance in hell. The plot is that Blathoxi has been acquiring souls because the market is High on them. This is because the conservatives are in power and human souls are hard to find. Profit is the only driving force now and that is already the work of the devil. What did i say about Delano getting preachy in this comic, wait, it only gets worse.
I think my main problem with this issue is coming to Hellblazer with a general idea of where the character is now and some random ideas of what has happened in his past. Constantine to me is a character that never really cared what the heck happened to the rest of the world as long as it benefitted him in some sort of way. If he was needed to help the world, he seemed to only do it begrudgingly. but in this issue he all of a sudden cares for all of humanity’s souls, and wishes the world was more equal. But i have to remind myself that this is the beginning and all the stuff that i have come to know about the character has yet to happen.
Constantine leads Blathoxi to believe that the Left is going to win the election, and therefore begin the rebirth of the human soul, because of course all conservatives are soulless bastards. This causes Blathoxi to panic and sell and puts a panic into the entire soul market.
Constantine has worked his magic and Blathoxi has sold all of his souls back as well as the rest of hell.
Unfortunately for John, But in this bloggers opinion, fortunately for the rest of the world, Maggie Thatcher is reelected and Delano leaves the last panel for one final dig against conservatism, implying that the election is one of the many different roads to hell one can take.