Archive for Papa Midnight

Hellblazer Issue 2

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2010 by TJ

Hellblazer Issue 2

Writer: Jamie Delano

Artist: John Ridgway

Letters: Annie Halfacree

Colors: Lovern Kindzierski

Editor: Karen Berger

This issue continues the story that we began in issue one. we have the same cast of characters, Constantine, Lester, Papa Midnight. It leads off with John walking walking into Midnights club to fins the Voodoo master and enlist him and his knowledge to help with the defeat of Mnemoth. One would have thought that he may have asked this in issue one when he originally asked Midnight about the demon, but oh well, sometimes constantine is a little to quick on the trigger, and honestly this is something i love about him.

After going through the Dante’s inferno that is Midnight’s club, he is led to the zombie fight floor (everyone’s favorite of course) only to find out that Midnight has penned up Lester and not provided him with the heroin that his body craves.

Next scene jumps to the apartment that John is living in while in New York. it is here that he meets up with the gho

st of past cases.The coloring on these is rather interesting. Interesting because to denote a ghost the color artist simply decided to not color them. They didn’t add an effect. nor did they even really add a base gray, that just flatted the image around the ghost and left any color off them. This and the lack of a consistancy in color really gets me, i am truly beginning the think that Halfacree is a very lazy artist and it is no wonder i have not noticed her name presently.

While confronting the ghost the prominent speaker among them is a woman named Emma that we met in the previous issue. Just as in that issue, nothing is really revealed about this character, but through her interaction with John we are led to believe that they had some sort of relationship that was more than just friendly. I really wish Delano would offer more in the terms of backstory but i think given that this is not the main story, he must have felt that he just didn’t have the space to do it.

Flash to scenes of the streets of New York, and we get more flashes of swarms of bugs taking over people and causing them to have the insatiable hunger that Constantine is here to investigate in the first place. the narrator is the Demon himself and he speaks of the menace that he is causing and what he has in store for the future. Horrific images of people consuming massive of narcotics and getting so hungry they are eating their own hands.

Then the scene shifts back to Midnight’s den of inequity. The plan is finally laid out in front of us and we learn how they plan to stop the demon from killing all of the city. Lester is the bait since he is the one that unleashed the evil into the world. With his voodoo skills Midnight is going to attract the swarm into Lester and let the demon consume him, Lester will die, but luckily so will the bugs. Again Constantine proves that he his not the best friend to have, because if you get in the way of him and the case he is on, he is willing to sacrifice you for the good of the cause no matter  how close you are.

The only hint of humanity that John shows towards his friend is one last spike of heroin to help ease the massive amount of pain that Lester is about to go through.

The spell at first looks as though it is not working and we see the bugs consuming both magicians and the bait, but like a switch is thrown, the insect go after Lester and overtake his entire being.

At the end we get a sort of soliloquy from John, (and honestly that happens a lot in the title, a flash of insight within a narration box), about how Lester was on a self destructive path to begin with, how he already had insects consuming his body figuratively, in the form of heroin flowing through his brain. I think Delano gets a little full of himself sometimes and really like to use the things in his book as analogies for  real life circumstances. OKay i get it, A hunger that never goes away cause by a foreign substance consuming your body. It doesn’t take a moron to realize that he is talking about drug addiction and it is obvious that it hits a little home for him.

My other gripe with this issue, and this initial story arc is that it seemed a little too rushed. I don’t know if that is the product of me being used to drawn out six-12 issue stories now, or if i felt some of the stuff not pertaining to the story, like the emma stuff, that i was lost for anyway, was needed at all.

This story seemed to jump all over the place and i feel with maybe one more issue it could have been fleshed out better.

I still enjoyed it but just wish it was a little more. This last image is one of my favorite of the entire book. Nothing like a S & M ghost telling you to go fuck yourself.


Hellblazer Issue 1

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2010 by TJ

Hellblazer Issue 1

Cover Date: January 1988

Writer: Jamie Delano

Artist: John Ridgeway

Colorist: Lovern Kindzierski

Letterer: Annie Halfacree

Editor: Karen Berger

So the journey begins, not just for me reading this book, but in terms of the book, the journey of readers of the time into the mind of what will become on of the stalwarts of the Vertigo universe, John Constantine.

The character was created by Alan Moore and first appeared within the pages of Swamp Thing #37 and was given his own series from there. That series started in 1988 and is still an ongoing monthly books today. That is approximately 22 years of stories. Not bad in a comic book world where mature titles come and go, and even major superheroes see there books wane and even cancelled.

This book starts with a scene in New York of a man with an insatiable hunger but yet his body seems to be withering away to nothing. From there we are brought to London and introduced-and I say that term very loosely (more on that later)-to John Constantine as he returns to his flat only to find a former friend and current heroin addict, Gary Lester, in a bath tub with bugs crawling all over him. This sets the scene for what readers can expect from this book. Fantastic tales of magic and mystery with horrifying images set to it.

The art in this book is fantastic. While I am a big fan of fully rendered colors that we are used to seeing today, one must step back to 1988 when that was not the norm, and honestly it fits with this title. I do not need the hyper-realistic coloring. What I need are images to disturb my mind that go along with the story that Delano is telling and Ridgeway does this wonderfully.

So Lester is in a tub and with a horrible case of withdrawal, never mind that he has bugs crawling all over him, what would a good friend do. One would first think of getting your friend help, Maybe the hospital, maybe a Rehab, Maybe just trying to find some friends and family . Well, if you think that is what is going to happen, you do not know John Constantine. You see his character and his attitude is basically all about what can help himelf without regard to his surroundings or the well being for those around him (save a very choice few). So it is through this sequence the we are introduced to Chas, Constantine’s friendly cab driver that helps him with the underground of the London streets. Chas has the hookups and provides Constantine with the one thing that will help him right now, a healthy supply of Heroin to get his friend cognizant so that John can figure out what is going on.

After the spike, Lester explains of a exorcism of sorts that he performed down in the Sudan, which quite possibly unleashed a horrible evil into the world. An evil named Mnemoth.

Without much more questioning John is on a plane traveling to learn more, in order to save the world from the demon that his former colleague has unleashed.

Once there, A shaman is met and Constantine goes on a powerful hallucinogenic-induced journey to learn of the atrocities of Mnemoth and what can and most likely will happen if he does not stop it.

We learn the destination of the Evil, New York, and off again Constantine is, this time with Lester, to find an old friend and powerful magician, Papa Midnight.

Very little is explained of midnight except that he and constantine have crossed passed before. We learn that e uses Zombies for body guards and through his speech and his look we can only assume that his main source of magic is the ancient practice of Voodoo.

New York is still suffering from the problem of the insatiable hunger as more and more people are getting rabid for meat yet unable to stop from wasting away. People are found just going through the streets eating whatever they can.

This page illustrates one of the problems I had with this book. The coloring. While it is fine that the page is not rendered (as stated before I actually prefer it for this type of title), what is not fine is inconsistency of color choices. If you look at the infected’s face you can see that it goes simply form the normal peach color of a caucasian’s skin tone to that of Bright red, almost instantly, and then lighter int he final panel. as a colorist, especially a professional one, you are supposed to keep a guide handy in order to make sure that you have such consistency, I doubt that Lovern Kindzierski used such a normal tool that should be in the colorist toolbox. there are other examples where in one panel Constantine has the Wheat like blonde hair that we will come to expect from the character (except in the fantastically mis-cast movie that had Keanu Reeves play him), and then out of no where he has hair a shade of pea soup green. this is very unacceptable for a professional colorist.

Constantine, through his dealings with the shaman in the Sudan, and from Papa Midnight, learns that Mnemoth is fully to blame and searches the demon out to confront him and send him back to the depths of hell from which he came. But alas, Mnemoth is too strong and the issue ends with John realizing that he needs to enlist the help of his friends to take this one out.

I had two issues with this comic. The first was that as a number one issue I think it failed miserable. While I enjoyed the issue and liked the story, I got the strong sense that I was being dropped into the middle of a universe that was created years ago (prior to this issue) and it was my job to figure it out. There were issues mentioned with John’s now dead girlfriend, I assume, Emma, and her ghost later shows up, but there is no explanation as to who she really is or what her character’s role was with our lead. Papa Midnight seems to have a big role, yet besides the couple of panels he is in, there is almost no history or anything given to the character. If I was starting this with issue 13 or even five I would expect this, but in no way do I expect to be dropped like this in a number one issue.

My next issue has more to do with the coloring. Besides the one already mentioned of the inconsistency, there seemed to be weird decisions made with the coloring of narration boxes. If you look at the three panels in the example on the right you would see that the narration box switches from blue to yellow. I automatically assume that the new color denotes a new voice or new character speaking, but this is not the case. it is all constantine all the time. and this is not the only example of it. This coloring choice is seen throughout the book.

When I read a comic, I want to be drawn into the world. I want to forget my surroundings and think only of what is on the page and let the story play out in my mind, but it is things like this that make my mind think a bit too much and draws me out of the story in front of me. If I have to think about who is saying what, and not just of the story as it is written then in my mind you have failed.

Those tow minor issues aside, I really did enjoy this story and cannot wait to get back to you with issue two next week.

Hope you enjoyed my first step into Hell.


%d bloggers like this: