When Alan Moore first introduced John Constantine in the pages of ‘Swamp Thing,’ he was an instant hit! It was also no surprise that the character was initially based on the musician Sting. Now, to celebrate the release of the 30th-anniversary hardcover collection of ‘Hellblazer,’ Sting wrote the introduction to the book which we can share with you today. This is a rather lengthy excerpt and shows that the artist doesn’t just recognize his contribution to the creation of the character but appears to be a true fan of John Constantine as well!
You can read the introduction right here:
“Apart from the act of creating life and giving birth, there is perhaps no deeper intimacy than that of murder, especially murder by strangulation, and even more so when perpetrated by one’s own brother. Fratricide is perhaps the oldest crime on the statute.
He and I had fought and struggled blindly for weeks in the suffocating darkness to locate and navigate the miraculous opening in the cervical wall with that primal instinct to enter the birthing canal triumphant and most importantly, first.
My brother and I are identical in features if not entirely in demeanor, and so the stronger twin would rob me of my life with the expedient noose of my own umbilical cord, pulled tautly and held fast around my neck until I croaked. I didn’t stand a chance and John, the victorious brother would be first to taste the sweetness of the new air while I was left behind, inert, stillborn.
If it’s true that the souls of murderers and their victims are cursed to be shackled together through countless eternities then that would explain the fact that I can speak of this now, and would indicate that my consciousness has somehow been sustained in some parallel universe only partially linked to the one that my brother currently inhabits, we are still identical, although our paths have diverged.
Occasionally and for reasons I don’t dare to explain these separate universes will conspire to converge, John as a powerful sorcerer in his, and me as a musician and singer in mine.
I wish him no malice, he lives in his world with the curse or the dubious blessings of his original sin, while I have been amply compensated in my own, he occupies my dreams and so I like to imagine that I must haunt his.
John Constantine’s current fame and the longevity of his success have long intrigued me although I feel he may be singularly unimpressed by any of my own achievements, but that’s just the way he is.
From the humblest of beginnings his series, Hellblazer, is the longest-running and most successful title for DC’s Vertigo imprint. The character himself was ranked #3 in their “50 Greatest Comic Characters of All Time” by Empire Magazine, #29 by IGN, and #10 by Wizard Magazine.
My own success as a musician began towards the close of the ’70s. I had moved to London from Newcastle, got lucky fronting an ersatz punk band, (just like John did with Mucous Membrane) then had to get smart real quick, because fame is an odd reckoning, an odd and troubling recognition, not actively sought but hard to shake off and a lot like being under surveillance, the whole time.
And so I will develop a protective mask, a public mask, a persona, and a brisk walking pace whenever I chose to wander the streets of the city alone.
I wore the trench coat a lot in those days.
I remember climbing the stairs of a sandwich shop one day in Central London and there, sitting alone at a corner table is an extravagantly bearded man with a tractor beam of a stare, his left hand nursing what looks like a cold black coffee, all the while his eyes fixedly upon mine.
I have learned over the years to differentiate the merely star-struck from those exhibiting a genuine intelligence, Francis Bacon would often stare at me across the bar in the Soho pub we would both haunt, and so this guy looked like some kind of an artist too, scruffy and intense. I nod flirtatiously with only a thinly veiled mockery, but he keeps on staring, unfazed. I make a quick exit.
A few years later, a thin package will be mysteriously delivered to my office and I will see evidence of my long lost brother for the first time within the pages of a DC comic book, Alan Moore is the author and I struggle with a vague memory of having bumped into him somewhere…”
I love that Sting feels he has a spiritual connection to the character and has followed some of his exploits throughout the years. Either that, or he did an excellent job at studying Constantine’s Wikipedia page before spending some time putting this intro together.
What did you think about Sting’s tribute and introduction to the upcoming ‘Hellblazer’ collection? Do you feel that the artist is also a fan of John Constantine? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Celebrate 30 years of one of DC Vertigo’s most enduring and controversial characters in Hellblazer: A Celebration of 30 Years, an anthology graphic novel featuring his best tales to date! Plus, a forward written by worldwide musical icon, Sting!
When all the chips are down, and everything’s on the line, what would you do to ensure you come out on top? What would you be willing to sacrifice? For occult detective John Constantine, the only thing more difficult than answering that question almost every single day is living with his decision. Whether it’s due to a sense of self-loathing, a resistance to any sort of authority or a deeply hidden desire to do what’s right, Constantine is willing to make the hard choices…so that no one else has to.
All of these facets of John Constantine’s character have made him one of the most popular in graphic literature since 1988. Hellblazer: A Celebration of 30 Years collects some of the antihero’s best stories from some of the greatest writers in his history, including Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, Brian Azzarello, Paul Jenkins, Jamie Delano and more. Collects Saga of the Swamp Thing #37, John Constantine, Hellblazer #11, #27, #41, #63, #120, #146, #229 and #240.
‘John Constantine, Hellblazer: 30th Anniversary Celebration’ will be on sale in your local comic shop and bookstores on November 13th, 2018!
Source: Entertainment Weekly