CCI: Back into Hell: Jamie Delano returns to John Constantine's world

In 1988, writer Jamie Delano launched a series called "Hellblazer," about the character John Constantine, created by Alan Moore during the latter's run on "Swamp Thing." At Comic-Con International in San Diego, fans learned that, almost 20 years later, Delano will be writing the character once again, in the Vertigo original graphic novel, "Hellblazer: Pandemonium." CBR News sat down with Delano to get some early details.

"As I understand it, the project arose out of Vertigo's desire to mark the 20th anniversary of the publication of 'Hellblazer' #1 back in the Spring of 1988 with a number of special projects," Delano said. "Casey Seijas at Vertigo called to ask if I'd be prepared to collaborate in this event and, in a moment of weakness, I agreed."

Nostalgia for the character played no small part in convincing Delano to take on the project.

"My involvement in the initial development of Moore's iconic character has led to a continuing affinity with (I'd hesitate to say 'affection' for) John Constantine," Delano admitted. "On the few occasions since finishing my original run on the title that I have revisited his world –- 'The Horrorist,' 'Bad Blood' for example -- I have enjoyed the opportunity to 'slip on a familiar pair of shoes' and take a walk with an old pal, share his unique worldview for a while. Feels like time to stretch my legs again, and maybe discover what, if any, response John Constantine has to this ugly new century we find ourselves surviving in."

The project is too early in development for Delano to go into many details about the story.

"While I know roughly the territory the story explores/exploits, there are many alternate routes by which it may be traversed, and I don't want to signpost any blind-alleys before I have even seriously embarked on the scripting process," Delano said. "Simply, 'Pandemonium' will find John Constantine intrigued through a mixture of sex, magic, politics and ennui to travel abroad to a well-known contemporary war-zone: there, in an environment of fear and cruelty, to encounter a demonic arch-enemy who, with roots in the mythological substrate of the violence-ravaged land, is enjoying a resurgence fertilized by blood."

Delano's affinity for the character has inspired him to check in on the saga of John Constantine from time to time since he left the book the first time around, but the writer had to admit that he wasn't entirely caught up on the continuity.

"This story -- while absolutely contemporary in its setting -- is stand-alone and has no relation to events depicted in the ongoing series. That said, I'm sure the editor will be alert for blatant contradiction, any instance of which will be creatively covered."

And who will be lending their artistic talents to "Hellblazer: Pandemonium?"

"The poor sap with whose career has been afflicted by this association is British artist, Jock," Delano said. "Our marriage was arranged by editorial matchmakers, but I am more than happy with their pick. We haven't done a lot of collaborating yet, but initial signs are that it will go well when we finally get down to it."

"Hellblazer: Pandemonium" isn't the only project on Delano's horizon.

"There are a couple of miniseries from Avatar Press slowly oozing their way down the pipeline to publication," Delano said. "A war/horror story called 'The Wound,' which I'm working on with a cartoonist called John Roberson. I'm co-scripting a near-future political fantasy, called 'Shadow of Dixie' with Scott O Brown, doing some background development on a potential TV version of '2020 Visions,' and fooling with an interminable novel. Otherwise, there's always poker and grandchildren and quitting smoking to pass the time."

Discuss this story here on CBR's Vertigo Forum.

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