John Constantine has been a fan favorite character from DC Comics for years. Since making his debut in 1985, this morally gray bad boy has weaseled his way into and out of some of the most insane magical situations imaginable. Nowadays, most people may recognize Constantine from his role on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow TV show that airs on the CW. While the show certainly does a great job of portraying the character (in part thanks to Matt Ryan’s incredible acting abilities), Constantine’s backstory is almost as big a mystery as he is. As a character with such an extensive publication history, a lot of important details about Constantine can easily get lost in the mix. To help clarify, here is our list of 10 things to know about John Constantine, the Hellblazer.
10 Created By Alan Moore
Most people know author Alan Moore by his accomplishments with works such as Watchmen, V For Vendetta, and Batman: The Killing Joke. That’s right, the man who created the Watchmen is the same one who created John Constantine. Therefore, it is understandable that Constantine would give off the same kind of “morally gray” vibe that made Watchmen such an intriguing read.
Moore also requested that Constantine look like the singer, Sting, as he believed the singer represented a lot of similarities that Moore was trying to associate with Constantine. Combining all of those elements into a single character alongside a debut in the critically acclaimed Saga of the Swamp Thing made Constantine an instant success and fan favorite.
9 Started At Vertigo
For those unfamiliar, Vertigo is a sub company of DC Comics. Vertigo aimed to publish independent works from creators, both within and independent of the main DC universe, that also had no creative restrictions. Significantly darker and more mature themes were common in Vertigo titles, and John Constantine: The Hellblazer was no exception.
Not too long after making his debut in Saga of the Swamp Thing #37, author Jamie Delano was tasked with writing Constantine as a solo book. From there, Delano would create some of the darkest, most twisted situations in comics at the time. Thankfully, Vertigo’s lack of creative restrictions would allow Constantine’s character to develop in a way that really showcases what he is capable of.
8 Early Life
Much like the man himself, Constantine’s upbringing is a slightly darker origin story than most. For starters, he actually has no superhuman abilities. Constantine merely possesses an immense knowledge of Earth’s magical forces and how to manipulate them to his advantage.
However, he wasn’t always as powerful as he is today. Constantine was born into a family that hated him as it is revealed that he had strangled his twin brother in the womb. As a result, Constantine grew up with a lot of anger. In rolling with a rough crowd, he would eventually find his way into darker and darker hobbies. From here, Constantine would learn to master the mystic arts and become one of the greatest magicians in DC history.
7 He Is Bisexual
While Constantine certainly has a reputation as a womanizer, he is actually bisexual. Over the course of his publication, it was eventually revealed that Constantine, despite his heavy penchant for women, was also attracted to men.
He has had a significantly less number of male suitors in the comics, but every so often, one will enter John’s convoluted lifestyle. No matter who Constantine is romantically involved with though, Constantine can’t seem to lock down a life partner, likely due to his reckless nature. Hopefully, as time goes on, someone will come along who can manage to lock down the Hellblazer himself.
6 Has An On-And-Off Relationship With Zatanna
On the subject of relationships, Constantine is also known for his constant on and off romance with Zatanna Zatara. Like Constantine, Zatanna is an incredibly powerful magician, though she specializes in using backwards magic. While Zatanna is arguably more powerful than Constantine, she has a stronger moral compass, meaning that she is unwilling to attempt magical feats with too great a cost. As a result, Constantine has pulled off greater magical feats, though often at someone else’s expense.
Zatanna is also one of the people who set Constantine down the path he is currently on. The two met at a fairly young age and their romance would lead Zatanna to teach Constantine what she knew of the mystic arts. Over the years, the two have crossed paths quite often. Despite the mutual attraction between the two, they are still far too different to ever have a secure romantic relationship.
5 His Silver Tongue
While his magical abilities have earned him quite the reputation, Constantine’s true talent comes from his silver tongue. On numerous occasions, Constantine has been shown to talk his way out of any given situation. Sometimes, he manages to talk just long enough to stall his opponent until backup arrives. On other occasions, Constantine has lied his way into manipulating people, tricking the worst demons, and even blackmailing God himself. For all the magical power he possesses, Constantine is at his most dangerous when he is simply just talking.
4 In Other Media
As mentioned previously, Constantine’s character has had a great presence on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow TV show. Actor Matt Ryan plays the character and for the most part, fans are very pleased with his approach. The actor also played the titular role in the first and only season of Constantine that aired on NBC.
However, this wouldn’t be Constantine’s first time on screen, as Keanu Reeves even took a stab at the character in the francis Lawrence directed film, Constantine (2005). The film is often criticized for its approach to Constantine himself, but praised in regards to just about everything else. Constantine has also appeared in the Justice League Dark (2017) animated feature. This version of constantine was voiced by none other than Matt Ryan himself as well.
3 He Is A Former Rocker
While in his youth, before learning about magic, John Constantine was actually a musician. Of course, this would make sense for him considering he was created using inspiration from Sting. Following a Sex Pistols concert, Constantine threw together a band and called themselves, Mucous Membrane. From there, John would begin to discover mysticism, eventually leaving the band in pursuit of the dark arts. While his rock and roll days are certainly behind him, Constantine will still call back and reminisce in the times when rock was his passion.
2 He Was A Member Of The Justice League Dark
Though he usually operates alone for a reason, Constantine is also associated with the Justice League Dark. During the New 52 run, Constantine was a regular member and even leader of the team for a time. However, his recklessness and detachment from others proved problematic for the team.
Regardless, Constantine’s powerful magic abilities and silvertongue proved to be very valuable for the team. As of DC Rebirth, Constantine is no longer a member of the Justice League Dark, though he is still seen quite often as a means to warn the team of an upcoming threat or to offer a small helping hand.
1 Magical Accomplishments
As one of the most powerful magicians in all of DC Comics history, Constantine has certainly accomplished a plethora of amazing and impossible feats. For starters, he has dealt with many common magical pests, often performing exorcisms or moving a creature from one host to another. However, he has also lied to and manipulated demons into doing his bidding, or even breaking their own rules at times sentencing them further into hell.
Perhaps his biggest accomplishment though, is in curing himself from cancer. After being cursed with the disease by a demon, Constantine sold his soul to the angels, meaning that when he died, heaven and hell would return to war over his soul. In order to prevent this, God himself cured Constantine of his cancer and allowed him to remain among the land of the living. For all of Constantine’s accomplishments and character flaws, there’s no denying that he knows how to make things work to his advantage.