Last year DC launched the Sandman Universe, a series of books curated by legendary author Neil Gaiman, bringing in new creative voices to expand the mythos of the Dreaming. DC has now announced a new addition to this universe starring the infamous John Constantine. It all begins October 30 with a special one-shot issue, THE SANDMAN UNIVERSE PRESENTS HELLBLAZER #1 from writer Simon Spurrier and artist Marcio Takara, followed by the ongoing series JOHN CONSTANTINE, HELLBLAZER from Spurrier and artist Aaron Campbell this November.
“Year One was just the start. Now you get to inhabit the worlds, books, and houses we built for you,” says Gaiman. “I was thrilled when I was told that John Constantine—the original, demon-haunted one who first showed up in SWAMP THING’s “American Gothic” story—is coming back to his murky and dangerous roots. More magic and more darkness and not a few gods and dreams are here for you to explore.”
In THE SANDMAN UNIVERSE PRESENTS HELLBLAZER #1, the story begins in a moment originally seen in Gaiman’s miniseries THE BOOKS OF MAGIC. John Constantine finds himself haggard, bloody, and dying in an epic magical war—a battle that will soon consume the world. As he lies there, the vision of a young Tim Hunter stands above him, the naive youth seeing firsthand what his destiny holds. Horrified, Hunter flees back into the past, and Constantine is left behind to die.
Now, years later, Constantine reemerges, physically un-aged but with all of his memories intact—and yet the world has passed him by. Constantine must now fathom a new world torn apart by the same old political and social woes, while attempting to discover how he returned after all this time. But most troubling of all are the rumors of a new young magician named Tim Hunter, a boy destined to be either the greatest sorcerer of all, or the greatest threat to the world. If history is repeating itself, then is it John’s role to die all over again? Or is John here to stop the cycle—and stop Tim Hunter?
“HELLBLAZER’s the one title I’ve always aspired to write. Ever since John Constantine slunk from Alan Moore’s brain into SWAMP THING, dropping secrets like grenades, bewildering vegetables, and spinning mysteries, I’ve been drawn to his misadventures with eerie gravity,” says Spurrier. “John Constantine is the cynic’s magician: a man of selfish drives and cataclysmic self-knowledge, who tries to do the right thing in spite of himself, in spite of the cost, in spite of the vile and violent world he occupies. He may not be the hero we need, but he’s definitely the bastard we deserve.
“In this new era, everything is different. Everyone and everything he loved and knew is dead or despises him. Alone, angry, older, and wiser, he beholds a world that is clearly going insane. The shadows are deeper than ever. So he does what he does. He breathes smoke. He grins to himself. And he goes to work.”
Following the special issue, Spurrier and Campbell will continue Constantine’s story in the pages of JOHN CONSTANTINE, HELLBLAZER.