Spinning out of the pages of Swamp Thing, popular supporting character John Constantine (created by Alan Moore) was given his own ongoing series first written by British writer Jamie Delano, who was handpicked by Moore and impressed editors with his long term plans for the character. The title was originally to be named "Hellraiser" but was changed to Hellblazer to avoid conflicting with Clive Barker's Hellraiser film released the previous year.
Delano set the tone for the series, which featured heavy social commentary of 80's England and grounded the magical and occult themes within the gritty streets of London. He also fleshed out John's origins first hinted at by Moore in Swamp Thing, which would be continued by later writers.
Many popular writers, most of them British, have had tenures on the title such as Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, Peter Milligan and Paul Jenkins to name a few. Famous writers Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison were also guest writers early on. The series' cover art was also acclaimed, many popular artists such as Dave McKean, Glenn Fabry, Tim Bradstreet, Lee Bermejo and Simon Bisley all provided memorable cover art work.
Despite its DC Universe origins, the series largely ignored the wider DC and Vertigo Universes but for a few occasions and guest-appearances. The series itself aged in real time, as did John, who would age to his sixties by the time the series had ended.
Perhaps best known as being Vertigo's longest-running comic book series because of the fact that it began before Vertigo was a publisher, five years before in fact and that it was also the Vertigo launch title which stayed in print the longest.
Unlike most Vertigo volumes, due to its extreme length, this one has had various writers (many of whom are better known for other Vertigo contributions), and oftentimes the series is judged within these writer's runs rather then as a whole since the series has changed through the decades.
On November 8th 2012 it was announced that Hellblazer will end at issue #300. John Constantine however will star in a new New 52 ongoing of his own called Constantine in March 2013. Before the cancellation, Hellblazer was the longest ongoing continuing monthly series without renumbering or cancellations/rebirths from either of "the Big Two" due to DC's New 52 and Marvel's reboot of Uncanny X-Men.
Hellblazer Annuals, Specials and Spin-Offs
In 2011 DC/Vertigo began releasing new edition trades. These new volumes were larger, numbered numerically and contained every issue in chronological order which the previous editions skipped or had collected separately. Many of the new editions contain different issues from the originals.
- Hellblazer: Original Sins (#1-9)
- Hellblazer: The Devil You Know (#10-13, Hellblazer: Annual, Horrorist #1-2)
- Hellblazer: The Fear Machine (#14-22)
- Hellblazer: The Family Man (##23-24, #28-33)
- Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits (#41-46)
- Hellblazer: Bloodlines (#47-50, #52-55 and #59-61)
- Hellblazer: Fear and Loathing (#62-67)
- Hellblazer: Tainted Love (#68–71, Hellblazer: Special and a story from Vertigo Jam)
- Hellblazer: Damnation's Flame (#72-77)
- Hellblazer: Rake at the Gates of Hell (#78-83, Heartland)
- Hellblazer: Son of Man (#129-133)
- Hellblazer: Haunted (#134-139)
- Hellblazer: Setting Sun (#140-143)
- Hellblazer: Shoot (#144, 145, 245, 246 & 250)
- Hellblazer: Hard Time (#146-150)
- Hellblazer: Good Intentions (#151-156)
- Hellblazer: Freezes Over... (#157-163)
- Hellblazer: Highwater (#164-174)
- Hellblazer: Red Sepulchre (#175-180)
- Hellblazer: Black Flowers (#181-186)
- Hellblazer: Staring at the Wall (#187-193)
- Hellblazer: Stations of the Cross (#194-200)
- Hellblazer: Reasons to be Cheerful (#201-206)
- Hellblazer: The Gift (#207-215)
- Hellblazer: Empathy is the Enemy (#216-222)
- Hellblazer: The Red Right Hand (#223-228)
- Hellblazer: Joyride (#230-237)
- Hellblazer: The Laughing Magician (#238-242)
- Hellblazer: Roots of Coincidence (#243-244, #247-249)
- Hellblazer: Scab (#251-255 and a short story from 250)
- Hellblazer: Hooked (#256-260)
- Hellblazer: India (#261-266)
- Hellblazer: Bloody Carnations (#267-275)
- Hellblazer: Phantom Pains (#276-282)
- Hellblazer: The Devil's Trench Coat (#283-291)
- Hellblazer: Death and Cigarettes (#292-300 and Hellblazer Annual #1)
Other Collected Editions
- Hellblazer: Rare Cuts (#11, #25–26, #35, #56, #84)
- John Constantine, Hellblazer: 30th Anniversary Celebration (#11, 27, 41, 63, 120, 146, 229 & 240)
- Constantine: The Hellblazer Collection (Constantine: The Official Movie Adaptation, Hellblazer #1, #27 and #410.
- Vertigo Resurrected: Shoot (Contains the original #141, the censored story: "Shoot")
- Vertigo Resurrected: Hellblazer (#57-58, #245-246)
Other Related Material