John Constantine will join DC's Sandman Universe titles - first with a one-shot, then an ongoing series. On October 30, The Sandman Universe Presents Hellblazer #1 by writer Simon Spurrier and artist Marcio Takara will induct the character into the Neil Gaiman-curated group of titles - followed afterward by a John Constantine, Hellblazer ongoing by Spurrier and artist Aaron Campbell beginning in November.
"Year One was just the start. Now you get to inhabit the worlds, books, and houses we built for you," Gaiman said. "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."
Picking up from a story element in the original 1990 Books of Magic limited series co-written by Gaiman, The Sandman Universe Presents Hellblazer #1 begins as "John Constantine finds himself haggard, bloody, and dying in an epic magical war - a battle that will soon consume the world," as reads DC's press release. "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."
Constantine's story continues years later as the warlock hears about a new young magician named Tim Hunter - with the Bellblazer worrying that history will repeat itself.
"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," said 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," Spurrie continued. "The shadows are deeper than ever. So he does what he does. He breathes smoke. He grins to himself. And he goes to work."
This will come out ahead of DC Kids' planned The Mystery of the Meanest Teacher: A Johnny Constantine Graphic Novel – by writer Ryan North and artist Derek Charm, due out in 2020 or 2021.