Hellblazer Archives - Page 2 of 2 - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
The artist Rafael Grampá first came to my attention through Gunned Down, a 2005 small-press anthology of Western stories done largely by South American creators. Joining him were then-unknowns Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá. Although the book didn’t sell well, flipping through it I realized I was holding something special. Moon and Bá rose to fame pretty quickly with works at AiT-PlanetLar, their self-published projects, and comics at Dark Horse and Vertigo. But Grampá’s work was few and far between.
With the release of the anthology 5 in 2007 and his first solo work Mesmo Delivery in 2008, American comics audiences got their first real taste of what Grampá could do. Vertigo hired him to contribute to a milestone issue of Hellblazer; Marvel, with a milestone issue of Daredevil; Dark Horse reprinted the sold-out Mesmo Delivery, which goes for over $125 new at Amazon. Recently Marvel put him as the lead feature in the second volume of Strange Tales, and Dark Horse contracted him for his second standalone graphic novel.
His work evokes easy comparisons to Geoff Darrow, but deeper analysis shows an appreciation for detail, not for detail’s sake, but to add flavor and weight to the scene he depicts in a panel, a pin-up or a cover. Rather than just drawing to tell you where someone is and what they’re doing, Rafael’s illustrative line adds texture, tone, mood and atmosphere — and that’s before a colorist touches the page. Although well-known by some in the industry, by and large the mainstream comics public doesn’t know the full scope of what the artist is — or could be. Maybe this interview will help.
Ahead of its October solicitations, released this afternoon, Vertigo has announced a five-issue Hellblazer miniseries by Si Spencer (Books of Magick: Life During Wartime, The Vinyl Underground) and Sean Murphy (Joe the Barbarian, Off Road).
Called John Constantine: Hellblazer — City of Demons, the hard-living magician is run over by a truck. After a few weeks of hospital rehabilitation, “Constantine finds the London streets very different from when he left them behind as a series of occult murders and mutilations demands his attention. The common denominator points back to the ER where he was admitted …”
The first issue is set to debut on Oct. 13, followed two weeks later by the second.
City of Demons marks Murphy’s return to Constantine. He previously illustrated the “Newcastle Calling” story, written by Jason Aaron, in 2008’s Hellblazer #245-246. The character also played a supporting role in Spencer’s short-lived Books of Magick.
According to Murphy’s DeviantART account, the art for City of Demons will be nearly two years old by the time the miniseries debuts. “Am I upset?” he wrote. “Yep.” You can view some of Murphy’s cover sketches for the series here.
“I remember that, at the time, someone telling me that the stance was that Paul Levitz would not release the book so long as he was running DC. It never occurred to me that a new regime would feel differently.”
– writer Warren Ellis, responding to news that his 1999 Hellblazer story “Shoot,” which was never published as a result of the Columbine shootings, will finally be released under the new “Vertigo Resurrected” banner
Welcome, welcome, welcome to another round of What Are You Reading. I am very pleased this week to say that our guest is Jeet Heer, the peerless critic and historian who, when not writing introductions for Little Orphan Annie or Krazy Kat collections, can be found at the Sans Everything or the Comics Comics blogs.
Jeet and the rest of the crew have been reading a lot this week and are eager to share, so get clicking on that link pardners.
You’ve gotta give DC credit, they’re constantly trying new things. Sure, a lot of their publishing experiments embarrassingly fall on the floor, but the very fact that they have such a lengthy track record of failed imprints — Minx, Helix, Piranha, Paradox Press — says something about the company’s willingness to branch out. They’re restless in their attempt to find new audiences.
Thus we now have Vertigo Crime, a sub-imprint of the current Vertigo line, consisting of stand-alone graphic novels filled with guns, girls and as much noir as you can possibly stand. The first two entries in the line — Filthy Rich and Dark Entries — will be out in stores this month (Aug. 19 and 25 to be exact). How do they hold up? Read on to find out.
Although a link between the two isn’t mentioned, I’m guessing the title is a subtle homage to the J.M. DeMatteis-written I … Vampire series that ran in House of Mystery back in the 1980s.
So what better place to kick it off than in the current House of Mystery — or, rather in a Halloween annual that will include a House of Mystery framing sequence and new Hellblazer, Madame Xanadu, Merv Pumpkinhead and I, Zombie stories.
At Standard Attrition, artist Jock rolls out some of his cover layouts for Hellblazer: Pandemonium, the upcoming graphic novel by he and original series writer Jamie Delano. (The book was supposed to be released last year to celebrate the 20th anniversay of the title; now it seems scheduled for later this year.)
Pandemonium is set during the Iraq war, as Constantine is hired to root out the cause of demonic possessions among insurgents.