DC Comics (US), February 7, 2007

Vertigo On the Ledge: with Andy Diggle

by Andy Diggle

‘I’m a nasty piece of work’ he once said. ‘Ask anybody’

And over the years, John Constantine has proven as good as his word. But as with much else when it comes to everybody’s favorite chainsmoking street magus, there’s more to it than that. A lot more.

The heart of Hellblazer has always been supernatural horror with a social conscience – and that’s what Leo Manco and myself will be serving up, starting with next month.

What’s that, you say? Conscience? You thought John Constantine was just an amoral bastard ? All right, fair enough, so maybe he’s left a trail of dead friends in his wake that will put the Borgias to shame. But it was always for the greater good, wasn’t it? Underneath the callous exterior, the calculated irony and the fuck-you attitude, doesn’t Constantine just want to make the world a better place?

Because, let’s face it, it’s pretty much fucked the way it is.

They say that inside every cynic is a disappointed idealist. Constantine doesn’t believe in self-appointed higher authorities; he believes in people.

Small, weak, flawed, struggling people.

But the problem with being a humanist is… well, humans. We keep letting the side down, don’t we ? Which probably goes some way towards explaining why the world is in the state it’s in. And that, ultimately, is what drives him.

He’s a fixer.

Maybe it was sex and drugs and rock’n’roll that first brought Constantine to the magic, but that wasn’t what kept him there. He isn’t addicted to the magic really, he’s addicted to the rush. He’s an adrenaline junkie, incapable of leaving any stone unturned without flipping it over to see what crawls out from underneath. An inveterate meddler with an overwhelming compulsion to try to fix whatever nasty shit he uncovers as he noses around in the supernatural undertow of modern Britain…

…and magic just happens to be the quickest and easiest fix.

Of course, it’s also the most dangerous. But when it all goes pear-shaped and his carefully laid plans come back to bite him on the arse, well, that’s a rush too, ennit?

And like I said, it’s all for the greater good.

At least that’s what he keeps telling himself.

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