Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blogathon 44: Hellblazer #245-246

[Discussed in this post: "Newcastle Calling" (Hellblazer #245-246).]

Jason Aaron is only the second American to write Hellblazer. Him and Brian Azzarello. I've been thinking about big Vertigo writers and what other Americans would fit the book. I suppose Brian K. Vaughan is the obvious choice. Bill Willingham, too. Those two seem like the most popular American Vertigo writers to not handle the title. I wonder if either ever will...

I'm pretty good at this point on picking up random one- or two-off issues in singles, knowing that they may not be collected. I buy runs in trades, but know that singles will be essential. So, I was smart enough to grab the two-parter Jason Aaron wrote in the middle (or in the middle of the end) of Andy Diggle's run on the book. Like most of these sort of comics, I wouldn't rank these issues near the top of my favourites, but they're also pretty damn good. Aaron is paired with Sean Murphy who we all know now as the artist of Joe the Barbarian. Aaron returns to the beginning: Mucous Membrane and Newcastle. (Always Newcastle...)

The first issue revolves around a TV crew that go to the place where the Casanova Club was for a location for an episode of a show where they focus on an old band, wondering whatever happened to it. This episode is about Mucous Membrane, but, by going to the Casanova Club's remains, they stir the terror elemental (Astrid's Norfulthing) and it drives them crazy a bit, same with the town of Newcastle. Again, the Hellblazer possession/influence. Living in England with John Constantine sucks. Let's all admit that. John knows there's something up somehow and has to go make things right. He can't/won't save the TV crew, but he puts the terror elemental in its place. He'd subdued it before, feeding it once a year.

Aaron lets his punk knowledge out a bit, especially in a few panels where the producer and cameraman try to decide on the best punk song ever. The inclusion of a few bits of interviews with people about Mucous Membrane also makes these issues fun. It's a clever idea for a Hellblazer story, one that fits the times.

Sean Murphy on art is very enjoyable. His John's hairline is a bit further back and he's got some scars/lines, a face made out of stone almost. He has a lankiness to his figures. They're lanky. Some slightly sketchy line work. Just really strong visuals that look only like his art. I also love how his Chas has a big gut that hangs out the bottom of his shirt. He seems very keen on drawing the characters at their respective ages.

These two issues are worth tracking down if only because they probably won't be collected unless DC/Vertigo decides to do the randoms. Why not "Rare Cuts Vol. 2?"

In 30 minutes, we conclude the look at actual comics with Hellblazer #250...

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