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John Constantine, Hellblazer Reading Order Guide

John Constantine, Hellblazer Reading Order Guide

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Featuring as a recurring guest in Alan Moore’s groundbreaking Swamp Thing run in the 1980’s, John Constantine burst on to the comics scene. For Swamp Thing, he was an antagonistic allay, who chain-smoked and was a general bastard everywhere he went. After a few years of being, he eventually earned his own own series under the title of Hellblazer. Hellblazer would go onto being Vertigo’s premier series and a string of top-tier, mostly British, creators would put their spin on the magical bastard over years. The series would be revered for its social commentary through dark and edgy horror.

So with more than 300 issues, reading Hellblazer looks like a daunting task. But with the John Constantine, Hellblazer Reading Order Guide it doesn’t have to be! This guide gives you everything you need to know in order to read this classic series and then some. Not only does it have Hellblazer, but I have also included his pre-Hellblazer appearances and where you can read the character in the DC Universe too.

Enjoy!

This reading order was requested by Sreyam, who recently got in touch. If there you have a guide/reading list/question answered you would like to see on the website, feel free to reach out.

Quicklinks: 6 Best Places To Buy Comics Online | Buy Hellblazer Comics on eBay

Swamp Thing #37 cover by Steve Bissette.
Swamp Thing #37 cover by Steve Bissette.

Pre-Hellblazer John Constantine

Before Hellblazer, John Constantine was a regular character in Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing comics. If you’re looking for some fantastic comics to read before kicking into Hellblazer then you’re definitely in for a treat!

Do you need to read these Swamp Thing comics to understand Hellblazer? Not at all.  You can easily jump into Hellblazer having no knowledge of these comics.

Saga of the Swamp Thing: Book 3
Written by Alan Moore. Art by Steve Bissette and Rich Veitch.
Collects: Saga of the Swamp Thing #35-42
Note: John Constantine appears in issues #37-40

Saga of the Swamp Thing: Book 4
Written by Alan Moore. Art by Steve Bissette.
Collects: Saga of the Swamp Thing #43-50
Note: John Constantine appears in issues #44-50

Saga of the Swamp Thing: Book 5
Written by Alan Moore. Art by Rick Veitch.
Collects: Swamp Thing #51-56
Note: John Constantine appears in issues #51 and #55.

Saga of the Swamp Thing: Book 6
Written by Alan Moore. Art by Rick Veitch.
Collects: Swamp Thing #57-64
Note: John Constantine appears in issue #62.

Before we move on, it is worth noting that the next two trade paperbacks are well out of print and are rather pricey. It’s far more affordable to track down the original issues on eBay or digitally.

Swamp Thing: Regenesis
Written and drawn by Rick Veitch.
Collects: Swamp Thing #65-70.
Note: John Constantine appears in issues #65-67 and #70.

Swamp Thing: Spontaneous Generation
Written and drawn by Rick Veitch.
Collects: Swamp Thing #71-76.
Note: John Constantine appears in issues #71-76.

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 4: The Family Man cover by Brian Bolland.
John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 4: The Family Man cover by Brian Bolland.

Hellblazer Reading Order

Now we’re into the meat of this reading order with this section. Hellblazer was a series that ran for 300 issues and had many miniseries and original graphic novels. Luckily, Vertigo/DC Black Label has made it easy to read (most) of it in trade paperback collections.

There are two kinds of trade paperback collections. 

  1. The original editions from Vertigo Comics. These collect a story arc at roughly 5-9 issues each, depending on the story.
  2. The current editions started by Vertigo Comics and then DC Black Label. These are larger editions that collect more than twice the material, plus some comics that have never been collected before.

This guide will include both editions in their own sections so that readers can tell the difference between the two.

Current Editions

Below are all the collections as part of the newer reprints. Not only do they contain more comics but also collect material that was previously not available in trade paperback – making them the most comprehensive way to read all of Hellblazer.

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 1: Original Sins
Written by Jamie Delano. Art by John Ridgeway.
Collects: Hellblazer #1-9, Swamp Thing #76-77

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 2: The Devil You Know
Written by Jamie Delano. Art by David Lloyd.
Collects: Hellblazer #10-13, The Horrorist #1-2, Annual #1

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 3: The Fear Machine
Written by Jamie Delano. Art by Dave McKean and Kent Williams.
Collects: Hellblazer #14-22

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 4: The Family Man
Written by Jamie Delano, Grant Morrison, and Neil Gaiman. Art by David Lloyd, Dave McKean, Ron Tiner, and Sean Phillips.
Collects: Hellblazer #23-33, Hellblazer Vertigo Secret Files and Origins #1

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 5: Dangerous Habits
Written by Garth Ennis and Jamie Delano. Art by William Simpson, Sean Phillips, Steve Pugh, and Dave McKean.
Collects: Hellblazer #34-46

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 6: Bloodlines
Written by Garth Ennis. Art by William Simpson, Steve Dillon, Sean Phillips, David Lloyd, Mike Hoffman, and John Smith.
Collects: Hellblazer #47-61

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 7: Tainted Love
Written by Garth Ennis. Art by Steve Dillon.
Collects: Hellblazer #62-71, Hellblazer Special #1, Vertigo Jam #1

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 8: Rake at the Gates of Hell
Written by Garth Ennis. Art by Steve Dillon, William Simpson, and Peter Snejbjerg.
Collects: Hellblazer #72-84, Heartland #1

NOTE: All of the Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon Hellblazer run was also collected in Hellblazer by Garth Ennis Omnibus. This collects Hellblazer #41-50, #52-83, and #129-131, Vertigo Jam #1, Hellblazer Special #1, Heartland #1, and Vertigo: Winter’s Edge #2.

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 9: Critical Mass
Written by Paul Jenkins and Eddie Campbell. Art by Sean Phillips.
Collects: Hellblazer #85-96

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 10: In the Line of Fire
Written by Paul Jenkins. Art by Sean Phillips and Al Davison.
Collects: Hellblazer #97-107

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 11: Last Man Standing
Written by Paul Jenkins. Art by Sean Phillips, Charles Adlard, and Warren Pleece.
Collects: Hellblazer #108-120

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 12: How to Play with Fire
Written by Paul Jenkins and Garth Ennis. Art by Warren Pleece and John Higgins.
Collects: Hellblazer #121-133

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 13: Haunted
Written by Warren Ellis and Darko Macan. Art by John Higgins, Tim Bradstreet, Marcelo Frusin, and Gary Erskine.
Collects: Hellblazer #134-145, Vertigo Resurrected #1, Vertigo: Winter’s Edge #1-3

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 14: Good Intentions
Written by Brian Azzarello. Art by Richard Corben, Marcelo Frusin, and Steve Dillon.
Collects: Hellblazer #146-161, Hellblazer Vertigo Secret Files and Origins #1

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 15: Highwater
Written by Brian Azzarello. Art by Marcelo Frusin, Guy Davis, Giuseppe Camuncoli, and Cameron Stewart.
Collects: Hellblazer #162-174

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 16: The Wild Card
Written by Mike Carey. Art by Marcelo Frusin, Steve Dillon, Lee Bermejo, Doug Alexander Gregory, Jock.
Collects: Hellblazer #175-188

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 17: Out of Season
Written by Mike Carey. Art by Marcelo Frusin, Leonardo Manco, Chris Brunner, and Steve Dillon.
Collects: Hellblazer #189-201

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 18: The Gift
Written by Mike Carey and Denise Mina. Art by Leonardo Manco, Frazer Irving, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Lorenzo Ruggiero.
Collects: Hellblazer #202-215

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 19: Red Right Hand
Written by Mike Carey and Denise Mina. Art by Leonardo Manco, Cristiano Cucina, and John Paul Leon.
Collects: Hellblazer #216-229

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 20: Systems of Control
Written by Andy Diggle and Mike Carey. Art by Leonardo Manco.
Collects: Hellblazer #230-238 and Hellblazer: All His Engines.

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 21: The Laughing Machine
Written by Andy Diggle. Art by Leonardo Manco and Daniel Zezelj.
Collects: Hellblazer #239-249 and Hellblazer Special: Lady Constantine #1-4

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 22: Regeneration
Written by Peter Milligan, Dave Gibbons, Jamie Delano, Brian Azzarello, China Miéville, and Simon Oliver. Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Goran Sudzuka, Eddie Campbell, and Simon Bisley.
Collects: Hellblazer #250-260 and Hellblazer Special: Chas-The Knowledge #1-5

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 23: Regeneration
Written by Peter Milligan, Jamie Delano, and Mat Johnson. Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Simon Bisley, Jock, and Tony Atkins.
Collects: Hellblazer #261-266, Hellblazer Special: Papa Midnite #1-5, and the Hellblazer: Pandemonium graphic novel.

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 24: Sanctioned
Written by Peter Milligan and Si Spencer. Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Sean Murphy, and Simon Bisley.
Collects: Hellblazer #267-275 and John Constantine: Hellblazer: City of Demons #1-5.

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 25: Another Season
Written by Peter Milligan. Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Simon Bisley.
Collects: Hellblazer #276-291.

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 26: The Curse of the Constantines
Written by Peter Milligan and Jamie Delano. Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Simon Bisley, and Phillip Bond.
Collects: Hellblazer #276-291.

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Older Collections

Below are the Hellblazer trade paperback collections, which were originally printed in the 90s, 2000s, and early 2010s.

Hellblazer: Original Sins
Collects: Hellblazer #1-9

Hellblazer: The Devil You Know
Collects: Hellblazer #10-13

Hellblazer: The Fear Machine
Collects: Hellblazer #14-22

Hellblazer: The Family Man
Collects: Hellblazer #23-24, #28-33

Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits
Collects: Hellblazer #41-46

Hellblazer: Bloodlines
Collects: Hellblazer #47-50, 52-55, 59-61

Hellblazer: Fear and Loathing
Collects: Hellblazer #62-67

Hellblazer: Tainted Love
Collects: Hellblazer #68-71 and Special #1

Hellblazer: Damnation’s Flame
Collects: Hellblazer #72-77

Hellblazer: Rake at the Gates of Hell
Collects: Hellblazer #78-83 and Heartland

Hellblazer: Son of Man
Collects: Hellblazer #129-133

Hellblazer: Son of Man
Collects: Hellblazer #134-139

Hellblazer: Son of Man
Collects: Hellblazer #140-143

Hellblazer: Shoot
Collects: Hellblazer #144-145, #245-246, #250; and “Shoot” from Vertigo Resurrected #1

Hellblazer: Hard Time
Collects: Hellblazer #146-150

Hellblazer: Good Intentions
Collects: Hellblazer #151-156

Hellblazer: Freezes Over
Collects: Hellblazer #157-163

Hellblazer: Highwater
Collects: Hellblazer #164-174

Hellblazer: Red Sepulchre
Collects: Hellblazer #175-180

Hellblazer: Black Flowers
Collects: Hellblazer #181-186

Hellblazer: Staring at the Wall
Collects: Hellblazer #187-193

Hellblazer: Stations of the Cross
Collects: Hellblazer #194-200

Hellblazer: Reasons to Be Cheerful
Collects: Hellblazer #201-206

Hellblazer: The Gift
Collects: Hellblazer #207-215

Hellblazer: Empathy is the Enemy
Collects: Hellblazer #216-222

Hellblazer: The Red Right Hand
Collects: Hellblazer #223-228

Hellblazer: Joyride
Collects: Hellblazer #230-237

Hellblazer: The Laughing Magician
Collects: Hellblazer #238-242

Hellblazer: The Roots of Coincidence
Collects: Hellblazer #243-244, #247-249

Hellblazer: Scab
Collects: Hellblazer #251-255, and material from #250

Hellblazer: Hooked
Collects: Hellblazer #256-260

Hellblazer: India
Collects: Hellblazer #261-266

Hellblazer: Bloody Carnations
Collects: Hellblazer #267-275

Hellblazer: Phantom Pains
Collects: Hellblazer #276-282

Hellblazer: The Devil’s Trench Coat
Collects: Hellblazer #283-291

Hellblazer: Death and Cigarettes
Collects: Hellblazer #292-300 and Annual #1

The following issues have not been collected: Hellbazer #25-27, #51, #56-58, #84-128, #229

Additionally, there were the following graphic novels:

All His Engines
Written by Mike Carey. Art by Leonardo Manco.

Pandemonium
Written by Jamie Delano. Art by Jock.

Dark Entries
Written by Ian Rankin. Art by Werther Dell’Edera.

Dark Entries is an original graphic novel that was not reprinted in the new editions.

Whoa, That’s A Lot Of Hellblazer!

300+ issues is a hell of a lot of reading. It’s worth noting that many of the stories and creative runs are self-contained so you don’t need to start with Hellblazer #1 to understand other stories.

If you’re not sure if you want to commit yourself to a long run or a whole trade paperback then I recommend picking up a few Hellblazer issues from the back issue bin or cheap on eBay. This will allow you to get a feeling if the tone and stories are what you are looking for. Another great way to sample is with this collection:

Hellblazer: 30th Anniversary Celebration cover by Tim Bradstreet.
Hellblazer: 30th Anniversary Celebration cover by Tim Bradstreet.

Hellblazer: 30th Anniversary Celebration
Collects: Saga of the Swamp Thing #37, John Constantine, Hellblazer #11, #27, #41, #63, #120, #146, #229 and #240.

Justice League Dark Volume 2 cover by Ryan Sook.
Justice League Dark Volume 2 cover by Ryan Sook.

Main DC Comics Appearances – New 52 to Rebirth

So what do you read once you’ve read all of Hellblazer? Well, as part of DC Comics’ New 52 publishing initiative, John Constantine, along with a handful of other Vertigo characters, were brought back into the DC Comics Universe. The below are the main comics that he has appeared in since his transition.

It’s worth noting that the main DC Comics universe, which is home to their famous superheroes, is unable to explore some of the more extreme and mature themes that Vertigo was able to. As a result, these comics have a different tone.

Justice League Dark Volume 1: In the Dark
Written by Peter Milligan. Art by Mikel Janin.
Collects: Justice League Dark #1-6.

Justice League Dark Volume 2: The Books of Magic
Written by Peter Milligan and Jeff Lemire. Art by
Daniel Sampere, Mikel Janin, and Lee Garbett.
Collects
: Justice League Dark #0, #7-13, Annual #1.

Justice League Dark Volume 3: The Death of Magic
Written by Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes. Art by Graham Nolan, Mikel Janin, and Victor Drujiniu.
Collects: Justice League Dark 14-19.

Constantine Volume 1: The Spark and the Flame
Written by Ray Fawkes and Jeff Lemire. Art by Renato Guedes, Szymon Kudranski, and Fabiano Neves.
Collects: Constantine #1-6.

Constantine Volume 2: Blight
Written by Ray Fawkes. Art by Beni Lobel, Aco, Szymon Kudranski.
Collects: Constantine #7-12.

Trinity War

Justice League Dark Volume 4: The Rebirth of Evil
Written by Geoff Johns. Art by Joe Prado, Ivan Reis, Jesús Merino, Christian Alamy, Doug Mahnke.
Collects: Constantine #22-29.

Justice League Dark Volume 5: Paradise Lost
Written by J.M. DeMatteis. Art by Walden Wong, Mark Irwin, Andres Guinaldo.
Collects: Justice League Dark #30-34 and Justice League Dark: Future’s End #1

Constantine Volume 3: The Voice in the Fire
Written by Ray Fawkes. Art by Jay Leisten, Edgar Salazar, and Aco.
Collects: Constantine #13-17 and Constantine: Future’s End #1.

Constantine Volume 4: The Apocalypse Road
Written by Ray Fawkes. Art by Jeremey Haun.
Collects: Constantine #18-23.

Constantine: The Hellblazer Volume 1: Going Down cover by Riley Rossmo
Constantine: The Hellblazer Volume 1: Going Down cover by Riley Rossmo

Constantine: The Hellblazer Volume 1: Going Down
Written by James T Tynion IV and Ming Doyle. Art by Vanesa Del Rey, Riley Rossmo, Chris Visions.
Collects: Constantine: The Hellblazer #1-6.

Constantine: The Hellblazer Volume 2: The Art of the Deal
Written by James T Tynion IV and Ming Doyle. Art by Travel Foreman, Riley Rossmo, Joseph Silver.
Collects: Constantine: The Hellblazer #1-6.

The Hellblazer Volume 1: The Poison Truth
Written by Simon Oliver. Art by Moritat.
Collects: The Hellblazer: Rebirth and The Hellblazer #1-6.

The Hellblazer Volume 2: The Smokeless Fire
Written by Simon Oliver. Art by Davide Fabbri, Philip Tan.
Collects: The Hellblazer #7-12.

The Hellblazer Volume 3: The Inspiration Game
Written by Tim Seeley. Art by Davide Fabbri, Jesús Merino.
Collects: The Hellblazer #13-18.

The Hellblazer Volume 4: The Good Old Days
Collects: The Hellblazer #19-23.

Batman: Damned
Written by Brian Azzarello. Art by Lee Bermejo.
Collects: Batman: Damned #1-3.

Sandman Universe

John Constantine has found his place as part of the Sandman Universe, which is a Neil Gaiman curated imprint. It’s home to new comics as part of the Sandman franchise and has begun to branch out to some of DC’s classic Vertigo characters.

It kicks off with the one-shot listed below and continues in the ongoing series called John Constantine: Hellblazer.

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 1: Marks of Woe
Written by Simon Spurrier. Art by Marcio Takara and Aaron Campbell.
Collects: The Sandman Universe Presents: Hellblazer #1 and John Constantine: Hellblazer #1-5.

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 2: The Best Version Of You
Written by Simon Spurrier. Art by Aaron Campbell.
Collects: John Constantine: Hellblazer #7-12.

Note: Unfortunately, this is where John Constantine: Hellblazer ends. The series was cancelled due to low single issue sales. (The series has always performed much better in collected formats.)

Beyond Sandman Universe

Now that the series that was part of Sandman Universe has ended, you can find Constantine in the occasional Black Label miniseries.

John Constantine, Hellblazer: Rise and Fall
Written by Tom Taylor. Art by Darick Robertson.
Collects: John Constantine, Hellblazer: Rise and Fall #1-3

The Mystery of the Meanest Teacher: A Johnny Constantine Graphic Novel
Written by Ryan North. Art by Derek Charm.

The Mystery of the Meanest Teacher: A Johnny Constantine Graphic Novel is an original graphics novel that’s made for all ages, featuring John as a 13 year old. Not in continuity but a bit of fun.

Have Your Say!

Are you a fan of John Constantine? Did you find this reading order helpful? Let me know in the comments below or via Facebook or Twitter.

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Comments (7)

  • I just came across all my beloved tomes from high school, including a few Hellblazer trade paperbacks. Found this cool list of yours while trying to figure out where the heck “Empathy is the Enemy” falls in this lineup (Wikipedia says it’s pretty far in). Didn’t Constantine get a couple cameos in Vertigo’s “Books of Magic”? (And I wonder if that Justice League Dark collection was paying some homage with the title.)

  • Hi, I have a quick question and a request.
    Can I start reading Constantine from the DC Rebirth point and understand what’s going on?

    Also, can you guys please make a guide of what comics were rebooted, cancelled and what new titles started with this DC New Age of Heroes stuff? (apart from the new series like Sideways and Damaged, i already know about those)

    • Hey SarcasticDuck, the start of the Rebirth series is a good place to jump on. You won’t need to have read anything prior to get it. As for the request, I’ll send you an email about this.

  • Thanks a lot Trevor for taking time to publish this exhaustive reading order list. I am highly grateful to you for your hard work. I will now be able to read the Hellblazer comics in a proper manner. Thanks again! 😊

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