Ever since he first began meddling with magic in the pages of The Saga of the Swamp Thing #37 back in 1985, the best John Constantine comics have been at the center of all-things magical in the DC/Vertigo universe. Appearing in the pages of Hellblazer for an impressive 300 issues, Constantine progressed in age as the series progressed, which is unheard of in the world of comics. Haunted by a terrible past, and hoping to do some good before he leaves the Earthly plane for good, Constantine proved himself to be a humanitarian despite his cynical nature and abrupt manner with his 'friends' and allies. He's one of the most popular so-called '"Dark" characters in the DC Universe, and as a result, he's been in a ton of interesting stories.
Over the 45+ years he's been besting the dregs of Hell, there have been tons of comic books, great stories, graphic novels, trade paperbacks, comic book issues, story arcs, storylines, and one-shot books about John Constantine, making it hard to determine which is the best of John Constantine's greatest adventures. This list attempts the impossible by narrowing the best down to the top 20. You can also use this list as a John Constantine reading guide.
Check out the stories listed below, and if you see your favorites, vote them up. Then check back to see which of these comics is the best John Constantine story ever told!
Story Found In: Hellblazer #41-46
Details: Garth Ennis is a well-known writer of Hellblazer, but he didn't get to play with John Constantine until his debut with issue #41. The story of "Dangerous Habits" explores John's case of terminal lung cancer, which is slowly killing the man who has battled gods, demons, and everything else in-between.
This makes the man consider his own existence and what he's accomplished with his life. He even spends a ton of time making friends with another patient at the cancer ward, but when Satan himself shows up with the lords of Hell to collect his soul, things don't go according to plan.A great storyline?
Story Found In: Hellblazer #27
Details: In this one-off story penned by the inimitable Neil Gaiman, Constantine moves away from his typical selfishness while maintaining his cocky, self-assured every-man charisma. It's a story about a lonely old ghost of a long-dead homeless man wandering around the streets of London.
This issue is actually difficult to find, but you can score a digital download, so you can read it, and you absolutely should! This is early Gaiman at his finest, and while he didn't have much influence in Constantine, the rare occasion when he did write the character only produced something amazing.A great storyline?
Newcastle: A Taste Of Things To Come
Story Found In: Hellblazer #11
Details: John Constantine is a haunted man, and his life changed after a single haunting experience put him on the path he's been walking for years. The event is finally revealed in the 11th issue of Hellblazer, and it's no wonder the man is tortured about his past.
The mystery of the Newcastle incident unravels here and is continued in the following issue. Newcastle was Constantine's rock bottom, and he's been clawing his way to the light ever since, but will he ever manage to get over the event that made him into the man he is today... and should he even try?A great storyline?
Story Found In: Hellblazer: Original Sins #1-9
Details: Before landing his own series, Constantine appeared mostly in the pages of Swamp Thing, but by 1988, it was time for him to break out on his own. The first nine issues of his solo series were compiled in the story "Original Sin" by writer Jamie Delano with John Ridgway and Alfredo Alcala on for illustration.
The series kicked off in a beautiful way, as the character was reintroduced alongside a cult of demon fetishists, delusional veterans, and a giant hunger god. It's a mashing of myth and mysticism with a sprinkling of history and harsh storytelling, that set the stage for one of Vertigo's longest-running and most successful series ever printed.A great storyline?