Real Name: John Constantine
Identity/Class: Human magic user
Affiliations: Harry Constantine (deceased, reanimated by John so he could learn more about his ancestry), Mucous Membrane (John's band when he was a teenager), Chas (best friend), Kit (sometimes girlfriend), member of "The Trenchcoat Brigade (him, the Phantom Stranger, Mr.E, Dr.Occult), ally of the Swamp Thing, the Lord of the Dance, Tim Hunter
Enemies: First of the Fallen, the Family Man, Nergal, Mercury, the King of Vampires, Gabriel
Known Relatives: Thomas Constantine (father, deceased), Mary Ann Quinn Constantine (mother, deceased), Jack Constantine (paternal uncle, deceased), Dolly (aunt), Harry (uncle), Cheryl Masters (sister), Tony Masters (brother-in-law), Golden Boy (twin brother, deceased), Gemma Masters (niece), Tefe Holland (daughter), William Constantine (grandfather, deceased), Charles Constantine (grand-uncle, deceased), Alice Constantine (grandmother, deceased), Kon-sten-tyn (ancestor, deceased), Constantine (6th century, ancestor, deceased), Jack Constantine (ancestor, deceased), Pyotr Konstantin (distant relative, c.1600s, deceased), Harry Constantine (ancestor, deceased), Lord George Constantine (ancestor, deceased), Lady Harriet Constantine (ancestor, deceased), Lady Johanna Constantine (ancestor, deceased), "Mouse" (Johanna's daughter, John's ancestor, deceased), James Constantine (ancestor, deceased), Conrad Constantine (ancestor, deceased), Aloysius Quinn (ancestor, deceased)
Base of Operations: London, U.K.
First Appearance: Saga of the Swamp Thing #37 (DC Comics, June 1985)
Powers/Abilities: John has the ability to sense and command supernatural magic; he can cast spells and perform exorcisms.
History: It was inevitable that John Constantine would get into magic - it was in his blood. As far back as the 6th century A.D. his ancestors have been dabbling in occult affairs, in many cases making quite a reputation for themselves - the 18th century Johanna Constantine got involved in espionage and intrigue, as well as encountering and even working for Dream of the Endless.
As far back as when he was in the womb, John was drawn to magic. It's suggested that he had a hand in the death of his own twin, who was strangled with his own umbilical cord. When he was only a youth, he learned the burial site of Harry Constantine, an ancestor who had been part of Cromwell's army - John dug him up and awoke Harry's corpse, so that he could quiz him about the family tree - and then he reburied him without actually releasing the man's spirit, leaving Harry to spend the next twenty years aware of the worms eating his corpse.
That incident was typical of the cocky lad that John was to begin with. The teenage John was a reckless tearaway, with dreams performing in his own punk rock band, Mucous Membrane. Time and experience eventually knocked some of the cockiness out of him, but John has always remained a bit of a bastard towards those he doesn't like. In spite of the hard bitten and cynical exterior he maintains, there remains a good man underneath.
The loss of the soul of an innocent girl, condemned to Hell because John screwed up an exorcism, was probably the defining moment which got John to stop believing he was God's gift to magic. As a result, he stopped using his powers for selfish ends, and began to use them to try and reign back evil.
After meeting and allying himself with the plant elemental known as the Swamp Thing, he broke into Arkham Asylum to visit the Floronic Man, impregnated Swamp Thing's girlfriend Abby while possessed by the plant being, battled demons playing the stock market, as well as the Damnation Army and the would-be holy warriors the Resurrection Crusaders, and executed the serial killer known as the Family Man.
Things took a decided turn for the worse when John discovered his chain-smoking habit had caught up with him: he had developed terminal lung cancer. Refusing to go quietly, he tricked the Lords of Hell into healing him, earning the everlasting enmity of the First of the Fallen. Not content with having the most evil being in all creation gunning for him, he also faced off against the Lord of the Vampires, source of all the nosferatu in the world, and took on the British Royal Family. He lifted the curse that affected his family, so that he would be the last Constantine afflicted by magic, and soon afterwards turned forty.
It was all downhill thereafter. Abandoned by his friends, John became homeless, though even in this state he managed to finish off the Lord of the Vampires when that old foe came for him. Eventually he managed to turn things around, used a succubus ally to seduce the archangel Gabriel, then blackmailed the angel into helping him end things with the First of the Fallen.
Comments: Created by Alan Moore.
Constantine's series was originally intended to be titled Hellraiser, but the Clive Barker movie of that name was released, and a re-think and re-name was in order.
Although Vertigo titles are meant to be largely free of editorial interference relating to content, the original story ("Shoot") planned by writer Warren Ellis for #141 of the title was dropped because it's topic, high school shootings, written well in advance, would have come out only just after the Columbine school massacre. Ellis quit as a result of this censorship. The series suffered from both a drop in writing direction and a corresponding plunge in sales immediately afterwards, and came close to cancellation.
In 2005 they are releasing a movie (very, very loosely) based on Constantine, with Keanu Reeves in the role. Since the character was envisioned as looking like Sting, and is a hard-bitten Englishman, this is of course perfect casting... :(
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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