Pal Jim just started up The Laughing Magician: A Reader’s Guide to Hellblazer, a blog documenting his thoughts and analyses as he reads through the adventures of John Constantine. As a Constantine fan since Swamp Thing #37 (June 1985), I mightily approve of this endeavor.
…Speaking of Hellblazer, there’s been some discussion among pals of mine about what’s going to happen when the series hits #300. I’m not sure what sales are like on the book…it does okay for us, moving low-ish but consistent numbers. Jim says his shop orders only 3 copies a month. I suspect this series, now DC’s highest numbered series being published, is getting a little long in the tooth in this era of digital sales and reboots and people wanting to be able to get the “whole” story right away rather than just jumping in and hanging on. The recent retooling of the Hellblazer trade paperback line, reprinting all the issues in consecutive order in books with actual volume numbers on the spine, is a start in rebuilding some readership, I suppose, but I think a restart after 300 is within the realm of possibility.
I mean, I have no idea. Maybe DC has a great new jumping-on point planned with issue #301 with a wonderful creative team that’s sure to get a whole bunch of new readers. This Hellblazer message board is listing fan nominations for dream creative teams for a post-300 series, including several names I’d love to see on the series myself. And when I search on the Googles for more info, the first result I find for Hellblazer #300 is, well, me. Well, specifically, reader Jeff R.’s prediction for what will happen regarding the series this year. My gut feeling is that Jeff is right…#300 will wrap up the Vertigo run, and we’ll get a New 52 version of ol’ Johnny in his own series. (I mean, aside from Justice League Dark, which he also appears in…and has been a fun read, in case you haven’t been following it.)
Like I said, I don’t know, and I haven’t been keeping up with the comic news sites lately, so it’s very possible I missed any news on this topic. And if I did, I’m sure I’ll hear about it in the comments. But I hope Hellblazer does continue its numbering past 300…when everyone else is starting over with new first issues, it feels right that Constantine would continue to be his old contrary self and buck the trends.