A solid representative selection of the life of John Constantine can be found in Rare Cuts, a collection of one-off stories that have managed to escape being reprinted thus far. Contained within these pages you can find “Newcastle: A Taste of Things to Come” (Hellblazer #11) by Delano, Richard Piers Rayner and Mark Buckingham, which is something of an origin story for the character and sets the thematic scene for all the issues to follow.
Next up is the excellent two-parter “Early Warning” and “How I Learned to Love the Bomb” (#25-26) by Grant Morrison and David Lloyd, a truly eerie tale of political subversion and occult possession. Delano and Sean Phillips produced “The Dead Boy’s Heart” (#35), wherein little Johnny Constantine has his first traumatic glimpse into how the world really works, and issue 56 by Ennis and Lloyd provides “This is the Diary of Danny Drake”, a moody, chilling tale of the terrors of parenting.
The last story is from Hellblazer #84 (“In Another Part of Hell”), wherein our ‘hero’ and his good mate Chas experience a truly macabre event featuring an old house, an old bag and a monkey in a wig. With a timeline and map of Constantine’s London to round out the package this is a wonderful way to introduce yourself to Vertigo’s most successful publication.
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