Jeff Lemire steps into the Lion’s Den by answering Hellblazer fan and Constantine skeptic Sonia Harris’ questions about the upcoming mainstream DCU title:
SH: Once I let go of the name “John Constantine”, I was able to enjoy your version as an entirely new character. Did you need to find a way to approach Constantine as a new character?
Jeff Lemire: No. To me our take is true to who he was to a large degree. Ray and I are working really hard to maintain the integrity of the character, to keep him consistent with what we loved about the Vertigo version, but to also reintroduce him to a new audience and make him a part of the larger DCU again like he was when he was originally introduced in Swamp Thing in the 80′s.
There are certain words we can’t use, but otherwise we aren’t pulling any punches. The two key differences are that he younger than he was in Hellblazer, and he is operating in New York now. Though we will see JC in London again.
While I understand the desire to re-settle Constantine in the U.S. for the new series – It brings him closer to the rest of the action for the mainstream DC characters, and particularly Justice League Dark – it feels to me that that move is one of the bigger changes in this new series; Hellblazer was very English, to me; that was one of its most charming qualities, and biggest selling points. Even if the character remained exactly as he was in the Vertigo run, moving him to NYC would nonetheless make his series a different beast, and not necessarily one that I found myself wanting to read…