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Author Topic: Ian Rankin's Constantine: Surely this CAN'T be good...  (Read 7077 times)

Adrian Bamforth

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Ian Rankin's Constantine: Surely this CAN'T be good...
« on: 29 August, 2009, 09:38:06 PM »
I hate to have a strong opinion of something before actually reading it but...I mean...this premise was slightly suspect even in one of the Halloween films! (well, actually I quite liked it). And since when was the term "occult detective" acceptible?

Ironically, you would have thought the idea of bringing a grown-up book author would be to bring a touch of credibility and realism into the strip. Who's next, Ben Elton?

"Occult detective John Constantine has seen his share of strange things in his career, but nothing could prepare him for the horrors of…reality television. "Haunted Mansion" is currently the hottest show on tv, but when the macabre house actually starts attacking the contestants, Constantine is hired to be the ultimate mole. Locked inside with a cast of wannabe-celebrities, his every move being monitored by a deadly figure from his past, Constantine must figure out who (or what) is pulling the strings before he gets cancelled—permanently.

DARK ENTRIES is a classic locked-room mystery starring HELLBLAZER's John Constantine from Ian Rankin, the #1 international best-selling crime writer best known for his "Inspector Rebus" novels. Rankin has won numerous awards, including the Edgar Award in 2004 and is joined in this graphic novel by Italian artist Werther Dell'Edera, the illustrator of a number of American comics – mostly notably Vertigo's LOVELESS."


http://www.dccomics.com/vertigo/graphic_novels/?gn=11952

JOE SOAP

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Re: Ian Rankin's Constantine: Surely this CAN'T be good...
« Reply #1 on: 29 August, 2009, 09:57:29 PM »
It doesn't look good when the author's name is absolutely enormous compared to the actual book's title.

Dandontdare

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Re: Ian Rankin's Constantine: Surely this CAN'T be good...
« Reply #2 on: 29 August, 2009, 10:29:30 PM »
I know what you mean - it may be awesome and it's pointless to pre-judge....but I think I'll be giving this  a wide berth.

I imagine it will be a brilliant and exciting new departure for Rankin fans, but an annoying disappointment to Hellblazer fans.

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Re: Ian Rankin's Constantine: Surely this CAN'T be good...
« Reply #3 on: 29 August, 2009, 10:53:49 PM »
Reading Rich Johnston's review over on Bleeding Cool the main problem seems to be a shortfall between what it is being advertised as what it is:
www.bleedingcool.com/2009/08/22/review-dark-entries-1-by-ian-rankin-and-from-vertigo-crime/

I've been following developments and it was originally planned to be part of Hellblazer and I assume Vertigo at some point thought it'd be better to rework it and use it as part of the launch of their Vertigo Crime line. However, I've always assumed it'd be a Hellblazer story and from what I've read it seems to be a good, classic John Constantine tale, so personally I'll be giving it a spin at some point, without any preconceptions.

And since when was the term "occult detective" acceptible?

I'm not sure if I'm being too literal here but the answer is: Since the late 19th century:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occult_detective_fiction

I'd assume that Alan Moore was aware of these stories when he created John Constantine and he has gone on to include Carnacki in his League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Warren Ellis also draws on Carnacki in Gravel).
if I went 'round saying I was an Emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away!

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Dandontdare

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Re: Ian Rankin's Constantine: Surely this CAN'T be good...
« Reply #4 on: 29 August, 2009, 11:17:40 PM »
Alan Moore was aware of these stories when he created John Constantine

I had completely forgotten that he invented Constantine. He's one of my favourite comic characters ever, especially  as he appears in the Swamp Thing books, but also in his own right, especially the the Jamie Delano stories.

Isn't one goddawful movie enough to convince people to just leave it as it is?

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Re: Ian Rankin's Constantine: Surely this CAN'T be good...
« Reply #5 on: 30 August, 2009, 12:39:28 AM »
A blockbuster adaptation was always going to be... problematic. I like the way it has been dealt with - as a peculiar alternate version of the character.

Personally what I'd like to see is the BBC getting the option for a TV series (possibly in a co-production with one of the quality US TV stations), you could do a grim and grimy, properly British interpretation drawing on the great stories that Delano wrote. Given the way he has aged in real time you can give the early stories a proper period setting which would work very nicely.
if I went 'round saying I was an Emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away!

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Richmond Clements

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Re: Ian Rankin's Constantine: Surely this CAN'T be good...
« Reply #6 on: 30 August, 2009, 09:50:31 AM »
It doesn't look good when the author's name is absolutely enormous compared to the actual book's title.

Like this:


Sorry, but that's a load of fucking bollocks right there.
Books, for the most part, are sold on their author, it's like complaining that it says Stephen King or Arthur C Clarke in too big lettering.
I cannot believe that people are complaining that, I dunno, there's some kind of marketing that might just sell a book to a non-comic buying public.

Sorry, but this whole 'I'm not prejudging it, but it looks shit' thing is stupid, unimaginative, moronic in the extreme and speaks of a lack of imagination.

Mike Gloady

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Re: Ian Rankin's Constantine: Surely this CAN'T be good...
« Reply #7 on: 30 August, 2009, 10:13:24 AM »
I'll be quite happy to take it on it's own merits. 

Which are, to even the casual observer (that cover lettering thing has it's uses), pretty impressive: Constantine, check.  Rankin, check.

Looks pretty GOOD from where I'm standing.

Rankin's name was ALWAYS going to be huge, because his long-term fans, many of whom might never have ventured into the "graphic novel" section of the bookshop, will want to find it. 

If enough of them do find it and buy it they might start a trend (or said newcomers might decide their prejudices are outdated and stick around in the funny books section).  We might be lucky and have a few other quality "proper" writers come and play in the comics sandbox.  While it's true that a lot of that sort of thing COULD suck, I'd still be prepared to keep an open mind.
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Adrian Bamforth

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Re: Ian Rankin's Constantine: Surely this CAN'T be good...
« Reply #8 on: 30 August, 2009, 11:15:00 AM »
I'm not sure if I'm being too literal here but the answer is: Since the late 19th century:

I didn't express myself well enough there: I mean when did John Constantine become an "occult detective"? It reminds me of the blurb for Crocodile Dundee III which read: "Mick Dundee solves crimes in his own inimitable way"...as if we wouldn't notice!

Against my expectations, Constantine is one of my favourite films, despite the changes they made. For me they just got John's role and attitude right, even if some of the specifics were different. However, I wouldn't trust any TV adaptation - I think they would make him something like an occult detective for the casual audience, and it's just not the way to get the best out of a creatives/directors to tie them into an established continuity from the start. Better that people come up with somethng new.

I, Cosh

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Re: Ian Rankin's Constantine: Surely this CAN'T be good...
« Reply #9 on: 30 August, 2009, 12:07:22 PM »
I don't see the problem really. An "occult detective" is sort of what he is, his look and persona are built from guys like Marlowe and Spade and the writer of this normally produces detective stories.

As Roy Walker would have it: "Say what you see."
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Mike Gloady

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Re: Ian Rankin's Constantine: Surely this CAN'T be good...
« Reply #10 on: 30 August, 2009, 12:30:51 PM »
"Occult Detective" DOES rather describe John Constantine. 

It's not his JOB (more of a habit, addiction or pastime) but then being a non-occult detective wasn't Miss Marple's either, and nobody objects to the tag "detective" being applied to her. 
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vzzbux

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Re: Ian Rankin's Constantine: Surely this CAN'T be good...
« Reply #11 on: 30 August, 2009, 01:02:30 PM »
To drag in Hellblazer fans I think it needs said logo on the cover. I am sure there are thousands of fans that will be blissfully unaware of this, unless it is documented in the comic that is, then my statement is total bollox.





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JOE SOAP

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Re: Ian Rankin's Constantine: Surely this CAN'T be good...
« Reply #12 on: 30 August, 2009, 01:18:33 PM »

Sorry, but that's a load of fucking bollocks right there.
Books, for the most part, are sold on their author, it's like complaining that it says Stephen King or Arthur C Clarke in too big lettering.
I cannot believe that people are complaining that, I dunno, there's some kind of marketing that might just sell a book to a non-comic buying public.

Sorry, but this whole 'I'm not prejudging it, but it looks shit' thing is stupid, unimaginative, moronic in the extreme and speaks of a lack of imagination.


I think it's a different case when it's a long running comic like Hellblazer/Constantine, that has it's own separate identity for some time now. To the average comic audience Rankin doesn't have a big name, unlike Moore, whereas the Constantine brand is well known and the main problem is Hellblazer or John Constantine is nowhere to be seen on that poster/cover:



Most people especially the International audience have never heard of "Future Shocks" but at least it was on the cover.
« Last Edit: 30 August, 2009, 01:24:56 PM by garageman »

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Re: Ian Rankin's Constantine: Surely this CAN'T be good...
« Reply #13 on: 30 August, 2009, 01:22:04 PM »
My first trawl of books from the local library included several Hellblazer trade paperbacks (or are they John Constantine trade paperbacks now, as a result of post-Keanu rebranding?). One I picked up was vol. 2: The Devil You Know. I remembered enjoying them as individual issues first time around, but 20 years later I'm pleasantly surprised at just how damn good they are and how well they would stand up to, even surpass, a good deal of the Mature Readers product on the market now.
« Last Edit: 30 August, 2009, 01:24:00 PM by House of Usher »
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Trout

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Re: Ian Rankin's Constantine: Surely this CAN'T be good...
« Reply #14 on: 30 August, 2009, 01:33:13 PM »
Can anyone think of examples of writers in other media taking on comics?

The only that immediately springs to mind is Michael Moorcock (yes, I know his connections to comics go way back, but bear with me) writing Tom Strong.

Reading it, I could see all sorts of good ideas but the format didn't work for the writing. The pace was all wrong and there was too much information coming through too quickly. In short, he wasn't writing a comic - it was a short story that had been converted into one.

It was always going to be tough to follow Alan Moore, but others did it well enough, notably Hogan.

Anyway, I'm not a Rankin fan, particularly, but I may have a look at this Hellblazer book. I get the monthly comic and quite enjoy it, although I haven't enthused about it lately. Must do a re-read.

- Trout