OFFS – John Constantine TV Series

John Constantine Won’t Be Smoking On TV

(Geez, sorry about the massive link. I can’t figure out how to make the font smaller yet.)

We allow the most horrific violence and gore on our network television, but when it comes to nudity, and now smoking, it has to be banned? One has to question how warped American morals are where people think a naked man or woman smoking is considered somehow more threatening to our emotional well-being than a man peeling his face off and feeding it to a dog (warning graphic image with the article).

This does not bode well for a series about one of DC/Vertigo’s most gritty characters in which his lung cancer (caused by his chain smoking) played a major role in his backstory. Much like Doctor Strange in the Marvel Universe, Constantine is a character often floating in the periphery of the more popular characters, assisting in certain adventures or showing up as a exposition machine. His own adventures in horror comic Hellblazer, and now Constantine, are usually divorced from the rest of the superhero universe he inhabits.

A working class Scouser, Constantine is so cynical he often makes Batman look like a girl scout. Yet like the axiom “a cynic is a disappointed idealist,” he remains ever hopeful of humanity and regularly risks all to save people. Constantine is one of the most powerful magic-users in the DC universe, but rarely uses magic outright, relying more on his wits to trick his enemies, human and demonic. But none in the magic community underestimates him. Read here where Constantine cows some of the most evil magicians and magical beings in the DC Universe with just his reputation, giving the reader an idea of just how powerful he really is.

What has also been amusing is that DC and Marvel have both given nods to each others most famous magicians. These are actually only a few more obvious examples of the continual back and forth over the years. While I love Doctor Strange (when written well, Strange is so much fun), I think in general DC portrays magic/occult in a much more varied and interesting way than Marvel does.

I hope the TV series does better justice to the character than the execrable film.

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2 thoughts on “OFFS – John Constantine TV Series

  1. I really liked the film but then someone who knows the comics would have a different perspective on it. I didn’t know Constantine was supposed to be English. Once they cast Keanu in the lead, they had to make him American as Keanu attempting an English accent would be painful.

    Smoking in film and tv shows does have an effect on the perception of the habit as cool and attractive. It’s a form of advertising. But it is hypocritical that the media which has profitted from making horrific violence and brutality acceptable entertainment claims to have ethical concerns about anything.

  2. For the comic book fans, it was incredibly painful. It wasn’t that he was American, it was that he was nothing like John Constantine. Or at least, Keanu could not pull off that clever, abrasive character. The cynic who believes in humanity. And I’m not even saying Reeves can’t act. He actually can. He absolutely blew me away in The Last Time I Committed Suicide. But this was a case of bad casting by a director who simply did not get the character. Constantine doesn’t even use guns. That’s how far off the beam they were.

    Tilda Swinton was the highlight of that film. Gabriel was fantastic. And that part of the story did catch the essence of the comic in that no mystical being in the occult world is to be trusted. They are simply operating on a different ethos that tends to view humanity in the same light humanity views animals.

    That is my issue with the smoking thing (though no one seems to take issue with it on Mad Men, and characters smoking cigars on TV seems to be o.k. too): The hypocrisy and warped values of being completely o.k. with absolutely horrific violence, but freaking out over nudity and cigarettes.

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