Hellblazer’s John Constantine has reportedly been seen in real life by several DC Comics writers, including his creator, Alan Moore.
Comic book characters have captured the imaginations of fans and creators for nearly a century now, although one, Jean Constantin, seems to have made the leap beyond the pages of DC Comics and into the real world. Created in 1985 by Alan Moore, Rick Veitch, Steve Bissette and John Totleben, John Constantine is a radically different character from most of the heroes of DC Comics. Inspired by Sting, the singer of Police, Constantine is immediately recognizable by his trench coat, his cigarette and his general air of mischief. Working as an occult detective and occasionally a member of the Justice League Dark, Constantine takes an interest in the darker parts of reality that go unnoticed by society.
A unique part of the character of Constantine is that he was said to have been seen by one of his creators and several writers from Hellblazer, his long series starring Jamie Delano, Peter Milligan, Brian Azzarello, Garth Ennis and Paul Jenkins. Many of his writers have reported coming into contact with Constantine, but chose not to interact with him for fear of what might happen if they did.
This particular reputation of the character began in 1993, when Alan Moore revealed to Wizard magazine that he had seen Constantine in real life:
“… I was in Westminster in London … and I was sitting in a sandwich shop. All of a sudden John Constantine came up the stairs. It wasn’t Sting, it was John Constantine. He was carrying the trench coat, a short cut – he looked – no he didn’t even look exactly like Sting. He looked exactly like John Constantine. He looked at me, looked me straight in the eye, smiled , nodded almost conspiratorially, then he just walked around the corner to the other part of the snack bar. I sat there and thought, should I walk around that corner and see if it’s really there, or should I just eat my sandwich and go? I went for the latter; I thought it was the safest. I’m not claiming anything, I’m just saying it has arrived. A strange little story.
While it could be considered a strange event, Moore isn’t the only writer to have met the character. Since then, Jamie Delano, Peter Milligan and Brian Azzarello have all reported seeing Constantine in real life, according to an article by Vulture. In any case, none of the writers spoke to the character, but still admitted that it was indeed him.
The experiences of these writers with Constantine all reflect a Hellblazer-like the idea of ambiguity between reality and the imaginary. While there are other comic book characters who occupy a much larger place in the collective cultural consciousness, they never came into reality like Constantine apparently did. In a way, it makes perfect sense for Hellblazer writers to have seen Constantine in real life, as there is no other character in the comics who focuses so much on experiencing a sense of hyperrealism through the supernatural as Jean Constantin.
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