Friday, March 1, 2019

CONSTANTALK

Just came across this Constantine: City of Demons interview from October's New York Comic Con.

You can watch the abbreviated version of City for free (yes, I said free) on the CW Seed app or buy the DVD—which is a longer cut with more story—right here.  It's also available for streaming on Amazon, Google Play and other platforms.

City of Demons is one of the finest animated projects I've ever been involved in and, if you're a John Constantine fan, I think you'll enjoy it.  

34 comments:

  1. Here's my question... Dematteis.

    Given your recent love AND association of John Constantine, and your connection with Vertigo, do you wish yu had a chance to write Hellblazer, back when it was under Ms. Berger's editorial oversight?

    Not necessarily in a "I would rearrange the cosmos to make it happen" type way, but maybe in n "oh if only..." type way.


    Jack

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  2. Not really, Jack. I wasn't attuned to Constantine and his world back then and I have no regrets about that. But would I like to write more John C NOW? Absolutely!

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  3. Once upon a time, there was a comic writer who likened Constantine to John Lennon (what a terrible thing to say about John C.) of course the same guy also once compared Christ to John Lennon so... who knows.


    Point is, I have actually been thinking in recent years that Constantine may not belong outside of Vertigo.

    Yes, there have been some good stories since then, but the writers who wrote good stories clearly wanted to be writing the Vertigo version, and it is clearly frustrating for the writer. It is frustrating for the reader.

    Not to mention, they seriously cut back on his smoking, and that is just wrong. John needs to be puffing away, preferably like there is no tomorrow.

    Actually, one of the early Hellblazer's I remember most is one where John is in a post nuclear fallout world... sort of (hard to explain) and won't give away any of his cigs because there will be no more made.

    The real pint is, John isn't like its parent book Swamp Thing. Len Wein put some smart concepts and depth into the books back in the 70s, so it fits with DC fine because of its history, but John always struggles to feel right when constrained. Again, even if the story is right.

    It is just different types of stories and characters. Of course, I suppose it is less Vertigo as much as allowing a mature title, free from lunch box sales.

    Oh well.

    Still haven't seen tour Constantine movie, but I did order a copy for the biggest Constantine fan I know. The only question is, does John smoke in it?

    Well, here is to hoping he finds his groove.


    Jack

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    1. I see your point, Jack. SWAMP THING started in the DCU, so it was easy to reintegrate the character. John C very much needs the full-out adult sensibilities of the Vertigo line—or an equivalent—to do his stories justice. Not that I'm not grateful he was in the DCU: I loved writing the character in JL DARK and would write him in an ongoing series in a heartbeat.

      And, yes, John smokes like a chimney in CITY OF DEMONS.

      By the way: I don't recall ever comparing Lennon to Christ.

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    2. Christ and Lennon were compared in Brooklyn Dreams. I don't recall the book of the bible where Christ said he hated the sound of his son's laugh.... but its a long book

      I'm glad John smokes. There are too many non-smokers in comics. Its a freaking epidemic. I can't even remember the last time Ben Urich smoked.

      Jack

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    3. Well, it IS to their benefit if they stop smoking!

      And didn't smoking give John C cancer?

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    4. Yes, John did get cancer, but he had it cleared up by some demons. I don't know why that isn't considered a viable cancer treatment. Big pharma I guess.

      Yes they may have better health, although we are talking about fictional characters, is a life without tobacco really a life? Come on, you love the philosophical stuff.

      Of course, studies as recent as 2018 show a correlation between cell phones and brain cancer/tumors, so how safe are they really in a world were everyone (except only me apparently) is yapping away on a cell phone?

      At least tobacco tastes good.


      Jack

      P.S. Is writing Scooby Doo in Scooby Apocalypse (at least before Scoobs got smarter) really that different from writing G'Nort?

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    5. Yes, we may be facing some serious health issues in the future because of cell phone.

      Tobacco tastes good? Blecch!

      G'nort. Scooby and Larfleeze are all related and they'll soon be appearing together in a new team book. (That was a joke, but, y'know, I'd write that!)

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    6. I won't I don't use cell phones.

      And yes, tobacco does taste good.

      But, I bet that you didn't see this coming:

      https://www.cbr.com/captain-america-jm-dematteis-beacon-hope/

      or this

      https://philipdick.com/works-in-print/music/

      That is right, PKD inspired an opera.

      Jack


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    7. I saw that Cap piece. Very sweet.

      A PKD opera? What would that be like? Will they be giving the audience hits of LSD before the show? : )

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    8. Well, one can only hope LSD will be offered... however, the book was written after he got clean and how much he really liked LSD is up for debate, so it might be in poor taste.

      Of course, THAT begs the question, if Avengers: Endgame is to be based off of Starlin's work... would THAT come with LSD? HE was far more open about his usage in the 70s, before becoming staunchly opposed to it in the 80s...and 90s, and 00s, and '10s.

      Though, I have been disapointed with the adaption of Starlin's work in the MCU. Yes, it is great he is getting his due, but so much of it lacks that Starlin edge.

      Ah, yes, the classic Starlin edge. Something I am sure that you will cover when you write about Starlin's work and what it did for you... just in time for Avengers: Endgame.

      Still, I am curious about his opera.

      Jack

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    9. If you come across any more info about the opera, Jack, let me know!

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    10. Well... I bought the CD.


      Jack

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    11. And... I had Chinese for dinner last night.

      What are we getting at here Dematteis?

      Jack

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    12. I wouldn't know. The CD was lost in the mail.

      But, you can enjoy this...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9x2yXKckfuA


      Jack

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    13. I DID enjoy it, Jack . Very much!

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    14. Wait until you see teh FULL short. Of course you will have to buy Into the Spider-Verse to do that... or I guess find it uploaded on the interweb.

      It has probably been downloaded in full onto teh Internet.

      But, I still say that was at least the est Spider-Man movie of the decade.

      That's just me though, I'm not going to tell anyone what to do.

      Jack

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    15. I think there's an argument to be made that SPIDERVERSE and Raimi's SPIDER-MAN II are the absolute cream of the Spidey movie crop.

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  4. I always watch these interviews and listen to your podcast interviews you post. You're always so pleasant in them. You really do seem like you're enjoying yourself.

    A few things I wanted to spotlight:

    1) It was interesting to hear you say you were surprised "Kraven's Last Hunt" hasn't been adapted for a movie yet, animated or otherwise. Something about it not being adapted is appealing to me. It's not from lack of popularity. It's almost out of reverence, like "we're afraid to screw it up" type of thing. I don't know. I could be wrong.

    2) You mentioned you enjoyed the relationship of Constantine and Zatanna in JLD. That was my favorite part of the series. It worked so perfectly. I know a piece of that nugget made its way into the end of Constantine (don't want to say and spoil it for everyone). I tried reading the new JLD series but stopped after issue #4. Wonder Woman does not work in the series at all in my opinion. Then again, I didn't think I'd like Batman in it, and the animated movie worked out pretty well. I wouldn't want him as a recurring character though.

    3) If I could suggest three Constantine issues for you to read from the original series (and they are each stand-alone), please check out Hellblazer #s 27, 63 & 120. #63 is a personal favorite of mine, but they are each uniquely great.

    Thanks!

    George

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  5. I AM enjoying myself, George. At least MOST of the time! : )

    1) I understand what you're saying. So many adaptations disappoint. But I'd still love to see the story come alive on the screen.

    2) I didn't realize how much I liked the character of Zatanna till I brought her into JLD. That's the funny thing about writing. Some character you never gave a second thought to shows up and you fall instantly in love, in a way you never did as a reader. John and Zee together was something special. For me, at least.

    3) Thanks for the recommendations!

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  6. My personal ideal would be KLH adapted as an animated film in Mike Zeck's signature style and written by none other than the original author.

    I certainly wouldn't mind seeing it in live action, but I worry it would get caught up in the superficial trappings of the story but lose the heart and soul. I mean, if they took nothing but the concept of the hero getting buried alive by an insane man-hunter, that would make for a good action film and no one unfamiliar with the original story would be the wiser.

    But the MCU Peter is in a very different place in his life than 616 Peter was, and his evolving relationship with Mary Jane Watson-Parker is the heart and soul of the story.

    I also think the mysticism is important. I'm not sure DISNEY would want to go there, given that they divorced Thanos' story from that of Death. But I'm in love with the idea that Kraven actually has some valuable insights into the mysterious workings of the universe.

    He's not entirely wrong about "the Spider"'s existence, given that Peter's visions share some commonalities with his in spite of them having never conversed about Kraven's ideas. But Kraven ultimately misunderstands how to apply any truths he's discovered because his worldview is horribly skewed and he lacks empathy. I'd argue Kraven is even aware of this by the story's end, as he realizes that Peter's humanity is all that has kept him from being consumed by The Spider.

    One of my favorite lines (paraphrasing) is, "You have been my Spider...and perhaps I have been yours." I will cry if they do not fit that in. I will also cry if they do...but joyfully.

    On another note, if they adapt Kraven's suicide I feel like it's important to fold elements from SOUL OF THE HUNTER into the story. Because readers can control the pace of a story but filmgoers cannot, there's the potential that the suicide scene will be more overwhelming and romanticized. I feel like KLH makes it very, very clear that Kraven's suicide is the culmination of hereditary mental illness ("They said my mother was crazy") but they need to find ways to make that apparent in a film adaptation.

    Another possibility that occurs to me is to fold elements from "The Child Within" and contrast Kraven's mental illness with that of Vermin, who ends up getting the help he needs. Let's see a live action Dr. Kafka who serves as a healing force in her patients' lives.

    --David

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    1. Thanks for sharing your always valuable insights, David. Maybe YOU should direct the KLH film...because you've got a pretty amazing grasp of the material!

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    2. Well, I may have read it a time or two. :)

      On another note (and then I'll shut up about it, really) I think a KLH adaptation would resolve the 'third act' problem that most superhero films have. Shake things up a bit.

      Imagine the reaction from people who've never read the comic when Spider-Man, after having been buried alive, never punches Kraven in the face. Even THE DARK KNIGHT, beloved by critics for its mature themes, demands that Joker and Two-Face suffer physical violence inflicted by the hero.

      KLH could be the MISTER MIRACLE of superhero films, escaping the inescapable Hollywood convention!

      --David

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    3. "Escaping the inescapable Hollywood convention!" Can we use that quote on the movie poster, David?

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    4. Oh, definitely. Now we just need to get Marvel Entertainment to hire you for the script...

      --David

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    5. "From your mouth to God's ear," as my mother often said.

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  7. Two things; Marvel has a great idea called the 'True Believers' series where they do reprints of important issues for a dollar. They just announced the first issue of Kraven's Last Hunt. I thought it was cool that they are introducing that to new readers. And, my comic book shop recently had a quarter bin sale and I love to grab the old Marvel Annuals I got hold of a copy of X-Factor Annual #9 with an excellent story you wrote with Xavier confronting Haven and giving us her origin story in the process. Very well done and there were little things that pop out that could only have sprung from you mind. I love when I bring stuff home and find secret DeMatteis stories lurking in the pile.

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  8. Lurking? I'm not lurking, Douglas! I'm right here!

    But seriously...the TRUE BELIEVERS books sound great. Remember when ALL COMICS were a buck?

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  9. So I don't know if you've heard, but there's a new Spider-Man mini-series that starts today, LIFE STORY by Chip Zdarsky, Mark Bagley, John Dell and Frank D'Armata.

    It's six parts, and each follows Peter Parker in real time through another decade. By the time things are brought into the present with the sixth issue, Peter will be in his seventies.

    I read Part 1 "The 60's" today and it was really good. So...highly recommended. I think it would be right up your alley, too.

    Best,

    David

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    1. I've read about the series, David, and it sound great. Slightly reminiscent of my "Spider Dreams" story of a few years back, where an aged Peter looks back on his life. But just slightly!

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    2. This will probably not shock you, but I LOVED "Spider-Dreams." Such a great concept, beautifully executed! Brought me to tears.

      I think it's time to re-read it!

      --David

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    3. Thanks! It was my way of paying tribute to the entire history of Spider-Man...and my old pal Peter Parker.

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