Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hellblazer by Neil Gaiman issue #27

"For just a moment or two, the darkness doesn't seem so bad when we hold each other." 

I don't want to think about the two-parter Grant Morrison story from the previous issues because I cared little for them so I approached this Neil Gaiman story with already low expectations  because, just like Morrison, Gaiman is another favorite comics writer of mine. This interesting 25-paged issue entitled Hold Me didn't pull any strong punches or anything but it was bittersweet in the most surprising way possible. I liked it because of its simplicity. It was just a nice story that allowed us to see John in the most human way possible: vulnerable and compassionate; two qualities that I enjoy the most about our titular hero.

It started out as a creepy ghost story where a homeless man is haunting people, asking for them to hold him. And then within that same city, we get scenes of John hanging out at a party he'd rather not be a part of and then walking home a woman named Anthea, who was good friends with his late friend Ray (the elderly gay man whose death in the early issues really bummed me out). Anyway, things look like they could heat up especially since John took note than Anthea is interested in him. But then he remembered that Gary once mentioned Anthea and Sarah who turned out to be a lesbian couple. So basically, John was propositioned by a lesbian to put a baby in her because she and her partner decided they are ready to have a family. She then asked John if he was angry that she misled him and of course he is!

Amusingly enough, this would be the third time something similar has happened to him. First, there was Alec and Abby from Swamp Thing who asked to borrow his body so they can make love at last; then Zed and Marj who engaged him in a threesome mystic copulation so Zed can give birth to a large egg that saves the world from the Fear Machine. Not to mention John's disturbing dream about fathering a mutant two-headed seal. I mean, just wow. I just realized how fucked up most of John's relationships with women are, and people in general--most notably his relationship with himself.  Jesus. 

So it makes sense that he's very sensitive about this sort of stuff, and we got this winning line from the issue: "Do I have some kind of a sign on me back, 'walking sperm bank--withdrawals welcome'?"

I was reading this at work so I tried not to laugh aloud but this was comedy gold. I think I reacted to it the way I did because, as a queer woman myself (who weirdly enough WANTS SOME SEXY TIMES WITH JOHN AND WHY AM I CAPS-LOCKING THIS), I sort of feel bad for him because Constantine is the type of guy who owns up to his false bravado to protect himself that people often mistake it as sincere douchebag-ery. Nothing could be farther from the truth. John is actually more tolerant and sensitive of people's needs more than we give him credit for.  Also, I think it's fair to say that John has been objectified so many times at this point, reduced to a sexual purpose that it's starting to affect him psychologically (and it even manifested in his dream). I'm sort of guilty now too, because I desire John in a way that can only be described as amorous but that's only because he's a fictional character I relate to, and whose baggage and issues reflect my own which I know can be difficult to deal with.  Oh, John! Why are you so needlessly broken and complicated sometimes?  Anyway, I liked this issue because it was insightful of John's conflicted personality and I think Gaiman wrote him in kinder hues just as much as David McKean (an artist whose art I recognized from some of The Sandman issues) drew the landscapes and characters of this issue with dark, foreboding shades. I won't spoil you about what happens to that ghostly homeless man but I guarantee you that it's quite poignant and made me want to marry John and give him the children and family life he deserves.


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