July 23, 2004
CONSTANTINE Friday, cont'd

by Jonah Weiland

A look at Internet discussion forums will reveal that comic fans are of a mixed opinion on the upcoming "Constantine" film coming February 11th, 2004 from Warner Bros.. The film, starring Keanu Reeves as John Constantine, takes a few liberties with the character, yet most fans would say the first trailer looked promising. For "Constantine" completists, fans will want to pick up the official "Constantine" comics adaptation next year from DC/Vertigo by writer Steven T. Seagle, with art by comics veteran Ron Randall, as announced today during the Vertigo: Breaking Boundaries panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego.. CBR News spoke with Seagle to learn more about the series.

The belief of most comic fans is that the "Constantine" film has very little to nothing in common with the character seen in the monthly comic, something Seagle say is not entirely true.

"The mythos surrounding the movie is very much what you know from the comics," Seagle told CBR News last Tuesday. "While it's true that John is no longer blonde or British, he's very much the same man underneath it all. And many of the best bits from the best comics stories are in the movie as well."

Bringing a close to two hour film to comics is no easy task and adherence to the shooting script is a must for any film adaptation.

"This is a strict adaptation. There's not room to expand - quite the opposite. A movie to comics adaptation is all about what isn't making it rather than what is. It's a giant cutting process - tell the story in half the length. That does make for some interesting and cool eidting - I play out two scenes simultaneously that are more time-bound in the film. That kind of stuff works best in comics. But by and large, the two mirror each other well."

Seagle says the biggest challenge faced when adapting a film script to the printed comic page would have to be that need for strict adherence to the plot.

"Hollywood builds in a lot of quick little visual beats that would take a page to fully develop in a comic," continued Seagel. "The dialogue, I play fast and loose with. Because what someone can say quickly in a film needs its own panel in a comic. And things always read different than they sound, so I go more for how it reads on the page - still conversational, but more to the point."

With rumors flying the way they do on the Internet these days, film companies are extremely protective of film plot and story points. Seagle remained mum about the plot for "Constantine" and he's perfectly happy not revealing too much about the movie.

"Every script I've ever been sent from a pre-production film for any kind of project has had a non-disclosure agreement with it, so that's not some shocking thing," said Seagle. "I hate the way trailers for movies give away everything these days, so while I was told to keep it to myself, I would have anyway! What's the point of making a movie (or a comic) if everyone knows every single thing about it in advance? When I was working on my graphic novel 'It's A Bird...' for Vertigo, a lot of incorrect descriptions of it surfaced, and I just let them go - it helped keep some mystery for the book so that when people read it they could still be surprised.

Seagle is joined on the book by veteran artist Ron Randall.

"I worked with Ron on 'The Crusades' for Vertigo, he inked Kelley Jones. But Ron is a great artist in his own right and an ace for likenesses which is key for a movie adaptation."

The writer has some advice for those who're concerned about how Warners is handling the star of the "Hellblazer" comic in "Constantine."

"Keep an open mind. I was pleasantly surprised. No, it's not exactly the same as the comic book, but we've already got the comic book. This is something different, and as that, it definitely stands on its own.

"If people have any more Q's they can find me at the Man Of Action booth #3555 at Comicon!"

Also of interest, a new Hellblazer Original Graphic Novel was announced at the Con - Read the article with author Mike Carey at CBR.

constantine | from inside the mind of krix at July 23, 2004 12:06 PM .

I've been meaning to check out "It's a Bird" ever since I heard an interview with Seagle on NPR a while back.

Posted by: krix on July 23, 2004 12:14 PM

I couldn't find it on amazon, but saw a bit about it on the DC site. May browse through it if I see it at the local B&N (It's a Bird, I mean). I'm intrigued...

Posted by: Nudel on July 23, 2004 07:49 PM

So, will any of you ladies be checking this one out? (the Contantine adaptation)

Posted by: Rogan on July 24, 2004 05:35 AM

Rogan, I would be interested in doing so, since I'm not invested in the original Hellblazer comics (sorry...). I found the Sandman series to be well written but couldn't stand most of the artwork; that's why I couldn't get interested in Hellblazer, I thought it would be more of the same. I'm a visual person, and the visuals will trump writing for me, if they're on the same page. I realize classic comic artists worked on Sandman (and presumably Hellblazer) but it's a personal taste issue. I'll wait to see what the art is like on the Constantine adaptation, and if I like it, I'll bite. Of course I already like the part about this artist being "an ace for likenesses". *wink*

Posted by: Nudel on July 24, 2004 06:02 AM

I'll be buying it, Rogan. Partly for "completist" reasons of course.

I would say also becuase after hearing that NPR interview w/Seagle I'm interested in seeing what he does with it.

Posted by: krix on July 24, 2004 11:43 AM

Nudel - you really should give some Hellblazer TPB's the benefit of a doubt, some of tehm have good, even great artwok (look for them in a bookstore, and browse through them, to see if the artwork fits your taste)

you can make an artwork recommendations thread on the boards, you know, i'm sure the guys would be more than helpful... also, some of the issue write-up on the website itself have picture samples from the comics...

just trying to convert you guys, like you made a closet Keanu-fan out of me - but shhh! don't tell anyone! ;)

Sandman mostly had a lot of stinkers, art-wise, but Vertigo knows better now, so you might wantt o look at some Helblazer issues at least...

i'd reccomend checking out work by Marcello Frusin - he is dark, moody, albeit at moments almost cartoonish, but still VERY appealing"...Freezes Over", "Good Intentions"

Steve Dillon has a clean neutral style with great facial expressions("Tainted Love","Fear And Loathing")

John Higgins isn't my favorite by a long shot, but a lot of people like his artwork, and dislike the above mentioned artists, so maybe HE is your cup of tea ("Son Of Man", "Haunted")

there will also son be a collection of short single issue stories by scribe Warren Ellis, illustrated by various artists, including mr. Tim Bradstreet, the guy who does that wonderful cover art for the last 50 issues... that TPB will boast a variety of styles, mostly very good artists.

Alas, the first TPB, "Original Sins" really has piss-poor artwork, since it predates Sandman, soyou can safely miss that one out...

also, the upcoming Original Graphic Novel, illustrated by the new regular artist, Leonardo Manco, looks really good. he has a great realistic style that surpasses ost of the previous artists on the title.

but, enough with my rants, drop on to the boards, and we'll post you samples of various artworks, so if you see something that you like, we'll tell you in which TPB you might obtain it...

Posted by: Rogan on July 24, 2004 05:11 PM

Wow, thanks Rogan! what a sweetie! I won't take up krix's bandwidth with more, just say thanks again...! *wow* I'm copying down your recommendations...

Posted by: Nudel on July 25, 2004 02:49 PM


this is the thread that showcases various Hellblazer artists...

drop by, leave your comments on the artwork, say something funny, praise Keanu a bit...

Posted by: Rogan on July 25, 2004 06:45 PM
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