Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Micro-Reviews: HELLBLAZER, Part Two

HELLBLAZER #4.  My favorite cover, so far.

Delano’s referencing tensions between UK citizens & Middle Eastern (or “Asian”) immigrants back in 1988.

So this was the comics debut of Zed? They certainly gave her a makeover for the show. And Americanized her, not surprisingly. 

I vaguely recall this child bride plot from the show. The episode removed any reference to American fundamentalists, I believe.

Actually, I have no idea how much of the 80s fundamentalist movement made its way to the UK. Don’t know if it was uniquely American.

Delano seems to think 80s pyramid schemes were run by Christian fundamentalists, but I’ve never heard that one before.

Wonder if he’s just lumping it all under the category of “’MERICA!”

HELLBLAZER #5 - The inevitable 1980s Vietnam piece.

Okay, DC’s copyright reads 1988, but Delano consistently sets stories in 1987. Is there a significance to this?

Constantine arrives in America. I wonder if he’s going to lecture us on what backwards rubes we are.
“Oi! Why don’t you wankers put down yer guns an’ Bibles an’ pick up a pint, yeh?”

The fundamentalist group from the last issue has accidentally summoned the spirit of MIA Vietnam soldiers -- awakening them inside their hometown in Iowa.  Not a bad idea for a story.
There is the occasional glimpse of real people inside this town; they live with guilt and loss & can’t cope with the pain.
It’s just disappointing that Delano is doing what every “controversial” 80s Vietnam piece does.
Small town boys turned into monsters. Soldiers as murderous, rapist goons.
Disagreement with the war expressed with simpleminded caricatures of the people drafted into fighting it.

I think an extremely sanitized version of this plot made its way into the TV show.
It’s hard for me to remember, since I usually forgot each episode as soon as it aired.

HELLBLAZER #6 - The anti-skinhead issue.

John casually decides to stop a gaybashing this issue, reasoning that his pal Ray might be the target.
Although, in fairness, John rarely seems in a hurry to do anything in this series so far.

My memory is that Zed and John had a chaste relationship on the show.
In the comic, they immediately hook up and give us what might be DC’s first on-panel sex scene.

We learn that John’s gay friend Ray has AIDS this issue. His teashop has been closed down due to the threats.

I think AIDS was often the vehicle used to introduce gay characters back in the 80s. Ray might be the first in comics.

This is also the most British issue yet. Skinheads, footballers, slang for various ethnicities I’ve never heard before…


wwk5d said...

"Middle Eastern (or “Asian”) immigrants"

Er, which isn't? We aren't the same.

Anonymous said...

If I remember the issue correctly, it was Pakistani immigrants who were the target.

I believe that DC"s first sex scene was the infamous Swamp Thing/Abby story by Alan Moore.

G. Kendall said...

Yes, they're Pakistani.
I was referring to the British use of the word Asian, which I've never quite understood:
I've always heard Pakistan lumped in with the Middle East, but looking online, it seems there's controversy surrounding that designation.

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