I’ve been steadily reading through the first two collected volumes of Hellblazer: John Constantine of late. And there’s one aspect that really, really scares me about them. Like how the the Conservative Party was in power back, almost as it is now.
So much of that fictional world of the 1980s, in the UK, is like our own today. I’m not talking about all the demons and cat sacrifices, I mean the fact that John Constantine is living in a Britain where he dreads what the Conservatives will do next.
Coming from a rather underclass/working class background, the character of Constantine is almost instantly not going to share anything in common with the average Conservative Party member. And with his punk past – even less so. In fact, imaginary figures from the UK’s right wing political elements are often a force of evil in these early comics (and have cropped again in more recent issues).
Anyway, reading the early stuff is like seeing the past predict the future. It is as if the UK has come full circle and the analogies and parallels that I can read into these comics – that are almost as old as me – are quite alarming.
From the story arc involving the yuppy demons that financially torture humans in the mortal world and then literally torture them in the afterlife (Blathoxi’s gang). Then there’s the increasing prevalence of national pride with skinheads running amok – while sometimes larger than life, there are plenty of parallels to be found.
Reading this early Constantine is like reading a cultural artifact, I feel like a historian who’s stumbled onto evidence that humanity (or at least the British) never learn from the past.
Have an issue with politics being in comics? Then take a gander at the post I did last week on comics being a suitable location for social and political discourse.