Tuesday, March 23, 2021

John Constantine and the Fifth Patio


My good friend Mr. Grez recently introduced me to Maldita Vecindad y Los Hijos del Quinto Patio, or from what I'm seeing, more commonly shortened simply to Maldita Vecindad. This band is fantastic; they kind of run all over the place, but for an elevator pitch I might simply go with - from the few songs I know so far - Los Amigos Invisibles meets the Blue Meanies. Check this song out, which in particular was the impetus for me pulling out the Meanies late last week.


It's been difficult to log anything in this particular segment of late because I've literally been drowning in the written word (a nice way to go, eh?). From the early 90s Fantaco Night of the Living Dead graphic novel adaptation series (thanks, Butcher!), to Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials series, to weekly issues of the monthly series I follow, to the last-minute Bernie Wrightson/Kelley Jones re-reads I flew through over the weekend as prep for Chris Saunders and I sitting down with Jones to discuss Wrightson on the newest episode of A Most Horrible Library, I've been in and out of so many continuities lately that my heads started to spin a bit.

But something I've casually commented on over the last month or so that's percolating into a full-on reread is the old Hellblazer series. 

Although I was already in the middle of a slow crawl through Jamie Delano and John Ridgway's original arc collected in Original Sins, I went and reread perhaps Constantine's most iconic arc, the Garth Ennis and Will Simpson's Dangerous Habits. This was seasonal reading - the story I went to over a few pints of Guinness on St. Paddys last week. I finished it last night, and really felt a different aspect of the story resonate with me this time, and that's John's relationship with Matt. 

This relationship is extremely poignant in the Constantine evolution because it's one of (if not the first) time in the series that we see John make a new friend, and how because of how he's let down or betrayed so many of his other, old school friends, we see what Matt's friendship means to him, how he comes down on himself in such a brutal fashion when he gets a new lease on life and realizes he may have forgotten about Matt. This B-story is honestly more emotionally fulfilling than the iconic (and still awesome) Constantine cheats the Devil one in the foreground, and it's something that I don't really think made as big an impact on me back in the day as it does now.

From here, I'm going to continue through Original Sins, however, a full-on Ennis/Dillon reread is imminent at this point, now that my appetite for Ennis' particular take on the character has been reawakened.


Patreon is a slippery slope. I launched one for The Horror Vision recently, mostly because last year, I found out there is another guy out there using our podcast name. We've had the name (and the .com) since October 2018; he started his almost a full year later. He also very obviously realized there was already a podcast with the same name when he went to buy the website and saw ours (his website is a derivation). At any rate, I don't really bear this person any ill will, however, I find it a little perplexing and frustrating that he wouldn't just, you know, come up with another name. So, after discovering all this, I immediately went and branded everything I could think of with our name, Patreon being one of the big ones.

But do we, The Horror Vision, as a podcast, do anything that warrants someone paying to support us on this platform? At the moment, no. I'm slowly working on getting some things off the ground that will make me better about occupying this space - the Patreon exclusive Podcast Elements of Horror is coming SOON - but in the meantime, I just feel weird about even having it. I mean, I don't even totally understand Patreon. Or, at least I didn't until I subscribed to Jeremy Haun's.

Now, this is nothing against Jonathan Grimm, whose Patreon I subbed to some time ago. John's one of my favorite artists working today, a frequent collaborator, and one of my best friends, so it's different. But Jeremy is someone who I met as a fan, and, I think, hit it off with over the course of a podcast interview so that, while I don't know that we're 'friends' exactly yet, we're friendly. And Jeremy's mind, the narrative work he creates, it just has me. The Red Mother was a unique and completely enthralling experience to read; having the opportunity to pick Jeremy's brain about it (and a hundred other things) was a pleasure and one that made me think I would absolutely benefit from supporting him on the Patreon platform. Turns out, I was right.

Just the Haunthology stuff alone fills my heart with the jet-black glee I love so much. Jeremy's is a narrative with ongoing, far-reaching continuity, and that's my favorite thing. Literally. The video above should help demonstrate that. I guess this is probably coming off as a sales pitch for Jeremy's Patreon, and I guess to some degree it is, because I just spent a wonderful hour immersing myself in it and feel completely elated, the way I do when I sit down and read a full arc by David Lapham, or a Hellblazer trade, or watch a great movie. And those are always going to be the things I want to tell other people about on here, because I like to spread the word. Works for the creator, works for the consumer. Literally, win-win.


Drab Majesty - Modern Mirror
Genghis Tron - Board Up the House
Pailhead - Singles
Primitive Man - Immersion 
Steve Moore - The Mind's Eye OST
Sunn O))) - Kanon
Steve Moore -  VFW OST


I have always loved the colors in this card. The rocky, pixelated backdrop and the emerald symmetry of the image in the foreground work together so well to create this feeling of order over chaos, which of course, is the nature of a truce.


This is the truce within myself that I have to navigate in the midst of the, frankly, insane workload I've created in my life. It's a constant energy drain to dodge and weave between projects, but there's no other way I can do things at this point. I believe it's how I've stayed sane during this trying time.

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