I’ve been sick as a Martian for the past couple of weeks, and while I don’t recommend it overall, it has done wonders for catching up on my reading. Specifically Hellblazer – I got the first several volumes of the lovely newish collections last year, and I’ve lately been plowing through them with abandon. I finished up Jamie Delano’s run today, and I had forgotten how daggone capital-P Poetic he could get. Sure, he blasted us with some ripping yarns like the hunger demon that Constantine retold pretty well, but then he got deep into hippie pagan anarchist shit for a loooong time. It’s good stuff, but there’s just not a chance that they’ll ever televise that revolution. It’s too bad, because the Fear Machine arc was pretty sweet.

So just now I finished rereading one of my favorite comics stories ever: Dangerous Habits, Garth Ennis’ first run with the character. Ennis has had many problems and more detractors over his career, but this story needs no apology (as far as I can tell – please tell me how wrong I am). About halfway through the first issue, I realized I was hearing Constantine‘s Matt Ryan’s voice in my head, odd inflections and all, for the first time since picking up the series again. I think that speaks to the sensibility of the show, and I hope to hell they find a way to incorporate this story – though Constantine’s smoking is an essential part of the plot, so it’s hard to see how they pull that off since stripping that element away.

If you like the show, or you’re just looking for a gateway to Hellblazer, Dangerous Habits is a great place to start. I’m tempted to say you should look for the old collection with only those six issues, but the new editions are just too well made – and complete – to ignore. Pick it up, read the second half, then go back and read the rest. And stay hydrated.