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The 25 Comic Books You Need To Read Before You Die

10. Hellblazer (DC/Vertigo)

Writer: Various, including Jamie Delano, Garth Ennis, and Peter Milligan
Artist: Various

After his successful appearances during Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing run in the ‘80s, DC finally gave John Constantine his own comic titled Hellblazer in 1988. It's the only book on this list to feature both a rotating roster of artists and writers. But no matter who's at the helm of any given issue, Hellblazer remains one of the preeminent examples of Vertigo's dark, mature flavor.

The title's creative peak came with writers like Garth Ennis, Jamie Delano, Warren Ellis, and Peter Milligan, all of whom were experts at balancing horror plots with the crude personality of Constantine himself. Hellblazer's main hook is Constantine’s common man persona mixing with the supernatural world that he finds himself constantly fighting against. Which makes for everyman hero who is incredibly flawed, and all the most interesting for it.

The series ends next month with issue #300, marking the end of Vertigo’s longest-running title. That's a lot of reading to do to catch up, so here's a short list of the trade paperbacks that best exemplify Hellblazer: "Original Sins," "The Family Man," "Dangerous Habits" (which the 2005 film Constantine loosely adapted), and "Haunted."

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