The first story Constantine (KON-stan-tyne) appeared in was SWAMP THING #37, not counting an earlier cameo appearance in #25. He instantly became a very popular character and went on to get his own comic book series called (for lack of a better name) HELLBLAZER. SWAMP THING #67 contained a 6 page preview of HELLBLAZER #1.
Possessing no magic nor superhuman powers, Constantine seems to mysteriously appear and disappear to guide and perplex ST. Whereas some people get through life by being "street smart", the chain-smoking Constantine gets through his life by being "magic smart". He has a vast network of contacts (many of whom end up as his enemies, or dead) which he works very slyly to gain the greatest power of all: knowledge. Although ST and Abby resent his callous attitude and manipulating ways, Constantine is responsible for teaching ST a lot about ST's origins and abilities. In 2004, he played a key role in launching the new SWAMP THING comic book series.
Constantine normally appears completely cool, mysterious and in control, but during the battle with the Brujería in #48, it became clear that he has his limitations.
Constantine has often mentioned an incident at "Newcastle". Newcastle is a city where Constantine tried to perform an exorcism with some others. The results were disastrous, resulting in Constantine's internment at Ravenscar Asylum, under the care of Dr. "Piggy" Huntoon with whom he shares a mutual contempt. Although often hinted at, the details about Newcastle are not revealed until the publication of HELLBLAZER #11.
Swamp Thing got some revenge for all of Constantine's interfering by "possessing" his body for the purpose of fathering a child with Abby (although, unknown to ST, John was about to volunteer for the job). ST was unaware however that Constantine's blood had been tainted when he made a deal with the demon Nergal as part of a plan to foil the demon's Damnation Army. (See HELLBLAZER #10.)
Constantine comes from a long line of trouble-makers, but the "true Constantines", who meddle in mysticism, are the ones whose twin siblings died at birth.
Constantine's likeness is reportedly based on that of the singer Sting, who is from... Newcastle!
Creator Alan Moore made a cameo appearance in issue #120 of Constantine's series HELLBLAZER (Shown at left.)
Along with the Phantom Stranger , Mr. E, and Doctor Occult, Constantine is a member of the so-called "Trenchcoat Brigade", which first appeared in the BOOKS OF MAGIC mini-series written by Neil Gaiman.
In a posting from "Straight to Hell: A Hellblazer Site" a March 8th, 2004 news quote attributed to the Comicon site talked about Moore signing away his ownership rights to the character prior to the 2004 Constantine movie starring Keanu Reeves. In the article, Rick Veitch says:
"Alan had decided to wash his hands of Hollywood because of the LOEG lawsuit. CONSTANTINE just happened to be the first project to fall in his lap after that.
I end up being the biggest beneficiery of his decision about passing his royalties to the co-creators. The history of the creator credits are a bit convaluted, but I'll try to explain it:
John and Steve originally came up with the idea of adding a character to SWAMP THING who looked like Sting and pitched it to Alan. He took that and created the trench-coated, Silk Cut smoking Constantine for ST #37, which I ended up drawing as a fill in. All I really added to Alan's incredibly detailed description was the ear ring (although if I'd made JC look like Elvis Costello the world might have been a different place, eh?).
When HELLBLAZER was launched, DC was just in the beginning stages of offering creator participation. At that time, Alan gave his percentage to Jaimie Delano and John Ridgeway and I stepped aside for Steve and John Totleben. Each of those guys got 5%.
Somehow, in some later deal (which Alan tells me he doesn't even remember happening), DC gave Alan another ten percent.
Alan has disbursed this 10% by passing 6% to me and 1% each to John T, Steve, Jaimie and John R. So we each end up with 6%. If there are creator credits I probably won't be on them (and from the look of the stills I've seen that's no great loss)."
Notable appearances in SWAMP THING:
#37 "Growth Patterns"
ST first meets Constantine who tells ST that he can grow new bodies for himself.
#38 "Still Waters"
Constantine shows his machismo/psychosis by crushing a glass in his hand during a barroom confrontation.
Constantine enlists Steve Dayton's (Mento) aid during the looming Crisis on Infinite Earths. Constantine and Dayton also appear in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #4.
Constantine shows ST around the Monitor's satellite and chats with the Phantom Stranger during the CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS crossover. In a rare moment, Constantine loses his cool a bit while describing the Invunche.
#47 "The Parliament of Trees"
Constantine introduces ST to the Parliament.
At the conflict of Ultimate Good & Evil, Constantine assembles the great mystics of DC Comics. There are casualties...
#56 "My Blue Heaven"
Stranded on a deserted planet, ST creates simulated people to populate a perfect world, ...so what's Constantine doing there?
#65 "(We Could Be) Diving for Pearls"
Constantine gets a kiss from Abby, and ST runs out of patience.
#66 "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest"
Constantine consults Woodrue in Arkham Asylum, is reunited with Dr. "Piggy" Huntoon, and has a brush with Batman.
#70, #71 ,#72
Constantine is virtually the focus of these issues as he works all his connections to make sure the new Swamp Thing gets born.
#74 "Center of the Cyclone"
After Constantine steps off a speeding train in HELLBLAZER #7, Swampy gets his wounded body to a hospital, where Constantine is healed in a demonic deal in HELLBLAZER #8. A one-panel flashback from ST #74 appears in that issue of HELLBLAZER.
#76 "L'adoration de le Terre"
ST and Abby work Constantine's "connections" to make sure the new Swamp Thing gets born.
HELLBLAZER #10 shows what Constantine's consciousness was doing during and after SWAMP THING #76.
#77 "Infernal Triangles"
Constantine helps Abby come to terms with her pregnancy, and his part in it, while Swampy takes out his frustrations on a floral-simulation of Constantine.