Legendary rock star and actor Sting famously served as the physical inspiration for Vertigo's Constantine, and will now return the favor by penning the introduction to an upcoming collection of comics starring the blue-collar British magician/con-artist. This collection will be released to coincide with the 30th anniversary of Hellblazer - John Constaintine's first solo comic book - and the 30th anniversary of Vertigo Comics.
First introduced as a supporting character in Alan Moore's Saga of the Swamp Thing, John Constantine quickly took on a life of his own. The character became popular enough to earn his own solo series, which remains Vertigo Comics' longest-running original series to this day.
The character also inspired a film and a short lived television series on NBC, which developed enough of a cult following to inspire the character's revival in The Arrowverse and an animated series on The CW Seed.
DC Comics officially announced the upcoming collection on their website. The announcement also featured a short video of Sting wearing Constantine's trademark trenchcoat, explaining that his foreword will go into the rather odd relationship between himself and the fictional John Constantine.
A strange point of trivia is that while it is agreed that Sting served as the inspiration for John Constantine, opinions differ - even among Constantine's co-creators - as to just whose idea it was to base John's appearance on the popular new wave rock star! Originally, Sting was drawn into the background of a crowd shot in Swamp Thing, though Alan Moore claimed it was artist Stephen Bisette's idea... while Bisette claimed it was Moore's. To confound the matter further, editor Karen Berger said the idea came from artist John Totleben, who asked her for permission without approaching Moore at all.
Whatever the case, when Moore first introduced John Constantine by name in Saga of the Swamp Thing #37, it was decided that the earlier appearance of Sting had actually been John. It is thought the reason for this connection might have been due to reports of Sting being a practitioner of Tantric magic. The character may also have been inspired by Sting's playing a sinister man with dark powers in the 1982 horror movie Brimstone and Treacle. Whatever the source, John Constantine was given a background as the lead-singer for a punk band called Mucous Membrane, before the lure of magic led to his taking up the path of the magus.
While Sting was reportedly aware of his fictional doppelganger's existence, he was content to leave well enough alone. Again, the legends differ as to whether he actively resisted efforts to draft him for the lead role in the Constantine movie that eventually went to Keanu Reeves, or if he was ever approached about the role at all. Either way, Sting seems to have thoroughly embraced his alter-ego now and the upcoming John Constantine, Hellblazer: 30th Anniversary Celebration collection will be available on October 30th, just in time for Halloween.
Source: DC Comics