NBC's "Constantine" isn't hitting small screens until October, but already the show has fans agitated. The drama, based on the DC comics franchises "Hellblazer" and "Constantine," centers on the adventures of con man and supernatural detective John Constantine. Some fans are concerned about the accuracy of the character, not because of the costume or the powers, but because of the title character's sexuality.
In the "Hellblazer" comic books, John Constantine is shown as having both male and female lovers, though his sexuality is never explicitly labeled. NBC's version, however, has only planned female love interests for the character. Executive producer Daniel Cerone told Entertainment Weekly at the Television Critics Association’s press tour on Sunday that the character's sexuality was not integral to the character, stating, "In those comic books, John Constantine aged in real time. Within this tome of three decades [of comics] there might have been one or two issues where he’s seen getting out of bed with a man. So [maybe] 20 years from now? But there are no immediate plans.”
While it is true that the majority of Constantine's conquests have been female, many fans feel that this is straight-washing, or changing a LGBTQ character into a straight one. Voicing their concerns on social media over the past few days, comic fans have argued that bisexual men are an underrepresented group in the media and changing the sexuality of a queer character is erasure. Fans have flooded Tumblr and Twitter with the hashtag #BiBlazer, calling for people to contact NBC on their social media pages and request that Constantine be written as bisexual.
The character's sexuality hasn't been a big plot point in his latest solo series, "Constantine." But there are at least two instances from Constantine's decades-long history that seem hard to ignore. The first is in "Hellblazer" issue #51, in which Constantine thinks to himself (in this panel), "Girlfriends, the odd boyfriend... they all have a nasty habit of walking out on me." The other is a sexual relationship between Constantine and wizard S.W. Manor that occurs during the "Hellblazer: Highwater" arc (though Constantine was conning the wizard at the time). The 2005 film "Constantine," starring Keanu Reeves, does not explicitly state the character's sexuality.
With a character who appears in multiple comics over several decades, it's hard to pin down consistent character traits and details. But do the few notable examples make the character bisexual? Is his sexuality fluid or is he perhaps even pansexual? Fans may differ on what it means in terms of his characterization, but NBC has seemingly already decided their interpretation.