swamps of books

May 10

Constantine is unusual among comic book characters in that he has aged in real time since his creation. During the first year of his solo series, Constantine celebrated his 35th birthday. In the relevant issue Constantine is reading a newspaper when he notices the date on the cover is his birthday, making his date of birth May 10, 1953. In Hellblazer, it was mentioned multiple times that the aging process of Constantine himself might be different due to the demon blood that he obtained from Nergal. His mother, Mary Anne, died giving birth to John and his stillborn twin brother because an earlier abortion—forced on her by John’s father, Thomas—had weakened her womb. Because he was unable to accept responsibility for his wife’s death, Thomas blamed John and the pair grew up with a deep dislike for one another. Constantine is shown to be someone with a wide and international circle of contacts and allies, and is adept at making friends. At the same time, his close friends inevitably suffer or are outright killed simply by being in his life; this has left a severe mark on him. Constantine also has a reputation as being one of the most powerful sorcerers in the world. Despite this, Constantine rarely uses magic, instead choosing to use his wits to trick his opponents.

They’re the most perverse things, short stories, but they’re wonderfully different from writing a novel, which is hacking at the rock face.
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Penelope Lively, one of the world’s most lauded novelists has produced her first collection of short stories in decades. The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories looks at life in ancient Pompeii and modern-day western metropolises. They’re often short, even for short stories, and subtly simple.

Penelope Lively Ponders Pompeii — And Other Stories — In ‘The Purple Swamp Hen’