|Location:||Newcastle upon Tyne, London, England|
- "He wouldn't understand – how some people are doomed from the word go. How they devour themselves – searching for annihilation."
- ―John Constantine
Gary Lester is a comic book character featured in the pages of Hellblazer. Created by Jamie Delano and John Ridgway, Gary first appeared in Hellblazer #1 in January, 1988. Gary Lester also appeared on the short-lived Constantine where he was played by actor Jonjo O'Neill. Gary was a friend of occult adventurer John Constantine and a former member of the 1970s punk rock band Mucous Membrane.
Gary Lester's mother always wanted him to make something of himself. She wanted him to grow up to become someone important, like a doctor. Instead, he became a close friend with a young boy named John Constantine. Mrs. Lester never cared for John, and felt that the young rogue was a bad influence on Gary. Gary never became a doctor as his mother wanted, but instead turned his attention towards art. This proved to be of transitory interest to him however, and he dropped out of art school in order to concentrate on more entertaining hobbies.
Reuniting with John, Gary decided to try his hand at music. In 1977, Gary and John attended a Sex Pistols concert at the Roxy nightclub in London. The experience inspired them to create their own band. Together with a drummer named Beano and manager Dean Motter, they created the punk rock band known as Mucous Membrane.
Mucous Membrane was not particularly memorable, but they did succeed in releasing one single entitled Venus of the Hardsell. They also created an amateur film as a backdrop for the song and in so doing, created one of the world's first music videos. After playing a few gigs in the Northumberland area, the band soon broke up. Although Mucous Membrane's success was fleeting, Gary and John remained close friends.
By 1978, each of them had forgone their love of music in favor of a new fix – the occult. They began associating with a new clique of like-minded nascent mystics including Benjamin Cox, Ritchie Simpson, Frank North and a nun named Sister Anne-Marie.
That same year, Gary and the others traveled to Newcastle, to the site of Mucous Membrane's first concert – the Casanova Club. They discovered that club owner Alex Logue had maintained a dungeon basement for the purpose of wild sex parties and occult rituals. A powerful fear elemental had taken possession of his daughter Astra, and this newly formed assemblage of exorcists sought valiantly to save her soul. Realizing that the elemental's strength was too much for their combined efforts, Constantine determined that the only way to conquer the demonic entity was with a more powerful demon. He sent Gary to collect the remains of a dead cat which he used in a ritual to invoke a demon that he could control.
They succeeded in summoning a demon known as Nergal, but Constantine mis-spoke the incantation, and Nergal raged out of control. Astra's soul was consumed and the demonic forces viciously pulled her down into Hell. John and the others barely escaped from the Casanova Club with their lives. The experience traumatized John so greatly that he was remanded to the care of the Ravenscar Mental Hospital for over two years. 
Gary suffered greatly from the tragedy as well. With John no longer present to watch over him, Gary soon turned to drugs. By the mid 1980s, he was a hopeless heroin addict.
In 1986, Gary wandered the streets of Tangier in Morocco hoping to feed his habit. He witnessed a sweatshop owner violently casting a small Sudanese child out into the dusty streets. Examining the boy, Gary recognized that something was intrinsically wrong with him. The look in the boy's eyes reminded him of the Newcastle experience, and he decided to take him back to his hotel room. He knew that the child was under the thrall of a demon, and so, Gary attempted to exorcise the malevolent spirit from him all by himself. He drew forth a hunger demon known as Mnemoth. As Mnemoth tore free from the boy's body, Gary bound the entity inside of a special flask. 
Although Mnemoth's physical form was contained, his mental influence raged on. He infected Gary's mind with a thousand whispers, slowly driving him mad. Before long, Gary realized that he required Constantine's help, or else the demon would drive him irrevocably insane. He mugged a tourist for his passport and caught a flight back to England.
By this point, John Constantine was free of Ravenscar and spending time in the United States. Gary had no luck finding him at his London flat, so he asked Constantine's landlady to mail the demon flask to the address of John's girlfriend, Emma, in New York City. Constantine ultimately returned to London however, only to find Gary sprawled out in his apartment. He was enduring terrible withdrawal symptoms and the ravenous hunger that infected him had pushed him over the edge. He told John where he had sent the flask, and the two flew to the United States.
When they arrived, Gary and John discovered that Mnemoth's bottle had been opened, and the hunger demon was loose on the streets of Manhattan. John left Gary in the care of a rival occultist named Papa Midnite, while he in turn sought out the demon. Constantine soon discovered that the only way he could possibly capture Mnemoth was to bind him inside of a secondary host container. Realizing that Gary Lester was dying, John decided to use him as bait to trap the demon.
Papa Midnite and John Constantine brought Gary to the top of the Midnight Club and used the pain of Gary's drug withdrawal to lure Mnemoth towards their location. The hunger demon took possession of the addict, but Midnite and John used their mystical prowess to create a ward upon Gary's flesh trapping it inside of him. Midnite took Gary's body down into the basement of his club where he had him sealed behind a brick wall. Gary soon died, and his spirit rose from his body to join the rest of the (now deceased) Newcastle Crew in the afterlife. 
Many years later, John experienced a bizarre reunion with his old band mate. A London police inspector named Watford showed him the charred remains of a burn victim. A voice claiming to be the spirit of Gary Lester spoke through the corpse warning John about the presence of three Lukhavim. Surviving friends of a person named Domine Fredericks summoned the Lukhavim in order to exact revenge against John for Fredericks' death. Whether the spectral voice that spoke to John was truly the spirit of Gary Lester or not remains to be seen.
- Demon bottle: This was a bottle of indeterminate origin that came into the possession of Gary Lester. While in Tangiers, Gary used the bottle to capture the essence of the hunger demon Mnemoth, which he had exorcised from a young boy. Unsure of what to do next, he shipped the bottle to the United States, hoping that it would make its way into the hands of John Constantine. An artist opened the bottle, setting the demon free.
Notes & Trivia Edit
- Gary Lester had a knack for art and song-writing. He was also proficient in several occult rituals, including the rites of exorcism.
- After falling prey to Mnemoth's influence, Gary Lester became a magnet for various flying insects that would collect on his body. John Constantine was forced to use several cans of industrial strength bug-killer to keep the insects off of him.
- Gary's nickname, "Gaz", is also the name used by a photographer who composed the cover illustrations used on the 1994 Vertigo limited series American Freak: A Tale of the Un-Men.
- The story of Gary Lester was loosely adapted into episode 1x04 of the NBC series Constantine titled "A Feast of Friends". The role of Gary Lester was played by Jonjo O'Neill.