Chas Chandler (comics)
|First appearance||Hellblazer #1|
|Created by||Jamie Delano (writer)
John Ridgway (artist)
|Abilities||Capable brawler with some knowledge of martial arts
Expert knowledge of London's streets
Frank William "Chas" Chandler is a fictional character in the Hellblazer series published by DC Comics' Vertigo imprint. Chas is John Constantine's closest and longest surviving friend, who acts as his sidekick and cab driver. He first appeared in Hellblazer #1.
Fictional character biography
Born Francis William Chandler, but nicknamed "Chas" after the famous Jimi Hendrix producer. The roots of their friendship can be traced back to the late sixties, when a sixteen-year-old John Constantine arrived on the streets of London for the second time in his young life, with nothing to his name but an overly sarcastic sense of humour and a half-empty pack of Silk Cut cigarettes. Eager to get a cheap roof over his head, John leapt at the chance to move in with his new-found mate, even if he did live with his mother. John's housewarming consisted of a tense meeting with Chas' obese mother Queenie and her vile monkey familiar Slag.
Unable to put up with his miserable existence at the hands of his mother and her simian familiar, Chas broke down and told John all about his pitiful life – revealing how Slag appeared on the scene shortly after his brother was hanged and his mother killed his father. A dabbler in petty magics, Queenie made her wage by holding the occasional séance and the like. Chas' real problems came from Slag, the chimpanzee delighted in ruining his life, using her obnoxious body odor to great effect in alienating him from his mates as well as putting paid to what was already a pretty pathetic love life.
Constantine decided to get involved. He seduced Slag, conning the monkey into thinking that he loved her so he could lure her down to the docks, where he drowned her. Aware of the symbiotic link that existed between witch and familiar, John knew that by killing Slag he'd be killing Queenie too. From this one act, Chas felt beholden to Constantine for over thirty long years – though truth to tell it's their deeply held sense of respect and friendship that has seen them willingly face all kinds of stark raving lunacy to help other out. He later joins John and his band Mucous Membrane as a roadie.
With this unusual debt serving as a backdrop, Chas has become John's oldest and closest friend. The pair seemingly take turns at pulling each other's arse out of the fire, with Chas providing the muscle and Consantine the brains. Chas has gone on to become a taxi-driver by trade and often finds himself being co-erced into being John's "wheels" for whatever escapade he currently finds himself involved in. Constantine's determination to keep his friend protected from the weirder aspects of his life has often led to a frustrated Chas berating the magus for keeping him in the dark whilst at the same time demanding his help.
Due to their close friendship Constantine prefers to keep Chas away from the more dangerous aspects of his work, but it's the same friendship which allows Constantine and Chas to pull each other out of bad situations. He is married to Renee Chandler and father to Geraldine Chandler, with a granddaughter, Tricia Chandler.
Chas The Knowledge
Chas stars in the spin-off entitled Hellblazer Presents: Chas – The Knowledge. After a demon is released from The London Stone after centuries of confinement, Chas Chandler finds himself standing between it and oblivion for the entire city. With John stuck in Ibiza, Chas must round up his most trusted colleagues and put the demon back in the bottle before all is lost. But Chas is a master of "The Knowledge," the elaborate system of routes and landmarks which every London cabbie must memorize. Until now, The Knowledge has been just a tool for Chas. But now, he's about to discover a more sinister significance of The Knowledge. An ominous entity from London's grim history has reemerged, and only someone with The Knowledge can stop it. The demon, named Tuma'el, stands poised to take control of London's very soul. Chas has managed to array a small group of friends and allies, which does not include John, to fight back against the demonic force.
Chas appears in the comic book series The Sandman. He drives John and Dream to Rachel's father's house so that Dream can retrieve his pouch. In Books of Magick: Life During Wartime written by Si Spencer, with script consultations by Neil Gaiman (who also featured John and Chas in Sandman), there comes the alternate universe where John and Chas are fifteen-year-old lesbians.
The Search for the Swamp Thing
The conclusion of the series Brightest Day revealed that Swamp Thing had become corrupted by the personality of the villain Nekron in the wake of the Blackest Night crossover. This also marks Chas' first appearance in the DC outside of Vertigo. After John finds out that Swamp Thing has gotten delirious, he and Chas attempt to stop the attacks in London.
In other media
The character was "re-imagined" as Chas Kramer (Shia LaBeouf) in the film Constantine. Chas is John's cab driver and his apprentice. Though very knowledgeable about the occult and demonology, he feels excluded from Constantine's more important cases. He takes part in the final battle against the demons alongside John. John and Chas work together to exorcise Mammon from the body of Angela Dodson, but Chas is killed by Gabriel afterward. He later becomes an angel.
- Hellblazer #84
- Hellblazer: All His Engines
- Irvine, Alex (2008), "John Constantine Hellblazer", in Dougall, Alastair, The Vertigo Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, pp. 102–111, ISBN 0-7566-4122-5, OCLC 213309015
- "Books of Magick: Life During Wartime #13 - #15
- Brightest Day #23 (April 2011)
- "Lucy Griffiths & Harold Perrineau Join NBC Pilot ‘Constantine’". Deadline.