Cla$$war

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Cla$$war
Cover art for the Cla$$war hardcover collections. Pencilled by Trevor Hairsine with colouring by Len O'Grady
Publication information
Publisher Com.x
Schedule Monthly
Format Limited series
Genre
Publication date January–July 2002 (1-3)
March–June 2004 (4-6)
Number of issues 6
Main character(s) The American
Isaac
Icon
Burner
Heavyweight
Confusion
Young American
George W. Bush
Creative team
Writer(s) Rob Williams
Artist(s) Trevor Hairsine (1-3)
Travel Foreman (4-6)
Letterer(s) Ed Deighton
Colourist(s) Len O'Grady
Creator(s) Rob Williams
Trevor Hairsine
Editor(s) Ed Deighton
Collected editions
Series One: Complete Edition ISBN 1-60743-816-X

Cla$$war is a six-issue comic book limited series published by Com.x between 2002 and 2004. It was written by Rob Williams with art by Trevor Hairsine and Travel Foreman.

Williams has summed up the story as "a political thriller with superheroes," dealing with a government supersoldier programme and how the leading superhero, The American, deals with the revelation of the truth.[1]

Publication history[edit]

The series, written by Rob Williams with art by Trevor Hairsine, was due to be launched in November 2001, but had to be delayed because of the 9/11 attacks.[2] The first three issues were finally published between January and July 2002[3] and were collected into a trade paperback in 2003.[4] When the publisher came back from a hiatus caused by problems including a serious burglary,[5][6] Hairsine had already moved on to Marvel[7] and, while Cary Nord was initially pencilled in as his replacement,[8] a job that finally went to Travel Foreman[1][9] and the last three issue were published between March and June 2004.[10][11] Len O'Grady[12] provided all the colouring to "maintain colour continuity".[13] When the publisher returned fully to publishing the series was collected into a hardcover edition.[14]

Although people make the link with The Authority, Williams has said he had not read the series before starting to write Cla$$war and he went on to explain the actual inspiration:

Cla$$war was influenced by my love of people like Noam Chomsky - I was reading his Class Warfare when I came up with the idea for the series - and Bill Hicks, my fascination with Nixon and American politics in general. I spend half my time reading books on subjects like the CIA, biographies of people like Martin Luther King. For some reason I’m captivated by US history over the past 50 years

...

I also love intelligent superhero comics - a legacy from my dysfunctional youth and the effect Alan Moore’s Captain Britain and Marvelman had on me in the early eighties. So I figured I’d combine the two.[1]

The series was always planned to run for twelve issues, and Williams has expressed an interest in writing the next six-issue story arc but he is concerned that "with the production quality and level of artist that the series has had in its different incarnations - it's really tough to sustain that over another six issues unless you're selling large numbers, and for an indie company like com.x that's tough to achieve."[15]

Reception[edit]

The reviews have largely been positive, apart from complaints about scheduling.[16][17] Michael Deeley reviewed the first issue for Comics Bulletin declared that it was a "this is a solid first issue for what promises to be an exciting and challenging story," with "tight" writing and "great art," the latter reminding him of "Gene Colan, but with a grittier texture."[18] The X-Axis thought it was an "impressive package"[19] and the review at Sequential Tart complimented the "gorgeous" art and drew on the comparisons, saying "where The Authority deals with interdimensional war and interstellar invasion, Cla$$war is much more personal and immediate."[20] Craig Lemon covered issue #2 for Comics Bulletin and concluded "a great title, a real breath of fresh air into a tired genre, one that doesn't rely on the shock value of revealing secret identities, or of constantly changing powers and/or costumes," suggesting some parallels with John Smith's New Statesmen.[21] Lemon returns for the third issue and suggests that "Rob Williams is really beginning to get into this scripting lark, hitting his stride with spot-on dialogue and humorous asides amid the serious plot."[17] Lemon also reviewed the trade collection of the first three issues, concluding that "a cracking script to go with his detailed plot, the right mixture of tension, intrigue plus humour" and that it "shows [Hairsine's] work off to its best effect, the amount of effort he put in is all there on the page...complemented by Len O'Grady's excellent colouring work," although he did point out problems with spelling errors.[22]

When the series recommenced, Lemon picked up the reviews again concluding that the fourth issue is "a bit like Supreme-Power-to-the-MAX, ideal for fans of that book or Rising Stars, or for anyone who demands a little more ... intelligence ... from their superheroes."[23] After the highpoint of the previous issue "#5 really just moves us from the bad guys looking for The American, to the confrontation itself" although "it still works and reads very well."[24] Craig Johnson reviewed the last issue for Comics Bulletin and suggested "you have a book which comes close to out-Authoritying The Authority, out-Ultimating The Ultimates."[25] The X-Axis was less impressed, suggesting that the scheduling made it miss the window where the story's politics were truly relevant: "by this point Cla$$war seems like a strangely contradiction - simultaneously a hamfisted anti-government rant, and a curious relic of a more innocent pre-9/11 era when you actually had to make up silly conspiracy theories to justify broadsiding the US government."[26]

SFX reviewed the complete collection and found itself agreeing and disagreeing with Craig Johnson's introduction to the book: "[s]o Johnson's right, if you don't have V for Vendetta, order it at once. But if you do, Cla$$war should be the next book on your must-buy list."[27] Troy Brownfield at Newsarama felt that "Rob Williams doesn’t flinch when he puts a cold eye to this idea, and it’s his willingness to stare deeply that gives the story its fire" and that "lend some terrific art to the proceedings" before concluding that the volume is "an action-packed super-hero tale with resonance and relevance."[28] Ain't it Cool News was impressed with Hairsine's art, suggesting he "deserves a blowjob while eating ice cream for this work," and they felt that the change of artists was not the problem it could have been, "[s]ure you knew it was a different guy, but he embodied the predecessor so well you just thought it was the original artist trying something new." They were also impressed with the story and the presentation of the hardcover volume, concluding "[o]verall the series is a powerhouse and this new hardcover collection certainly rocks - especially with an incredible amount of extras thrown in," with their main concern being that the series was planned for twelve issues, so the volume is only the first story arc:[29]

There's a great build-up that launches into six amazing issues. It's a powerful story that hits you like a ton of bricks no matter how any times you read it. Yet the series simply ends after issue six. No new issues as of yet. It is a series that begs to be told and hopefully as the cover reads this is 'Series One' perhaps a 'Series Two' may be on the horizon. Now is that so bad? The lone gripe being I want more? No it is not. It is the sure tell sign of a comic book that has deeply impacted my psyche.

Collected editions[edit]

The series has been collected into two trade paperbacks. The first was released in 2003 and brought together the three issues that had been published at that point and the second collects the entire six issues:

  • Cla$$war: Series One: Complete Edition (collects Cla$$war #1-6, 210 pages, March 2009, ISBN 1-60743-816-X)

This volume also contains a number of extras:[15] introductions by Andy Diggle and Craig Johnson, a new eight-page prologue by Williams and Hairsine, posters by Ben Oliver (Burner) and Mike McMahon (Enola Gay),[30] as well as Oliver's cover for the unpublished trade paperback collecting Cla$$war #4-6.[31]

Film adaptation[edit]

It was announced at the 2009 Long Beach Comic Con that the series has been optioned by Mandeville Films, the production company that made the film Surrogates based on the comic book of the same name. Rick Alexander, David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman will be the co-producers.[32]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Cla$$war Returns With a New Artist, Newsarama, June 23, 2003
  2. ^ Cla$$war from Com.x (cached), Newsarama, Comicon.com, September 21, 2001
  3. ^ Cla$$ Act, Sequential Tart, January 2002
  4. ^ Com.x Announces Cla$$war Trade, N-jin, Newsarama, April 30, 2003
  5. ^ Com.X Office Burglarized; Currently Assessing Extent of Damages And Losses, Comics Bulletin, September 2002
  6. ^ Com.x's Act Together, Titles To Return in March, Newsarama, December 4, 2003
  7. ^ Trevor Hairsine's Captain America With Cla$$, Comicon.com, December 18, 2002
  8. ^ Future Cla$$, Comics Bulletin, September 20, 2002
  9. ^ Cla$$ Is Back In Session (press release), Comics Bulletin, June 25, 2003
  10. ^ Cla$$war's Rob Williams Entertains You, Comics Bulletin, December 11, 2003
  11. ^ The Ongoing War - A Preview & Update on Cla$$war, Newsarama, March 25, 2004
  12. ^ Len O'Grady.com
  13. ^ Cla$$war Update (press release), Comicon.com, June 20, 2003
  14. ^ Cla$$war & the Resurrection of Com.X, Comic Book Resources, March 12, 2009
  15. ^ a b Finally Collected: Rob Williams Talks Cla$$war, Newsarama, April 2, 2009
  16. ^ Capsule review of Cla$$war #3, The X-Axis, August 4, 2002
  17. ^ a b Review of Cla$$war #3, Comics Bulletin, September 7, 2002
  18. ^ Review of Cla$$war #1, Comics Bulletin, March 6, 2002
  19. ^ Review of Cla$$war #1, The X-Axis, February 24, 2002
  20. ^ Convention Finds 2002, Sequential Tart, September 2002
  21. ^ Review of Cla$$war #2, Comics Bulletin, May 29, 2002
  22. ^ Cla$$war, Book One, Comics Bulletin, December 7, 2003
  23. ^ Review of Cla$$war #4, Comics Bulletin, May 4, 2004
  24. ^ Review of Cla$$war #5, Comics Bulletin, June 13, 2004
  25. ^ Review of Cla$$war #6, Comics Bulletin, July 21, 2004
  26. ^ Capsule review of Cla$$war #6, The X-Axis, July 25, 2004
  27. ^ SFX #151 (April 2009)
  28. ^ Brownfield, Troy (September 10, 2009). "Change of Pace 7: Com.X: CLA$$WAR & RAZORJACK". Newsarama. Retrieved October 2, 2009. 
  29. ^ Cla$$war HC, Ain't it Cool News, April 29, 2009
  30. ^ Mike McMahon comics gallery #2 containing his Enola Gay poster
  31. ^ Ben Oliver's unusued Cla$$war trade cover
  32. ^ 'Cla$$war' Optioned By 'Surrogates' Producers Mandeville Films, Splash page, MTV, October 2, 2009

References[edit]