Chas Chandler (character)

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Chas Chandler
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceHellblazer #1 (January 1988)
Created byJamie Delano (writer)
John Ridgway (artist)
In-story information
Supporting character ofJohn Constantine
Abilities
  • Capable brawler with some knowledge of martial arts
  • Knows a magical spell called the Knowledge

Francis William "Chas" Chandler is a fictional character in the Hellblazer series published by DC Comics and its 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.[1]

Chas Chandler made his first live appearance under the name Chas Kramer in the 2005 film Constantine by Shia LaBeouf, and in the 2014 television series Constantine by Charles Halford.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Born Francis William Chandler, but nicknamed "Chas" after the famous bassist for The Animals. 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.[2] 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 each 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 Constantine the brains. Chas has gone on to become a taxi-driver by trade and often finds himself being coerced 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.[3]

Chas The Knowledge[edit]

Chas stars in the spin-off entitled Hellblazer Presents: Chas – The Knowledge.[4] 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.

The Sandman[edit]

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 The Sandman), there comes the alternate universe where John and Chas are fifteen-year-old lesbians.[5][6][7]

The Search for the Swamp Thing[edit]

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.[8] After John finds out that Swamp Thing has gotten delirious, he and Chas attempt to stop the attacks in London.

Injustice[edit]

Chas appears as a supporting character in Year 3 of the Injustice: Gods Among Us comic book spin-off.

The Hellblazer: Rebirth[edit]

Chas returns to the DC Universe in the comic book The Hellblazer: Rebirth that was part of the DC Rebirth, a relaunch to return famous DC stories and characters into the revised continuity that began with The New 52. Most of Chas' backstory remains intact, as the series restored much of the continuity of the original Hellblazer run.

Bad Blood[edit]

A future version of Chas Chandler co-stars in the four issue limited series Hellblazer Special: Bad Blood. Chas assists John in helping an innocent doctor escape the attention of malicious government forces. [9]

Sandman Presents[edit]

A future version of Constantine, the one seen in Books of Magic comes spiraling into the year of 2019. The 'future' Chas had willingly endangered himself in what he thought was a plot to distract and disorient an invading demon army. It mostly was, however Chas does not survive. The 2019 Chas has seen his family tormented by magic and himself ending up in a coma ward. He's dying of cancer, brought on by John's cigarettes. Demons, unsure of where John had gone to, had been tormenting Chas for years. When presented with an option to send the demons into an innocent woman, Chas refuses. He is left in the ward. [10]

Chas is seen later, driving John and friends about as they investigate mystical murders. As part of this, Chas has the actual Devil himself as a passenger. This story is part of the DC Comics 'Black Label', stand alone prestige series. [11]

In other media[edit]

Film[edit]

The character Chas Kramer (Shia LaBeouf) appears 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 afterwards. In the after-credits scene it’s revealed he has become an angel.

Television[edit]

  • Chas appears in the TV series Constantine, portrayed by Charles Halford.[12] He is described as Constantine’s oldest friend and staunch companion, who possesses supernatural survival skills, as he shows a highly advanced healing factor in several incidents where a normal person would die. This is later revealed to stem from Constantine's having cast a protection on Chas that caused him to absorb the lives of 47 people who died when a nightclub he was in caught fire. Chas absorbed the life force of each person; and each of his deaths uses up one of them.
  • Chas appears in the CW Seed animated series Constantine: City of Demons, voiced by Damian O'Hare.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Walton, Michael (2019). The Horror Comic Never Dies: A Grisly History. McFarland & Co. p. 106. ISBN 9781476675367.
  2. ^ Delano, Jamie (w), Phillips, Sean (a). "In Another Part of Hell" Hellblazer 84 (December 1994), Vertigo
  3. ^ Carey, Mike (w), Manco, Leonardo (a). John Constantine, Hellblazer: All His Engines (March 2005), Vertigo
  4. ^ Irvine, Alex (2008), "John Constantine Hellblazer", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The Vertigo Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, pp. 102–111, ISBN 978-0-7566-4122-1, OCLC 213309015
  5. ^ Spencer, Si (w), Ormston, Dean (a). "Losing my Religion, Part 1" Books of Magick: Life During Wartime 13 (August 2005), Vertigo
  6. ^ Spencer, Si (w), Ormston, Dean (a). "Hosanna Heysanna, Part 2 of 3" Books of Magick: Life During Wartime 14 (September 2005), Vertigo
  7. ^ Spencer, Si (w), Ormston, Dean (a). "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, Part 3" Books of Magick: Life During Wartime 15 (December 2005), Vertigo
  8. ^ Geoff Johns, Peter Tomasi (w), Mark Irwin, Oclair Albert, Norm Rapmund et al (i). "Rise and Fall" Brightest Day 23 (June 2011), DC Comics
  9. ^ Hellblazer Special: Bad Blood #1-4 (2000)
  10. ^ The Sandman Universe Presents: Hellblazer (2019)
  11. ^ Hellblazer Rise and Fall #1 - 3 (2020)
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 5, 2014). "Lucy Griffiths & Harold Perrineau Join NBC Pilot 'Constantine'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved March 5, 2014.

External links[edit]