Fans of the AMC television series Preacher, which is actually pretty good, may think you know Preacher. But us in the comic book world that have actually turned a page or two, know, with a a sly little smirk, that you sure don’t know Preacher, or Tulip, or Arseface.
Jesse: “I dunno…it’s…I’ve got this thing in my mind, like I’ve suddenly remembered all this shit–except its not memories, it’s been shoved in my head from outside…Christ it hurts…it’s telling me…”
Cassidy: “Let me guess: it’s God, and he says women are all whores and he wants you to punish them?’
Tulip: “Cassidy, SHUT UP.” To Jesse. “What’s it telling you?’
Jesse: “Shit you wouldn’t believe–about a guy and a girl who fell in love and set the world on fire, and the kid they had, and something massive behind it all, something no one’s ever supposed to know. But whatever it tells me, whatever it says, it sounds like…it sounds like the word of God.”
Jesse Custer is just a small town Preacher losing his faith, when one day he is visited by a being known as Genisis. When they merge, the ensuing explosion blows apart his church, killing everyone inside. Everyone but Jesse. The explosion is seen by a runaway hit-girl and her benevolent vampire. The girl just happens to be Jesse’s long lost girlfriend he once left behind, Tulip. Together the three start off on an epic road trip, Jesse, Tulip and the vampire Cassidy. With the Police, the FBI and the Saint of Killers on their trail.
Deblanc: “I am Deblanc: first among the Adephi, who sit at the left of Heaven’s throne…Angel of the Lord our God.”
Jesse: “Think I just came. If you’re the one after Genesis, you know what I can do. All I gotta say is tell me the truth…and you will won’t you?’
Jesse: “Then let’s start with this big secret you’re so keen on keepin’. Don’t be shy.”
Deblanc: “They’ll kill me for this. It’s…The Lord our God…He quit.”
Jesse has had enough. Carrying a power that rivals God, he has decided to go on a search for the Lord our God and hold him accountable for leaving his people. But first he will need to face an evil greater than the heavenly host, the police and the FBI. Greater even than the Saint of Killers. A power that does not kneel to the word of God.
His own family. They believe that they own Jesse Custer and they want him back.
Preacher was first published in the late 1990s and quickly earned itself a cult following. It was the kind of book that only Vertigo had the guts to publish. Vertigo, a division of DC Comics, gave its writers and artists the freedom to tell their stories without fear of much in the way of censorship. Nudity and violence filled the books as well as the ideas of social consciousness. In Preacher, we find the question being asked that is too often asked by people of faith and no faith alike. If there is a God, then why is there so much evil and violence in the world. How can God allow people to be beaten and raped and killed? In Preacher we get the answer and it is a simple one. Because God quit. An idea that may not seem so controversial and offensive today, was, twenty years ago, absolutely blasphemous. Which just might have been the point.
Ennis, whose run on Marvel’s The Punisher and DC’s Hitman, is well known for his over the top dark comedic edge. His books are filled with blood and bullets and gore. Preacher is by far and away, his masterpiece.
Fans of the television show need to pick up the comic. You will love it, but it might just ruin the show for you a little. It is just that much better.
Preacher by Garth Ennis with artwork by Steve Dillon is a modern day masterpiece.