Weeklies

Comic: "Preacher"
Published by: DC Comics
Written by: Garth Ennis
Artist: Steve Dillon

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 12/28/2007

Plot: Jesse Custer, a Texas preacher whose faith is shaken, is accidentally possessed by an entity known as "Genesis", the spiritual by-product of a forbidden coupling between angel and demon. Given the supernatural ability to command the obedience of everyone around him, Jesse, joined by his girlfriend Tulip and an Irish vampire named Cassidy, sets off on a quest to find God and hold him accountable for abandoning his responsibilities. Along the way, they are pursued by all manner of crazy and powerful people who want to stop him or take his power for their own.

Review: This is Garth Ennis's epic Western, his masterpiece, and my favorite comic book of all time. Irreverent, hilarious, fucked up beyond belief, but always providing some kind of pointed social commentary, this series is an absolute joy to read from start to finish. I first got into this series after an unfortunate but financially necessary five year starving-college-student hiatus from comics, and I walked back into my old comic shop and asked the owner for a recommendation of something new. Without hesitation, he handed me the first Preacher trade paperback, and said if I didn't like it, I could come back in and get a full refund. A few days later I returned and bought the second and third books, hungry for more. I caught up as quickly as I could, just in time to enjoy the final "Alamo" story arc as it was being published monthly.

Preacher is Garth Ennis's (himself an Irishman) love letter to America, examining various aspects of American life and values without the hindrance of any rose colored lenses to distort the image. But more than anything, Preacher looks at religion and the bullshit trappings that often surround it. Between the Saint of Killers, Herr Starr, Arseface, Jesus de Sade, Jody, T.C. and others, you'd have a hard time finding a more colorfully fucked up group of supporting characters in comics (or any other medium, for that matter). The humiliating tortures that Ennis inflicts upon Herr Starr in particular are delightfully hilarious, and just when you think he couldn't possibly crap on the poor bastard anymore, that's exactly what he does. It's impossible not to feel bad for him, despite his being a raging asshole. Conversely, at one point Ennis made me hate my favorite character in the book (those who've read it can probably guess who, and why), but he never stopped being my favorite despite the fact that he became such a horrible bastard.

There are some writers who were born to write one particular work, and (perhaps to their frustration), all their other contributions are forever overshadowed by this masterpiece. I definitely had the impression early on in Preacher that I was reading just such a work. It's about as perfect as a story can be in my book, and it's one of the first books that I throw to someone I'm introducing to the world of comics, proving to them that there's more to these funny books than superheroes in tights (it's also a good litmus test for new friends to see how easily offended they are). It's because of this that I chose Preacher as my first comic to spotlight on this site. If you've never checked out comic books before, do yourself a favor and pick up the first Preacher book, "Gone To Texas". If you honestly dislike it, I'll go out on a limb and say that comics, and probably even good stories, just aren't for you.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

The Dork Knight
Dec 31st, 2007, 04:53 AM
Perfect way to start a colummn about comics.
Preacher sums up pretty much how America is seen by Non-Americans who learned about America by movies, literature and comics.
Stealthy Ninja
Dec 31st, 2007, 12:07 PM
Sounds like an excellent read. I think I'll check my local store to see if they have his (doubt it).
Forum Virgin
Dec 31st, 2007, 03:28 PM
Hell, I live in Texas and sometimes I thought Ennis was right on the nose at times with his social commentary about the state... however that isn't too hard to do when we all ride horses to work and beat our wives. :/
The Goddamned Batman
Dec 31st, 2007, 04:38 PM
Rohjin, I can't imagine a comic store that wouldn't carry this, but failing that you should be able to find the first book in the series, "Gone to Texas", pretty easily at most book stores like Barnes & Noble or Borders (though I certainly recommend supporting your local comic shop first).
Dr.Acula MD
Jan 1st, 2008, 03:15 AM
I too highly recommend Preacher and really can't fathom how a place calling themselves a "comic book store" would not carry at least the first Preacher TPB. This is one of those rare comics that's certainly worth buying online if you can't find it in your area.

On that note.... ITS BUGGERIN' TIME!!!
Clean Shaven Nerf Herder
Jan 1st, 2008, 01:49 PM
Can't agree more about the greatness of Preacher. I recommend that if you read and enjoy Preacher, then you should next look at Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis. It's my all time favorite comic series, and it is another that has ended, so can be purchased in one lump sum and read back to back.
The Goddamned Batman
Jan 2nd, 2008, 12:34 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RationalDementia View Post
Can't agree more about the greatness of Preacher. I recommend that if you read and enjoy Preacher, then you should next look at Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis. It's my all time favorite comic series, and it is another that has ended, so can be purchased in one lump sum and read back to back.
The Transmetropolitan spotlight will be coming soon enough, for that too is one of my favorite comics. I'll probably try to intersperse some other books in the mix first though, so I'm not just a one-trick pony spewing rampant praise.
Fookin' up planets!
Jan 2nd, 2008, 02:31 AM
My wife used to own a comic book store, the second a "newbie" would walk in we would slap them with the first Preacher trade paperback and either a) they never came back or, b) They ended up with the whole series... way to upgrade the sale baby!
From the Home of MST3K
Jan 2nd, 2008, 10:03 AM
A religious authority figure who can get blind obedience out of everyone around him? Hmm, I wonder where they got that idea.

I thought that this was really well written, though. There are just not enough well written comics these days (cough cough goddamn Batman cough).
Forum Virgin
Jan 2nd, 2008, 06:22 PM
Ooh, good one, I can remember borrowing each book with a 2 day delay (used for the actual reading) from a colleague at my former job and I just got hooked on the storyline from the go. Great, great writing. Love the entire book devoted to the saint of killers too. This just is one of those great atmospheric graphic novels you'd hate to finish, because you're enjoying the ride so much.
Forum Virgin
Jan 3rd, 2008, 12:28 AM
One of my all time favorite books. Excellent first spotlight.
The Dork Knight
Jan 3rd, 2008, 06:51 PM
Actualy, if someone comes to me and says: "Oh powerful slangidude, I just watched -insertcomicbookmoviedujour- and now I wondered whath unknown treasures thou hast upon thy aisle of infinethe comickwisdom that shalt please mine eye in an adult and refreshing way?"
I usually reply: "Check Stormwatch/Authority by Ellis/Milar, they´re aweseome!"
Then I show them that tights can be funny and adult, then I hook them up with Preacher, by Ennis, to show that comics are more than tights, than I show them Transmetropolitan by Ellis, cause dudes who write tights can write comics without as easily, then I show them the Punisher by Ennis, cause dudes who can write comics without can stay true to their style with tights and then I take´em to a comicshop and show´em either Y: The Last Man, Animal Man, The Invisibles, Doom Patrol or something else they should collect and lend me, because I simply can´t own/afford everything I want to read and because they owe me for bringing´em in to the world of Graphic Novels!
Trust me children, it works!
Stealthy Ninja
Jan 3rd, 2008, 10:55 PM
Quote:
Rohjin, I can't imagine a comic store that wouldn't carry this, but failing that you should be able to find the first book in the series, "Gone to Texas", pretty easily at most book stores like Barnes & Noble or Borders (though I certainly recommend supporting your local comic shop first).
I live in an urban area and the comic store is so small. Comics aren't super popular around where I live. But I certainly love to support a local comic shop. I'll be checking it out Saturday if I can. If not, I will try Barnes and Nobles, thanks!
The Moxie Nerve Food Tonic
Jan 4th, 2008, 10:37 AM
Yeah, Preech rocked. My favorite moment had to be when you finally meet the direct descendant of Jesus.
Forum Virgin
Jan 10th, 2008, 09:42 PM
I just got into Preacher early last year, I only have two of the trades left to get. Amazing, incredible story!

I personally have to thank "The Walking Dead" though for getting me back into Comics and Graphic Novels...should do a piece on those.
The Goddamned Batman
Jan 11th, 2008, 02:12 AM
I've never read The Walking Dead, actually, so I'm ill equipped to do a piece on that one, I'm afraid. I haven't been impressed with Kirkman's writing on Ultimate X-Men so I've been reluctant to check out his other stuff...
Official forum judge
Jan 11th, 2008, 02:24 AM
I got hooked Preacher months ago, and over a short period of time, bought all the graphic novels (honestly, though, I didn't care too much for the one that had the collection of one-shots). I should get around to reading those again. My choice for funniest moments is a tie between Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy singing along to "Flashdance... What a Feeling" and Arseface threatening to kill the gang at gun-point.
Can't touch this
Jan 24th, 2008, 02:29 AM
One of my old friends left "Gone to Texas" at my house when he moved back to whatever rock he crawled from. I loved it. I reserved the whole series of graphics from my local library. I'm going to read it all in one sitting. Twice. At least.
The Goddamned Batman
Jan 24th, 2008, 06:46 PM
Oh, you think you'll read them all in one sitting.

But they're going to read YOU.
Can't touch this
Jan 25th, 2008, 03:18 AM
Well just as long as they don't make me count sand.
Can't touch this
Jan 25th, 2008, 04:03 AM
According to the Wikipedia article, HBO has been pitched, and accepted, a Preacher series very faithful to the books. The whole shebang started in 06, so they just might still be working on it.
The Goddamned Batman
Jan 25th, 2008, 07:06 PM
Yeah, the rumors about the Preacher series have been going pretty much ever since the book ended. I hope it happens, but only if it does remain true to the books (and the latest reports I've heard indicate that the director is a big fan who wants Ennis involved).
4 Eyes, No Brain.
Jun 2nd, 2011, 10:51 AM
Having arrived late to the Preacher party, I can only say wow. A colleague at work lent me the whole collection of TPB's and I read them over the course of a weekend, and I was blown away, am not really into graphic novels, but hot damn this was sometihng special.