Preacher: A Retrospective

The library where I live is awesome.  Why?

They loan out comic books.  And not just kiddie comics that fit into a certain religious perspective (you hear me, Salem, MO, library?).  They have graphic novels, complete with violence and foul language.

I love me some graphic novels with gratuitous violence and language.  Anyway, I had heard a lot about a series called Preacher, which came out in the mid to late nineties.  I didn’t know anything about it, other than the fact it was called Preacher.  I was looking at the graphic novels one day, and I saw the first volume in the Preacher trade paperbacks, subtitled Gone to Texas.  The first thing that caught my attention about it was the creative team behind it: Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon.  Ennis and Dillon had a good run on Punisher for Marvel a few years back, so I figured Preacher couldn’t be too bad.  I mean, all of the other nerds like it and are wanting a movie made of Preacher.  I picked it up, and was instantly hooked.

The story revolves around Jesse Custer (his name is an anagram of Secret Jesus), who comes from a crappy background and a home life that is beyond dysfunctional.  He was born out of wedlock, then his family was captured and taken to his grandmother’s plantation in Louisiana, where they could be watched at all times and instructed in the ways of God.  His father and mother tried to escape, and as a result, his father was murdered before his eyes.  His mother taught him, while one of his grandmother’s thugs taught him how to fight and about mechanics.  After his friend Billy Bob, a one-eyed, inbred swamp dweller was murdered for seeing another thug screw a chicken, Jesse escaped the plantation, and led a life of pure debauchery.  He met a woman, Tulip O’Hare, fell in love, and was ready to propose to her.  Unfortunately, his Grandma sent her thugs, Jody and T.C. to get him back.  They found him in Arizona, and threatened to kill Tulip if he didn’t go back with them.  He did, and his Grandma forced him into preaching.

He ended up preaching in a hick Texas town, where he wanted nothing more than to expose his congregation’s hypocrisies, and then crawl inside a whiskey bottle.  One night, he goes to the local watering hole and begins announcing the misdeeds of his congregation, and gets beaten unconscious for his troubles.  The next morning, while he is preaching, Jesse was suddenly struck by a supernatural force later identified as Genesis, grafting itself to Jesse’s soul and releasing an explosion of energy that destroyed the church and the town, killing the whole population. By a well-timed coincidence, Tulip had hitched a lift with an Irishman named Cassidy after having just bungled her first job as an assassin. The two discovered Jesse among the rubble of the church and, after some discussion, agreed to help him to safety, although Tulip was still furious with Jesse over his sudden abandonment of her five years before. The death of the townsfolk and the rumored appearance of a stone-faced, dual-pistol wielding cowboy brought the involvement of both local law enforcement and the FBI.

By the way, Cassidy is a vampire.  Just throwin’ that out there.

Genesis gives Jesse an ability known as “The Word of God.”  Basically, he can command people to do anything.

So, after this, Jesse decides he is going to find God, who has quit His job, and kick His ass.  Hilarity ensues.

As someone who was raised as a fundamental Baptist, I should be offended by what could be extreme sacrilege, right?  Nope.  I don’t really care.  I am no longer a religious or spiritual person, and I am now more open minded about things.  Otherwise, the thought of a drunken, debaucherous, cuss-like-a-sailor preacher, hanging out with a vampire, on a quest to kick God’s ass, would be offensive.  But, Jesse wasn’t a real preacher to begin with.  He was just going through the motions.

Preacher is overly violent, drops more f-bombs than Samuel L. Jackson, is filled with drug use and sexual innuendo.  Not to mention a fun story, with well written characters.

In other words,

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