Listen, churches are going to be pissed off this month. And that’s because one of the most gloriously blasphemous comic book series ever created, is hitting the small screen. Preacher is a legendary comic book series. One that is filled with violence, dark humour and at least one incident where someone’s genitals get mutilated by a Rottweiler. It’s a comic book that is in no way whatsoever meant for children, and neither is the upcoming TV adaptation.
Warning, some of the images below contain very naughty words, like the kind that makes strict religions cry
Confused as to what all this means? Relax, sit back and put your feet up. I’m about to clue you in on the glorious world of Preacher.
So who’s responsible for it?
There’s a lot of great pairings that have come out of the United Kingdom. Morecambe and Wise. The two Ronnie. A bit of Fry and Laurie. But it’s Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon who are the masterminds behind Preacher. Writer and artist respectively, the two began work on Preacher from 1995 through until 2000. In total, there’re 66 issues, one prequel issue and five other specials that focus on the rest of the Preacher cast.
What’s it all about?
Meet Jesse Custer. Small town preacher who happens to find his soul bonded with a supernatural entity known only as Genesis. The result of a union between an angel and a demon, Genesis has the power to rival that of God himself. Which kind of makes Custer one of the most dangerous individuals on the planet, as Genesis allows him to command anyone who hears his voice.
Custer sees this as a sign to set off on a journey and literally find the Almighty, and to hold him accountable for the fact that the world today is a very crappy place. Also, God has abandoned Heaven, as part of some larger scheme that Custer wants answers for.
Sounds sort of sacrilegious
Oh man, you have no idea. Preacher is very much a brutal deconstruction on the idea of organised religion. It pulls no punches, and pretty much paints devout and zealot followers of faith as the prime villains of the series. The irony here however, is that Custer himself embodies many of the virtues that various religions today claim to teach. He just does so in a manner that can’t be caged or defined under one church of thought as he seeks to do right in a world that has gone very wrong.
Wait, a small town preacher is going to track down the almighty?
Dude, you do not f*** with Jesse Custer. He may be a preacher in some backwater American town in the deep south, but Custer could probably kick Batman’s ass in a fistfight. Custer is brutally efficient as a brawler, having been trained by the very same person who happened to murder his father in front of him when he was just a wee lad.
Whoah, heavy stuff
I’m not going to spoil his full origin story for you. But let me just say, it is proper f****ed up. The kicker here, is that Custer hardly ever uses the power of the Word that his bonding with Genesis gave him. He’s the kind of man who prefers to let his fists do the talking for him when he has to get rough. And those skills came from a childhood of proper misery that the comics addressed in the early issues.
What about his pals then?
He’s got two great ones that join him for his quest. There’s Tulip O’Hare, his former girlfriend and sometime mob assassin who has a few bones to pick with Custer. And Irish vampire Cassidy, who quickly becomes best friends with Custer along the way.
An actual vampire?
Oh yeah, proper vampire. But not in the fancy way. Crucifixes, garlic and silver do buggerall to Cassidy, as he can regenerate from almost any wound. Including being decapitated at one point. The only proper way to kill him is with sunlight, as ol’ Cassidy hasn’t seen a proper sunrise in over a century.
Right, so anyone standing in the way of the Preacher?
Oh man, so many great villains. Preacher is one twisted story, with even more twisted villains to contend with. Small town sheriff Root with his massively racist worldview, the patron saint of killers himself, at least one big city serial killer, Odin Quincannon who runs a meat packing plant that also houses the most disturbing fetish you’ve ever seen and the most lethal German around since Adolf Hitler was in charge, Herr Starr.
How bad can one German be?
Imagine a man, driven by a need to impose order on the world and who will stop at nothing to see chaos extinguished. And then couple that with German efficiency. Herr Starr is the soldier who bring’s a gun to a sparring session, who’ll kill hundreds of people to disguise the fact that he was only after one individual. Herr Starr is privy to the biggest secrets that mankind has kept hidden, commander of a vast army that serves the global conspiracy known as the Grail.
Herr Starr is the puppet master behind the world, who is controlled by only one man: The Allfather, a gluttonous super-pope who dreams of mass murder and pie, the leader of an organisation that will see humanity fall before an apocalypse that will pave the way for a new messiah to reshape the world according to their vision.
Let’s just say that Herr Starr is one German that you don’t want to mess with.
And this Saint of Killers?
Oh yeah, also a very cool character. Basically, behind every violent crime, there’s a patron saint of killers who serves as the angel of death. Dressed as an old cowboy from the 1800s, the Saint is an unstoppable force of nature. He wields revolvers that were forged from the sword of the Angel of Death himself. Weapons which will always find their mark, cannot be stopped and will guarantee a fatal hit on whatever they hit. Not even a nuclear bomb can stop the Saint, as he continues on his dark path and purpose in life, wishing for a day when he can finally tip his hat and rest.
The Saint has a history, that is tied to the Almighty and is one of the most closely guarded secrets of Heaven itself. And when the Saint is let loose from his slumber, hell itself follows behind him. And he’s gunning for Custer when Preacher begins.
So what’s the deal with the TV series then?
The AMC Network is taking a big chance with Preacher, but they’re hoping that it’ll pay off for them in much the same way that The Walking Dead did. People have been trying to adapt Preacher for years now, with the closest such stab at the big screen itself coming when James Marsden was cast as Custer in 2002. Nothing happened there however, and the film rights eventually lapsed.
And then in 2013, a miracle happened. Thanks to the unlikeliest of pairings, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.
Wait, the guys behind Pineapple Express and This Is The End?
Yup! Rogen and Goldberg began working on a Preacher TV series in 2013, developing a pilot that was eventually greenlit for a ten-episode series that will begin airing later this month.
So who’s in it?
Dominic Cooper, who you might recognise as Howard Stark from the Marvel movies, is playing Jesse Custer, while Joseph Gilgun and Ruth Negga will play Cassidy and Tulip O’Hare respectively. Ian Colletti will play Arseface.
That fella’s got a face like an arse.
Last Updated: May 12, 2016