Preacher is a comic that changed the pivot of my life in a very substantial way.
Way back in the dark ages, long before Marvel movies and the proliferation of nerd culture, video games, genre TV and comics were considered the realm of the perpetually uncool. Enter a teenage Steven. I had been a fan of comics and video games since I was a kid but had let my interests fall to the wayside as I discovered girls and learned from my peers that it was social poison to know what Final Fantasy was, let along that the numbering had been changed in the transition from Japan to the states.
So while I still played games on the down low, I had let comics go completely, seeing them as a childish medium full of fantasy and an extension of childhood silliness. It wasn’t until on a whim that I wandered into a local comic book shop that I found Preacher. It must have been a slow day because the guy behind the counter was eager to help me pick through the various books that might catch my interest, after explaining to him why I had given up comics initially. Of the books that he described there was one specifically that caught my attention.
It was the story of a Texas preacher who had lost his faith but gained the ability to command people to his will. After learning about the disappearance of God from Heaven he sets out on a cross country journey with his ex-girlfriend Tulip, who is now a hit woman, and his best friend Cassidy, a hard drinking, Irishman that loves a good fight. Oh and who also happens to be a vampire. All the while they are being pursued by The Saint of Killers, a Clint Eastwood-esque cowboy who is about as bad ass as you could ever imagine. The clerk’s description of the book instantly captured my imagination, and after buying up the trade paperback copies, I voraciously devoured the contents over the next few weeks.
The story, while insane and full of off the wall characters and situations, was staggeringly human and relate-able. The themes were mature, the characters all seemed had depth and the writing was excellent. It was like nothing I had ever seen and kick started my love for comics again. From there I would branch out and rekindle my affection for Batman and the Punisher but I would ultimately always return to Preacher and re-read the adventures of those characters.
You never forget your first, and Preacher was just that. Even though I haven’t read those books for years now, I still relish specific beats in those stories or lines of dialogue that are so deeply a part of me that they are a part of who I am in some ways. As an older man, I read Preacher on a different level, relating to the material in a way that a young, hormonal teenager doesn’t understand but the story remains brilliant.
Now we have reached a point where one of my favorite pieces of work is being converted into a TV show. While I’m not ready to make a ruling on it, I will say that the changes that have been made instantly caught me in a way that no other media has. Preacher is so important to me, I found myself instantly reacting when things were not the same as the comics or the way that I envisioned them in my mind. So, maybe I am too close to the material.
However, I will be watching the show in order to see how it develops. Even if it never becomes the show that I want, I will stay content knowing that there is a TV show based around a property that I love very dearly, even if that show doesn’t quite resemble the comics. And like anything else, I can always ignore the version I don’t like and return to reading the excellent source material.
More on Preacher to come!