Reading “Preacher” by Garth Ennis

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Last month, I received an email in my inbox from AMC promoting their new television series Preacher.  As a graphic novels librarian and a major fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead, I knew that the new AMC series was based on a graphic novel series by Garth Ennis.  So, despite it not being my genre of interest, I decided to read the first volume of the series before watching the television series*.

Like when looking forward to seeing upcoming films, I went in completely blind.  I didn’t read any reviews, I didn’t flip through the pages to decide whether to read it.  I didn’t even read a synopsis.  I just jumped right in!

*MILD SPOILER WARNING*

After reading the first few pages, I’m sure I looked something like this: o_O

The premise started off interesting – A preacher, Jesse Custer, in Texas who lost his cool with his flawed and unchanging flock whose hypocrisy made him question everything he believed.  An unknown being, called Genesis, travels towards Earth and enters the body of Custer and in the process, kills Custer’s whole flock.  On the journey ahead, he meets up with an Irish Vampire (Cassidy) and an ex-lover (Tulip) as they search for God who, we learn, has abandoned his post and is somewhere on Earth.

As I said, interesting premise.  Despite being raised Agnostic, even I cringed at some of the blasphemy in this graphic novel.  Add to that, the crude and profane language, and I was immediately sure Mother Theresa wouldn’t have approved.  I personally found it a bit too dark and profane for my personal taste and I was a bit shocked to find not a single character that wasn’t a bit…too disturbing for me.  Having said that, I realize that no human is perfect and that we are all battling inner demons, and maybe that’s one of Ennis’s points.  While I believe that Ennis is clearly a good writer and it making interesting social commentary, I think he relies a little too much on shock value.  My personal grade: B-

However, don’t make your final decision based on my review alone.  As I said, not exactly my genre.  There were numerous positive reviews, including those who were offended by so interested to see what happened next, they simply couldn’t put it down.  Which is definitely the mark of a well-written graphic novel.  It also made Rolling Stone’s 50 best non-superhero graphic novels!

If you don’t mind more than mild spoilers, visit these sites for reviews or more info:

CG Magazine

EE Times

Goodreads

Wikipedia

*You can watch the first season of Preacher here.

If you’re already read it, or you read it after reading this review, respond to this blog post and let me know your thoughts!

-TheMcNabbist

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One thought on “Reading “Preacher” by Garth Ennis

  1. Funny enough, I just recently bought this as a birthday gift for my girlfriend. We’re both big fans of the show, so I figured she might dig it. I read about the first third, and then set it aside for fear of spoilers.
    That being the case, a couple of thoughts:
    First, the graphic novel is, to my eyes, a drab visual experience. The artwork is nothing special, the colorist apparently only had three shades of brown in their palette, and the book is rife with some of the worst traits of ’90s comics style. (More diagonal lines, I say! MOAR!) The TV show, by contrast, is gorgeous.
    Second, after discovering the show, curiosity about the graphic novels led me to poke around the net, and I’ll simply say this: If you found Book One to be profane and overly reliant on shock value, stop reading the series now. This is another aspect in which the TV show is, in my opinion, a more pleasant experience, as they toned down the vulgarity and needless gross-outs.

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