Every now and then you come across a story that you can’t believe exists. Preacher is one of those stories.
Back in the late 90s the town I lived in had one bookstore, and that bookstore was closed down shortly after I started frequenting it. So it goes, the Christian bookshop is still going strong. That just gives you a background on my hometown and how backwards it is. Once I reached a certain age my babysitter would allow me to walk to the store and there my mom would pick me up. The people running the shop would let me sit in the back and read the comic books to my heart’s content. Short lived as this was, I had to get my comic book fix from other sources. I got a subscription to Wizard, and through it I learned about most of my comic history, writers, artists and jokes. When I go off on a tangent about why the new Spider-Man is inappropriate to the character, or how the Transformer movies are a stain in the collective of nerdom, you can thank my Wizard subscription.
Preacher was always on the outskirts of my conscious, I knew it existed, but I knew nothing about it. I knew it was supposed to be fantastic, but I didn’t know anything more than that. If it wasn’t in the traditional sense of Batman, or Spider-Man, I didn’t know too much about it.
My cousin was recently getting ready to give away all of his books to the library, I said forget about other people, let me look through those books. He had a treasure trove of graphic novels, and amongst them was the Preacher series. I took all of the graphic novels he had and a few regular ones as well.
Now then, I started reading in chronological order, I don’t know why, but book 4 in the series is called “Ancient History” and sets up the backstory for some of the characters of the first 3 books. Oddly enough the characters it sets up back stories for are rarely seen, and maybe that’s why he took the time out to give them the back story, he liked the characters even if (so far) they haven’t played a role in the story he was telling.
The story he is telling so far involves a plot to replace an inbred descendent of Jesus with the titular preacher, who can command people to do whatever he says with the power of his Voice, granted when the offspring of an Angel and a Demon joined with his body. There are also vampires and a Saint of Killers who is a wildwest gun fighter who can’t be killed. The ghost of John Wayne is in there too. Technically speaking, it’s not the ghost of John Wayne, since it started appearing before Wayne died, but it is at least the spirit of him.
I said the story had vampires in it. Anyone who knows me even a little knows that I am freaked out by vampires, the thought of them, the idea of them. I used to sleep with a blanket wrapped around my neck, as if that would stop fangs. I couldn’t watch the old Halloween Pepsi commercials that had Dracula in them. I had to walk out of 30 Days of Night within five minutes, which was before any vampires even showed up. I had to rent a new version of Elder Scrolls Oblivion when my character caught Vampirism, because my version had a bug that prevented me from curing it.
For all that irrational fear I’m still reading Preacher, and that should be endorsement enough.