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The Time of the Preacher

The Time of the Preacher

By Jamie S. Rich Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Vertigo Senior Editor Jamie S. Rich discusses Preacher's legacy as a comic book, and how even though the infamous series has long since concluded, there's never been a better time than now to discover it.

“It was the time of the preacher…”

As first lines go, that’s a hard one to forget. That was how it started more than 20 years ago, when comics fans opened the very first issue of PREACHER, the new brainchild of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, who had previously blown minds and torn new orifices with their gutsy run on HELLBLAZER.

PREACHER was altogether something different, though. It was a creation uniquely their own, and unlike anything that had been done in comics either before or since. If you want to talk about the sacred and the profane, you’ll find no better manifestation of it. The story of Jesse Custer, the titular preacher, on a hunt to find God and send Him back to Heaven, was iconoclastic in the truest sense of the word: it challenged readers’ conceptions of religion, America, and good taste. Its philosophical ponderings were deep, its humor dirty, and the action combined the best of Sam Peckinpah westerns with the gore of classic horror.

Why revisit the past like this all of a sudden? Well, because for once it’s a good thing that history is about to repeat. Jesse and his pistol-packing ex-girlfriend Tulip and their Irish vagabond pal Cassidy are hitting the road again, but this time as the main characters of a brand-new television series from AMC and Sony Pictures Television. Produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the guys behind Neighbors and This is the End, as well as many other films, Preacher stars Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The First Avenger) as Jesse. Joining him as Tulip and Cassidy are Ruth Negga (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Joseph Gilgun (Misfits), respectively.

And don’t worry. Your other favorite characters are coming along for the ride. Ian Colletti will be playing Arseface, and Rorschach himself, Jackie Earl Haley, will portray the unforgettable Odin Quincannon.

Preacher premieres on AMC on Sunday May 22 at 10/9c, giving you plenty of time to catch up on the original comic. All six volumes are currently in print and ready for a spot on your bookshelf.

Plus, long-term fans and new addicts alike can pick up the oversize, slipcased ABSOLUTE PREACHER VOL. 1 hardcover in July, collecting the first 26 issues and offering an exclusive bonus section. There’s even a new introduction by Goldberg and Rogen!

Ain’t no two ways about it: the time of the PREACHER is now.