Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Preacher, Gone To Texas...

At long last, I’ve started in on reading the highly regarded and critically acclaimed Preacher series of graphic novels written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Steve Dillion. I’m a huge fan of Ennis' work on Punisher, and have been meaning to read the Preacher novels for a while, just haven’t got to it.

Well, I have the first one of nine books here, and picked it off the shelf the other night. Couple hours later, I finished it, then proceeded to order the other 8 books from Amazon. Should be here soon, I hope. Have to see where this story goes.

It is a completely over the top mix of violence, humor, questions of faith, western themes, vampires, utter crudeness, biblical references, and anything else you can think of. Anywhere else, this kind of stuff wouldn’t work, but here it all mixes together in some weird kind of sense. I was laughing out loud at some of the dialogue one minute, then pondering a thought provoking moment the next.

It all revolves around Reverend Jesse Custer and his trip to find God. And that is to say, literally find Him and talk to Him. Accidentally bonded to a supernatural force called Genesis, Jesse finds himself with power that might just rival God. However, after finding out God left the realm of Heaven upon the birth of the Genesis entity, Jesse sets out to find Him and take Him to task for the way things are. (“How the hell can God quit?!” Jesse asks). With a strong moral conviction, Jesse is joined in his quest by his gun toting ex-girlfriend Tulip and an Irish vampire, Cassidy, who is a riot of a character. Along the way, a host of other characters show up, including a gunslinger straight out of the wild west called the Saint of Killers, appearances from a ghostly John Wayne, and a kid with revenge on the mind called Arseface. I tell ya, it’s a trip.

Needless to say, if you are the type that is easily offended, steer way clear of this book. However, those that can appreciate this kind of trip with an open mind will enjoy a kick ass ride through a crisis of faith. It’s a helluva premise for a story, and interesting questions are raised, along with side splittingly funny and profane dialogue. Then in the middle of this mayhem, there’s this Jesse character with a moral compass who refuses to abuse his newfound power. I love works (movies, books, music, etc) that can entertain you, make you laugh, and make you think all at the same time. Can’t wait to read the rest of the books and see just how this story could end.

If you're interested, you can download the first issue in PDF form here.

Edit: This is a fictional story (the Preacher books, that is) that should not be taken literally by anyone. It should not be read by anyone under 18 and without a sense of humor. This should not be considered as a promotion or recommendation of the books as I have only read one and cannot comment on the scope of the story...yet. Stay tuned for that.

Comments on "Preacher, Gone To Texas..."


Blogger The Original LRU said ... (March 14, 2007 4:18 PM) : 

Interesting that they would put an entire issue of the story on the net for free. I suppose they want to hook new readers for the rest. Makes sense. :-)

So I downloaded it and read it, and it is an interesting tale. It has interesting characters and an entertaining presentation.

I don't think I got the whole thing, as you mentioned some things in the story that were not in the 43 pages available in the PDF, so I can only comment on the PDF.

The whole Genesis thing, and the details of this comic's version of heaven itself are kinda vague, but what is revealed is rather disturbing, and perhaps blasphemous.

From the graphics, it appears to suggest that there was some sexual union between an angel and a demon, and the offspring was this odd, half-conscious Genesis that yearned to unite with a soul.

The conversations that occur in this heaven seem to imply some kind of dark secret, and some kind of containment strategy. Most likely trying to cover up this illicit sexual union.

And then later in the story, it is implied that this Genesis speaks with the authority of God.

So we're left with some conflicting parts to this story, which is understandable if this is supposed to be a mystery of sorts.

I know this is a fictional story, so the heaven in this comic is not the real heaven, nor perhaps is the author trying to be real about heaven. But it is a topic that demands comparison with the Bible, and if you know me, such comparisons are probably expected. :-)

First, the premise of the story, from the above interpretation of the graphics, is impossible. There is no sex between spirits, to my understanding, as the Bible records that Jesus says there is no marriage in heaven, and when you think about it, male and female traits are a part of the physical world, and do not need to be in the spiritual world. (On marriage in heaven... I seem to recall there is no male or female either, but can't find the reference)

The Bible does hint about spirits or something non-human having sex with humans, I think in the book of Genesis, but this is not spirit-spirit sex.

Secondly, the story has the effect of bringing God down to our level, and implying there could be scandals in heaven that God would want to cover up instead of eliminating from His presence like He has in the past. (i.e. casting Satan and his followers out of heaven)

This is what I would consider the blasphemous part of the story, implying that God makes mistakes.

Thirdly, the Genesis character in the story is given God-like attributes and powers by the authors. If taken seriously, this implies that God is the offspring of an angel and a demon, which is blasphemous. If taken with a grain of salt, then this Genesis has a more sinister meaning, and raises the question of why this being was in heaven to begin with.

The drawings in the part of the comic where the preacher gets possessed by the Genesis being show a disturbing image, which if taken at face value, imply something evil about the being: red skin, wings, and hoofed feet appear behind the preacher.

I use the word "possessed" because afterward, the preacher hears voices talking to him, and his eyes change colour when he speaks to the police, which implies to me that he is not in direct control of this being, but rather the being has control of him.

Considering that the Bible says that Satan can masquerade as an angel of light, this gives the entire story a rather sinister quality to me. Even if the authors had some outside intention, and try to write the story so that in the end this Genesis being is supposedly God, when viewed in the light of the Bible, who is really writing this story? What purpose does it serve to paint God in such a poor light?

Of course, I've only read the free 43 pages off the net, so there may be some redeeming qualities in the story by the end, but it looks shady so far. :-)

Anyway, I'm no preacher, these are just my reactions to the story, and everyone must do their own research and come to their own conclusions. From an artistic point of view, it is an interesting story, but there's more than just the artistic side.


Blogger Eaglewing said ... (March 14, 2007 5:35 PM) : 

Well, I knew this post would get a response. And yes, the first 43 pages are not the best way to judge it. Your points are quite interesting though, pointing out the reality of it all. Maybe I'll throw your comment up as the post instead. :)

It's a fictional story thats meant to be controversial. Thats why I said don't read it if you're offended easily.

However, one of the reasons I want to read it to the end and see how it turns out is because there is one character who (at least in the first book I've read) hasn't shown up yet, and that character is God. I want to see how the author explains that and what the end result of that is and the ultimate purpose of the story is.

Again, its a fictional story that isn't going to rearrange my personal faith in one shape or another. As a 'What If' story, its intriguing on the basis of: If you were capable and had the power, would you not want to talk to God? Find Him and ask "What's going on? What happened? Because nothing in this world makes sense." There are a lot of people who would love to ask those kind of questions and get a direct response. On the other side, if one were to have that kind of power, what would you do with it? Would you be ethical and moral in the use of it? Would you be moral like the Jesse character, or blow up the world?

I'm not defending or promoting the story one way or the other as I haven't read the whole series yet. After that, I can probably say more about it. From what I've read though, I want to know the end of it and know what everyone's been talking about for years.


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