“Oh shit. I have to buy a third copy.”
Those were the words uttered by an anonymous friend (and unnamed contributor to this site) after a recent enjoyable Saturday morning breakfast consisting of fried eggs, bacon, hash browns, buttered toast, multiple cups of black coffee and chit chat and laughs about swear words, school graduation tickets for parents of tweens, Alan Moore’s penchant for perversity, an incredible Euro run by Wales, and, most importantly to this particular paragraph and the dialogue listed directly above it, today’s release of the “Absolute” version of Preacher.
You see, there are Preacher fans out there. Hardcore Preacher fans.
It’s one of the quintessential Vertigo Comics series from when Vertigo Comics was relevant. It’s held up there with high esteem right beside Sandman, early Hellblazer and Doom Patrol.
The series changed the way people thought about how stories were told in comics, for God’s sake. And I don’t use the word “God” glibly. I mean literally.
Today sees the release of Absolute Preacher Vol. #1. And if you don’t know much about it, you need to find out.
Absolute Preacher Vol. #1
Written by: Garth Ennis
Illustrated by: Steve Dillon
Published by: Vertigo Comics
There are people out there that have multiple copies of Preacher in their house: the single issues that ran for 66 months, plus five specials and one four-issue miniseries; the trade paperback collections of the series; the hardcover collections of the series. And now the Absolute collection of the series – and the version I’m gunning for today.
Preacher tells the story of small town Texas preacher, Jesse Custer, who has been merged with a strange force called “Genesis” and given the power of “The Word” – an ability to make people do whatever he utters. Together with gun-toting girlfriend, Tulip O’Hare and the hard-drinking Irish vampire Cassidy, they begin a violent tour of America, in all of its strange, evil, sweet, and perverse offerings. In search of God, of course.
‘Cos Custer’s got a bone to pick with Him.
Absolute Preacher Vol. #1 is an oversized hardcover collection that compiles issues 1-26 of the original series. You can bet that there will be a second and a third volume to follow. But it’s a worthy, if costly, $150 tome to have on your shelf.
Written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Steve Dillon, both of them fan favourites, Preacher was beloved, back in its day and remains one of the most popular (mature) comic book series to have ever been published from any publisher. I mean, in addition to its great main characters, it’s also got people named Arseface, Saint of Killers and Herr Starr in it. Its story is sickening and funny and relevant and true. No wonder people love it.
If you don’t know Preacher by comic book, you’re probably aware of Preacher as the current AMC television series, starring Dominic Cooper as Custer, Ruth Negga as Tulip and Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy. Only a few episodes in, the series has been getting some good reviews. Biff Bam Pop’s own Amanda Blue, a lover of the original comics, has been reviewing the series weekly on this site. You can find her most recent piece right here.
Whether it’s your first, second, or shit, even your third version of the story, gather your dollars together and make the run to your local comic book shop (or bookstore in this case) and pick up Absolute Preacher Vol. #1.
Because somewhere across the landscape of Americana, God needs to answer some questions. And, alongside Jesse Custer, you need to be there to ask them.