Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Preacher by Garth Ennis

'Preacher is more fun than going to the movies.' -Kevin Smith

Preacher is a comic book. It is a form of storytelling that is looked down upon by some critics, but there is more substance in this graphic novel than in many award winning 'literary' novels. The sum of its parts add up to a single story; a story that can and does stand amongst the very best speculative fiction has to offer. This isn't you father's Archie Comics.

Garth Ennis was the writer, and his work on Preacher led to cult popularity among comics fandom. Together with interior artist Steve Dillon and cover artist Glenn Fabry, he weaves the tale of Jesse Custer, a reluctant Preacher who is possessed with a mindless entity named Genesis that has all the power of God.

The story begins with Jesse meeting up in Texas with an old fling Tulip, a onetime hitwoman, and Cassidy, an alcoholic Irish Vampire. They're being chased by the Saint of Killers, loosed upon them by Angels wanting the power of Genesis returned to them. To add to this problem, Jese is also being chased by his conniving Grandmother and her hardhearted redneck flunkies. They get into a slew of unlikely adventures featuring vampire cults, inbreeding, a man with a face that looks like an arse, and an international organization that holds the secret that Jesus Christ had children. (A decade or so before this DaVinci Code nonsense.)

Their travels are also the story of love and friendship, and trying to be a man in a world gone to shit. I often joke with some friends that all you need to know about being a man, you can learn from John Wayne movies. Ennis takes this one step farther and writes a downright insane Western-Horror-Thriller-Romance-Friendship tale that can reasonably act as a 'How To' of manhood. Preacher is meaningful to me, and can touch just about anyone that gives it a chance.

We can only hope that Garth Ennis, like Neil Gaiman before him, makes the trek from writing the best in comics to writing some of the best in speculative fiction novels.

Preacher is available in nine trade paperback collections.

Preacher Vol 1: Gone To Texas - 9/10
Preacher Vol 2: Until The End of The World - 9/10

Preacher Vol 3: Proud Americans - 9/10
Preacher Vol 4: Ancient History - 8/10
Preacher Vol 5: Dixie Fried - 8/10
Preacher Vol 6: War in the Sun - 8/10

Preacher Vol 7: Salvation - 8.5/10
Preacher Vol 8: All Hell's A-Coming 9/10
Preacher Vol 9: Alamo 9/10

Collector's Notes:

Preacher was originally published as a comic book series spanning 66 issues. A complete price guide for the individual issues can be found here. Each individual comic is the true first edition, and so these issues are where the value is.

Each trade paperback can be purchased on Amazon for less than cover price. Such trade paperbacks usually will not go up in value much, unless they are signed by one of the creators. A complete set signed by all three of the creators is probably worth 300-400 dollars.

The complete story in new trade paperback format will cost you just over 100 dollars on Amazon, and while it's no great investment for collectability, it's the cheapest way in which to read this revolutionary story.

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