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What I've Been Reading: Preacher

Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon is a comic series I've wanted to read for a long time now. I was a big fan of their work on Punisher back in at the turn of the century. I liked their Punisher MAX series, but more so, the storyline "Welcome Back, Frank." I think that's about when I wanted to read the Preacher and it took me 16 years, but I finally read the whole thing.

I shouldn't have waited so long to read it. Perhaps if I had read it 15 years ago, I would have liked it more. Also, maybe if I had more of an idea what it was about. Expectations, especially expectations that extend over a long period of time - especially a decade, can really ruin an experience. I had 15 years of wanting to read this story, hearing in many places how good it was, and thinking that it focused a lot more on Heaven and Hell and a secret organization called the Grail led by Herr Starr who was voted as a top villain in some Wizard Magazine list a long time ago.

The basic premise of Preacher is that Jesse Custer, a man with a checkered past whose a preacher, gets possessed by a being that escaped from Heaven called Genesis. Yada, yada, yada. Jesse is traveling to find God with Cassidy, a vampire, and Jesse's girlfriend, Tulip. They're being chased by the organization, The Grail, that has something to do with protecting the bloodline of Jesus. 

Preacher wasn't a bad series. Obviously, a lot of people still hold it in high regard as it was just made into a TV Series over at AMC. The problem I had was that it wasn't what I was expecting. There were large patches of time where the idea of Genesis, God, and the inner-workings of Heaven were barely mentioned. The parts that were mentioned, I very much enjoyed because I like the alterations to the mythology I was raised on. It was the in-between parts that I didn't enjoy as much.

For example, there are several issues in which Jesse Custer becomes the sheriff of a small town and fights a weird, racist little guy who runs a meat factory and his assistant is a dominatrix Nazi. That's great and all, but I just wanted them to get back to Jesse going after God. To me, the 66 issues could have been cut down to less than 50. At times, the side stories were still good, and a nice exploration of culture in America, but it wasn't what I expected.

I still recommend people read Preacher, but don't wait 15 years. Don't read it or anything whose expectations have had more than a decade to fester and grow. It'll never live up to the image you've had in your mind.

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