Stefani Sloma

Preacher Volume 1: Gone to Texas – I’m a Horrible Person. Or, Desensitized to Violence

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Before I start, I’d like to say that I’m pretty new to comics so when I set out to read Preacher (recommended and lent to me from a friend who reads a lot of comics) I didn’t know anything about Garth Ennis, so I can’t comment on how Preacher fits into his career or the impact on the comics industry. All I can comment on is how it made me feel, what it made me think, and how I reacted to its rather graphic nature.

Preacher, volume 1 Cover

PREACHER Volume 1: Gone to Texas
WRITER: Garth Ennis
ARTIST: Steven Dillon
COLORISTS: Matt Hollingsworth, Pamela Rambo
LETTERER: Clem Robins
PUBLISHER: Vertigo
RELEASE DATE: March 1996

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Before I started Preacher, I was warned about it – it’s essentially about a “good ol’ boy” preacher who decides to hunt for God because he’s quit his post in Heaven after a demon and angel mated and created a powerful new entity called Genesis. So it’s blasphemous, offensive, full of language, and graphic. I was good to go.

Yes, Preacher is graphic. It has excessive amounts of gore and blood and violence. Honestly, after a while, I think the fact that there is just so much of all of that, it desensitized me a little. I was affected by the gore at first, but eventually it barely registered at all. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of stereotypes in Preacher. I could understand if they were used to develop characters (I suppose they were), but it felt kind of lazy. Case in point: southern cops that are racist and homophobic for no reason and to no one in particular.

So we’ve got the “good guys,” right? Jesse, the preacher, his sort of girlfriend, Tulip, and their crazy vampire friend, Cassidy. They’re supposed to be the good guys, but they’re just as horrible as the supposed bad guys. They kill people with barely any thought. It bothered me mostly in the case of Jesse. He’s a preacher! I just felt he should have at least tried to talk to people before he killed them.

On the other hand, I enjoyed the story. There’s a lot of dark humor; I’m probably a horrible person, but one of the funniest parts to me was the guy who tried to kill himself (with a shotgun under the chin) and failed. His face was reconstructed but horribly done and so you cannot understand what he says. His dialogue bubbles have asterisks with a translation at the bottom of the panel. It’s horrible, but I giggled more times than I care to admit.

The religious aspect of the comic was fascinating, and I was absorbed in the story and the way that Ennis created his version of Heaven and angels and God. I think that this aspect of the story is supposed to be the basis for the comics, which is why I’m interested in reading more of it.

I wasn’t 100% sure if I liked Preacher when I finished it, but I went ahead and borrowed volumes two and three so I could find out. If you like excessive violence, aren’t offended by lots of language or blasphemy, or have a dark sense of humor, check this one out.

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