THE BAL­LAD OF JESSE CUSTER

A brief his­tory of Preacher

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Preacher -

Writer Garth En­nis and artist Steve Dil­lon’s

Preacher made its de­but in April 1995. Pub­lished by the Ver­tigo im­print of DC Comics, it fol­lowed the tra­di­tion set forth by Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, Neil Gaiman’s Sand­man and Jamie De­lano’s

Hell­blazer. Os­ten­si­bly about a small- town Texas holy man fused to Gen­e­sis, the un­holy off­spring of a de­mon and an an­gel, En­nis grew his tale to en­com­pass and satirise all the ab­sur­di­ties of Amer­i­can life as only a Bri­tish writer can.

In the 65 is­sues that fol­lowed ( in ad­di­tion to five

Preacher one- shot spe­cials and a four- is­sue limited se­ries), Jesse found him­self part­nered with the hard- par­ty­ing Ir­ish vam­pire Proin­sias Cas­sidy and his on- again- off- again girl­friend Tulip O’Hare. To­gether, the three took to the road in search of God, who left his Heav­enly flock when Gen­e­sis was sired. Along the way, with Jesse’s pow­ers even­tu­ally en­abling him to force oth­ers to do his will, they en­coun­tered all man­ner of meta­phys­i­cal men­ace, in­clud­ing the bounty hunter Saint of Killers and the perverted for­mer anti- ter­ror op­er­a­tive Herr Starr.

The most mem­o­rable of all En­nis and Dil­lon’s cre­ations was ar­guably Ar­se­face. The son of an abu­sive fa­ther, this hap­less lad earned his moniker af­ter he tried to kill him­self ( in­spired by his hero Kurt Cobain) but suc­ceeded only in shoot­ing most of his face off. His speech in­com­pre­hen­si­ble, he none­the­less be­came a singing sensation. Prov­ing that in En­nis’s Amer­ica, any­thing is pos­si­ble.

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