Trade Paperback Tuesday: ‘Preacher: Gone to Texas’

Everyone knows that Wednesday is new comic book day. While picking up your new issues consider looking at some of the trade paperbacks and hard covers of past issues and story lines. But which ones should you choose?

That’s why every Tuesday, The Flickcast will recommend a collection of comics that are just as good, if not better, than the issues you are currently buying. Books that deserve to be read, and bought the next time you walk into your local comic book store.

Preacher is The Godfather of comics. Its brazen, over-bearing, and loud tone leave a distinct aftertaste when you finish reading. The characters are mean and hateful. The locations are gritty and gross. Preacher is the sum total of all the dark corners of America combined into a tale of the problems of religion. It is a series that is not for everyone, and will turn some people off of comics forever. However, if someone asked me what my favorite comic book series of all time was, I would be hard pressed to not choose Preacher.

Preacher was a mature and violent comic book series published by Vertigo in 1995. It lasted sixty-six issues as the main characters blasted and hunted their way through America on their quest to find God. Oh, by the way, their quest was not metaphorical; it was literal.

The preacher in question is Jessie Custer, a washed out minister in the small town of Annville, Texas. During a sermon, Custer is possessed with a supernatural creature named Genesis. Genesis is the offspring of an unholy coupling between a demon and an angel. Half good, half bad, Genesis is an infant with no sense of will, but with enough power to rival God himself. Jesse soon finds that he can command people to follow his will, and do whatever he says. This makes Jesse Custer possibly the most powerful being in all of existence.

All the forces of Heaven are hunting for Jesse including an angel of death called the Saint of all Killers. He is a quick-drawing invincible cowboy who cannot be stopped. It is from this saint that Jesse learns that God has abandoned his throne. The all mighty is afraid of what Genesis can do, and is currently hiding on Earth. Jesse makes it his quest to find God. Along the way, he meets his ex-girlfriend who moonlights as a hit girl named Tulip, and an Irish vampire named Cassidy. The three of them blaze through America, drinking, fighting, and finding God.

Preacher is a big Western wrapped into a story of religion. Jessie and his group fight everyone they meet. Violence and gore drive the artwork as the most featured color is red. The brutality lends a realistic and grounded tone to the series when it easily could have gone off the rails with its supernatural concepts.

Preacher: Gone to Texas is the first volume that collects the Preacher series. This book is not for everyone, but if you give it a chance you will be in for a real treat. Preacher is one of the few series that treats its characters like real people. The characters grow, fight, and betray each other with real consequences and interactions.

Plus, Jessie Custer is one of the greatest comic book characters of all time. He has the honor system of a cowboy from the old west. Don’t hit him, and he won’t you. Also, nobody hurts his girl. It’s through his eyes that this journey happens. The journey of an old cowboy through America coming to terms with his relationship to religion.

Westerns are the classic myths of America. Preacher is the most recent chapter added to that myth.

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