Monday, July 06, 2009

The Preacher Special Edition

I don't really get the point of so-called "Mature Age" comics like this. Fair enough, a parent needs to be warned against giving something with this kind of filthy content to little Johnny to read. 80% of comic readers are adults anyway and we don't need to read the F word in every panel to enjoy a comic's dialogue with an adult level of sophistication. Look, it's not that I'm prudish. I can cope with strong language on the screen and in literature without getting offended. What does offend me is when Garth Ennis thinks I will be impressed if he throws in a bunch of really disgusting dialogue and that this will make me think, "Ooh a comic for my age group. How impressive." Well, no, I don't think that and no, I'm not impressed. Look I love the folks at the DC Nation; they give me a lot of reading pleasure but really, Mr. Didio, what is this "Special Edition" branding but a big cash-in on the Watchmen movie? "After Watchmen...What's Next?" Well it certainly isn't The Preacher that's for sure. Alan Moore's Watchmen is a genuine masterpiece of its type. The Preacher is not. What's the connect here? I can only assume anticipated sales. I picked this up because it was cheap ($1.95 AU with a $1.00 US cover price). DC hopes people will read this and the others in the series and then go off and buy the more expensive graphic novels in trade paperback. Well, here's one customer who won't be doing that.

So what's the story all about? The Rev. Jesse Custer is the pastor of a small Texas congregation who one day begins to act very out of character, using dirty words and such . Apparently he has been possessed by some cross-bred Angel/Demon creature called Genesis who has escaped from heaven (heaven is somewhere you want to escape?) after pulling an angel's head off. Now it's coming to earth and wants to wreak a bit of havoc down here too. So the angels call up from the dead some kind of vigilante called "the Saint of Killers" (a bit unimaginative Garth) to sort the whole thing out. I wish these guys who want to follow biblical themes (commendable) would read a bit of actual theology. It's so much more interesting than the pea soup of ideas based around the old threadbare heaven and hell/angels and demons dichotomy offered up here. This is a critically acclaimed series (first published in 1995 in DC's Vertigo inmprint), so maybe it got better as it went along, but this first issue doesn't impress I'm afraid. As for Steve Dillon's art it looks like something from the portfolio of an ambituous young artist that DC would send back with a kindly word to "keep developing your style son..." Again maybe it improved in subsequent issues but I don't think I'll be bothering to find out. Two stars from me.







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3 comments:

Joshua M Walters said...

Glen, thanks for the note that you're back! Interesting post here about The Preacher... doesn't sound like the best comic, eh? You ever read any of Frank Miller's "grown-up" comics? I read one that I found exciting and fun (basically a short, popcorn read).

Anyway, I hope you're well! PEACE

anniemaree said...

Good Day Glenn,
How is the sydney hopping panning out this year?
I'm probably overdoing everything, rather am. Too over committed for my own self to have any nice time to ponder about the world and ever possibly express something out in words written. sigh. But I have made a roster! In an effort to allow myself some me time. I'll see how that goes, a rekindled flame is twinkling at the thought of a long shelved masterpiece of theatre in my mind, but It's foreboding due to the extensive research I wish to undertake for it. In ten years time maybe you'll be invited to most innovative theatrical interpretation of Job ever ;)
----
Most of these comics I've never read, in fact I've read few titles other than the x-men and superman classics.. not really a strayer off the path there. You know far too much in this area to not have a "theology of Comics' class happening ;)

Anyhow, I just bought the first season of the BBC Robin Hood. I'd never seen nor heard of it, but since Merlin has finished for the time being my medieval hero fantasy bone was aching for some more attention. I can't say its brilliant, but after a few episodes I've grown numb to the not so good things.. except the special features where the incredibly monotone writers/producers explain the show.

Off then I go. back to my working :)
Nice to write to you!

Glen O'Brien said...

Josh,

Great to hear from you. I've read Miller's Sin City, his Batman Year One, some of his work on Daredevil, and his All Star Batman and Robin. Only the last did I not enjoy. He wrote and directed The Spirit movie and it was rubbish.

Anniemaree,

Great to hear from you too. How's married life? Would love to see your play some day. On comics, I seem to remember you've also read some of Marvel's bronze age monster titles, Werewolf by Night, Godzilla etc. Did you ever read the New Frontier graphic novel I gave you for a birthday gift? I'd be interested in your comments on it. It's actually been made into an animated movie now. I thought if you liked Merlin you'd probably also like Robin Hood. They seem to have similar production values. Can't say I've ever sat through an episode of either.

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