Let’s all go to Texas
…It was the time of the preacher, in the year of ’01…
Once a year our little local comic book store, STRANGE ADVENTURES, has an anniversary sale in which they offer all graphic novels at a fair discount. Up until a few years ago, that was about the only time of the year that I could afford to buy a graphic novel. I picked up this graphic album with a picture of this crazy trinity on the cover, a preacher, a scruffy looking dude, and a cute blonde. Preacher: Gone To Texas.
“Careful,” the clerk warned me.
“What, am I breaking something?” I asked.
“Garth Ennis is seriously addictive,” He warned me. “You buy the one, you’ll be back for the rest.”
How could I resist a dare like that. I plopped my money down and tucked the novel into my war-bag and headed on home. Two weeks later, I rolled up my spare change and cashed in a few empty beer bottles and started investing every spare cent in stomping through the whole series.
Garth Ennis, in creating Jesse Custer, (the Preacher), has made a small Texas-sized landmark in comic history. Creating a character with such power and such human weaknesses was an amazing trick. Jesse Custer doesn’t take any crap from anyone. He says the things you wish you could say. He’s a little James Dean, a little John Wayne, with a strong streak of Eastwood shaken into the batch. He mouths off to God, for God’s sake. Jesse Custer is a cowboy and a walking kind of dream and a handful of hope and grit poured into a leaky rusted bucket.
And the story? It reaches from the dirt of Texas straight on up to the gates of Heaven, with a side-trip through Hell and the old Wild West. It’s a yarn of epic proportions and Garth Ennis weaves it like the king of spiders.
After reading Preacher, it showed me that heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Not all heroes have that bold Batman lantern jaw, that rack of broad shoulders and a bullet-proof chest. Heroes don’t always do the right thing, but they sure as shooting try to. Heroes can be surprisingly human.
Since then I have made it a point to pick up anything written by Garth Ennis. The man’s a storyteller, writing big bold bastards who stand King Kong tall and grin magnificently into their own personal sunrise. Let me tell you this for certain sure, Garth Ennis is seriously goddamned addictive and I’m not particularly looking for a cure.
Yours in storytelling,