I just finished reading Garth Ennis’ graphic novel series, Preacher, and I must say that it is the most badass awesome thing I’ve ever read. For those of you who don’t know, the comic tells the story of a Texan preacher named Jesse Custer who gets possessed by an entity known as Genesis, a being who is potentially superior to even God in power. He then sets off with his girlfriend, Tulip, and his vampire best-friend, Cassidy, to find out what the deal with Genesis is and to confront God while numerous threats try to impede their progress. Needless to say, it’s epic, and upon completion my first thought was that HBO should turn this into a show. It would be perfect for them. After a cursory search on Wikipedia, I discovered that HBO did have a Preacher show in the works, but the material was apparently even too hardcore for them and they pussied out. Even though I’m fairly certain there is no HBO executive amoungst my readership, I shall nonetheless explain why they should give it another go.
Virtually every character in Preacher has a story to tell. Every porn star on the run, grubby hobo, and castrated mobster gets a chance to have their say, and they’re all awesome in their own way. And that’s not saying anything about the main cast who are all ridiculously badass and entertaining. You’ve got the ever-noble and skilled hand-to-hand combatant Jesse who can make anybody do whatever he says courtesy of Genesis. Cassidy, the hard-drinking, incredibly strong, and nigh invincible Irish vampire who’s quick with a joke and even quicker with a punch if you try to step on his best mate. Then there’s Tulip who’s easily the most badass women to ever grace the pages of a comic book with her deadly sharpshooting skills, sexiness, and just a pinch of crazy (especially when it comes to Jesse). Deadliest of them all is the aptly named Saint of Killers who you don’t want to be within 100 miles of if you value your life. Herr Starr is a strange combination of ridiculous and badass with his calculating and relentless approach to his purpose and his problems while also making time for disturbing sexual fetishes. And perhaps the greatest of them all is Arseface who maintains a positive outlook on life despite his hideous appearance which makes most everyone barf when they see him. Forget all this Edward vs. Jacob bullshit and instead imagine a Jesse vs. Cassidy vs. Saint vs. Starr vs. Tulip vs. Arseface battle as fans debate who is the more awesome. Even I can’t decide who’d win in that matchup. Wait, yes I can. HBO would as they’d reap in the ratings while everybody fell in love with the characters on the show and would be quoting them constantly, which brings me to…
Any show on HBO worth its salt has top-notch writing and when comes to Preacher, it’s really not all that hard to accomplish. There’s so much badass, poignant, and hilarious dialogue that you could pretty much just copy paste everything and call it a day. But don’t take my word for it. Take a look for yourself at some of the best quotes taken out of context:
Saint of Killers: There ain’t worse than me in all of Hell. Go an’ look.
Herr Starr: Ah… I have an erection.
Jesse: You turn your back on your friend, you may as well go ahead an’ join the Asshole Squad,’cause you just became one more reason why the damn world’s gone to Hell.
Cassidy: Tell me, Doctor Cassidy: How would you treat a large caliber gunshot wound resulting in massive tissue and blood loss? “Well, I would obviously recommend drinking a couple of morons worth of fresh blood and letting the wound heal up by itself.”
Tulip: Do you remember when we first met, T.C.? Do you remember what you called me? Well this cooze does have a name. It’s Tulip.
And that is just a very, very small sample of some of the many great things they say. When you add it all together, it not only makes for what could be one of the most quotable shows on the planet, but also for a great story that makes for…
An American Epic
There are very few works which can say that. The only other ones I can think of are The Godfather (Parts I and II. Part III can suck it) and Gone with the Wind. And just like both of those, Preacher deserves a live-action adaptation which I’m certain will receive similar levels of critical praise and popularity. Perhaps even more so since Ennis’ opus works on a scale that hasn’t been seen since Milton wrote Paradise Lost. It has everything you were taught constitutes an epic in high school: supernatural beings, larger-than-life heroes, a massive setting, and rather than make use of archaic language it inverts it with interesting effects (think of Cassidy’s Irish dialect, Arseface’s mumbling, or Jesse’s down-home southern accent). These are just the surface features however. The real meat of it and the major theme that runs across the whole series is America and what it means to be American. Every story that’s told and most every character that’s met is a reflection of this theme and what you see might not always be pretty (more often than not it’s downright hideous), but it speaks volumes on what America is, was, and could be. Now I may be Canadian, but I can still appreciate what Ennis has done because he presents it in such an entertaining and gripping package that is bound to attract audiences. It doesn’t hurt that he’s liberally laced the story with ample amounts of…
A little bit of controversy can go a long way to improving a show’s popularity, and boy does Preacher have controversy written all over it. First and foremost, the primary antagonist is God so all those religious types are bound to be offended. As if that wasn’t enough, religion and those who serve it are in general portrayed as farcical and/or sinister. I’m pretty sure the Pope will be legally obligated to condemn this which will spark protests from religious groups, and the popularity of the show will consequently skyrocket. They also have a Christian conspiracy similar to what is seen in The Da Vinci Code (except for Preacher came first and has a rather hilarious twist) which led to condemnation from numerous church organizations and we all know how well that worked out for Dan Brown. And that’s just the religious dimensions of the controversy. I haven’t even mentioned all the many, many other aspects people could easily take offense to. I am of course speaking of all the…
Sex, Drugs, and Violence
No show on HBO would be complete without at least one these three things and Preacher has you more than covered in all of these areas. From the drug angle you have Cassidy who’s been addicted for the better part of his century-long vampiric career and boy does he get into some deep shit because of it. Scarcely a page goes by where somebody isn’t taking a drag on a cigarette or a swig of whiskey. Healthy habits is not an issue for these people is what I’m trying to say, but they make drinking and smoking look cool which is 50% of the reason why people watch Mad Men. The other 50% is fucking, and don’t you worry HBO, Preacher offers plenty of opportunities to show tits and ass like you oh-so-love to do. For starters, Jesse and Tulip are perhaps the hottest couple in comic book history and they are constantly fucking. It’s pretty much masturbation material for anybody regardless of gender or sexual orientation and they’re goddamn cartoons. Just imagine how it would be with two attractive actors. Yeah, that’s right. You are now currently touching yourselves. Don’t even deny it. On top of that you have the weird shit Herr Starr likes to do with prostitutes, and those are just the major characters. And then there’s the violence. I think 90% of the reason why Garth Ennis wrote Preacher was to have people die in the most graphically extreme ways possible. Faces get ripped off, people are burned alive, large chunks of bodies get blown away, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I can’t think of a single character who dies a natural death. Come on HBO. I’ve seen Rome. You guys love this sort of thing. Preacher could be like True Blood, Deadwood, and Game of Thrones all rolled into one. There is no reason why you shouldn’t make this into a show, so grow a backbone, get off your asses, and start making this!