Preacher (comics)

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A very bunched up crowd scene
The main and supporting cast of Preacher on the cover to issue #56 by Glenn Fabry.
Publication information
PublisherVertigo imprint of DC Comics
GenreSatire, supernatural, action
Publication date1995–2000
No. of issues66 (plus 5 specials and a 4-issue miniseries)
Main character(s)
Creative team
Created byGarth Ennis
Steve Dillon
Written byGarth Ennis
Artist(s)Steve Dillon
Glenn Fabry
Carlos Ezquerra
Letterer(s)Clem Robins
Colorist(s)Matt Hollingsworth
Pamela Rambo

Preacher is an American comic book series published from 1995 to 2000 by Vertigo, an imprint of DC Comics. The series was created by writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon, with painted covers by Glenn Fabry.

The series consists of 75 issues in total – 66 regular, monthly issues, five one-shot specials, and a four-issue Preacher: Saint of Killers limited series. The final monthly issue, number 66, was published in October 2000, with an epilogue published in Ennis' subsequent series The Boys in February 2009. The entire run has been collected in four series of collected editions: an original nine volume run of trade paperbacks, a second run of six trade paperbacks/hardcovers, three extra oversized "Absolute Preacher" volumes, and two oversized omnibus volumes.

A television series adaptation, Preacher, aired for 43 episodes over four seasons on AMC, from 2015 to 2019.


Preacher tells the story of Jesse Custer, a preacher in the small Texas town of Annville. Custer is accidentally possessed by the supernatural creature named Genesis, the infant of the unauthorized, unnatural coupling of an angel and a demon. The incident flattens Custer's church and kills his entire congregation.

Genesis has no sense of individual will, but since it is composed of both pure goodness and pure evil, its power might rival that of God Himself, making Jesse Custer, bonded to Genesis, potentially the most powerful being in the universe.

Driven by a strong sense of right and wrong, Custer journeys across the United States attempting to literally find God, who abandoned Heaven the moment Genesis was born. He also begins to discover the truth about his new powers, allowing him, when he wills it, to command the obedience of those who hear and comprehend his words. He is joined by old girlfriend Tulip O'Hare, as well as a hard-drinking Irish vampire named Cassidy.

During the course of their journeys, the three encounter enemies and obstacles both sacred and profane, including The Saint of Killers, an invincible, quick-drawing, perfect-aiming, come-lately Angel of Death answering only to "He Who Sits On The Throne"; a disfigured suicide attempt survivor turned rock-star named Arseface; a serial-killer called the 'Reaver-Cleaver'; The Grail, a secret organization controlling the governments of the world and protecting the bloodline of Jesus; Herr Starr, primary enforcer for The Grail, a megalomaniac with a penchant for prostitutes, who wishes to use Custer for his own ends; several fallen angels; and Jesse's own redneck family — particularly his nasty Cajun grandmother, her mighty bodyguard Jody, and the Zoophilic T.C.


Collected editions[edit]

Preacher trade paperbacks
Title ISBN Release date Collected material
Preacher: Gone to Texas 978-1563892615 March 1, 1996 Preacher #1–7, 4-page foreword by Joe R. Lansdale
Preacher: Until the End of the World 978-1563893124 January 1, 1997 Preacher #8–17, 3-page introduction by Kevin Smith
Preacher: Proud Americans 978-1563893278 October 1, 1997 Preacher #18–26, 4-page introduction by Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller)
Preacher: Ancient History 978-1563894053 March 1, 1998 Preacher Special: Saint of Killers #1–4, Preacher Special: The Story of You-Know-Who, and Preacher Special: The Good Old Boys, 2-page introduction by Garth Ennis
Preacher: Dixie Fried 978-1563894282 September 1, 1998 Preacher #27–33 and Preacher Special: Cassidy – Blood and Whiskey, no extras
Preacher: War in the Sun 978-1563894909 March 1, 1999 Preacher #34–40 and Preacher Special: One Man's War, 1-page recap, 2-page character introductions
Preacher: Salvation 978-1-563895197 September 1, 1999 Preacher #41–50, no extras
Preacher: All Hell's A-Coming 978-1563896170 June 1, 2000 Preacher #51–58 and Preacher Special: Tall in the Saddle, 2-page character introductions, 2-page recap
Preacher: Alamo 978-1563897153 May 1, 2001 Preacher #59–66, 2-page character introductions, 2-page recap
Re-released trade paperbacks and hardcovers
Title Format ISBN Release date Collected material
Preacher: Book One Hardcover 978-1401222796 July 21, 2009 Preacher #1–12
TPB 978-1401240455 June 18, 2013
Preacher: Book Two Hardcover 978-1401225797 February 16, 2010 Preacher #13–26
TPB 978-1401242558 October 1, 2013
Preacher: Book Three Hardcover 978-1401230166 December 21, 2010 Preacher #27–33, Preacher Special: Saint of Killers #1–4, and Preacher Special: Cassidy – Blood and Whiskey
TPB 978-1401245016 January 28, 2014
Preacher: Book Four Hardcover 978-1401230937 June 14, 2011 Preacher #34–40, Preacher Special: The Story of You-Know-Who, Preacher Special: The Good Old Boys, and Preacher Special: One Man's War
TPB 978-1401230944 June 24, 2014
Preacher: Book Five Hardcover 978-1401232504 November 29, 2011 Preacher #41–54
TPB 978-1401250744 August 19, 2014
Preacher: Book Six Hardcover 978-1401234157 January 17, 2012 Preacher #55–66 and Preacher Special: Tall in the Saddle
TPB 978-1401252793 November 4, 2014
Absolute Editions
Title ISBN Release date Collected material
Absolute Preacher, Vol. 1[1] 978-1401264413 July 12, 2016 Preacher #1–26
Absolute Preacher, Vol. 2[2] 978-1401268091 May 9, 2017 Preacher #27–40, Preacher Special: Saint of Killers #1–4, Preacher Special: The Story of You-Know-Who, Preacher Special: The Good Old Boys, Preacher Special: Cassidy – Blood and Whiskey, and Preacher Special: One Man's War
Absolute Preacher, Vol. 3[3] 978-1401278489 April 25, 2018 Preacher #41–66 and Preacher Special: Tall in the Saddle
Omnibus Editions
Title ISBN Release date Collected Material
Preacher: The 25th Anniversary Omnibus Vol. 1 978-1779502674 August 4, 2020 Preacher #1-33, Preacher Special: Saint of Killers #1–4, Preacher Special: Cassidy – Blood and Whiskey
Preacher: The 25th Anniversary Omnibus Vol. 2 978-1779510372 August 31, 2021 Preacher # 34-66, Preacher Special: The Story of You-Know-Who, Preacher Special: The Good Old Boys, Preacher Special: One Man's War, Preacher Special: Tall in the Saddle

Additionally, the book Preacher: Dead or Alive (ISBN 9781563898488) collects Fabry's covers to the series.


Adaptation attempts[edit]

Garth Ennis, feeling Preacher would translate perfectly as a film, sold the film rights to Electric Entertainment. Rachel Talalay was hired to direct, with Ennis writing the script. Rupert Harvey and Tom Astor were set as producers. By May 1998, Ennis completed three drafts of the script, based largely on the Gone to Texas story arc.[4] The filmmakers found it difficult financing Preacher because investors found the idea religiously controversial. Ennis approached Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier to help finance the film under their View Askew Productions banner. Ennis, Smith and Mosier pitched Preacher to Bob Weinstein at Miramax Films.[5]

Weinstein was confused by the characterization of Jesse Custer. Miramax also did not want to share the box office gross with Electric Entertainment, ultimately dropping the pitch. By May 2000, Smith and Mosier were still attached to produce with Talalay directing, but Smith did not know the status of Preacher, feeling it would languish in development hell.[5] By then, Storm Entertainment, a UK-based production company known for their work on independent films, joined the production with Electric Entertainment.[4] In September 2001, the two companies announced Preacher had been greenlighted to commence pre-production, with filming to begin in November and Talalay still directing Ennis' script.[6] The production and start dates were pushed back because of financial issues[7] of the $25 million projected budget.[8]

James Marsden was cast in the lead role as Jesse Custer sometime in 2002. He explained, "It was something I never knew anything about, but once I got my hands on the comic books, I was blown away by it."[7] In a March 2004 interview, Marsden said the filmmakers were hoping for filming to start the following August.[9] With the full-length film adaptation eventually abandoned with budgetary concerns,[7] HBO announced in November 2006 that they commissioned Mark Steven Johnson and Howard Deutch to produce a television pilot. Johnson was to write with Deutch directing.[10] Impressed with Johnson's pilot script, HBO had him write the series bible for the first season.[11] Johnson first planned "to turn each comic book issue into a single episode" on a shot-for-shot basis. "I gave [HBO] the comics, and I said, 'Every issue is an hour'. Ennis said 'You don't have to be so beholden to the comic'. And I'm like, 'No, no, no. It's got to be like the comic'."[12]

Johnson also wanted to make sure that one-shots were included as well.[13] Johnson changed his position, citing new storylines conceived by Ennis. "Well, there would be nothing new to add if we did that, so Garth [Ennis] and I have been creating new stories for the series," he said. "I love the book so much and I was telling Garth that he has to make the stories we are coming up with as comics because I want to see them."[11] By August 2008, new studio executives at HBO decided to abandon the idea, finding it too stylistically dark and religiously controversial.[14] Columbia Pictures then purchased the film rights in October 2008 with Sam Mendes planned to direct. Neal H. Moritz and Jason Netter would have produced the film. The previous scripts written by Ennis would not have been used.[8]

AMC television series[edit]

On November 16, 2013, it was announced that AMC would be shooting a pilot for Preacher.[15] On November 18, 2013, Bleeding Cool confirmed that Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg had developed the series pilot with Sam Catlin, and that it would be distributed by Sony Pictures Television.[16][17] On February 7, 2014 it was made public that AMC was officially developing the series to television based on the pilot written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Rogen had no plans to co-star in the series. On May 9, 2014, AMC announced that Preacher was picked up to series.[18] Preacher was slated to premiere mid to late 2015, as announced by Seth Rogen, with the script for the series complete and the pilot ordered by the studio.[19][20][21] Comic creators Steve Dillon and Garth Ennis were to work on this project as co-executive producer.[22][23] On April 17, 2015, Seth Rogen tweeted that Dominic Cooper was cast in the role of Jesse Custer, Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy, Ruth Negga as Tulip O'Hare, Ian Colletti as Arseface, and W. Earl Brown as Sheriff Hugo Root. On September 9, 2015, Seth Rogen announced via Twitter that the series ordered to a ten-episode first season and was due to premiere in mid-2016.[24] The series premiered on AMC on Sunday, May 22, 2016, and concluded July 31. A second season, with thirteen episodes, aired from June 25 to September 11, 2017. From June 24 to August 26, 2018, a ten-episode third season aired. In November 2018, the series was renewed for a fourth and final ten-episode season, with production relocating to Australia, and the season airing from August 4 to September 29, 2019.

GraphicAudio audiobook series[edit]

In May 2020, all 98 issues of Garth Ennis' The Boys comic book series and the 8-issue epilogue series Dear Becky were adapted into seven full cast audiobooks produced by GraphicAudio, with all volumes numbering a combined 31 hours in length.[25] In the second audiobook, the Preacher epilogue from "We Gotta Go Now" is adapted, with Michael John Casey voicing Proinsias Cassidy.[26]


Stephen King has said that his comic book series The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born, based on his The Dark Tower series of novels, was influenced by Preacher.[27]

The character Yorick from Y: The Last Man, has a Zippo lighter with the words "Fuck Communism" engraved, identical to the one owned by Jesse Custer in Preacher. When asked about it he says it is "from this book I read once... a graphic novel. You know, like a comic book." The phrase originated as a 1963 satirical poster produced by The Realist magazine's Paul Krassner.[28] This lighter appears later in the series when Yorick and Agent 355 are being held by Russian agents at gunpoint, who find the lighter and take offense to it.[29]

In February 2009, an older now-human Proinsias Cassidy appears in a epilogue cameo role in the fourth volume of Garth Ennis' first ongoing comic book series after Preacher, the DC Comics (WildStorm)/Dynamite Entertainment series The Boys – "We Gotta Go Now" – in the twenty-seventh issue overall, depicted as a former friend and sponsor of Billy Butcher working as a bartender, clearing out his bar on St. Patrick's Day so that Billy can drink in peace while waiting for Wee Hughie Campbell.[30]

IGN declared Preacher the third-greatest Vertigo comic, after The Saga of the Swamp Thing and The Sandman.[31]

Jesse Custer was ranked the 11th Greatest Comic Book Character by Empire magazine.[32] The Saint of Killers was ranked at number 42 on the same list.[33]


  1. ^ "Absolute Preacher, Vol. 1 at DC Comics". 21 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Absolute Preacher, Vol. 2 at DC Comics". 17 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Absolute Preacher, Vol. 3 at DC Comics". 21 August 2017.
  4. ^ a b Stax (2000-02-10). "The Stax report: Script Review of Preacher". IGN. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
  5. ^ a b Elston Gunn (2000-05-14). "Elston Gunn interviews Kevin Smith". Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
  6. ^ Drew McWeeny (2001-09-06). "Preacher Has Got A Greenlight!! Hell Freezes Over!!". Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
  7. ^ a b c Ethan Aames (2005-06-20). "Interview: James Marsden on Heights". Cinema Confidential. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
  8. ^ a b Borys Kit; Leslie Simmons (2008-10-29). "Columbia signs on for 'Preacher' feature". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on October 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
  9. ^ Stax (2004-03-22). "Marsden on Preacher". IGN. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
  10. ^ Eric Goldman (2006-11-29). "HBO Prays for Preacher". IGN. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
  11. ^ a b Peter Brown (2007-06-10). "Exclusive Interview: Mark Steven Johnson Finds Religion With Preach – Part 1". IF Magazine. Archived from the original on February 28, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
  12. ^ Cindy White (2006-12-01). "Johnson Talks HBO's Preacher". Sci Fi Wire. Archived from the original on October 28, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
  13. ^ Daniel Robert Epstein (2006-12-05). "Johnson Talks HBO's Preacher". Newsarama. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
  14. ^ Rob Allstetter (2008-08-25). "Mark Steven Johnson: No Preacher On HBO". Comics Continuum. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
  15. ^ Devin Faraci (2013-11-16). "AMC Is Taking PREACHER To Pilot". Bad Ass Digest. Archived from the original on 2015-03-29. Retrieved 2013-11-16.
  16. ^ Rich Johnston (2013-11-18). "SCOOP: Sony Pictures Television Gives TV Pilot Development Commitment To Preacher". Retrieved 2013-11-18.
  17. ^ Rich Johnston (2014-02-06). "Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg Adapting 'Preacher' for AMC With 'Breaking Bad's' Sam Catlin". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  18. ^ "AMC is Officially Developing Seth Rogen's Preacher TV Show". Archived from the original on 2014-12-08.
  19. ^ "Evan Goldberg on Twitter". Twitter.
  20. ^ "Seth Rogen on Twitter". Twitter.
  21. ^ Nellie Andreeva (2014-12-04). "'Preacher' Drama From Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg Gets AMC Pilot Order". Deadline. Retrieved 2014-12-04.
  22. ^ "Preacher Script Finished; Is Astonishingly Good?". Dread Central. 12 February 2015.
  23. ^ Nellie Andreeva (2014-12-04). "Preacher – Seth Rogen Draws Inspiration". Deadline. Retrieved 2014-12-04.
  25. ^ "The Boys Volume 1". May 1, 2020.
  26. ^ "The Boys Volume 2". September 28, 2020.
  27. ^ King's afterword to The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born
  28. ^ "Realist Archive Project",
  29. ^ Vaughan, Brian K.; and Guerra, Pia; Sudžuka, Goran; Chadwick, Paul. Y: The Last Man #55 (May 2007) Vertigo Comics.
  30. ^ Ennis, Garth; Robertson, Darick. The Boys #27 (February 2009) Dynamite Entertainment.
  31. ^ Hilary Goldstein. "The 25 Best Vertigo Books". IGN.
  32. ^ Jesse Custer, "The 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters", Empire, accessed April 26, 2011.
  33. ^ The Saint of Killers, "The 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters", Empire, accessed April 26, 2011.

External links[edit]