Random Retrospective #33 – Preacher #26

The Late lamented Vertigo imprint in the 90s was dominated, I think, by two titles – THE SANDMAN at the start of the decade, and PREACHER at the end of it. Both of them are fantastic series and I don’t mean to compare them with each other; THE SANDMAN has its roots in old and high fantasy which lends itself to a certain type of storytelling, while PREACHER is very definitely rooted in the (then) present, the world of Tarantino, violence and horror. One thing that Garth Ennis has over THE SANDMAN, though, is his ear for dialogue – this issue is mostly narrated by Cassidy, the Irish vampire, recounting his origin story to Jesse, and it’s full of profanity and wonderful turns of phrase and the occasional profundity as well.

The above isn’t the best example of a life view, but it makes sense from Cassidy’s point of view who, by this time, has had a rough old life.

We get to see Cassidy’s first group of friends that he made after landing in New York, though the only one with any real personality is Mick MacCann – the others are little more than a couple of appearances, and a couple of catch phrases, a device that Ennis relies on too heavily in a lot of his other work. There’s ruminations on the Easter Rising of 1916 which was covered in the previous issues, and Cassidy’s not a fan:

It’s Mick MacCann lending Cassidy a copy of Dracula that allows him to realise what he was and move on in the world, and after two decades he knows he’s not getting any older – at least in terms of appearance – while MacCann and the others are, and so decides to tell them that he’s leaving, rather than watch them all get old and die.

Despite his best intentions though, he’s unable to face them and instead stands outside their regular pub and watches them leave.

Cassidy’s relationship issues will play a larger part in the series as it goes on.

It’s a damn fine issue with no real action, just a collection of scenes from Cassidy’s past that help explain who he is and why he feels an attachments to Jesse, which will pay off terribly in later issues. Ennis’s writing is aided and abetted throughout the entire series by the wonderfully clean line work of the late Steve Dillon which still looks good to this day.

If you’re one of the three people who’ve never read the series, it’s heartily recommended.

And I had a letter printed in one issue, as well!

3 thoughts on “Random Retrospective #33 – Preacher #26

  1. You did? Awesome! That was always a lifelong dream of mine as a longtime comic fan. Never happened, but then truthfully I didn’t write that many letters to comic books either, which would’ve helped my chances greatly.

    I myself never read Preacher. I guess I was too into the typical mainstream comic titles at the time to give it an honest try. I did enjoy any articles about Preacher in the pages of various issues of Wizard Magazine though, so I know most things about the series.
    Probably need to give it an honest go sometime.

    Ennis definitely does have a way with words, colorful as they are, & that is one of the main things I enjoy about him.
    What I don’t care for though, is the joyous glee he takes in eviscerating super heroes & the superhero genre by taking the piss out of them as the saying goes. I know you only roast the ones you love, but he seems to enjoy roasting them a little TOO much, as evidenced by The Boys series.
    At least he’s open & honest with his distain, unlike Mark Millar, who basically does the same thing, just isn’t as open about doing it.


    1. Yep, had a letter in PREACHER and in THE SPECTRE (possibly two in THE SPECTRE…?) and, my memory’s not brilliant after all this time, either a mention or a letter in an issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA as well, I think. The editor on THE SPECTRE even sent me an advance issue of MAJOR BUMMER‘s first issue to review which I wish I’d held on to. Oh, and I interviewed Garth Ennis for a website I used to write for and he sent me a signed copy of PREACHER #44 and the script for it as well. 🙂

      Ennis’s dialogue is superb though, as I mentioned in the post, he sometimes falls back on cliched supporting characters with a repeatable catchphrase and nothing else. And I know what you mean about the superhero thing – he’s admitted that he just doesn’t get it, but did his time with it enough to make his name and move on. Don’t think he’s done anything with supes since THE BOYS.

      Never really been a fan of Mark Millar’s stuff so don’t really know enough to comment.

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      1. Legit impressed & slightly jealous of those accolades there Gary. Very happy for you to have lucked out on those experiences. Awesome.

        At first I thought it was because much like Alan Moore, he was resentful that the super hero genre had overtaken the comics industry as it’s main focus & representative of the industry as a whole to the detriment of other genres & topics, which is admittedly fair. But he seems to take a sadistic glee in attacking that particular genre, as if it’s that genre’s fault alone in being as popular as it is. That’s where I take issue with him.
        I will say aside from all that, he is a very good writer and I just read the 1st issue of the sequel to his Jimmy’s Bastards series, Jimmy’s Little Bastards. Not a bad read.

        I used to be a fan of Millar and then I grew up (to an extent) and grew tired of his juvenilistic writing style. He really is the anti-Grant Morrison in that respect. And yet, he’s managed to make it work for him & become successful enough to continue to do it for a living & fool people into buying his ideas to adapt for streaming services.


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