7 Things You Need To Know About ‘Preacher’ Before You Get Completely Addicted To It
If you haven’t caught the hotly-anticipated first episode of AMC’s Preacher the other night night, you’re in for one hell of a viewing experience. If you have, and you didn’t read the comic series the show is based on, your viewing experience was probably a mix of “WTF?” and “OH SHIT THAT GUY JUST ATE IT.” Either way, you may be wondering how violent the show will get, and how far it’s going to go.
To help answer your questions, here are 7 useful things to know about Preacher before you watch the next episode.
Preacher Is Based On A DC Comic Series
OK, technically Preacher is published by Vertigo, DC Comics’ line for ~mature readers~, but it’s still the same parent company that publishes Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman… I’m assuming you’ve heard of at least some of these, right? Great, let’s keep going. Written by Northern Irish author Garth Ennis and drawn by English artist Steve Dillon, the Preacher comic ran from 1995-2000 for 66 issues plus four special issues and miniseries. If you value your overall quality of life, you should probably read them all multiple times (I swear that will be the last time I try to push them on you (probably)).
The plot of the TV version is fairly different from the comic, but Ennis, who’s a co-executive producer on the show, is fine with that. In fact, he advised showrunners Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg that sticking to the comic would be “stupid”, giving them the go-ahead to create their own storyline. It’s like the “kill your darlings” approach to having your books adapted for the screen, and not only is it usually indicative of a totally confident and down-to-clown author, but almost always makes for a better TV/film viewing experience; what works best in book form doesn’t always work best on screen. Authors who get that and aren’t overly precious about the integrity of their exact storyline surviving the transition intact… They pretty much make the creative world go round.
Anyway, Ennis told those guys to go for it. And it’s a good thing he did, because….
It Took Eight Years To Get Preacher On TV
In an interview with Comic Book Resources (what a sexy name!), Rogen and Goldberg revealed that they came up with the idea of adapting Preacher for the small screen back in 2008, when they were working on Pineapple Express. They initially pitched it as a movie, with Sam Mendes tapped to direct, but when it fell through after several years, they tried the TV route. From the interview, it sounds like their entire partnership was leading to this point: “We’re making an action comedy! Maybe now they’ll let us do Preacher!” Hollywood power-nerds make shit happen but even for them, it doesn’t happen overnight, is the point. Preacher was a long time coming.
Tulip Started Out As A Blonde White Woman
In the comic, Jesse’s ex-girlfriend Tulip is white, blonde, and wears a lot of tight T-shirts. Nothing wrong with that per se — Tulip is one of my favorite women in comics — but it’s 2016: Are viewers really crying out for yet another white female lead? Apparently some of them were. When Ruth Negga was cast as Tulip, the racists of the comics Internet railed against it for not being “true” to the source material. However, in issues #8-12 of Preacher, we learn that Jesse’s evil withered-Southern-belle grandmother forces him to choose between leaving Tulip and watching her get murdered, because she doesn’t approve of their relationship. If this plotline makes it into the show, casting a biracial black/white actress compounds the evil with bigotry, so if anything it adds to the comic.
Plus, Ruth Negga is absolutely stunning and a badass and is going to crush this role so goddamn hard.
It’s Accent Party Time, All The Time
Confession: I wrote this fact mostly so I could include this tweet.
That sweet Southern drawl Tulip’s got going on? It’s accent party time: Negga grew up in Ireland and now lives in London. Dominic Cooper, who’s also from London, goes equally hard on the dialect to play Jesse. As for Cassidy’s weird pretend-Irish accent, Joseph Gilgun, who plays the hard-drinking Irish vampire, is from the northwest of England. So if the voices ever sound a little off in the episodes to come, you’ll know why.
No Meatwoman Sex For You!
If that bar fight scene and Cassidy’s insides being on the outside were too much for you, I have bad news: The source material for this show gets straight-up disgusting, and the pilot indicates that the show has no plans to pull those particular punches. One of the comic’s most infamous scenes depicts villain Odin Quincannon in a state of post-coital bliss after ~spending some time~ with a special lady. And by “special lady” I mean “a woman made of meat from his meatpacking plant, complete with a fun blonde wig.”
Amping up the WTF factor, the scene also treats readers to Quincannon’s meat-carcass-related sex talk. To this day, the phrases “Nibble the veins…say the name…” are enough to turn any Preacher reader’s stomach. Throughout the comic, there are also various scenes of stabbing, bone-breaking, puking, getting their faces cut off and stapled back on, and worse, so be prepared for blood. And other gross bodily fluids, of course.
Cassidy Is A Warning About The Consequences Of Excessive Bro-Hood
Cassidy’s charming, he’s roguish, he’s tough, he plays hard, and he’s always got his buddy’s back. Or does he? As the comic progresses, Preacher shows that Cassidy may not be the BBF (Best Bro Forever) he appears to be. From issue #1 almost to the very end of the series, he’s always wearing shades because he’s a cool guy (this was before we knew wearing shades indoors was the mark of the superdouche). Then in the second-to-last issue, we see why he wears those shades: It’s to hide how bloodshot his eyes are from decades of substance abuse. I can’t say much more without potentially spoiling the show, but that’s a good illustration of how the comic sets up bro-centric masculinity as awesome and then tears it all down.
And He Was Meant To Look Like A Rock Star (Sort Of)
You know all those Celtic-punk bands like Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys? The Pogues did it first. They were the originals, but with less punk, more rock, and more ties to the Irish motherland. In addition to writing gorgeous songs, frontman Shane MacGowan was known for getting crazy drunk and having messed-up teeth, so he was a natural inspiration for the hard-partying vampire Cassidy. Booze, drugs, beautiful music? It’s the rock star’s dream, except when you’re in detox at the age of 8, or when the doctor gives you six weeks to live if you don’t slow down. That’s what happens when you’re mortal. If, like Cassidy, you’re not… Well, keep watching and find out.