I’ve been living with the devil for a long time. It was a distant relationship for most of my life, but has become a closer, more intimate one over these last few years. I have a whole library of books on Hell and Lucifer. As I once told a friend, I live in dread of cops or my mother walking into my office because the first thing they’ll see—right at eye level—is my shelf of devil books.
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It’s October. Halloween’s right around the corner, and if that’s not scary enough, there’s the election right afterwards. It’s the time of the year for terror, and your comics should reflect that.
Seven weeks ago I stepped onto a new path, and that path was called PREACHER by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. With the AMC television adaptation kicking off, I was curious about the similarities and differences in comparison to the comic, and honestly, I wanted to see what the fuss was about. Anytime PREACHER came up among friends, nearly everyone commented enthusiastically about how much they enjoyed the series when it came out and how I should brace myself because, "Man, it gets weird."
I can't claim to know a lot about religion. My time spent in Sunday school and in various pews is far in the past. But I'm relatively certain about one thing when it comes to Catholicism: There are saints for everything. You can pray to the saint of travelers, the saint of sailors, the saint of animals, and yes, even the saint of dental diseases (it's St. Apollonia, in case you're curious and/or in need). But Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's PREACHER has a different sort of saint, one you won't discover in your Patron Saints 101 class—The Saint of Killers.
The different paths we take define our lives. Twenty-three years ago, a simple walk home changed mine in ways I couldn’t imagine. In a few seconds, my life was shattered, a brutal attack leaving me broken in body and in spirit. The comfortable world I had created for myself was gone, and it was painfully clear to me that the long path to recovery, if I chose to walk it, was one I’d walk alone.
What does it mean to be a villain? Is it about intent? Is it about actions? What if those actions are terrible but driven by a righteous belief? These are questions I ask myself anytime I read a new story. I ask questions about the heroes, too. Sometimes—often, actually—I find the line between the hero's and villain's qualities to be thin. They both share traits in the same categories, and that's definitely been the case with Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's PREACHER.
It's been about three weeks since I first picked up PREACHER. Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon have managed to consistently make me lose track of time with their words and images. They've also made me contort my arms into interesting angles as I've read the comic in coffee shops and other public places. Some panels aren't meant for the eyes of young passersby. Maybe most panels. And maybe I should limit reading PREACHER to the comforts of my couch.
LAST GANG IN TOWN, the full throttle heist comedy with a soul that’s pure punk rock, screams its final, raucous tune this week with a last issue that launches our now aged gang into orbit as they infiltrate and try to take down a satellite built to maintain the world’s 1%.