Why do you like PREACHER?

Discussion in 'DC Comics' started by Killgore, Nov 4, 2005.

  1. Killgore

    Killgore Registered

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    I am not attempting to start a pissing contest or a flame war by saying the following. I sincerely want to know what everyone finds so appealing about Garth Ennis and his comic Preacher in particular.

    There is such a legion of fans and the series has garnered such accolades that there must be something that the legions find laudable, but damned if I know what it is. I've given it a fair shot. I invested in all nine of the graphic novels and have plowed my way to the eighth one. I did like some parts of the Angelville arch and the War In The Sun, but overall, I have to force myself to read it like a high school student that is made to read Shakespeare.

    There is an underlying disdain for the audience in Ennis' work. It shows up in the cruel way he deals with his characters. I do enjoy a cynical, dark humor, but Ennis is just plain caustic. Must every character have a sexual perversion and be a hideous, over-exaggerated caricature? If Herr Star where the only example, that might be entertaining, but he is the rule not the exception. Every single character is a disgusting neo-Nazi, homicidal, sadomasochistic, mentally-deficient ingrate. Is this to make Jessie and Tulip's lesser sadism more palpable? This is obviously how the British Ennis sees Americans. And by taking the insults that Ennis is hurling at us, we become the Mexican that is sitting at the bar with is "friends" who torment him with bigoted jokes. Ennis feels sorry for us every once in a while and gives us a pity screw. Then after he's done he gives us a filthy schanchez and laughs at us again.

    For example, when he finally gives us a back story on Tulip, he creates a likeable, devoted father, and in a sophomoric writing cliché, he telegraphs his fate. We know that he is going to die, and in the first word balloon the character tells us how. His goal in life is to take his son to the top of some mountain on a hunting trek. Oohhh, how ironic it would be if he dies on that trek. That piece of hack writing I can forgive. It's really Tulip's story, and Ennis crafts an earnest, amiable father for our heroine. In Ennis fashion, he inexplicably gets his hand bit off by a shark. Is it necessary for every character to loose a limb, eye or face? The dismemberment joke was tired and unfunny by the time Herr Star had his leg eaten. What is completely unforgivable is that Ennis has a compulsion not to torture his characters, but to humiliate them. When he kills off the dad, he cannot just die, he has to die with his arse in the air while taking a dump. And of course the last time Tulip sees her father she is looking at his sphincter. The only reason I can see that he was given a prosthetic hook hand was for this visual "payoff". It is "funnier" to have a roll of toilet paper impaled on a hook rather than clutched in a hand. Is he trying to be funny? Shocking? Well he is neither.

    How poignant would the death of Bruce Wayne's parents have been if they had died with their bare asses in the air and turds hanging from their buttocks while Bruce knelt beside them? It'd not only be disrespectful to the characters, it'd show a wanton disrespect for the audience. It's juvenile and unnecessary. It'd be one thing if this example was the exception, but it is the rule. Every bad guy is a crude, overblown cartoon who delights in either golden showers, sodomizing livestock and fish, building and raping effigies made of raw meat, or a vulgar and gluttonous.

    Well I could pontificate on and on. I've been both succinct and verbose about why I don't like Preacher, and I would appreciate if you can return the favor with more than a one liner that amounts to "PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE PREACHER ARE TEH SUCK!!!" I could be missing something entirely.
     
  2. Robot Komakino

    Robot Komakino Registered

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    i love everything about it.you name it i love it. it involves religion,death,vampires,southern creepy rednecks,secret socities, jesus's relative....i fell in love with the whole series as soon as i read it. haha i wont say you suck, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
     
  3. LadyVader

    LadyVader Smile like you mean it.

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    To answer your question I liked Preacher because:
    - it was a fresh new idea that I haven't seen anywhere else
    - the dialogues were mostly funny and they made me chuckle a couple of times
    - Ennis had a few bright ideas
    - I liked the main characters, especially Jessie.
    - In the end, Arseface found himself a girl, and what's there not to like about that?

    I agree with you but only in part. I myself have noticed that Ennis put a bit more passion in everything regarding irish culture, which is understandble. During those issues about Cassidy's past, I noticed that there weren't any freaks or sexual deviants. Except for Cassidy I guess. I could tell Ennis really cared about the subject. And in that is his salvation. Cassidy really loved the US. In the begining sure he was a vampire, but he was still relatively a good guy.
    But then he started doing drugs and stuff and so on and so forth. The more time passed, the more he changed and became scum. I honestly think Ennis is pissed with the entire world and their hedonistic drive for pleasure and instant gratification.
     
  4. Killgore

    Killgore Registered

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    You're right. I forgot about the Cassady in Ireland. You stumbled upon another point for my case. Cassady became a heathen AFTER becoming an immigrant to "the Great Satan" America.
     
  5. LadyVader

    LadyVader Smile like you mean it.

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    Well, it may look that way, but I don't think it's america that changed him. It was the times. People weren't only doing drungs in America, people weren't beaten women up only in America. This was happening everywhere in the civilised world.
    Ennis I believe has a romantic view of the past, and pretty much hates the present. That's why there are so many weirdos and perverts and such in his stories. Because these are the times we live in to the tenth degree.
     
  6. Elijya

    Elijya Registered

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    If I had to search for a deeper meaning amongst everything you complained about, I guess the way even minor characters are treated by fate (i.e. ennis' hand) is a metaphor for how the cruel god of their world treats everything


    on the overall, if I had to guess why it appeals to so many people, it's definitely the religion angle. Many people in this country (many young people) feel frustrated and unsure about their beliefs. They're not sure they DO believe, but they might be scared or reserved to voice such feelings because of the climate and polarization it creates with those who DO believe. Then comes along this book, and the author is screaming at the top of his lungs every nasty complaint you could have about God. Displaying him for the ******* he very well might be, but we're not allowed to imagine him as. It's somewhat liberating and refreshing to see that.

    of course, it's not like the template set forth in Preacher about religion is expected to be believed word for word, but it's refreshing to see the big idea of religion poked at by this little comicbook, and poked hard. On the overall, the book is a religious satire, and the violence is just part of that. That's how Ennis tells his stories, all of them, whether it be Hellblazer, or Punisher, or any of the other things he's written. I don't believe the violence is a social commentary on America or anything like that. Rather, I believe it's to shock and entertain the audience, which prepares them, leaves them vunerable, to accepting the other ideas Ennis presents in his work. which are in this case, messages and examples of what it means to be a friend, a father, a son, a lover, and a believer.
     
  7. Killgore

    Killgore Registered

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    Well said, Elijya. I didn't even address the religious aspect of the title. I find it to be superficial and sophomoric. I find myself unconsciously rolling my eyes at most of the religious allegories in the book.

    Since I've read this far and still own them, I'll finish it. Maybe I'll like it at the end. It took many viewings and much deliberation to come to grips on Pulp Fiction though. Many conversations I had with it trying to discern why people loved it so left me thinking, "yeah, so? What's your point?" Finally it clicked with me when I heard someone liken Pulp Fiction to Blazing Saddles and name them as the two movies he hated. I asked why did he hate Blazing Saddles and he responded "It's racist." :eek: :eek: IT'S A SATIRE!!! It's not condoning racism, it's--" and it hit me. Pulp Fiction is also a satire, a witty satire of the way mobsters and criminals are portrayed in cinema. And I was taking it seriously because most people I talked to bought into the lifestyle. They thought it was hip and cool. But Tarantino wasn't trying to make any grand counter culture statement. He was jut playing with the tropes and conventions of mob movies. What I was responding to was the hype that surrounded the movie.

    Maybe Preacher will be like that. I'm reading it way after the fact when it has become this unapproachable tome that you shant criticize. Or at least that's how some fans that I've been acquainted with revere the book. If they got wind of this thread, they'd charge in here Saint of Killer's style. I was sure you'd do that Elijya. Thanks for proving me wrong. I know that I don't like it, but I'd like to figure out why so many do.
     
  8. Anubis

    Anubis Sup?

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    Well, It's kinda hard to put my finger on it. I dug the whole religion angle, and the ultra violence, and all that other stuff. But if I had to put my finger on it. It would be the three main characters. Jessie, Tulip, and Cas were some of the best characters I've ever read. And thats saying something, because I've never been a character drivin type of guy. I fell in love with these characters. When we found out what Cassiday was really like, I felt like I got stabbed in the back by my own best friend. I felt for Jessie when Tulip got her head blown off by the prick Jody. I mean, the whole thing was just great.

    Your entitled to your opinion. I don't really give a rats @$$ if you didn't like. And I don't mean that as an insult or anything. It's just that I've come to a point in my life where I got my opinions and who cares what anybody else thinks. I think you started this thread a bit on the defensive side, and I just want you to know that, if you don't like it, thats cool. It's your opinion. Thats the way you feel about it, and nobody can fault you for it. So if you started this to defend your stance on not liking the book, it was kinda unneccesary.

    But if you really wanna know why we enjoyed it so much and you didn't, maybe you shouldn't read into it so much. It has some social commentary, but for the most part it's just mindless entertainment.
     
  9. Elijya

    Elijya Registered

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    yeah, that's kind of a concern of mine. Sometimes people overhype things so much, they give new readers unreasonable expectations. Sometimes, if I see something being put on too much of a pedastal, I'll politely point out a few faults for the benefit of new people

    I've always been of the mindset that if you don't expect too much, you'll always be pleasently surprised with what you get

    but really, you've gotta take the book less seriously on some parts, cause some of the violence **** is just ****ing funny
     
  10. masteryoda

    masteryoda Registered

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    I think you might be streching a bit there or maybe you're bang on I don't know. But the reason I saw Cassady turning into a prick had to do with him being bi-polar. Think about it...Alot of people suffer from seasonal depression. It happens in the winter when there's less sunlight. It's been proven that a lack of sunlight leads to depression and it makes total sense when you think about a vampire that's been around a hundred years or so to suffer from manic depression. That was always my take on the character anyway. Besides didn't he do scummy things to his mates in Ireland too? I can't remember.
     
  11. Elijya

    Elijya Registered

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    um, he shagged a sheep while he was there
     
  12. masteryoda

    masteryoda Registered

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    So he was a well adjusted member of society then? ;)


    Oh, and I love your sig. :up:
     
  13. Elijya

    Elijya Registered

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    thank the wikipedia vandals for coming up with that one
     
  14. Ben Urich

    Ben Urich Registered

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    Not to sound to sophomoric, but I liked Preacher because Jesse Custer is a badass.
    Seriously. He's got the voice of God. How are you going to argue with that?
    Art was always good, Saint of Killers was pretty cool, Arseface was hilarious... I really don't see what's not to love.
     
  15. gildea

    gildea Registered

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    Though there is social commentery on america throughout I think over all america comes out of the book very well.

    Its probably the best ongoing vertigo has released imo.
     
  16. Killgore

    Killgore Registered

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    What you call mindless entertainment is actually a reflection of the mental capabilities of the viewer, not the writer. A storyteller cannot help but taint his tales with his own particular paradigm. No matter how trite or insipid a story may seem, there is always a world view that is being peddled within the narrative. You may choose not to see it, but it is undeniably pervasive. And make no qualms about it, Ennis hates America about as much as he hates his audience. The chap is making fun of you, and you’re lapping it up. He views Americans as disloyal, amoral, sex-crazed with a penchant for perversion, hyper-violent, drug addicted ingrates. Read 303 if you truly think that America comes out very well. Comes out as well as God did in the last issue of Preacher.

    Have any of you seen Golgo 13? It is an anime that was created by the Japanese for Americans. Anime was becoming popular in the U.S. during the eighties, so they tailor made the show to fit what they thought were American tastes. The lead character is a despicable, amoral, misogynistic, stoic assassin. He is so emotionally detached that he lays motionless, staring at the ceiling with his head resting on his forearms while a chick orgasms wildly while riding him. As this goes on, he chats in a static monotone with a business partner as if the chick isn’t even there. We are to believe that he is is so virile that he can get a woman off without doing a damn thing. Point of all of this is, it is interesting not for it’s actual content, but that this is how an outsider sees our culture. This is how the Japanese view Americans and what they think that we’d find to be entertaining. With a dry wit, Ennis does the same, but it isn’t innocent, misconceived pandering. It is malicious. Ennis creates a straw man, beats it down, humiliates it and tells it to be a real man, a man like Jessie Custer -- an archaic cipher that never existed anyhow.

    What I’d like to hear is the opinion of someone who is not an American that has read Preacher.
     
  17. The Joker™

    The Joker™ Registered

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    You've sold me on it I gotta get the trades.
     
  18. Anubis

    Anubis Sup?

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    Geez, man, maybe you should just smoke some weed and watch gilliagans Island.
     
  19. Elijya

    Elijya Registered

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    I'm sorry, but did you only read every other page of the books? seriously, what the hell are you talking about? cause it was in almost every issue where one character or another was driving the point home that American is a place of opportunities and new chances, where a man can make whatever he wants of himself. I don't even have to flip through the books, I can name a dozen instances where this was shown. All in all, America is shown to be a very beautiful place, but one that's sometimes inhabited by evil people.


    "I told you I was up here on the night they opened the building, didn't I? It was fabulous Jesse. When we got to the top an looked out and... the way the city glowed, like someone had scattered gold dust from the top've Harlem to Battery PArk... The moths up here, flying around us in the light and the warmth. I looked out that first night and all I could see was America, stretchin away in every direction. I got this mad idea - if I jump off the Empire State Building I could land anywhere in America I wanted...and the grand adventure could begin. This city, she's as beautiful tonight as the first time I saw her. I love yeh, New York! I ****in' love yeh" Preacher #26

    Jesus christ, man! it's a god damn ******* to the american dream!

    If you need anymore evidence, just read issue 53 "Too Dumb for New York City and Too Ugly for L.A." it's a microcosm for the whole series: Jesse is on a journey and picks up a bunch of colorful characters hitchhiking, who're outlandish, to be sure (because that's ennis style, no matter what he's writing), but again, overall message is clear: America, land of oppurtunities. Page 21 sums it up perfectly:

    Jesse: " you know... I been hearing a lot about dreams this past while. 'Bout second chances an' such. An' what folks expect from this place an' the hopes they invest in it. An' I do know this is a great great country, even if sometimes its future lies in the hands of fools. But I worry it might not stand the weight of all them goddamn dreams."
    Stranger: "Well, your concern is touchin', mighty touchin'.... But this here's the greatest an' finest country ever was or will be, yessir. Ain't no needa be afraid for her. Juz 'cause she openza gates to the stars, that don't mean ever'man steps through em is gonna climb that high. All America does is show the way. Whole pointa this country, 'cept most folks're too blinda see it."


    jesus, man, does it GET any clearer than that, what he was trying to say?
     
  20. Killgore

    Killgore Registered

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    I need to clarify. There's America the country, America the land of opportunity, America the dream and then there's America the people. Ennis may love America the land, America the idea, America the opportunities and the freedom, but he despises the people. The way he crafts his characters he makes them the butt of his jokes. He is cruel.

    Then again I look around at this place and at the people and I sometimes catch myself thinking, "Perhaps, rightfully so."
     
  21. Killgore

    Killgore Registered

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    Gilligan's Island is a misogynistic, elitist tale promoting egalitarian values and violence against one's mate.



















    Just effin' with you.
     
  22. Killgore

    Killgore Registered

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    Do you want mine? I'll cut you a sweet deal on them.
     
  23. Killgore

    Killgore Registered

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    Transmet trumps all.
     
  24. Banshee

    Banshee Registered

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    I gotta say for me its the Characters and their relationships. Jesse Custer is a guy a little rough around the edges, but an all around good guy, who'll go out of his way to kick some ass for the greater good. Hes a hard smoking heavy drinking badass, who gets the voice of god and wants to set things straight. Now I'm only on the seventh graphic novel, so I don't know whats going to happen with the whole Cassady and Tulip thing, but I can comment on up to this point. Epic story with tongue in cheek moments, with strong friendship and romantic themes. New take on religous events. FUNNY ass diologue. What the hell is not to like??
     
  25. Elijya

    Elijya Registered

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    I think you're really missing the mark here. Ennis always makes somebody the butt of the joke, but it has nothing to do with their Nationality. Unless they're French. Ennis does hate the french and always makes them get the short straw.

    "Juz 'cause she openza gates to the stars, that don't mean ever'man steps through em is gonna climb that high. "

    he shows people at their highs AND thier lows. Mostly lows because A. That's entertainment and B. that's where most people are, doesn't matter their nationality

    here:

    Cassidy - Irish - the most reprehensible character in the book, ultimately redeemed to a degree. He got messed up in ireland, and came to america, because that's what millions of people were doing at the time. America didn't set him on his downward path, that happened awhile ago

    Bob Allen - English - obsessed with somdomy and oral sex

    Herr Starr - German - what DIDN'T **** with this guy?

    Eunochio - italian - pissed off italian assassin with no dick

    that french guy - the one who was stealing horses. PResented as reprehensible, ultimately hung.

    now, that's pretty much EVERY international character in the series, since it takes place in america, anyway. Here, positive american characters:

    Arseface - the guy got the short end of the stick because of a stupid childhood mistake. But he got a second chance, became a star, but ultimately, found happiness for himself

    Tulip and Jesse -our main characters, who go through highs AND lows. Ultimately, they ride off into the sunset. QUINTESSENTIALLY American

    The Saint -a man who was wronged in the worst way possible. He represents us - all of us - when he tells God we've outgrown Him. A worldwide metaphor for accepting responsibility

    (I forget most of these background characters names, cause I haven't read the series in awhile, but you'll remember who I mean)

    Tulip's best friend - nothing bad happens to her in the series. She's always there for her friend

    the bartender tulip's friend meets - the guy who got chemiclly castrated by accident. This guy did NOTHING wrong, and still got screwed six ways from sunday. But you know what? he moves on, and still tries to be a decent guy. I'm sure if you reread his issue, you'll see more pro-american dream attitudes

    Jesse's mom and dad - two of the most loving and caring characters in the series

    Jesse's dad's war buddy - not too much to say about him. He's jesse's window to the past, his connection to his dad. But again, there's nothing bad here

    sheriff Jesse's partner - Black in a town that hates blacks, but she has still strived to succeed, always does the right thing, and nothing bad ever happens to her
     

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