Preacher is a comic book created by writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon, published by DC Comics.
Preacher is the story of Jesse Custer, a down-and-out preacher in a small Texas town, who becomes possessed by the supernatural creature "Genesis" in an incident which kills his congregation and flattens his church. Genesis turns out to be the product of the unauthorized coupling of an angel and a demon, which, while having little will of its own, might have powers to rival that of God himself. Custer goes on a journey across the US to discover the truth about his new powers, as well as about God, who abandoned Heaven the moment Genesis was born. He is joined by his 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 supernatural and worldly, including the Saint of Killers, an invincible killer answering only to the authority of God himself, The Grail, a secret organization controlling the governments of the world and protecting the bloodline of Jesus Christ, fallen angels, and Jesse's own redneck family.
Preacher is notable mainly for the extremely strong character building and focus on storytelling, the handling of religious and supernatural themes in an unapologetic way (which many may find objectionable), the extremely dark (and frequently violent) humor, and the wide range of influences from outside comics. In particular, Preacher draws on western movies for many of the stylistic elements (and openly acknowledges it, an apparition of John Wayne is a recurring character which serves as a sort of spiritual guide for Jesse Custer). The Grail organization is a clever reference to the conspiracy theories presented in the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail.
Additionally, the series is characterized by an examination of American identity and ideals in the modern age, both on a personal level, where old-fashioned southern "Cowboy" ethics and attitudes meet modern feminism, sexuality and society, and on a collective level, through stories about the Vietnam war, corporatism, racism, and other social issues. Ennis and Dillon are Irish and English respectively, not American, and their outsider perspective makes their observations particularly sharp.
The Preacher series spanned more than 60 monthly issues, collected in 9 albums. The final issue, number 66, was published in July 2000.
The names of the collection albums are:
- Gone to Texas
- End of the World
- Proud Americans
- Ancient History (collection of background stories on some characters, written by Garth Ennis, art by guest artists)
- Dixie Fried
- War in the Sun
- All Hell's Coming