I saw the PREACHER pilot about two months ago, just before WonderCon, and I was impressed. Having never read the comics, I ordered them immediately — because I wanted to immerse myself more deeply in that world.
PREACHER, a comic series that ran from 1995-2000, was created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon (who both act as executive producers on the series). Jesse Custer (the eponymous preacher, played on the show by Dominic Cooper), his ex-girlfriend Tulip (Ruth Negga), and their Irish vampire “friend” Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), travel the world looking for God after Jesse is infected by Genesis, the infant “asteroid” offspring of an angel and a demon.
I feel as though I am seeing PREACHER through different eyes than my peers. The TV show was so good it inspired me to read the comics. From what I heard from comic book fans, the show doesn’t follow the comics exactly, but is very good in its own right. It will make a perfect compliment to AMC’s other legendary horror-comic adaptation, THE WALKING DEAD.
Here are a few key observations to keep in mind going forward…
Tulip is white in the comics; black in the show.
Nerds may recognize Ruth Negga from her role as Raina on AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. In the first episode, Tulip’s race isn’t an issue, but I suspect it will become an issue. I don’t imagine that an interracial couple would be warmly welcomed by a small, conservative Texas town.
The TV show is set in Texas for the first season.
Though the comic sends our trio of antiheroes around the world, the first season keeps everything tucked away in Annville, Texas. Executive producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have promised that future seasons will see Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy globe-hopping, but for now, they have enough to deal with in Texas.
Cassidy first meets Jesse, not Tulip.
In the comic, when Tulip comes back into Jesse’s life, she has brought along Irish rake Cassidy. But in the TV show, Cassidy first meets Jesse in a bar fight, where the sheriff thinks they are friends because they are the only two in the bar who aren’t busted up.
Cassidy and Tulip’s introductions are remarkably bloody, violent, and fun.
When we first meet Cassidy, he is a bartender on a private jet, where things go sideways, impressively. Tulip teaches some kids how to make a bazooka (and gives them some important life lessons) and then uses it with impressive results.
Jesse is a lot angrier in the comic book.
Jesse comes into the comic just looking for a fight. In the TV show, Jesse has more of a quiet, almost apathetic demeanor. It is not until he is possessed by Genesis that he finally has a little passion behind his words and fire behind his eyes.
Arseface is still Arseface.
They call him “Eugene” on the show, but the prosthetics are remarkably comic-accurate. We don’t immediately learn the circumstances of Eugene’s “injury” (in the comic, his attempts to imitate Kurt Cobain’s suicide goes awry) but I imagine that, since Eugene probably isn’t old enough to have been alive when Cobain was alive, that will need to be updated.