By Nattalie Tehrani, 16, South HS (Torrance)
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When you think of comic books, you usually think of superheroes, villains and spandex outfits, right? Sure, there are plenty of cool superhero comic books, but sometimes you might want a change—a graphic novel with normal human beings. Well, maybe “normal,” isn’t the accurate adjective to use for the comic book Preacher. This comic book is so bizarre, it’ll send your head spinning.

I was in my local comic book store on a gloomy Sunday, going through the trades in the back of the store. Trades (or graphic novels) collect an entire story arc of the regular series and publish it as a single book. As I was scanning the shelf, I came across a comic titled Preacher. I don’t know why, but curiosity struck me and I started flipping through it. Four pages in, I knew this was one absurd comic, touching on subjects my 16-year-old mind had never been introduced to. It contained one-eyed hillbillies, aliens, alcoholic preachers, angels and demons. The comic is like a crazy, violent Western movie.

The story is so entertaining and creative, I found myself thinking, “How the heck did they think of this?” The story of Preacher begins with a boy named Jesse Custer, who is being raised by his psychotic grandmother, who’s obsessed with the idea of Jesse becoming a preacher, and an abusive uncle whose sanity is questionable. As Jesse gets older, he realizes that he cannot live with his family any longer, and runs away from Angelville. As he travels aimlessly, not knowing what to make of his life, he meets the love of his life, Tulip O’Hare, and together they rebel against society and fall madly in love with each other.

Everything was perfect, until Jesse’s uncle and his hillbilly buddy found him and dragged him back to Angelville, leaving Tulip to think that Jesse abandoned her. Tulip was broken-hearted, and Jesse was miserable and trapped. He had no choice but to do as they wished, and so, he became a preacher. That’s when things become peculiar. As Jesse was doing his usual preacher duties, something flying from the sky burnt the church where a Sunday mass was taking place. Everyone died. Everyone except Jesse.

The thing that hit the church is the child of a devil and an angel, that goes by the name Genesis. This thing, which is more powerful than God, has been locked up for many years and due to a bunch of ignorant angels has escaped. Not only is this a disaster, but to top things off, God himself has left, for he is no longer the most powerful. A lot to take in, isn’t it? It gets even better.

Genesis takes over Jesse’s body making Jesse is now the most powerful being in the world. After Genesis takes over the preacher’s body, there’s a reunion between him and Tulip, a new friendship with a dark-humored, Irish vampire named Cassidy and a new quest—a mission if you will. A mission to find God, and tell him to start doing his job again, and find out exactly where and what Genesis is and how to get it out of Jesse’s body. During their journey they encounter many people, monsters and villains, but with every challenge or bump in the road the odd threesome become stronger.

One thing for sure, Garth Ennis, the author of the comic, has more creativity in his pinky than I’ll ever have in the entirety of my life. I should also take a moment to say that Steve Dillion is one remarkable artist. His work is dark and eerie, which captures the essence of the comic so well. He takes Ennis’s dark humor, Western influence, and a dash of his obviously twisted mind, and creates masterpieces on every page of the book. The duo created one the most unconventional comics to date.

Some may tell you that Preacher is a story about religion, others may say that it’s about the supernatural or some may describe it as a violent Western comic. However, I believe that when you look past the blood, the violence, the mutants and angels and whatnot, you get a story of love and friendship. Through thick and thin Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy stick together. If one falls behind, they go back and save each other, without questioning their own lives. Who would have thought that a lesson of life could be learned through such insanity?