Preacher: Five Things The Cult Comic's TV Reboot Needs To Be Ace

It's one of the greatest comics ever but the problem is, when a story's so rich and gripping and packed with wonderful characters, it'll be no mean feat adapting it for the screen...
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It's one of the greatest comics ever but the problem is, when a story's so rich and gripping and packed with wonderful characters, it'll be no mean feat adapting it for the screen...

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Fortunately, all the talk from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg suggests they're reverential to Garth Ennis' source material and desperate to do it justice. With Breaking Bad producer Sam Catlin also on board to develop a Preacher TV series for AMC, fans of the comics can hopefully rest easy.

But anyone who loves a book has been burned by the horror of seeing it poorly adapted, so here are five things Cohen, Goldberg and Cohen need to make their Preacher series a hit that doesn't tarnish the source.

Fearlessness 

It's about a Texan preacher named Jesse Custer (check out the initials…) who gains the power of the word of God after being possessed by the offspring of an angel and demon. The 75 issues of Ennis' comic include cocaine-snorting angels, ultra-violence, sexual perversion and a corrupt organisation protecting the increasingly moronic bloodline of Christ. So it’s a bit controversial. But if AMC take the Golden Compass route and tone down the religious content, they'll neuter the story.

The Saint of Killers and Arseface 

The former’s an Angel of Death with echoes of Unforgiven’s William Munny who’s set for an unholy collision with Jesse. The latter’s a suicide attempt survivor whose unusual looks – his name’s pretty self-explanatory - propel him to unlikely fame. These two supporting characters epitomise Preacher – this is a story rooted in the Old West and the battle between good and evil. It’s also dark, twisted and very, very funny.

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Jesse’s imaginary friend captured correctly 

In print, it works brilliantly, with a movie legend –rather femininely christened Marion, to give you a clue – appearing periodically to spout advice like ‘You kin talk the talk, now let's see ya walk the walk’ and inspiring Jesse to be a man. But would this work on screen? If it seems like a naff impression or a dodgy special effect, it could jar horribly with the show’s more serious aspects.

The Essence of Cassidy 

The fantastically-named Proinsias Cassidy isn’t a shiny-skinned Twilight vampire, nor a sex-crazed, mostly shirtless True Blood bloodsucker. He’s an alcoholic, drug addict, woman-abusing bastard. As one character remarks ‘I honestly don't believe he's an evil man. Just careless. And thoughtless. And terribly, terribly weak.’ But he’s a brave and fiercely loyal friend as well. If the TV series is going to do the character justice, we need to see him warts and all. Oh, and Rogen and co must cast an actual Irish actor – we don’t want any Tom-Cruise-in-Far-And-Away style accents here, thank you very much.

A Jesse who's up to the job

Cover artist Glenn Fabry admitted basing many of his Jesse images on Johnny Depp but we’d imagine he’s too busy playing variations on the same role for Tim Burton to step into TV. It’s also such a varied role – Jesse’s a friend, lover, fighter, orphan and saviour of humankind – that the success of the entire show hinges on an actor up to the task.

The fact that a joint statement from Rogen and Goldberg included the sign-off ‘Humperdoo!’ - a favourite saying of Arseface – and that they have Ennis and artist Steve Dillon’s seal of approval means we’re hopeful that Preacher’s being handled with the care it deserves. Here’s hoping that AMC can fill the gap left by Breaking Bad with a similarly stunning show.

Follow Lewis on Twitter, @LewisBazley