preacher


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preacher

a person who has the calling and function of preaching the Christian Gospel, esp a Protestant clergyman
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

Preacher

(pop culture)

Through the 1990s, DC Comics has nurtured its Vertigo series, comics written for an adult audience that have featured a variety of horror titles. Among the series’ top entries is Preacher, written and drawn by the team of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. The series is named after Jesse Custer, a preacher who had become possessed by Genesis, a new entity created by the mating of an angel and a demon. Genesis had great strength, but lacked willpower. In his possessed state, Jesse has the power to speak the Word and bend people to his desires. Jesse is driven into a number of situations by his knowledge that God has retired from running the universe. He seeks God to call him to account for this patent neglect of creation.

Jesse is accompanied by two friends/colleagues, Tulip, his girlfriend, and Proinsas Cassidy, a vampire from Ireland. Born in 1900, as a young man, Cassidy joined the cause of Irish freedom from British rule. At one point, during Easter week of 1916, Cassidy’s brother Billy pulled him from the fight, and the pair headed for home. On the way, Cassidy was attacked by a bog monster who pulled him into the water. The next day when he struggled out of the water, he began to burn in the sun. He quickly understood his survival meant staying in the water until nightfall.

Without a teacher, Cassidy learned what it meant to be a vampire by trial and error. As he mastered his new existence, he decided to immigrate to America where no one would know him. In New York, a city that never sleeps, he attached himself to the late-night pub crowd. After running across a copy of Dracula, he finally gained a better understanding of what had happened to him. (Cassidy’s story is told in issue Nos. 30–33 of Preacher.) Over the eight decades of existence Cassidy has developed few long-term relationships, having discovered the issue mortals have with his eternal youth.

However, he has involved himself with Jesse and Tulip, and they continually find themselves getting each other out of potentially fatal situations. Cassidy is almost invincible. He has been shot, stabbed with knives, and decapitated. And when appendages were severed, they eventually grew back. The sun remains his one major enemy. He needs a regular intake of blood, but also enjoys alcohol, some drugs, and tobacco.

Preacher ran for sixty-six issues, and was quickly reprinted in trade paperback editions. There were also five related one-shot special issues and a spin-off series, Saint of Killers, which was void of vampires. There have been several attempts at turning the series into a movie, and several variant scripts produced, but none have been put into production.

Sources:

Kitson, Niall. “Rebel Yells: Genre Hybridity and Irishness in Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon’s Preacher.” The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies 2 (March 2007). Posted at http://irishgothichorrorjournal.homestead.com/. Accessed August 15, 2009.
Preacher. Nos. 1–66. New York: DC Comics, 1995–2000.

Premature Burial see: Explanations of Vampirism

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References in classic literature ?
Ill-luck would have it, however, that, just then, the preacher, in a forcible exposition of one head of his discourse, leaned over upon the pulpit-desk so that very little more of him than his legs remained inside; and, while he made vehement gestures with his right hand, and held on with his left, stared, or seemed to stare, straight into little Jacob's eyes, threatening him by his strained look and attitude--so it appeared to the child--that if he so much as moved a muscle, he, the preacher, would be literally, and not figuratively, 'down upon him' that instant.
'Stay, Satan, stay!' cried the preacher, as Kit was moving off.
Well, the first I knowed the king got a-going, and you could hear him over everybody; and next he went a-charging up on to the platform, and the preacher he begged him to speak to the people, and he done it.
Then somebody sings out, "Take up a collection for him, take up a collection!" Well, a half a dozen made a jump to do it, but somebody sings out, "Let HIM pass the hat around!" Then everybody said it, the preacher too.
The preachers had high platforms to stand on at one end of the sheds.
"But thee know'st thyself as it's hearing the preachers thee find'st so much fault with has turned many an idle fellow into an industrious un.
Ye war afinding faut wi' preachers a while agoo--y' are fond enough o' preachin' yoursen.
And, toy that I was of this monster, the discussion of Omar and the Preacher was resumed.
"I trust so," said Arthur: "and, though I don't want to see 'brawling in church' legalised, I must say that our preachers enjoy an enormous privilege--which they ill deserve, and which they misuse terribly.
The low winter sun beamed directly upon the great double-doored entrance on this side; one of the doors being open, so that the rays stretched far in over the threshing-floor to the preacher and his audience, all snugly sheltered from the northern breeze.
I told her I didn't know what they believed, and didn't care, and that I certainly wasn't going to be a preacher.
And he touched the walls, and they widened out, and she saw the organ which was playing; she saw the old pictures of the preachers and the preachers' wives.