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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.
Premature Burial see: Explanations of Vampirism