Preaching to the Choir: TV & Comics Through 4 Episodes
For a couple of years you have seen my Preacher posts, so I thought I would give my brief thoughts on what has been going on so far, and let everyone know a little about the comic tie-ins for the major characters. The TV series has definitely strayed from the comic storyline, but the characterizations have been comparable across the platforms. Aside from some laughs and gore, characterizations are about all the viewers are working with at this point.
I have a two-fold luxury in watching this show. First, I read them all. Second, I watch with my soon-to-be wife who has no background for this whatsoever. I’m much more judgy than her due to my background knowledge, but also she asks the questions for the parts she doesn’t understand. So I have a built-in confusion meter sitting next to me who tells me which parts are a little blurry.
In Preacher the comic, the thing about Jesse is that he didn’t preach. The church blew up in issue #1 and the comic went out on the road. On TV we have the story of Annville, a story we never really got to read. Theory for this could be any of a multitude of reasons. One could be sheer production budget. Building some sets, renting/renovating a church, etc. is a whole lot cheaper than shoots from location each week. It’s also clear to the former reader, not to the TV viewer, that they are setting up heavily for some story lines in the comics.
Salvation, a great arc named after a small town, but which started at issue #41, is being fused into the introduction of the entire series. What they are actually doing is blending Annville and the town of Salvation. There was actually more of Salvation in the series than there was Annville. But, as small Texas towns go, for a TV series it makes sense that they use them as the same town. Salvation was one of the most memorable arcs of the series, and for all intents and purposes separating Annville and Salvation isn’t really necessary. It’s a natural blend and a natural introduction. As readers know, they must be on the brink of showing Odin Quincannon’s dark side. It’s gonna get messy!
Wonder about that weird Western-style murderous beginning to episode 2? It’s the first appearance of The Saint of Killers. How about the introduction to “The Grail” with a mysterious man in a hat in a movie theatre in episode 3? It’s Herr Starr! The woman is assumed to be Featherstone. Everyone has been waiting for the price of #13 to go even more nuts, but the episode passed with little fanfare. In all honesty I think the non-reader didn’t realize that this was him. If you read it, you knew immediately.
For the non-reader, confusion over Saint and Starr are understandable. Their momentary introductions do nothing but bring in questions for the viewer. I think this is the perfect technique in production; they are giving a nod to the reader who will always complain that the show is different than the book. It’s like they are saying “Hey! Don’t worry! You saw Saint and you saw Starr! The best arcs are still coming!” Was that bloody kiss between Tulip and Cass just random or not? There are a lot of deliberate clues placed throughout.
I know I’m going sacrilegious here, but we saw what happened after the characters “found themselves” and reached a comfort level with their roles in the subsequent seasons of Game of Thrones and Walking Dead. I’m definitely not ready to anoint Preacher in this light yet, but I think this is going to pick up to Breaking Bad plot pace, rather than slow to Better Call Saul. So far it’s in the middle.
I’m enjoying this slow burn. I don’t need all the arcs at once, and I’m completely sure all hell is about to break loose. Quite literally. Stay tuned.
Over on the comic side…
For the speculation people nothing has really changed: you need #13 first Herr Starr and #42 first Odin Quincannon. Neither is a new spec, but keep looking! #13 is probably the strongest play in the series other than #1. We have only had a Starr cameo in episode 3, so grab a #13 before the first full appearance!
Don’t have time to read all 66 issues? You have time for these! Pick up the one-shots. If you want to know the character stories before they hit the screen, and be less confused, without too many spoilers of what’s to come for them, grab these Preacher Specials (which are very affordable). All these characters have already appeared in the first 4 episodes. I could see them have full origin episodes, so they could be spoilers in that way, but not really for the future of the series.
- Saint of Killers (1-4 mini-series) – This is clearly the plotline they are using with his introduction.
- The Story of You-Know-Who (Eugene aka Arseface origin) – Don’t know how much more they are, or are not, going to tell his story. They already alluded to what happened to him.
- One Man’s War (Herr Starr origin) – Must read. Great background on him and The Grail.
- Cassidy: Blood & Whiskey – Also a must read. I’ve been pointing out this to people since I saw that pilot.