A fan’s take on “Preacher” coming to AMC and who should play Jesse Custer


It was a time of the preacher, when the story began…

Thanks to actor/producer Seth Rogen, AMC has announced that it is developing a televised adaptation of “Preacher,” the much-loved and controversial comic book series by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. “Preacher” follows the violent, blasphemous romance of Jesse Custer and his girl Tulip, as they hunt down God – yes, that God – while their heroin-addled vampire friend Cassidy gets them into and out of trouble with the men hunting Jesse – The Saint of Killers, an invincible revenant who destroys everything in his path, and the evil Herr Starr, the Allfather of The Grail, a secret society that has kept the blood of Christ pure by inbreeding Jesus’ children and grandchildren for thousands of years.

Also, a slurring, drooling, suicide-by-shotgun-survivor named Arse-Face is in the mix along with a pair of Sex Detectives who will do anything and anyone for the right price. “Preacher” is ultraviolent, sexist at times, and sure to offend almost everyone, but trust me, it’s brilliant. It’s one of the most important works of romantic art I’ve ever encountered and if the producers of this show are faithful to even ten percent of what is in the graphic novel, it will be one of the most controversial shows every made.

I have never been a huge fan of comic books. I have nothing against them, I just always felt comic book culture was a club with its own language and I couldn’t begin to catch up on the myriad ins and outs. Also, the idea of superpowers starts to get boring, repetitive, and anticlimactic; one deus ex machina after another. I tend to gravitate toward stories with recognizable humans. I was introduced to “Preacher” just as the short series was ending but it was as important as when I first saw Penn & Teller, when I read “A Confederacy of Dunces,” and when I truly understood Raising Arizona.

“Preacher” is the story of a man who doubts his faith; not just doubts it, is angry at the way this messed up world was set in motion by a supposedly loving God. As a confused and surly 21-year-old from the Bible Belt, it felt like Garth Ennis was speaking just to me. Out of all the superpowers in all the comic books, I would wish for Jesse Custer’s. It’s not just that he has the “Word,” the power to make anyone do anything he says, he has the human power to stand tall and take sides.

His daddy told him, “You’ve gotta be one of the good ones, because there’s way too many of the bad.” Jesse is everything I wanted to be and maybe the only fictional character I can say I constantly ask, “What would Jesse do?”

The many attempts to adapt this profound, funny, and important story have all been frustrating in their misfires. Kevin Smith tried for years to get a movie made starring Ben Affleck as Jesse Custer. Then Sam Mendes potentially had a deal to make one starring James Marsden.

“You’ve gotta be one of the good ones, because there’s way too many of the bad.”

Even at three hours, no movie could begin to capture the scope of the 75-issue graphic novel. This is what is so exciting about a TV series of “Preacher” on a channel that is clearly not afraid to provoke its audience and expand a story to its limits.

Granted, there’s no way the TV incarnation can be as violent and sexual as the original but all in all that’s alright, fans like myself just want to see what they choose to keep and how that will play out on the small screen.

“Preacher” is a distinctly American story and specifically Southern. This is a fireside cowboy fable, one of true love, of honor and goodness and comedy. It is proudly perverse.

There will be much talk of casting and while I love seeing new talent given a chance in a lead role, only one man can play Jesse Custer. He just needs to gain back some of his imposing muscle, dye his hair black, and put on a pastor’s white collar. He has the drawl, the jaw, and the look of a failed Christian about him. That man is Matthew McConaughey.

Picture McConaughey lighting a cigarette and purring at a couple of rednecks who just picked the wrong fight, “I eat little f**ks like you for breakfast on my days off from kickin’ ass.”

Picture it.

No one else will do.

Special thanks to contributor Matthew Holtzclaw for his take on a Preacher TV adaptation. Matthew is a seasoned and sought after professional magician from New York City. You can check out his official website here.