Preacher - Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's comic series* about Jesse Custer, a man who finds himself in possession of a divine power - has been green-lit by AMC for development with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg in the driver's seat.
Fans of that original source material, published by DC’s Vertigo imprint from 1995-2000, know that the Preacher series is so much more than a man on a mission to track down God. It’s got a sterling supporting cast, a poignant emotional undertone, and – perhaps most of all – sensibilities and humor that range from the severely grotesque to the absurdly outlandish.
If the successful translation of The Walking Dead from comics to serial television is any indicator, we know that certain things in Preacher will inevitably change to adapt to the new medium. Some of these are likely too, well, X-rated for TV, some just aren’t likely to translate from Dillon’s deft pencils into the visual language of television, and some could just be poor enough in taste to offend the average television viewer.
Here are our five top things from Preacher that we think won’t make it onto your screens, at least not in the same way (possible TV spoilers; definitely comics spoilers).
GOD (In the Flesh)
Much of the action in Preacher is a consequence of the man upstairs leaving his throne. He also acts like a real manipulative jerk throughout. We can’t even guess as to how the God character from Preacher will be translated into a television series, but our best guess is that if he appears at all “in the flesh,” he’ll move in ways mysterious enough to avoid overt blasphemy. We’re guessing AMC will avoid kicking that potential hornet’s nest.
Odin Quincannon, who looks like Doctor Thaddeus Bodog Sivana, is a member of the KKK and a rich man who runs a small town (think Patrick Swayze’s nemesis in Road House). Oh, and he enjoys sticking “little Odin” into piles of meat sculpted into human shape. We say no way that last part happens, cuz yuck. There are things for which cartooning can soften a blow and make humorous; rendered realistically, this would just be rotten.
Perhaps nobody in Preacher suffers more humiliations than nemesis Herr Starr: the Three’s Company-style hi-jinks that lead to his being anally raped; losing a leg to cannibals; being mauled by a dog right where it counts, and more. But the most visual humor is his bald head getting scarred in a way that it looks like a giant penis. We believe this to be a little gauche for TV, and it probably can’t work on film like it does with cartooning.
Arseface is a youth who attempts to kill himself. He survives, yet his head ends up looking something like a drippy rear end. Pretty gross. Yet he’s an exceedingly cheery character whose near-death experience seems to have put his heart firmly in the right place. We know that Rogen plans to use him — he said as much in a tweet. And we think the character can work on TV, but not the funniest aspect of him. See, in the comics Arseface can’t really talk due to his injuries, so the word balloons are filled with “uh uh tummafah” kind of transliteration. These are sometimes accompanied by caption boxes showing the reader what Arseface is actually saying. The juxtaposition of his sentiments and his actual sounds can be funny, but the best is when you just have to read it and figure it out for yourself. That’s comics comedy that’s just not gonna work the same way on-screen.
JESUS DE SADE
The character, the self-described “Lord of the Gomorrah People,” may well make an appearance, but will certainly be toned down before being beamed onto basic cable. Perhaps he’ll still talk of sodomizing the animal of the day, but we doubt we’ll see him parking his bicycle in peoples’ butt cracks. His parties will certainly show S&M acts and gear among people, but probably not with sheep and varmints … and worse.
This is such a small scene we doubt it’ll make it, but we’d sure be tickled if it did. Punctuation matters!:
Images: Vertigo, with art by Steve Dillon and Glenn Fabry