When enjoying an adaptation of another form of media, it’s natural to want to visit the source material out of curiosity. The Hunger Games and Harry Potter are perfect examples of the source material benefiting from the interest of new readers inspired by the film adaptations. A good story on screen can definitely inspire a fan to want to learn more about the elements of the story not shown in the adaptation, or read ahead of the films in order to see where the story is headed. And while it’s completely understandable to have a desire to visit the source material, Preacher is one of the exceptions to doing so. Because reading Preacher just might ruin the show for you a little.
Preacher, like The Walking Dead, is a comic book based television show with a lot of adult themes in it. The two follow their source material in a way that allows fans to enjoy the story even if they’ve already read the comics. But unlike The Walking Dead, which new readers can jump into and enjoy separate from the show considering that some events unfold differently, Preacher is a faithful adaptation with a lot of backstory yet to be revealed on the show within the first issues of the comic. The comic book waste no time submerging the reader in to its crazy world. Things are thrown at the reader immediately with awareness that this type of storytelling is normal in comics. There’s no true buildup to the world of Preacher. All of its cards are on the table by its first few issues in order to move on to a bigger story. Consisting of sixty-six issues, the story moves fast and into absurdness very quickly. The show takes the longer route to the same destination as it has added a lot of padding to prolong and flesh out the story told in the source material, and there is where the problem lays for someone interested in reading ahead in the comics.
The show is a slow burn compared to the comics. In reality, the show hasn’t even scratched the surface of the story it plans on adapting. While still remaining faithful to the material, it also adds so many layers to the story that was originally not in it. But it never seems to feel like it’s too far off from the comic despite the show being filled with new material so far. It feels like more of a prequel to the comic at the moment than a word for word adaptation. So if you’re planning on reading the comic, then the first issue alone will ruin a few episodes of the first season of the show.
Preacher is an amazing comic book with a dark, yet humorous, story in it. Telling someone not to read it is something no true comic book fan would do. But in order to enjoy the show to its full potential, the mystery of it needs to remain intact until it’s ready to reveal what the story is actually about. The bold choice to give out very little information as opposed to the comic’s choice to throw out all of the backstory needed to jump right in to the story works well for the show. There’s a lot to enjoy in both the comics and the show. But if you’ve never read the comics, then you will have a blast enjoying how the story is being handled on the show without the knowledge of what happens next. The show is very faithful to the characters of the comic, and offer a lot of character development the comic wasn’t able to due to the pace that the story moves within it. So enjoy the show for what it is instead of what it was adapted from. Because the confusion of what happens next works well for this story. And the more ridiculous things get, the more you’re sucked in to the story.
Preacher is a brilliant comic book worthy of all of the praise it has received since its run in the nineties. It’s well worth the read for any comic book fan and newcomer to the madness of the television series. But the surprises of the show will be completely compromised if the source material is read first. So it is suggested that fans of the series avoid the comic for the moment until the show has laid all of its cards on the table as well. So hold off if you can, because it will be worth it when everything is finally revealed.