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Here comes -- gulp -- 'Preacher'

"Preacher," a Vertigo imprint, and popular comic, is

"Preacher," a Vertigo imprint, and popular comic, is to be adapted by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg for AMC. Credit: Vertigo / DC Comics

"Preacher" is finally coming to television, and this time we mean it -- or at least AMC means it, and as proof, Wednesday ordered a pilot to be developed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Rogen pal, and producer of many films like "Pineapple Express," "Knocked Up," and so forth).

Cast TBA. But with Rogen and Goldberg aboard, that shouldn't be too much of a problem, right? Expect a 2016 arrival if this goes to series.   

In the world of comics, and in the world of television, this is big news, indeed: Intensely controversial and violent enough to make even Kurt Sutter ("Sons of Anarchy") avert his gaze, "Preacher" has avoided TV and movie capture for years. Now, AMC is about to bag the prize, and with it:  a.) Potentially huge ratings and a viable companion to "The Walking Dead"  and b.) Potentially enough controversy to keep it occupied for years to come.

But we're getting  ahead of ourselves as usual. Let's deal with the excitement factor first. Rogen last night tweeted to followers:

"I am unbelievably psyched to be part of team that might bring Preacher to TV. Been a long road. We won't ---- it up."

His choice of the word "might" is important, for that certainly indicates that even Rogen, with all his success, is well aware of the convoluted history -- a movie that never came to be, and an HBO adaptation attempt that was still-born also.

Fans who know the comic book well -- I do not -- know this history and know the concerns. "Preacher," about a Texas preacher who has come to question his faith, is consumed by a monstrous thing -- words have not yet been invented to adequately pinpoint its exact godless nature -- which is a perfect blend of absolute evil and absolute good. It is the unholy progeny of an angel and Satan, and now the preacherman has it. He travels the country, mostly the west, with companions -- one a vampire, I think -- in search of God, and let's just say all hell breaks loose.

It's a wild ride, and one very much esteemed by comic connoisseurs. But its general demolition of religious iconography along with the fundamental precepts of the Judeo-Christian tradition have given producers, ahem, pause.

By ordering this pilot, AMC has either decided that those concerns will be addressed by Goldberg and Rogen -- who are not, you will  note, exactly renowned for their subtlety -- or that the network will simply damn the torpedoes, and deal with the consequences when they arise. 

Either way is an intriguing approach. Moreover, it's best to note that a pilot order is not a series order. 

The actual comic book series hasn't been published (I believe) since the early 2000s, but remains a great fan favorite. The creator is an Irishman, Garth Ennis. has a nice, neat, sparse capsulation of him:

"Garth Ennis is a writer and creator from Northern Ireland who has been involved in comics such as Dark Horse's 'Judge Dredd,' Vertigo's 'Hellblazer' and 'Preacher,' DC's 'Hitman,' and Marvel's 'The Punisher.' His work is characterized by extreme violence, black humor, profanity, grim morality, and a disdain for conventional superheroics."

Here are the quotes from AMC:

“Every once in a while you find a project where all the elements line up beautifully. With ‘Preacher,’ it starts with a bold, compelling, and thought-provoking comic book series from Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon and a whole lot of fans who already know Jesse Custer, Cassidy, and Tulip,” said Joel Stillerman, AMC’s executive vice president of original programming, production and digital content. “Add to that the passionate and talented Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin, an incredible producing team in Neal Moritz, the Original Film team and our good friends at Sony Pictures Television, and we have everything we need to be VERY excited to move forward on ‘Preacher.’”

“Preacher has been our favorite comic since it first came out,” Rogen and Goldberg said. “Garth Ennis is one of our idols and it’s an incredible honor to be working on this. We promise we won’t make too many [male anatomical] jokes and ruin it.”



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