This is my Christmas present to myself. But, really, Christmas or no Christmas, I would buy these just as well. Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillion is as epic as comic books can get. I cannot wait to reread, discuss and rave about it with a fellow comic book nerd. Note to myself: Need to figure out how, and where to find comic book junkies. And, now for a brief story-time.
One dreary Friday evening, bored out of my wits and unsure of what to do, I took off for Barnes and Nobles, the sacred temple of all things bookish. As I slipped out of my car in the parking lot, it was dark and cold, and I cut through the wintry air with a self-resigned gait of the supremely morose. Feeling completely clueless and out of my depth, I walked past the aisles of bookshelves, and shuffled over to the comic book section. The hallowed shelf gleamed back hundreds of comics, beaming back beauty and maverick, anarchic themes. At the end of a shelf, a comic book zombie sat slumped, lost in consuming the contents of his singular pursuit, commemorating his mind's hunger for this inanimate yet life-giving object.
I felt a little shy and uncomfortable venturing into this zombie's zone lest he get disturbed or offended. So, I turned back, but felt bored and despicably weird, so made my way back to the shelf, and tried my best to be as inconspicuous and as clandestine as a phantom. Within seconds, my intense eyes prompted by my frenzied mind found what I needed.
The entire Preacher series sat blithely, and in a swift fluid motion, I grabbed the first volume, and walked over to the end of the store. Like a spy on a mission, I went undercover into a world of reading, and was as quiet, as evasive and as surreptitious as my new role of a reader needed me to be. I paced the aisles, my fingers wrapped around the book, my eyes and mind merely a window to the words and pictures in the book, all sense of reality had ceased to exist.
The world of Jesse Custer, Tulip O Hare and Cassidy was all I knew, though I was forced to slip in and out of their crazy world by the scores of people waltzing about at the bookstore. I tried to steer clear, so I could go back to observing the world of preacher, and responding emotionally without any qualms to this great work of art. I burst out laughing, gaped my eyes out, let my jaw slump, and let myself fall in love, and be whisked off into a universe of suspense, action, gore and thrill. My core had been resurrected, all was great.
Three hours later, the spell still strong and with the bookstore closing, I bought the first volume home, and in a relentless, frantic burst, finished reading. Dazzled and intrigued, I slept a few hours, and drove back to the bookstore first thing in the morning. I scooped the second volume off the shelf, and kept on reading until it was done and dusted a few hours later. And, then as any normal human would, I went back home, had something to eat, and after a couple of hours, headed back to the bookstore.
I grabbed the third volume, read and read, and again it was time for the bookstore to close. I sighed, briefly grunted my displeasure at the necessity to shut the store for the day, and debated whether to buy the book or wait until tomorrow, but the seriousness of this being the only copy of the third volume did not escape my prodigious attention. Imagining the grim implications of a grim possibility of the book being gone the next day, I realized the gloom and frustration would be too much to cope with. So I bought the third book, and read happily at home.
Come Sunday morning, again, I was at the bookstore, and also Monday evening, and Tuesday evening after work. It took five days at the bookstore to get through the series, and I waited for a week for Amazon to deliver rest of the books. The bookstore was wonderful but way too pricey, and because I couldn't wait until I had the rest of the books, I took temporary refuge at the store to continue reading.
I had slept little, had read like a madman, had been all excited and thrilled, my mind, having been a raging kaleidoscope of all the wondrous adventures of the preacher, I crashed on the sixth day, and slept a blissful fourteen hours. I remember after I read the last page, I was stumped and left contemplating and comprehending the epic conclusion of the series. I came home, and began blabbering into the emptiness of my apartment how I felt, and what I felt about the series and how the ending tied into the plot, and what it meant. I felt a sense of emptiness, a little wistful and sad like a friend was no longer around. It was bittersweet.
This is the stuff of fairy-tales for me. And, I cannot wait to be privy to more such wondrous pieces of art.