Based on the popular 1990s cult comic book series of the same name, the critically-acclaimed Preacher follows Texas preacher Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), his hell-raising ex-girlfriend, Tulip (Ruth Negga), and Irish vampire Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) on a wild, dark journey of revenge. The trio are the epitome of the comic book world’s anti-heroes – lead characters that blur the boundary between good and bad, in a world where it’s difficult to know who to trust any more, and what’s right and wrong. Here are six more unconventional protagonists from the pages of some of the greatest graphic novels.
Spawn, created by the comic book superstar Todd McFarlane, first appeared in 1992, and chimed with audience’s hankering for a ‘hero’ who didn’t play strictly by the rules. Spawn started life as Al Simmons, a US Marine and CIA operative was assassinated by his own partner, and sent to hell for killing innocents during his government work. Simmons returns to Earth five years later in the form of the creature Spawn, after a making a demonic pact. The comic book was turned into a film in 1997.
Good/bad rating: Despite using his forces for good, Spawn finds himself constantly battling against being drawn back to the dark side. But he battles hard.
Created as one of the X-Men in the Seventies, and turned into a series of highly successful films starring Hugh Jackman, Wolverine is a mutant with animal senses, superfast healing power and extraordinary physical skills, as well as his infamous claws. Hugely popular, because of, or in spite of, his brooding nature and murderous rampages; but what do you expect from a man who accidentally killed his childhood friend due to his mutation?
Good/bad rating: The sideburns are bad, but the claws are very, very good
Imagine X-men, created by a British writer with a fondness for conspiracy theories, and you have Watchmen, the cult classic series by Alan Moore from 1986 that was turned into a stunning 2009 film by Zack Snyder. Set in an alternate reality New York of the 1980s, Watchmen sees a band of retired superheroes reform to prevent a plot to wipe out their number. Leader of the Watchmen is Rorschach, a masked vigilante who wears a fedora and trench coat, and believes in absolute good and evil, with no grey in between – hence his distinctive white and black face mask.
Good/bad rating: Despite a firm moral compass, Rorschach believes in punishing crime by any means possible. That is, not exactly by the book…
Sin City’s Marv is the anti-hero’s anti-hero: a seven foot, crew-cutted scar-faced bruiser, prone to blackouts and psychotic behaviour. He first appeared in Frank Miller’s graphic novels Sin City in the early Nineties, and, described as ‘Conan in a trenchcoat’, Marv is one punch short of being an all-out maniac.He was played by Mickey Rourke in the Sin City film adaptations from 2005 and 2014.
Good/bad rating: Marv’s got a heart of gold. But fists that don’t quit.
With his flaming skull, leather jacket, deadly chains and fire-drenched bike, Ghost Rider looks more like a terrifying villain than a saviour. In fact, Ghost Rider is Johnny Blaze, a stunt rider who, to save his ailing father, made a pact with the devil, which results in him turning into his blazing, skeletal form at night whenever he is surrounded by evil. Best not to end up in a jail cell with him. He first appeared in a Marvel comic in 1972, and was turned into a cartoon series, and was played by Nicolas Cage in two films in 2007 and 2011.
Good/bad rating: Making a pact with Satan is bad; but that leather jacket is very nice indeed.
As played by Dominic Cooper in the superb new hit series (based on the graphic novel by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon from 1996), Preacher, aka Jesse Custer, is the ungodliest holy man you ever set eyes upon. Possessed by a supernatural being that is the offspring of both good and evil, Custer sets out to find God and strengthen his own faith, before all hell breaks loose.
Good/bad rating: He drinks, he smokes, he fights. He’s so bad it’s good.
Preacher Season One (18) is available on DVD & Blu-Ray™from Monday 17th October 2016 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.