Thursday, July 12, 2007
Ennis' Preacher made my marriage possible!
Garth Ennis and Steve Dillion's Vertigo series Preacher ran for 66 issues and spans nine collected volumes. Preacher, for the ten of you that haven't read this great book, was at its core about three characters, Jesse (the central character), Tulip (Jesse's true love), and Cassidy (the Irish vampire). The book was a journey quest of sorts as these three characters were on a search for God because they believed he had a lot to answer for with the state of the world being what it is. Actually, a bigger part of Preacher is these character's quest for what friendship and love meant and while Preacher had the over the top trademark elements of Ennis's work, ultimately Garth Ennis is a romantic at heart and Preacher is his greatest testament to that.
Preacher started in 1995 (a few months after I opened Alternate Reality Comics) and Kate (girlfriend at the time) and myself got to visit with Garth when he attended the San Diego conventions of 1995 and 1996. He did a cross country tour of the United States in September of 1996 and stopped by my store and afterwards we all went to a local pub (when you're with Garth of course you have to go to a bar!).
In November of 1996 I wrote Garth a letter asking if I could propose to Kate in the letter page of Preacher (he answered his own letter pages, unlike most books which had the editors doing the letters page). At that point I'd been reading comics for twenty something years and I never heard (or read) of anyone proposing within a comic book's letter page. Garth called me at my store two weeks later and told me that he'd run my letter and that it would appear in issue #25. At the time, it took four or five months from the time you wrote a letter for it to get published so I didn't even tell any of my close friends for fear of the surprise being ruined. Garth ended up calling me again saying that my letter wouldn't appear until issue #26 because DC was running a house ad in issue #25 so I had to wait another month!
I knew that Kate always looked at the Preacher letters pages because Sequential Tart was formed by a small group of gals (Kate included) that were on this mailing list called the Garth Ennis Estrogen Brigade and they (as Sequential Tart, I believe) had appeared in earlier letter pages.
Well Preacher #26 (the second issue of Cassidy's back-story and actually a better issue to have the letter appear because #25 had some old lady vampire coming out of the swamp on the cover) arrived the first week in April of 1997. Kate came in that Wednesday, picked up her new comics, flipped through Preacher, but just passed over the letters page. I'm thinking, I've waited this long, I can wait until she reads it, as I didn't want to ruin the surprise. So she went home, read the issue (and the letter page), and a half hour later she comes back to the store and said: "Of course I will!" I was of course happy, gave her the ring and we've been married since December of 1997 (ten years this December, that's almost 100 years in Hollywood years!).
An humorous aside to my proposal: a couple of months after my letter appeared someone proposed to his girlfriend in the letter's page of The Incredible Hulk and the editor said he thought that was the first time anyone had done that and a couple of weeks after that another guy proposed to his girlfriend in Strangers In Paradise and Terry Moore said he thought that was the first time that was done. So my friend Joel emailed them saying that his friend (me) was the true uber geek and had beaten them to that idea.
The first photo of me as Cassidy (based on the cover of Preacher #26) is an illustration that a customer of mine, Jon Tilly, surprised me with after I told him about my proposal and I've never looked better! The second photo is the illustration that comic art master Jill Thompson (of Sandman, House Of Secrets, and Scary Godmother fame) did for us that we used as our wedding invitations!
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