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Meeting Steve Dillon While Cosplaying Jesse Custer [The Road to Angelville: Bleeding Cool's 'Preacher' Week]
With Jesse (Dominic Cooper), Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) and Tulip's (Ruth Negga) mission to drag a still-missing God back to Heaven being sidetracked by the small matter of Tulip being dead, AMC's adaptation of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's comic book series Preacher rages along "The Road to Angelville" heading into its third season premiere on Sunday, June 24, at 10 p.m. ET.
In its honor, The Road to Angelville: Bleeding Cool's Preacher Week is giving faithful fans interviews with executive producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg; showrunner/executive producer Sam Catlin (Breaking Bad); actor Colin Cunningham (TC); actress Betty Buckley (Gran'ma Marie L'Angell); and Gilgun. We're also looking back at the seasons 1 & 2 for clues to what's ahead; reflecting on our "cosplay year" as Jesse Custer at New York Comic Con (NYCC); and throwing out some surprises that hopefully make the wait for Sunday a little more bearable.
All of this leads to the return of Taking Confession, Bleeding Cool's Preacher live-blog, on Sunday, June 24, starting at 10 p.m. ET; with some sweet "pre-game" stuff happening as our live-blog site goes live at 9 p.m. ET (at Bleeding Cool's website). Join us as we share our thoughts on 'Angelville' in real time – and stay tuned because there might just be a live post-show happening…???
I had the distinct honor and privilege of meeting Preacher artist Steve Dillon (Hellblazer, 2000AD, Warrior Magazine) at New York Comic-Con in October 2016, at what would sadly turn out to be his last: Dillon would pass away not long after, at 54 years old. What follows is a post I wrote about the artist at the time; and how those few minutes speaking with him turned into something pretty damn memorable:
"I was sitting at my kitchen table this morning with a two-gallon cup of coffee, two-finger tapping-away at the keys as I was trying to hammer-out an article on my first-time experience as a cosplayer when my girlfriend gave me the news: Steve Dillon had passed-away aged 54. It felt like someone had cattle-prodded the back of my brain. Steve Dillon was one of my favorite comics artists over the years…with a space reserved for him on my personal comics artists' "Mt. Rushmore." There's nothing I can say here that hasn't already been said about his Punisher work; the indelible influences he had on John Constantine through his time on Hellblazer; his contributions to 2000AD and Warrior Magazine; and so much more.
But first-and-foremost, I will always remember Steve Dillon as the co-creator and artist of Preacher…a work that means even more to me now as it did when it was first published. While I'm not exactly the first person one would go to for deep artistic interpretation, the one thing that always stuck-out in my mind when it came to Dillon's work on Preacher was his ability to force the reader to really see the shocking and horrific things that were taking place…putting us "in the moment" and forcing us to watch. It's one of the reasons why it's only one of two graphic novels (Watchmen being the other) I make it a point of re-reading every year; and why I'm excited with the direction of the television show.
It's also the reason why the news was so heart-breaking. The article I was writing was built around my first-time cosplaying at NYCC as Jesse Custer from Preacher, but at no point did I ever expect to meet the legend himself. But there he was: Steve Dillon sitting at the HERO Initiative table in Artist's Alley…though I was in such shock that I'm pretty sure I did one of those cheesy sitcom double-takes between looking at him and his sign on the table just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating. He was just finishing-up some table time, accepting donations for HERO in return for an autograph or a photo. He looked like he was enjoying some well-deserved quiet time so I decided not to bother him and to check out the lead table to see if he had autographed anything for charity that I could get my hands on.
Once the gentlemen I started speaking with saw who I was dressed as, they immediately asked me if I had anything on me that Dillon could autograph (thank you, DC Comics, for those Preacher giveaways) and that "he would definitely want to see this." And before I could even process what was about to happen, I find myself shaking hands with Steve Dillon. Over the next few minutes, he would ask me why I went with the television version (told him I couldn't pull-off the curls); express his genuine surprise at how influential Preacher still remains to this day; tell me that he enjoyed the first season of the television show and is looking forward to the next season hitting-on more plot points from the books; and discuss his thoughts on conventions. Before wrapping-up, I was able to smile and shake his hand once again as we posed for a lasting memory I would have with one of my artistic heroes.
To be clear, this was not an hour-long luncheon between two old friends…but it was a few extra minutes that an artist took to speak with a fan. It's those few extra minutes that I'll never forget. So RIP, Steve Dillon…if God's gone AWOL again, there's a seat there waiting for you."
Not like you need another shot of adrenaline to get jacked for Sunday's Season 3 premiere of AMC's Preacher, but just to be on the safe side… here's a look at the official trailer, teasers, sneak previews, and behind-the-scenes videos to help blaze your trail to Angelville:
PREACHER is a dramatic thrill ride that follows West Texas preacher Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), his badass girlfriend Tulip (Academy Award nominee Ruth Negga) and an Irish vampire named Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) as they embark on a road trip to find God and are thrust into a twisted battle spanning Heaven, Hell and everywhere in between.
The 10-episode third season follows Jesse's quest for God which takes him back to the place he's been avoiding his whole life: home. Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy return to Angelville, the Louisiana Plantation where Jesse was raised, and find old grudges and deadly obligations await them. With the help of his friends — and a few enemies — Jesse will need to escape his past…because the future of the world depends on it.
Ian Colletti, Graham McTavish, Pip Torrens, Julie Ann Emery, and Malcolm Barrett also return for the third season; joined by new series regulars Betty Buckley (Supergirl, Split); Colin Cunningham (Blood Drive, Falling Skies); Jeremy Childs (The Last Castle, Nashville); Liz McGeever (Star, Nashville); Jonny Coyne (Turn, Alcatraz); Adam Croasdell (Reign); and Prema Cruz (Mozart in the Jungle).
Image Credit: AMC