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In PREACHER: THE STORY OF YOU-KNOW-WHO, Garth Ennis gave the origin story of Arseface. It is one of the few elements of PREACHER that date the series. (Another: In PREACHER #31, a flashback of Jesse shows he got to see Bill Hicks perform live and talk to him in person.) If they ever get around to adapting PREACHER as a movie or cable series, Arseface's origin will have to be updated, unless the movie/series is actually set in the mid to late 1990s.
In a very weird way, the Arseface origin story appears to be Garth Ennis' take on Dan Savage's "It Gets Better Project" about 15 years before the "It Gets Beter Project."
11 pages of a 50 page story after the cut. Garth Ennis wrote it, so the F-word and other curses are used a lot. The art is by Richard Case.



Sheriff Root's son, a high school student in a small Texas town, has a rough life. His alcoholic mother ignores him and his redneck father hates him (everyone else in town gets to brag about their sons except him). His classmates hate him because they hate Sheriff Root, and they can't beat up the Sheriff. The few joys in the Root Boy's (first name unrevealed) life are his friend "Pube" (real name Craig) and listening to rock music, especially Nirvana. Pube's older sister Catherine explains that Craig was chronically shy before he started smoking pot, and that he is just charismatic enough to be charming.

The Root Boy's life gets more desperate. Then in April of 1994, Kurt Cobain kills himself. A few of the Root Boy's classmates make some snarky remarks and cruel impression of Cobain.



Nobody had any conspiracy theories about Courtney Love hiring a hitman yet.





Um, what?



So they do. Or more specifically, Pube does. The Root Boy (maybe more out of shock/horror over seeing his best friend die than anything else) attempts to do so. But...



In "Preacher: Gone To Texas," Arseface "says" that Sheriff Root hadn't spoken to him since the night he shot himself. And that's what Sheriff Root said. Sheesh.



Catherine probably wants to ask Craig/Pube, but Craig isn't there and the Root Boy is.



And here's Ennis' take on It Gets Better:



So, the Root Boy's real problem was that he should have been tougher? I'm not sure if anyone who participates in the It Gets Better Project is going to do this. Although a few have said "It doesn't really get better, but you get used to it."

In the last panel, one of three things happen:
1. The Root Boy makes a genuine choice to turn his life around.
2. The Root Boy suffers a psychotic break from reality and no one notices.
3. The shotgun pellets damaged his frontal lobe and basically lobotomized the Root Boy, drastically altering his personality.
Knowing Garth Ennis, it could very well be all three at once.





If I was going to adapt PREACHER for a movie series or TV series, Arseface would be the sole survivor of a school shooting (but not one of the shooters). Or it could be updated by revealing the Root Boy actually *was* gay (but still a virgin) not realizing the people who called him various hateful names *didn't* think he was gay. The suicide of an early 90s rock icon dates everything too much. A rural gay kid trying to kill himself to escape constant bullying is tragically timeless.

While it is a great series and an impressive use of the comic book medium by Ennis, Steve Dillon and all the other PREACHER artists, I'm not sure if I'm much of a PREACHER fan. Ennis just wanted to attack Christianity in every way he could think of and get DC to pay him for it. And many fans, critics and professionals loved the series for it.

These days, Ennis writes THE BOYS, which I *think* is about Ennis attacking superhero comics in any way he can think of and getting paid for it, but I could be wrong.

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