Garth Ennis

From Academic Kids

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True Faith by Garth Ennis & Warren Pleece

Garth Ennis is a Northern Irish comics writer, best known for the DC/Vertigo series Preacher, co-created with artist Steve Dillon. His work is characterised by extreme violence, black humour and profanity, but also by an interest in male friendship and an amused disdain for organised religion. Frequent artistic collaborators include Dillon, Glenn Fabry and John McCrea.

Ennis began his comic-writing career in 1989 with the series Troubled Souls. Appearing in the short-lived but critically-acclaimed British anthology Crisis and illustrated by McCrea, it told the story of a young, apolitical protestant man caught up by fate in the violence of the Irish 'Troubles'. It spawned a sequel, For a Few Troubles More, a broad Belfast-based comedy featuring two supporting characters from Troubled Souls, Dougie and Ivor, who would later get their own American comics series, Dicks, from Caliber in 1997.

Another series for Crisis was True Faith, a religious satire inspired by his schooldays, this time drawn by Warren Pleece. Like the two Troubles stories it was collected as a graphic novel in 1990, but religious protests led to it being quickly withdrawn from sale, apparently on the orders of publisher Robert Maxwell. It was later republished in 1997 by Vertigo.

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Preacher by Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon; cover by Glenn Fabry

Ennis shortly after began to write for Crisis' parent publication, 2000 AD. He quickly graduated on to the title's flagship character, Judge Dredd, whose strip he scripted on and off for a number of years.

His first work on an American comic came in 1991 when he took over DC Comics's horror title Hellblazer, which he wrote until 1994. Steve Dillon became the regular artist during the second half of Ennis's run. The creative partnership established went on to create Preacher. From 1993 to 1995 Ennis and John McCrea worked on another DC title, The Demon, during which they introduced super-powered contract killer Tommy Monaghan, aka Hitman, whose own series would allow their creative partnership to continue when The Demon ended.

Ennis' landmark work to date is the sixty six-issue epic Preacher, which he co-created with artist Steve Dillon. The highly original tale of a disillusioned preacher with supernatural powers, searching (literally) for a God who has abandoned His creation, it drew plaudits for Ennis from all sections of the media; the Guardian newspaper voted one of the Preacher collections its book of the week, and film director Kevin Smith described it as "More fun than going to the movies."

A less high profile series, Hitman nonetheless ran for 60 issues (plus specials) from 1996 to 2001, veering wildly from violent action to goofy humour to a surprisingly tender examination of male friendship under fire.

Other comics Ennis has worked on include Goddess (with Phil Winslade), Bloody Mary (with Carlos Ezquerra), Unknown Soldier (with Killian Plunkett), Pride and Joy (with John Higgins), Heartland (with Steve Dillon) and War Story (with various artists) for DC; The Darkness (with Marc Silvestri), and The Pro (2002, with Amanda Conner) for Image Comics; The Punisher (with Dillon) and Thor (with Glenn Fabry) for Marvel Comics; The Authority (with Fabry) for Wildstorm; Just a Pilgrim (with Ezquerra) and 303 (with Jacen Burrows) for Avatar Press.

Ennis currently works on the Punisher: Max series from Marvel.

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