The Boys season four dropped on Amazon Prime recently... Are you watching?

The show, since its start in 2019, has been a hit with fans, but it wasn't always that way behind the scenes. Originally The Boys was intended to be a feature film directed by Adam McKay (Step Brothers, Anchorman) around 2009. Due to differences with the studio, the film entered development hell. It was reworked as a television series and picked up by Cinemax in 2016, with Seth Rogan set to produce. It was subsequently bought by Amazon MGM Studios and as they say, the rest is history.

Now on its fourth season, the show has been known to deviate greatly from the source material to reflect current events, but the satirical edge established by comic writer Garth Ennis is still there.

The Boys #1 dropped in 2006 via Wildstorm/DC. Recently a 9.8 CGC graded issue sold for $321 on eBay.

The series ran for six issues before it was cancelled. It was fortunately picked up by Dynamite where it ran from issue 7 to 72. The series spun off into several mini-series', including Herogasm, Highland Laddie, Dear Becky and Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker.

The success of the Prime Video series has caused the show to spin-off itself into two different series, The Boys Presents: Diabolical, an animated anthology show, which premiered in 2022. And then, Gen V, a live action series in 2023.

Gen V itself is based loosely around the series arc, "We Gotta Go Now," which encompasses issues #23-30. The run also features an epilogue of sorts for Ennis' other series The Preacher, when Proinsias Cassidy shows up as a bartender, which reveals that the two are featured in the same universe.

Who is Garth Ennis?

Garth Ennis is a Northern Irish comic writer born in 1970. In 1987, he befriended artist John McCrea, and in 1989, they began work on their first series, "Troubled Souls," which was featured in issue #15 of Crisis. The story ran for twelve issues until issue #27, excluding issue #20. The series was eventually compiled into a graphic novel in 1990. Not much sales data is available for this specific issue, but it could be a great pickup for Garth Ennis completists.

After a few Crisis related series and daliances with the "Troubled Souls" characters, Ennis began writing Judge Dredd, taking over for creator John Wagner. In 1991, he joined up with DC Comics and began writing Hellblazer, through DC's imprint Vertigo. This led to his 66-issue run of The Preacher, with artist Steve Dillon. It's considered Ennis' watershed work.

Issue #1 (CGC 9.8) recently sold for $255 on 6/15/2024 on eBay.

The series was eventually turned into an AMC TV show in 2016, which ran for four seasons before concluding in 2019.

Garth Ennis has been quoted as saying he was not originally a big fan of superheroes and often found them to be ridiculous. He said all of that changed when he read Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns. Along with being a big fan of Miller, he said that writer Alan Moore is a big influence, and credits him with showing him how important creator owned work is. Ennis has managed to create his own very distinct characters while also working on titles like Punisher, Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, Thor and many others.

Speaking of original characters, Garth Ennis resumed work with John McCrea for DC Comics for The Demon Annual #2, which introduces their "The Hitman" character. This issue recently sold for $250 (CGC 9.8) on 6/02/2024 via eBay.

Graded copies of The Hitman #1 goes for around $100 based on 2023 figures. The series subsequently ran for 61 issues.

For those new to Ennis' work, one can see a thorough line with his satire and overall disdain for organized religion and corporate politics. He's been a lifelong atheist, which can obviously be seen in The Preacher.

His work, along with other boundary pushing creators in the late 80s and 90s led to the softening of the comics code. His work is often tied to that of Avatar Press, who he worked for at periods. His push for free speech and anti-censorship paved a path for writers and artists to push outside of the big-two of comics publishing, DC and Marvel. And even within those structures he helped stretch what even they were willing to publish, whether it being through Marvel's Max or DC's Vertigo imprints, both aimed at mature readers.

So as you watch The Boys, Gen V or past episodes of Preacher, thank Garth Ennis and creators like him, for pushing art forward in bold and exciting ways.