Hey everybody, it’s time for another character spotlight in Marvel Snapshot! It occurred to me that I’d never done a spotlight on the Punisher! So why not get it done right now! This controversial character has been up and down over his lifetime, and I’m aiming to shine some light on his history in this commentary, so people can realize or remember, that Frank Castle is pretty cool. He was created by Gerry Conway, Ross Andru, and John Romita Sr. (Amazing Spider-Man #129, 1974).
Frank Castle was a family man and former Marine, who witnessed his wife and children killed by Mob violence. He then turned to vigilantism, and began an all out war against crime. He has no problem killing his enemies, and this is what brings him into conflict with the superheroes of the Marvel Universe, as well as the police. His first appearance was in Amazing Spider-Man, where he attempted to kill Spidey in retaliation for Spidey allegedly killing Norman Osborn (after the events of the Death of Gwen Stacy).
There were a few more appearances alongside Spider-Man, more of a partner than antagonist, though. The next big production was a limited series, and shortly after that he was awarded with his own title. The Punisher really hit into high gear through a spin-off title, The Punisher War Journal! My first ever experience was through this title, and as you’ll see below, Wolverine was a big influence as to why I bought those two issues. A throw-down between him and the Punisher was an epic fight that still is one of the best I’ve seen to this day!
Crossovers galore happened when the 90s hit, but Frank still had his own little corner to play in most of the time. Another quirky little mini-series was called Punisher: POV, and had Frank in a more supernatural adventure. This tale by Jim Starlin and Berni Wrightson was very underrated and should be part of any Punisher fan’s collection. In the mid-90s, Marvel actually cancelled all three Punisher titles due to lack of sales, but Frank still made some appearances. The 200os brought a hard edge to the Punisher through the vision of Garth Ennis. Punisher fans hold this one in pretty high regard, but not having read it, I can’t personally comment, only to say I’ve heard it’s very hardcore, but well received.
Over the years Frank has been put through many trials and tribulations, and even killed (by Wolverine’s son, Daken), resurrected by Morbius, and has fought alongside the Legion of Monsters, as well!
Check out some of the images below and my recommended reading list!
Punisher: POV #1-4 (limited series – 1991)
The Punisher War Journal #6 & 7, 55-57 (1991)
The Punisher #28, 29, 37, & 54 (volume 1)
The Punisher: Frankencastle #17-21 (2010)