My first exposure to the character of The Punisher was in the pages of Spider-Man comic books. Back then I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the guy. Was he a good guy or a bad guy? And why did he need so many guns?
I was too young to remember which issue of The Amazing Spider-Man it was that I read, but The Punisher did get his start there. He was hired by one of Spider-Man’s foes (the Jackal) to kill Spider-Man. Of course, but the end of their encounter, The Punisher realizes Spider-Man was not his enemy. They would team-up a few more times in the future.
The Punisher would show up in some other Marvel titles from time to time and even got his own book for a while. But one of his most notable appearances was in Daredevil, during the time that Frank Miller was making that book the talk of the comic book world. Daredevil and The Punisher were the yin and yang of vigilante justice.
Which is probably why The Punisher showed up in the second season of Daredevil’s Netflix series. As Matt Murdock’s Daredevil reached his stride, he runs into The Punisher, aka Frank Castle (played by Walking Dead alum, Jon Bernthal). This highly-skilled-in-weapons former marine is out to seek Vengeance in Hell’s Kitchen for the murder of his entire family. He and Daredevil bump heads and fists as one is looking for justice, while the other for vengeance.
Though the second season of Daredevil may not have had the impact as the first (but certainly not as bad an Iron Fist), Netflix still opted to give The Punisher his own series. It premiers this November… on the 17th exactly, the same day as Justice League. Yeah, I know this seems like Geek rivalry news, but I’m sure there’ll be plenty of time that weekend to go see Justice League and stay home to binge-watch The Punisher.
The plot is supposed to revolve around a further conspiracy in his family’s death. I am interested in seeing how well the character can hold his own in 13 hour-long episodes.
Because, up until now, there has not been a very good adaptation of The Punisher (or many Marvel characters before Disney took the reigns). There was the 1989 film with Dolph Lundgren, which the less said, the better. The 2004 version with Thomas Jane in the lead (and John Travolta as the villain, ’nuff said) was not much better received critically, but made enough money for Marvel to want to try again in 2008 with Punisher: War Zone. This time, Ray Stevenson played The Punisher. Third time was not the charm.
But the Marvel/Disney magic kiss of breathing new life into classic characters looks like it’s going to continue with The Punisher. Will he end up being the next addition to The Defenders. I wouldn’t doubt it.
I don’t think I need to say the most distinguishing element of The Punisher is his skull logo. It’s immediately recognizable on T-shirts. So I’ve hunted down some more unique Punisher t-shirts and logos spanning the characters bumpy career. They’re worth every penny and dime!