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  • September 18, 2022 6 min read

    Punisher is a fictional antihero appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by Gerry Conway and John Romita Sr., and first appeared in Amazing Spider-man #129(Feb 1974).

    Punisher's alter-ego is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran named Frank Castle(born Francis Castiglione ). The Punisher is a vigilante who employs murder, kidnapping, extortion, coercion, threats of violence, and torture in his war on crime. Driven by the deaths of his wife and two children, who were killed by the mob during a shootout in New York City's Central Park, the Punisher wages a one-man war on the mob and all criminals in general by using all manner of conventional war weaponry. His family's killers were the first to be slain. He is a master of martial arts, stealth tactics, guerrilla warfare, and a wide variety of weapons.

     Publication History

    The Punisher was conceived of by Gerry Conway, writer of The Amazing Spider-Man, who helped design the character's distinctive costume. As Conway recalled in 2002, that, "In the '70s, when I was writing comics at DC and Marvel, I made it a practice to sketch my own ideas for the costumes of new characters — heroes and villains — which I offered to the artists as a crude suggestion representing the image I had in mind. I had done that with the Punisher at Marvel." Conway had drawn a character with a small death's head skull on one breast. Marvel art director John Romita, Sr., took the basic design, blew the skull up to huge size, taking up most of the character's chest. Amazing Spider-Man penciller Ross Andru was the first artist to draw the character for publication.

    Stan Lee, then Marvel's editor-in-chief, recalled in 2005 that he had suggested the character's name:

    "Gerry Conway was writing a script and he wanted a character that would turn out to be a hero later on, and he came up with the name the Assassin. And I mentioned that I didn't think we could ever have a comic book where the hero would be called the Assassin, because there's just too much of a negative connotation to that word. And I remembered that, some time ago, I had had a relatively unimportant character ... [who] was one of  Galactus' robots, and I had called him the Punisher, and it seemed to me that that was a good name for the character Gerry wanted to write — so I said, 'Why not call him the Punisher?' And, since I was the editor, Gerry said, 'Okay.' "

    The Punisher first appeared in Amazing Spider-man #129. The character was a hit with readers and started to appear on a regular basis, teaming up with both Spider-Man and other heroes such as Captain America and Nightcrawler throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. Conway said the Punisher's popularity took him by surprise, as he had intended him only as a second-tier character. During his acclaimed run on Daredevil, writer and artist Frank Miller made use of the character, contrasting his attitudes and version of vigilante action to that of the more liberal character of Daredevil.(1)

    Fictional Character Biography

    Born in New York to parents of Italian ancestry, Francis Castiglione is a former U.S. Marine Captain. Before Frank joined the Marines, he was studying to become a Catholic priest but changed his mind because he was unable to forgive those who did evil. Also prior to his enlistment, he married his wife Maria who was already pregnant with their first child. During his time in the United States Marine Corps (USMC), Castle graduated from Basic Training, then went on to Infantry School. Immediately following that, he went through the USMC's Reconnaissance, Force Reconnaissance, and Sniper Schools. Attaining dockets, Castle was permitted to go through U.S. Army Airborne School, and U.S. Navy Underwater Demolition Team training, becoming qualified as a Navy Seal (Sea, Air and Land). He served in the Vietnam War in a special forces unit as a point man. For heroism in the line of duty, he was decorated with numerous medals, including the Purple Heart.

    Shortly after a tour in Vietnam, Castle, his wife, Maria and their children were in New York's Central Park for an afternoon picnic when they witnessed a Mafia gangland execution; an informant had been hanged from a tree. Seeking to eliminate all witnesses, the Costa crime family murdered them on the spot. However, Castle survived. Even though Frank was able to identify all of the shooters the police were unable to help Castle in his quest for justice; they were tied in too deeply to the powerful Costa family. He decided that the only punishment criminals might receive is that of physical destruction. Shortly thereafter, he emblazoned his body armor with a symbol of a death's head, and exacted his revenge. Since then he has waged a one-man war upon crime, taking the name Punisher.(2)

    Skills and Abilities

    Frank Castle is an expert in military and guerrilla tactics, marksmanship, close quarters combat, infiltration, and demolitions he also has special operations training.

    The Punisher has a Kevlar uniform which protects him from most gunfire, though he can still suffer concussive injury or penetration from sufficient or repeated impacts. The bright white skull in his chest is used both to intimidate his enemies and to lure their fire to the more heavily protected area of his armor. The design was supposedly taken from either a Vietcong sniper, or the demon Olivier. The Punisher has been using technology derived from super-villains and other costumed characters, such as the Green Goblin's pumpkin bombs, a modified Goblin Glider, and a Doctor Octopus tentacle that he can shrink down for easy storage via Pym Particles.

    Aside from his physical prowess, the Punisher also has complete control of his mind and consciousness, providing a strong resistance against psychic and telepathic powers that are used against him. When Letha and Lascivious tried to control Punisher's mind, Punisher scoffs at their attempt saying "It doesn't feel different from any other day".(3)

    Supporting Characters

    Despite wanting to work alone, the Punisher has a few supporting characters to help fight crime. Microchip assisted Castle by building and supplying weapons and technology and providing friendship. During the "Civil War", he was aided by Stuart Clarke for a short time. Various police officers and detectives have assisted the Punisher, most notably Lynn Michaels and Lt. Martin Soap. Lynn Michaels was a police officer who teamed up with Castle to take down a serial rapist and later quit the force to become a vigilante. Martin Soap was secretly allied with the Punisher and gave him information on his targets from the police database. On occasion, Punisher teams up with other heroes like Daredevil and Spider-man.


    The Punisher(1989)

    This movie was directed by Mark Goldblatt. The movie featured Dolph Lundgren as Frank Castle/Punisher, Louis Gossett Jr. as Jake Berkowitz,Jeroen Krabbé as Gianni Franco and Kim Miyori as Lady Tanaka. The received bad reviews from both critics and fans.

    You can check out the trailer below.

    The Punisher(2004)

    This movie was directed by Jonathan Hensleigh. The movie featured Thomas Jane as Frank Castle/Punisher and John Travolta as Howard Saint. The movie received mixed reviews and did not perform well at the box office.






    You can check out the trailer below.

    Punisher:War Zone(2008)

    This movie was directed by Lexi Alexander. This movie was supposed to be a sequel to The Punisher(2004), but was changed into a reboot. The movie featured Ray Stevenson as Frank Castle/Punisher, Dominic West as Jigsaw, Julie Benz as Angela Donatelli and Wayne Knight as Microchip. This movie also received mixed reviews from fans and extremely badly at the box office. The movie's budget was $35 Million and it only made $10.1 Million.




    You can check out the trailer below.

    TV Series

     Marvel's Daredevil Season 2(Netflix)

    Punisher appeared as a main character in Marvel's Daredevil season 2. The character was portrayed by Jon Bernthal. Jon Bernthal's performance was appreciated by both fans and critics all over the world.





    You can check out the season 2 trailer below

    Punisher(Netflix Series)

    After the success of Jon Bernthal as the Punisher in Daredevil season 2 and fans wanting to see more of the Punisher, Marvel and Netflix announced a Punisher series.

    You can check out the teaser below.

    Notable Comics(4)

    Comics  Writer(s) Artist(s)
    Punisher: Year One Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning Dale Eaglesham, Scott Koblish, Marie Javins
    Punisher: MAX Jason Aaron Steve Dillon
    Punisher: The Cell Garth Ennis Lewis LaRosa, Scott Koblish, Raul Trevino
    Punisher: In The Beginning Garth Ennis Lewis LaRosa, Tom Palmer, Dean White
    Born Garth Ennis Darick Robertson, Tom Palmer, Paul Mounts


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