Starting today: A new feature, on Punisher. I can’t see myself reading every issue of The Punisher ever because the vast majority of Punisher comics are mediocre or worse, but I do love the character. He’s not just Batman with a Gun or Charles Bronson with go-go boots. He’s one of those characters who people either love or hate, and mostly based on their first exposure to the character. In the hands of a good writer like Garth Ennis or Frank Miller, he’s the perfect foil for a superhero, and a wonderfully complex antihero. Yes, I said complex. He’s complex because he’s so single-minded, like Batman, but what drives him isn’t nearly as clear. It’s not a sense of justice, because he’s a killer. It’s not vengeance, because he keeps going even after killing everyone even tangentially related to the murder of his family.
In these posts, I’ll look at the evolution of the character over time–and examine how various writers have helped to shape the character. Starting today with his earliest appearances.
I’ve already written about his earliest appearances, from his creation in The Amazing Spider-Man #129 through his other early appearances in that comic. Those were in 1974. A year later, he got his first solo adventure–a done in one, black and white in Marvel Preview #2, in which we first see his origin (above).
It’s ironic: It isn’t until a black and white comic that we first see any shades of gray in this character. Before this, he was simply a hitman in white boots. Now, tragedy creates depth.
But he still doesn’t have a name.
Next: He gets one in Punisher: Circle Of Blood.