Frank’s Next Mission

(G; Superhero Satire) A vigilante serial killer's one-man war on crime is escalated to the next level.

Story Notes

My old friend John Garcia (1954-2007) did this first in 1990-something. Frank Castle/The Punisher was created in 1974 as an anti-hero in The Amazing Spider-Man #129 by Gerry Conway (writer) and John Romita (costume). Conway ripped off the Executioner novels by Don Pendleton to bring Vietnam War veteran issues into superhero stories. Editors Carl Potts and Dan Daley took the premise away from superhero continuity, basing new stories on then-current news and organized crime stories. Punisher comics never sold Spider-Man numbers, but gained a dependable fanbase of military vets and crime fiction fans. Daley and Potts got like-minded writers (Chuck Dixon, Larry Hama) and artists (Joe Kubert, Michael Golden, an inspired John Buscema). Frank's real-world populary inspired Marvel to reintegrate him back into its superhero continuity in 1997, alienating everyone who built that popularity.

Crazy as it sounds in the post-Endgame era, but Marvel was on fiscal life support during in the 1990s. The company was being gutted by corporate raider Ron Perelman in 1995 (laying off 275 employees), went bankrupt in 1996, and eventually taken over by Isaac Perlmutter and Avi Arad in 1998.

John showed the absurdity of using Frank in superhero stories. I would have posted his version verbatim, but the original art was lost years ago. This story combines my memory of art I saw over 20 years ago, updated references, and my usual over-rendered glory.

The Marvel editors of this story are Nick Lowe and Kathleen Wisneski, who worked on Punisher MAX: The Platoon.

Tools and Materials

  • 10.5 x 16 inch live art area
  • Strathmore 500 bristol smooth paper
  • Blick Black Cat india ink
  • Short-handle round #2 sable brush
  • Ruling pen (borders)
  • Speedball #515 (thicker lines)
  • Hunt 22B (medium lines)
  • Hunt 102 crowquill nib (super-thin lines, default lettering)
  • Speedball B6 (bold lettering)
  • Ames Lettering Guide (3.3 over two-thirds)
  • Adobe Photoshop (production, corrections)

Dave M!, mining from the past again.