Who is The Punisher?

The Punisher, a.k.a Frank Castle is an iconic character that has graced the pages of Marvel comics and TV screen ever since his debut in 1974.  Frank Castle, the birth name Francis Castiglione, is an Italian-American vigilante character created by writer Gerry Conway and artists John Romita Sr. and Ross Andru.

One important feature that makes him lovable is his ability to fight crime and deal with the bad guys without having any superpower whatsoever. But he hasn’t been given enough attention by the mainstream audience like the other superheroes as he deserves, maybe because of his brutal nature and willingness to kill? But why, he has every reason to, given the fact that he suffered such a tragic experience which has propelled him to kill any remorse for bad guys. Imagine having your wife and two kids killed by a mob simply because they witnessed a killing.

But now that The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal is taking on the role of The Punisher in season 2 of Daredevil, maybe he’d get the attention he’s always deserved. But you may be lost and confused in the show because there are so much Punisher information and history you do not yet know. So to give you a heads up, here are some interesting Punisher facts you need to know.

Interesting Punisher facts you probably didn’t know

1) He was first introduced as a villain

Frank Castle was first introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man #129 in 1974. Here, he was a villainous character hired and sent by his friend The Jackal to hunt down Spider-Man, who was accused and framed of killing Norman Osborn. But Frank soon realized that it was all a ploy by The Jackal to have the superhero killed, and as much as he loves killing, he hates getting fooled. So he teamed up with Spider-Man and battled against the actual villain, The Jackal.

This comic gives us a clear picture of how the villain turned into the anti-hero he now is. Greg Conway, the creator, actually intended for Frank to be a villain, but as soon as the story began in that comic, it was clear he was better suited as an anti-hero.

2) He doesn’t just kill, he punishes

His name as the Punisher isn’t random. There are occurrences in his past, which made him the man he is today, and it is his goal to punish the bad guys in the most gruesome ways possible. Of all these occurrences, the one which pained him most was the murder of his family. The Costa mob killed his wife and two kids, and the emotional and psychological reaction Frank had during this moment was final. It was right then that the Punisher was birthed. He first tried to bring his family to justice by legal means, but seeing that the Costa family was highly connected and untouchable, he took the law, vengeance, and punishment into his own hands. 

3) His mission is personal

Unlike other superheroes and vigilantes, The Punisher doesn’t go after bad guys because he was trying to save the city. He kills bad guys because bad guys killed his family. It’s all personal for him, and he treats every criminal as if they were all connected to his family’s death.

4) He fought in Vietnam

For a man who could kill like it was second nature, you could easily guess that he’s highly trained in the killing. And yes, Frank was a soldier in the Vietnam War. During his years as a soldier, he developed his killer instincts and became a deadly weapon in the United States Military. He trained with the Navy SEALS, airborne School and the Australian Special Air Service Regiment, and became indispensable in physical combat, firearms, and vehicle operation.

But all those years left a scar in his life. He became a born killer, a killing machine. And this was what made it so easy for him to take up the mantle of punishing and killing bad guys after his family was brutally murdered.

5) The creator got his inspiration from The Executioner

The Executioner, the Punisher; you can obviously see the semblance here, right? The Executioner, a.k.a Mack Bolan was created by Don Pendleton and has become a very famous character that has appeared in hundreds of books. All these books are all about Mack’s crusade against crime and how he dealt with the mafia, just like Frank. Mack also fought in the Vietnam War, just like Frank. His innocent family was also murdered as a result of the activities of the Mafiosos and has thus resolved to destroy every one of them.

Mack got his nick, The Executioner, from being one of the deadliest snipers in the Vietnam War. He was created before the Punisher, so you could see where The Punisher’s story came from.

6) Frank is an anti-hero

The Punisher

Do you know who an anti-hero is? It is a person who goes against the law to do what the law is supposed to do. The Punisher is known to have broken the law countless times in his pursuit of justice. He has no reluctance to execute the bad guys. He doesn’t catch them and leave them at the doorstep of the police station. No, he takes the law completely into his hands and does the execution himself. But you can’t blame him; he had his whole family brutally murdered while the law stood and watched, unable to get their hands on the murderers, simply because they couldn’t get enough evidence? So what if he leaves other bad guys for the cops to find? They’ll just let them walk out, especially when they are so powerful and untouchable. But no one is untouchable to Frank.

7) His firepower is like never before seen

When you talk about superheroes who love guns, The Punisher tops the list. His array of firearms is unmatched by even the likes of Batman, Deadshot, or Grifter. Frank’s got a tactical gear and weapon for every possible situation he finds himself and has made use of them all. On an Instagram post by Jon Bernthal, he stands in front of an arsenal of rifles and machine guns arranged against the wall.

8) The iconic skull symbol

There are two origins of the skull symbol. The first was that Frank chose the symbol while in Vietnam hunting a sniper called “The Monkey.” He left a message of death for The Monkey by painting a skull on a prisoner’s chest and his chest.

The second origin story was, the skull kept appearing to him in his dream after the death of his family, as a reminder that he has vengeance to serve.

9) He has died and returned to life

Hardly is there any hero who hasn’t tasted death at least once. Frank first tasted death by suicide. He was brought back as an angel to do Heaven’s bidding.

The second time, he was dismembered by Daken, Wolverine’s son. He was reconstructed by Morbius and Man-Thing and brought back to life as a hulking monster with a terrible firearm. At the end of that comic, he was healed and returned to his normal form.

10) He destroyed the whole Marvel Universe

As an anti-hero, the Punisher hardly ever befriends other Marvel heroes. He even threatens them sometimes. In one of the versions, Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe, the death of his family was portrayed to have been caused by a battle between superheroes and villains. Feeling that the heroes, as well as villains, are responsible for his family’s death, Frank goes to war with all of Marvel Universe, killing every superhero and villain alike. He ends his crusade after killing his best friend Matt Murdock, Daredevil.

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