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The Punisher

posted Jul 10, 2017, 2:48 PM by Viktor Zólyomi   [ updated Jul 10, 2017, 2:48 PM ]
Frank Castle, better known as the Punisher, is a vigilante antihero from the Marvel Universe who, unlike the majority of comic book heroes, sends bad guys not to prison, but to the morgue, and that's assuming there's anything left of the bad guys in question to bury. He wears a signature white skull insignia painted on his chest that criminals fear like death itself. He made his first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man issue 129 in 1974, just three years after the release of the film Dirty Harry, and went on the become a massive success with readers. He has starred in numerous comic series of his own, appeared in video games including the fantastic 2005 third person shooter by Volition (i.e. the guys who made the Saints Row games), his tale was adapted to the big screen on three separate occasions, and he recently stole half the show in the second season of Netflix's Daredevil, and is now set to have his own show pretty soon. Oh, and there's this:

One might not expect such success from a not quite family friendly comic book character who doesn't even have any superpowers, but just like Dirty Harry, he struck a chord with the fans and we just can't get enough of him despite (or perhaps precisely because of) the extreme levels of violence he unleashes on the villains. The Punisher is an inherently tragic character, having lost his family in a mob hit and having concluded that the only way he could move on was by raining down lethal punishment on criminals everywhere, both for the sake of his own inner peace and to save others from suffering his fate.

Yet despite the dark and tragic nature of the character, over the years a good number of Punisher stories displayed a healthy amount of humor. Humor of the darkest form, of course, as found in, for example, the Garth Ennis comic series "Welcome Back Frank" and the aforementioned video game by Volition. Which is precisely why the character provides such natural inspiration for the Con City novels; a vigilante who feeds an angry mob boss to polar bears in a zoo and makes it come across as hilarious would be right at home in the batshit crazy world of Con City. Then again, it's probably good that the Punisher does not live in the world of Con City. There wouldn't be enough bad guys left alive in Con City to write stories about by now.