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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Punisher Cast for Daredevil Season 2

I wouldn't even have to write any thing. The title alone is enough for Punisher fans out there to get excited.

It's true and it's been confirmed that Frank Castle will appear in Season 2 of the hit Marvel/Netflix TV series Daredevil! About time! Who is the lucky actor that will play this iconic Marvel badass that rubs criminals and superheroes alike the wrong way? 

John Bernthal folks. Yep, the actor from the Walking Dead and the one who played in last year's war movie Fury as Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis. Not exactly my ideal choice appearance-wise, but, hey, what do I know?

If I were a good casting agent, I'd be right there in Hollyweird as one. I'm just excited to see the character on-screen again, and I do have to admit, he is a fine actor. His performance in Fury was great, and he proves that he can handle darker roles.

Seeing this character live-action has been anticipated for a long time. Fans have been quite vocal about it! Gerry and I have been talking about it forever. LK's talked about it on here a few times, and it looks like we gonna get it! Well, sort of. 

It appears that the Punisher will start as a supporting character, but every fan is really hoping that this will be a stepping stone to the character's own Netflix series. Actually, I'm pretty sure that's exactly what it is. It's too good not to go that route. Well, at least, that's perceived by some.

Lately, I've been reading comments about a possible Punisher movie or television series on a few different sites. It seems that there are some out there that are definite nay sayers for the Punisher being a remotely interesting enough character to carry his own show or feature.

I don't think they understand the impact that the Punisher comics has had on many of his fans. The Punisher has been an engraved icon for a lot of comic fans. So let's talk about the most recent influence this character has had on fans that even invoked the concerns of the comic character's creator.

Recently, Gerry Conway, creator of the Punisher, has voiced his concerns about the character becoming a symbol for American military soldiers. The character's skull emblem has been seen on soldiers helmets, jackets, and assorted military gear.

Furthermore, the unit of Chris Kyle, the American Sniper, called themselves the Punishers, adorning their gear with the four-fang skull and tagging it on walls of Iraqi homes and buildings to mark their territory like gang members.

Kyle wrote in his autobiography about the influence of the character, “He righted wrongs. He killed bad guys. He made wrongdoers fear him. We spray-painted it on our Hummers and body armor, and our helmets and all our guns. We spray-painted it on every building or wall we could, We wanted people to know, We’re here and we want to f**k with you.”

This spurned the concern of the character's creator Gerry Conway. In TIME magazine, Conway expressed his thoughts about the subject:

“I was an anti-war person. I argued against it and certainly wrote against it. We’d probably be considered the weak-kneed hippies they’d want to punch out."

Conway was 21-years-old when he invented the character. He filed for conscious objector status before being excused from the draft for the Vietnam War on medical grounds. In the interview, he also added, "In my mind he’s not a good guy… Here’s a guy that never questions himself. He never asks, ‘am I doing the right thing?’ I think there is something really attractive about that to people.”

This is a classic case of irony. It's obvious that the Punisher was intended to be a villain but has somehow manifested into one of the great anti-heroes in comics.

While I do see Gerry Conway's point, I do see the contradiction as well. First, I do know that a character evolves and art is interpreted by the beholder. Hell, a character is even interpreted differently from writer to writer.

I make no claims to condone or condemn American soldiers who have risked life and limb for my country's freedom while using the Punisher's symbol as a...battle tactic. They are fans of the character and deserve their right to their own interpretation and what the character means to them.

After all, they are fighting for our right and freedom. Just an example of the impact the character has had on people for better or worse. I can understand Conway's point as well. I'm sure he didn't the create the character to be used as symbol to torment or mind "f**k" people with.

However, for an artist, you can't really tell or regulate how people see, are inspired by, or interpret your work. If we want to go the interpretation route, then the world of comics by itself walks a fine line concerning that.

In essence, most every superhero comic book hero is a criminal who is basically a vigilante that operates outside of the law. I can name a whole slew of characters from Spider-Man to Daredevil to Batman to Superman to the Fantastic Four to Green Hornet, Wonder Woman, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and many others.

Nobody gave them a badge and told them to go fight crime. Nope, they are all vigilantes and basically criminals according to the law. The difference is that the Punisher takes it to the next level, to the extreme. He doesn't f**k around.

No arrest made to waste tax payer's money. No trial to waste tax payer's money. No prison sentence so the convict can join some jail gang and further waste tax payer's money while still engaging in criminal activities in prison. Just a flat-out bullet or about a zillion of them.

End of story. He is judge, jury and executioner. Yes, by all accounts, he is a sociopath that happens to kill the right people as another comic writer for the character has come out and said.

The character is without a doubt controversial, and controversy is never dull. When I hear that the Punisher wouldn't make a good character for a television series or movie, I have to take pause and ask why that is?

Seriously, why wouldn't the character be a strong enough character to headline his own movie or television series? What's the reason behind that mentality? Is it because he's not redeemable, or not enough of a good guy?

Well, let's take the movie Wall Street. Who's the most interesting character in the whole film? It isn't Charlie Sheen's character. It's Gordon Gekko.

Sure, he's the antagonist, but with the Punisher it's an antagonist antagonizing the other antagonists. If we're talking about mundane, there's plenty of successful mundane television shows or movies that are successes currently.

Take NCIS, which is a show I am a fan of, but if you break each episode down, it's the same shit over and over. Someone gets killed, NCIS team investigates, team solves murder.

Then you got my personal favorite - James Bond. Every single James Bond film is the same shit over and over. A baddie threatens the world and James Bond saves the world. It's just the villain and the Bond girls are different from movie to movie.

Jurassic Park movies? Same shit over and over. Dinosaurs are a problem and humans try to solve that problem. Another personal favorite, zombie movies and TV programs! Same basic thing...over and over.

Well, if these mundane ass movies and television stories are successes, why couldn't the Punisher be? For one, you got a controversial character, highly questionable but intriguing at the same time.

Look at all the old stories of mythology. It involves vengeance to one degree or another, and I'm pretty sure Achilles, while a hero for the Greeks, was not seen as such by the people of Troy.

Two, under the right writing and vision, the Punisher has a huge range of psychosis and emotions to tap into and make an interesting series. Don't tell me that crazy people aren't interesting in the movies. Why else would they have a TV show about Hannibal Lector from Silence of the Lambs?

There's a huge range of stories that could make the Punisher television series compelling, and since the Daredevil Neflix series laid much of the groundwork for Marvel's street-level characters, it would be highly plausible for a spin-off Punisher series.

The first season could be entirely dedicated to the Punisher's origin and vengeance upon certain members of the Costa Crime Family who murdered his family. Like in the comics, Frank Castle and his family could have witnessed or been caught up in a mob hit.

Frank Castle could be in critical condition in the hospital and hear the news that his family's dead after he wakes up. While he is recovering and going through physical therapy from the injuries he sustained from the mob hit, the psychosis would start in. Flashbacks of the murder of his family and flashbacks of his military service and war experiences should pop up every now and then.

When news that the perpetrators get off completely free, the psychosis becomes even more intense when Frank Castle realizes that the law cannot touch those directly responsible for the murder of his wife and children. He may even start to hear voices of his dead wife talking to him the more and more he gets pissed off while trying to recover. I got that from Dolan's Cadillac by Stephen King, one of my favorite short-stories by the author.

There is a dramatic journey this character could go through if done right. His internal struggle can be amplified in a dramatic series. I know that some liberties would have to be taken into account for a present-day Punisher story.

I would take a bit from the Punisher Year One limited comic series concerning how Frank Castle ultimately flips out and becomes the notorious vigilante in a movie or television show. He becomes single-minded on tracking down those directly involved with his family's murders.

When it comes to petty criminals or saving some poor lady from getting mugged, save that for Daredevil or Superman. When Frank Castle first becomes the Punisher, he isn't concerned with that.

Only hell-bent on pure revenge and rage at first. Any low-level street gang or criminal is only dealt with to get information on the whereabouts of the Costa Family perpetrators to eventually track and eliminate. Nothing more and nothing less.

After all, the Punisher will have to do some investigative work and reconnaissance to find out where these guys hang out, live, and the best opportunity to take them down. He's not stupid and it's not like he's just going to know where these baddies are up front and magically drop down from a glass ceiling.

Nope, show him as a methodical strategist which all previous onscreen portrayals of the character lacked . He is, after all, special forces military and trained by the United States Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance also known as Force Recon, which is involved in military intelligence and deep reconnaissance missions.

One by one he'd gather intell, plan his hits, and track down his targets until he finds out throughout the series that there's a bigger conspiracy involved. Enter the Kingpin, but I wouldn't even introduce the character until the end of Season One to hint at the Kingpin of Crime's mysterious involvement in all this. 'Nuff said.

For Season One of the Punisher TV show, I'd concentrate on the Costa Crime Family. Even have them hire Maggia assassin Billy Russo pre-Jigsaw to try to assassinate Frank Castle in the middle or near the end of Season One.

In the finale of Season One, I'd have Russo and the Punisher have a show down that leads to Billy Russo being seriously messed up by the encounter. At the end of the final episode, I'd show Billy Russo in a hospital bed with bandages on his face or getting them removed, obviously setting up his inevitable destiny as the character of Jig Saw.

Imagine a close up shot of a bandaged face with one eye darting back and forth as a doctor's hand peels back one fold of bandage. Then cut to credits. If that wouldn't get Punisher fans excited about Season 2, I don't know what will.

I'd even introduce Microchip in the last episode of the season, and have Frank Castle refuse his services. How Frank Castle as the Punisher gives in and works with Microchip would be saved for the next season.

With the right vision and handling, the Punisher is a very feasible character for a movie or television series. It just takes the right direction and understanding of the character.

He is not a redeemable character at first or ever. That could be one of the pins that holds it together. Is he going to see the error of his ways or not? Keep the viewers questioning it while dropping hints that can go either way from time to time.

Punisher is highly questionable and even other superheroes in the Marvel Universe often shun him and his practices. Seeing Daredevil try to get in his way somewhere in a later season could further establish this. Hell, make it another character like Iron Fist or Luke Cage that goes toe-toe with him and criticizes his methods like Daredevil too.

Keep it serious. Keep the gangsters serious like in Goodfellas. Do not make them typical comic book goons - dumb and goofy.

Then again, that's just how I'd handle the character or what I think would be awesome to see as a fan. I'm sure every fan has their idea about how to handle the character for the screen.

Yes, some say that there is a problem that Frank Castle needs a emotional or a story arc, but the emotional arc is when he loses his grip on Frank Castle and becomes the Punisher. Who says an arc can only go from bad to good? It can't be the other way around? 

Especially when he is killing all the right people. Comic fans not of the character repeatedly forget that the Punisher is not a civilian who one day grew a conscious and decided to fight crime because of some traumatic experience.

Unlike most comic book superheroes, the Punisher is a soldier of war and has always been. He has been trained with only one goal in mind, and that's completing his objective or mission by any means necessary.

As a Punisher fan, this is the best comic book movie news I've heard yet this year! Now, I really can't wait for Season 2 of Netflix's Daredevil!


  1. Awesome article bro!!!! You really like Punisher and it shows! It's refreshing to read an article that is purely fan based. No mention of comics to invest in, or blah blah issue is gonna hear up. This is just one fan voicing his vision of a favorite character. I like it man, I'm a fan of these may issue lists, but reading your opinions is great too! Keep up the good work, I enjoy your articles.

    1. Whoops, I meant to say I'm a fan of your key issue lists*

    2. No worries, I understood what you meant. Thanks, brutha! I am excited and probably went a bit overboard about what I'd love to see for the character.

      Just my opinion and I'm sure the producers of the Netflix Daredevil series are rolling their eyes if they happened to chance upon this article. Just a fan geeking out, and I'm pretty sure they've already mapped out where they're gonna take the character.

      Glad you enjoy the key issues lists and the articles, and I hope to be able to keep up the goodness. Thanks for the comment, man! Always appreciated.

  2. Hi TCM,
    Since ASM 129 is way outta reach for me, is now a good time to start collecting ASM 135?

    1. I always recommend the 2nd full appearance of Punisher in ASM in #135. I am a bit biased cause I'm a fan of the character, but it has been proven to be sought out and valuable in higher grades.

  3. Sounds good, man. As long as they don' t resurrect the crapy Marvel Knights ghost version of the Punisher! It will definitely not hurt my AS 135 - and yes, I would totally recommend it, as well as AS 136, where the story is continued. Its just great to see Spiderman, the Punisher and the Tarantula duke it out!

    Max Rebo

  4. Sorry, meant AS 134 (2nd appearance) & 135 (3rd appearance) of course.


  5. Hi all,
    What about DD 183. Will it go up in value? Thanks

    1. 1st meeting of Punisher and Daredevil? Probably might see some heat also.

    2. I was wondering the same thing. I am not sure about 'first meetings' as collectable issues. I would suspect that if it does, it would really only be the higher grade copies, probably 8.5 and better. There would be more of a flipping option than long term IMHO.

      Having said that, I am still keeping my eyes out for one at a good price.

      I am truly hoping my boy Moon Knight gets into the mix. Seems more likely with Punisher being added, as I think MK is definitely in line with the vibe of the show.

      - Craig Coffman

    3. I'd love to see Netflix take on the Marvel monster or supernatural universe like Werewolf by Night, Ghost Rider, Blade, Dracula and Moon Knight. If that world were mostly contained within itself and had a few cameos of characters outside that realm, I think it would be great and could work very well with each other.

    4. Also Mephisto could be a central villain in that kind of on-screen universe.

    5. Totally love the monster / supernatural worlds. While not Marvel, I am very excited about the potential Justice League Dark. That would bring many of my favs to the screen :)

      But back to Marvel, those would be a great second type of shows and might reach out to a wholly different fan base. I know GR and Blade have been done, so they are not new. But those are some solid properties to draw from and really give the same love and care as they laying on Daredevil.

      Admittedly, I liked the Blade franchise and think he could be an easy hook to build an initial structure around.

      Though I would love to see Moon Knight in with Daredevil most :)

      - Craig Coffman

  6. Hi TCM,

    I just picked up Daredevil #2 CGC 5.5 UK edition. With all the news about the Daredevil season 2 characters do you think that this book will go up in value? From what I have read online the UK editions are even rare due to the low print run.


    - G

    1. UK or Pence copies are a niche that is growing in the collector and comic investing world. It's growing slowly as most of the market at large don't really care all that much for them now.

      Keyword is now. I'm not saying they won't ever will be. Yes, most of the UK Pence copies are rarer compared to their cents counterpart.

      I've heard a variety of arguments about why or why not people should be gunning for them. I personally don't care for them.

      I didn't grow up on Pence copies. They hold no nostalgic sentiment with me. Other people argue that cents copies are still more desirable because it holds more Americana feel to them where the modern comic book industry was born. Anything else just doesn't feel like the real thing.

      That's their argument, not mine by the way. The only argument I've heard in getting them so far is that they're more rare.

      It's all up to collectors and how many will perceive these Pence copies later down the road. If you dig Pence copies, snag 'em up. If you don't, don't bother with them.

      Do I see the niche growing? Yes! How fast or slowly I don't know. Pence copies still sell for considerably less than their cents counterparts.