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The Origins of The Punisher

January 3, 2015

The Punisher was one of my favorite characters. I used to think it was the desire through surrogacy to see bad people punished (in fantasy, not real life). Come on you all thought at some point that really, really bad guys should be exterminated. I think it runs deeper than that of course. There is something intriguing about a man consumed by rage that has focused his unique set of skills on ridding the world of broken pieces of society. His obsessive anguish of seeing his family slaughtered on a pleasant day in the park was the catalyst but he has since turned into a minimally human surgical tool of precision. The world is not right and he feels itís his role to remove the parts that stop it from running the way it should. Yes, he may be taking sadistic satisfaction in killing the bad guys, but his careful planning and training, and the calculated execution of an planned event demonstrate that he is a man on a mission more militaristic and strategic than just angry and vengeful. One of the best elements of good Punisher story-telling is his internal dialogue. In it, we hear how he thinks and how he sees events unfolding. Itís always deadpan, sometimes voiced within his head as dry, dark humor. It fleshes out what seems like purely violent imagery by explaining how he evaluates his quary, what heís doing to achieve his objective, how he adapts as the campaign progresses, and the eventual fatalism he experiences as things fall apart on occasion.

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