Characters Appearing: Punisher
The 'Nam #52-53
Issue(s): The 'Nam #52, The 'Nam #53
A fine action story if you look past the poor portrayal of the Viet Cong, but nothing particularly interesting when it comes to the Punisher's character. And the art's not very good at all.
This story does imply that Frank got the idea of using a Skull as his symbol from the VC sniper's monkey skull symbol...
...but since Frank's battle with the sniper isn't shown to be a particularly significant event for him, that origin doesn't have much resonance.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place during the Vietnam War. I'm a little unsure of how canon this series actually is. Issue #41 made it very clear that the Marvel super-heroes were just comic characters. So it's odd to now be using the same series for the Punisher's origin. The question of whether or not The 'Nam is in continuity is further complicated by the character of Ice Phillips, but that's more relevant to the second Punisher story in the 'Nam series so i'll discuss it that entry (which is actually placed prior to this one).
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
In 1987, at a comics convention in my hometown, artist Michael Golden held a small Q&A session to promote/discuss Marvel's new hit book "The 'Nam". Most of those there asked more technical or technique-related questions, while I asked about inspiration for creating these stories, such as the music of the '60's and the popular Vietnam-era films at that time, such as "Platoon" and "Full Metal Jacket". I recall him singling out the film "Hamburger Hill" as inspiration. Anyway, while it may seem far-fetched considering the book's bargain-bin status today, in '86-'87 "The 'Nam" was met with much critical acclaim and brisk sales; in the month of its premiere (cover date December'86), it outsold even the X-Men! Unfortunately, creator turnover and all the turmoil and headbutting that accompanies it helped kill the sales, so for a boost it was decided to introduce the pre-Punisher Frank Castle into the mix, without any illumination on the character's formative times in the Nam. So essentially, the Punisher's appearances here can safely be described as "gimmicky".
Posted by: Brian Coffey | October 21, 2017 12:04 AM
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