Bleeding Cool recently ran a story looking at the possibility that Marvel Comics may have already cancelled their character The Punisher. That this was a decision that may have been made during the Black Lives Matter protests, as the use of the Punisher logo by police, army, militia, white supremacist groups, QAnon events, Sean Hannity on Fox News, and Proud Boys-types came under increased scrutiny. A renewed spotlight was shone on the Punisher logo's use by those involved with the riots on the Capitol last week, with calls for Marvel to enforce its trademarks, reinvent the character or rid itself of the Punisher entirely.
Well, if Marvel Comics isn't willing to do any of this publicly right now, former Marvel writer/artist, co-founder of Image Comics and creator of Savage Dragon, Erik Larsen may be doing it for them. In today's Savage Dragon #256, we see a reprise of this scene from Savage Dragon #200.
Seeing an unidentified member of the Vicious Circle being attacked alongside the rest of the crew by Dragon and company. Wearing a top intended to suggest he might be the Savage Dragon version of The Punisher. Today, we get a better look at him, as well as a name – The Executioner.
The Executioner novels from the sixties were the basis for Gerry Conway's creation of The Punisher back in the seventies. Conway told The Comics Journal "I was fascinated by the Don Pendelton Executioner character, which was fairly popular at the time, and I wanted to do something that was inspired by that, although not to my mind a copy of it. And while I was doing the Jackal storyline, the opportunity came for a character who would be used by the Jackal to make Spider-Man's life miserable. The Punisher seemed to fit."
Benedict Milhous as a name may reference Benedict Arnold and Richard Milhous Nixon, which may underline that he is a bad guy serial killer – and that is how Erik Larsen is reframing The Punisher. The Punisher has been described as a serial killer in critiques over the years, Larsen makes this version of the character exactly that. But he doesn't leave The Executioner in the skull shirt, the character is transformed by blood from Vicious Circle human shark, Mako, into a monster.
So he doesn't even have a Skull shirt image, just a shark head. As for the rest of the comic book, we have Malcolm Dragon reading the previous issue to find out what his parallel-universe dad was up to while Malcolm was convalescing from having his arms torn off as you do. And he picks up on some recent criticism of the comic from the internet.
Before doubling down on that…
Is it me or would The Punisher make a good name for some over-sized sex toys? Has anyone already done that? No, I am not googling for it.
SAVAGE DRAGON #256 CVR A LARSEN (MR)
(W) Erik Larsen (A/CA) Erik Larsen
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