EXCLUSIVE GREG RUCKA “PUNISHER” INTERVIEW
By: Neil Byce, Lead Punisher Central contributor
Just Recently I was able to have a great opportunity to chat with the amazing Greg Rucka about his work on 'The Punisher'. Questions for the interview came from various sources that included Punisher Central contributors and fans on Twitter and Facebook. This exclusive interview will be released on Punisher Central in a 3-part series. I hope you enjoy reading Greg's responses as much as I did :)
Neil Byce: Why did you end up in the creative process choosing to have this book be less centered on Frank Castle and instead turn the Punisher into something more mythic?
Greg Rucka: I think the book is entirely about him actually. I just think it is about him in a different way then has traditionally been seen in books past. The traditional approach has been, Frank goes on the hunt, Frank wipes out everybody, Frank continues…. We have seen that before and for me that was a retread. So one of the ways I was able to get into it was that I had to look at him from an exterior viewpoint rather than an interior one. I feel very strongly that this is Frank’s book. And actually in issue eight that just released,I had to rewrite the ending. In the draft of the script it was Frank that had gone into the office and that was my first pass at it. That would have been such a mistake if I had left it that way. I won’t speak for every writer but for myself sometimes I will write something and I will know that it is wrong and I won’t know why but I will feel that it is the wrong choice…and I did that on issue eight.
I was talking to Steve Wacker, my editor, and he said “How does this type of move help Frank?” And that is when I realized exactly what I had done wrong. I allowed myself to be distracted. Rachel does have a story, but Frank’s story is absolutely paramount. I don’t know if the pump-fake worked for everyone and if people read the ending of issue eight wondering what happened…
Neil Byce: I absolutely fell for the pump-fake! I ended up re-reading the ending of issue eight four to five times until I finally caught what took place so for me it totally worked.
Greg Rucka: I had been sending the script in pieces to Marco Checchetto and I emailed him letting him know that we really wanted to trick the reader into thinking that it was Frank going into the office. Marco is an outstanding collaborator and he totally pulled it off!
Neil Byce: When you go through the writing process are you ever concerned that you are going to make a huge mistake and just alienate readers and the Punisher fan-base?
Greg Rucka: Oh yeah! I can’t remember when it was but when it was determined that I was going to be writing this book I had more than one author get in touch with me and say “Be very careful!, Punisher fans are a breed apart”. I said, “Dude, I have written Wonder Woman and Batman”. Fraction, especially, said, “No, no, no…..you have no idea until you start into Punisher”.
Neil Byce: It does seem like the awareness of Punisher as an iconic persona has exponentially grown over the past few years, even though the fan-base may be smaller than other more well-known comic book characters.
Greg Rucka: I am aware that there may be a group of Punisher fans out there that may not like the direction that I am taking the series…that may not like the fact that Frank Castle doesn’t say very much. I suspect that this is the same faction that is afraid that Frank and Rachel are going to kiss at some point. That is never gonna happen. It would be an absolute betrayal of everything Frank Castle is. I was offered the job of writing Punisher in really what has been a golden-age for Frank. He has benefited from some great writing in recent history. That is seriously intimidating. Garth Ennis casts a huge shadow. MAX Frank is all but definitive and now Jason has wrapped up his run….these are high marks and as a fellow writer you do not want to screw it up!
This exclusive interview will continue with a part 2 coming to Punisher Central soon!