Tuesday, April 16, 2013

PC POST #138: EXCLUSIVE - Greg Rucka's Q&A

posted by @Ivo

This Q&A should be released yesterday but due to the recent bombing attempt in Boston we will publish it today.
We condemn this cowardly acts on innocent people. Our hearts are with the bostonians.

We would like to thank Greg Rucka for all his work with the character and to be such a responsive writer to the fans.

We couldn't ask for better writer, in the name of the Punisher community... THANK YOU Rucka, we hope to see you soon!

So, enough talking let's go to the Q&A!

-In your opinion what the Punisher needs to be succeed in Marvel Comics?

I normally wouldn’t touch a question like this with a ten foot pole, but since you’re asking about my opinion, I’ll give it a shot. I think the Punisher needs a couple of things to work properly. I think he needs to be given space within the Marvel U, which is to say, I think whoever is working with him needs to understand that his skill set, and his place, are distinct – he occupies and works best in those corners of the Marvel U where other heroes don’t go. He gets the shadows and the corners, even further afield of Daredevil and the like.

But that’s not the most crucial thing. I think the most crucial thing is the same as anyone should give any character they’re working with – Frank needs to be respected; his smarts, his skills, his depth, all of those things need to be acknowledged. Without doing that, he just becomes some nut with a bunch of guns who’s looking to kill a lot of bad guys. That’s – arguably – a starting point for him, but that’s not the destination.

-Why you decided to retcon his war origins?

Ultimately, it was because the idea of Frank in his 70s was becoming more and more difficult to sustain. Linking him so tightly to a specific conflict (within the Marvel U) was, in my opinion, limiting, and was going to raise some real problems, to whit, at a certain point we were going to have to make excuses as to why Frank’s age wasn’t effecting him. It was already being done, in fact, and I personally found it distracting.

 If that doesn’t make sense, here’s another way to look at it. Frank is ENTIRELY HUMAN. That’s one of the things that makes him, as a character, so damn amazing, in my opinion. He has no mutant powers. He has no God-like powers. He has no cybernetic enhancements. He’s a man. A well-trained, highly-motivated, very smart man, with a mission.

And what he does, he does REALISTICALLY. That’s one of the things at his heart, I think.

If you respect all of those things, but then provide him with “cheats” to avoid the effects of age, I think you undermine that.

We didn’t make this decision lightly. Steve Wacker and I discussed this for a long time, and one of the things we realized – at least for how we wanted to portray Frank in our run – was that the actual conflict he served in wasn’t relevant. To imply that Vietnam was a “worse” war than the last ten years in Iraq or Afghanistan, or the European Theatre in WWII, or Korea – is a falss calculus. War is horrific, even when we try to label one as a “good war” (ie, WWII). We felt that you could put Frank into any conflict, and you’d still get the same service; you’d still get a man who went to serve his country and gave everything he had to that cause, and who returned home only to lose everything he was fighting for in his heart.

This is distinct from the MAX version of Frank, mind you. What Garth built, and what others have expanded upon there, works for a man now in his 70s.

-What do you think that fits better the character? 616 universe or in MAX?

I don’t think there is a better fit, per se. They each allow different ways to tell his stories. I think, obviously, the MAX universe is easier on him – he has less superhero interference, and you can go to extremes that you simply can’t touch in the 616. But I’d like to believe that we did a good job showing how well he fits into the 616, for all that. The stories have to be told differently, but I believe the character remains fundamentally the same.

-We recently saw Deathstroke cancelation on DC, do you believe that "antiheroes" have reached their "expired date"?

No. I think, as always, the publishers are making their decisions based on what will sell, what does sell, and those numbers, nothing more or less. Whether or not the antihero has run its course, I doubt it, but we may – and I stress may – be in a period of downturn. One of the things comics, and indeed all fiction, responds to is their moment. We’ve been living in some dark, dark times. One could argue that the need for simple heroism, rather than the complexity of the antihero, is more prevalent. But I’m not sure, honestly.

-Before getting this job to write the Punisher did you ever be in contact with this character in the past? (comics, movies, etc)
When were the first time?

You can’t be a fan of superhero comics and not have encountered Frank in some place, in some form. I’d not really been a fan at all, as I’ve said elsewhere, though I had loved what Garth in particular had done with the character. I can’t remember the first time I encountered him, though I suspect it was in Daredevil when I was very young.

-The best Punisher movie in your opinion: Punisher '89(Dolph lundgren), Punisher 2004 ( thomas Jane), Punisher War Zone ( Ray Stevenson)?

I’m partial to Thomas Jane’s performance, but… honestly, none of the movies have made me happy. The nature of film is to try and offer a complete story, with closure. Frank doesn’t want closure.

-Can we expect "Jad"(Alpha) appearence in comic books?

It’s possible….

Shockdingo @ GPA:

"Hey there Mr. Rucka, loved what you did, not only with Frank's revitalization, but also the creation of Cole-Alves!

Excellent treatment of the Avengers in WZ; instead of a cheap win, you had Frank really show off his smarts, but also his limits and the surprising opinions people like Thor have towards him.

All in all you mad a well rounded work that I'll fondly remember for the rest of my days.

Onto the questions:

First off, thank you for the very, very kind words.

1.) Is there anything in particular you would have liked to do with the book, but were unable to do?

Oh, sure. There are always ideas and plans, some of them just don’t execute, some of them just change. But if there’s one thing in particular I’d have liked to do, honestly, it’s that we had a plan for three books in a sequence – Punisher, War Zone, and then War Journal. I’d have loved to have seen that all the way through. The run on The Punisher got cut a little short, but War Zone was pretty much what Steve and I had envisioned from the start. Journal would’ve followed Frank once he’d been released by S.H.I.E.L.D. and would’ve put him in a team, but very different from Thunderbolts; rather, it would be a strike team of operatives, and it would’ve been some very wet work.

2.) Frank is an engaging character, what does he mean to you and where would you have wanted to take him in a future work?

I’ve said elsewhere that I didn’t have much fondness for the character before Wacker offered me the job, but that changed very quickly. He is, without question, one of my favorites I’ve ever written for either Marvel or DC, frankly. I’m extraordinarily proud to have gotten to write him, frankly.

Future work, well, that’s an open question. The thing about Frank is that he can change, but he’s never going to stop being on mission, so to speak. So I don’t know where I would’ve taken him, honestly. More, I suspect he’d have led me, if that makes any sense – you don’t boss Frank around, he kinda tells you who he’s going after next, and why.

3.)Are there any villains he wanted to involve in a storyline but was unable to?

Not really. We were very careful about who he could go up against, because the options were fairly limited – there are only three ways a conflict with Frank ends, and one of them (him dying) isn’t really an option. Of the other two, one you can only use sparingly (a stalemate) and the other is that Frank wins, which normally means whoever he’s targeting is six feet under. So from that perspective, we had to use characters that could be killed, even if they weren’t.

That said, it’d have been fun to throw him against one or two of the bigger guns in the 616, just to see the result. A Doc Ock/Punisher set-to would’ve been something to see….

Deep_Sleeper @ CBR

Did you have a definitive ending in mind for your Punisher run or did you have an idea of what would sustain the title 8-10 years had you gotten the reader/retailer support?

There was a definitive ending in mind for The Punisher and for War Zone, both, and we were able to reach them, although the ending of The Punisher was rushed, in my opinion. I wanted to take the fall-out post Gerard’s death further, for instance, and would’ve liked to have spent more time on the build-up to Cole-Alves’ taking her out. But in the main, we did what we set out to do.

As I said in the previous answer, there was a plan for a War Journal book that could’ve run for quite a while, and I think could’ve been sustained if we’d had the chance to try it.

Also, I have not liked or wanted to read a Punisher book consistently prior to reading your Punisher run, so thank you for a great run.

Heh, well, you and me both! Sounds like we both changed our minds!

XxSnakeProxX @ CBR

Is there any way you would be up for returning to write for the Punisher?

Oh, absolutely! Not even a hesitation there.

Your take on him was fantastic.

Very, very kind of you to say, especially considering the long list of talent who’d been there before me. Thank you.

damian622 @ GPA

In the end he saves Alves because of emotions/honor/comradeship or because he felt Avengers won't let him do his mission, so he'll save her so she can continue it?

I think Frank would tell you he did it solely for the continuity of the mission, that he knew the Avengers wouldn’t stop until they had him, and that, at the very least, that would be a distraction for him; he could spend the rest of his days avoiding the Avengers, and thus not continuing his mission, or he could fix things in such a way that allowed him the possibility of continuing it himself, while making certain operations proceeded.

That’s what he’d say.

But I do think that he and Rachel share a bond as fellow Marines, and as soldiers who’ve both been robbed by the society they’ve sacrificed so much to protect. Frank would most likely never admit to any emotional connection, however small, but he certainly recognized their shared camaraderie.

cat7975 @ GPA

Dear Mr. Rucka, thank you for your excellent run, I am sure it will be remembered by most of Punisher fans, I know I will.

Was Frank Castle a hard character for you to write and if so, then what was the hardest part?

Thank you.

He wasn’t a hard character for me to write, but he was a very hard character for me to crack. Let me explain: every character I write, I do my best to get into their head and their shoes, to see the world through their eyes. Frank’s got a very dark, very focused view of the world, and it took me a lot of time and a lot of thought before I felt I really got him. Once I did, though, the writing was… not easy, but it was there, if that makes any sense. Once I understood him – meaning, once I had my own take on him – it was a question of giving him the right situations to put him on display and set him through his paces.

MzLizz @ GPA

The Punisher was conceived as a lone vigilante.  He most always works solo, not in groups or with partners. 

What motivated you to have Frank work alongside someone (although "not a sidekick") in the field? 

It wasn’t so much a need to have him work with anyone as it was a desire to show him through other characters’ eyes. That said, I wanted to see what Frank would do if faced by someone who had the potential, through similar circumstances, to follow his path. Not to become another version of himself, but someone who was now walking the same road that Frank had already traveled.

A lot of the characters we love in comics have been around for a very long time, now, and most of them have had excellent, and in some cases, definitive stories told about them. I wasn’t at all certain that I could offer anything new about Frank, but I did think that I could at least offer new points-of-view on who he is and what he does, and those, by necessity, had to be external. Thus Ozzy, Bolt, Norah, and Rachel.

There was another reason, and you mention it in your question, actually. There’s a reason Frank works alone, and it’s not simply because he can’t trust anyone or he doesn’t need anyone. The more I thought about Frank, the more I thought about the fact that he had to be remarkably careful with his emotions. He’s not crazy, and he’s not a machine. There’s a man in there, and a terribly wounded one. There’s a man in there who was clearly capable of loving deeply, of laughter, of joy. That man isn’t dead, but that man has no place in the mission. So Frank has to keep that man safely locked away. Putting Rachel next to him challenged that on every level, not because there was a potential for romance (not in a million years would I have gone there), but because her circumstances and his were so similar. It created a bond, whether Frank wanted it or not (and he sure as hell didn’t.) That was my way to challenge him, to see what he would do. That was the engine of the story.

What attracted you to the idea of making that person a woman?

It’s no secret that I like writing female characters, so that was certainly a part – it was who I wanted to write. I also had been doing a lot of research into women in the military as a result of the Batwoman work I’d done, and it fed into the decision. There was also the fact that Frank’s world is very much male-centric, and bringing in both Rachel and Gerard was a way to challenge that.

Do you think Marvel takes into consideration the comic fans' opinions and criticisms of current comic runs?

Absolutely. Sometimes, it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, but every publisher is listening.

Are you yourself cognizant of those opinions and criticisms while you are writing a comic, and have you altered a storyline due to fan reactions?

I do my damndest not to be, honestly. I can only tell the stories that I can tell, and I try to do that to the best of my ability. It’s my job to serve the character, and in doing that, serve the publisher. I care about the fans and their opinions, but I can’t let them drive my decision-making; I’ve been hired to write the book, presumably because someone felt I could do it well

There’s always someone who doesn’t like what you’re doing, you know? If I tried to please everyone, I’d end up with a book that had no direction and no heart, and that most likely made everyone unhappy, rather than one that made some people very happy.

I am not, to my memory, aware of ever having altered a storyline due to fan reaction or criticism. Perhaps for better, perhaps for worse.

@sundaymeal @ twitter

Rucka- thank you for respecting this character. Had this been a longer run, where would you have taken us? Thanks.

I think I answered this above, but, ultimately, we had hoped to move into a War Journal book that would’ve had Frank leading a spec ops team for S.H.I.E.L.D., doing the kind of wet-work that S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t want anyone knowing about. It would’ve been a loose team book, with maybe three other characters serving under Frank’s command, and the POV would’ve been from one of those characters. That would’ve lasted until someone realized what S.H.I.E.L.D. was up to, and the team disbanded (however long that might’ve taken) and then Frank would’ve just up and walked away, resuming his own mission.

What past Punisher writers/artists influenced your work on this run?

I suppose this is kinda a cop out, but honestly, the biggest influence both in what I wanted to do and didn’t want to do was Garth’s run in MAX. His work had a profound effect on me, supplemented by what Jason Aaron was doing. On the art side, I find it hard to pick out any one, mostly because that’s just not how my mind works – I focus so much on the writing, I always view the art in service to the story.

@DangerRuss77 @ twitter

I`d like to get Ruckas opinion of the multiple Punisher movies and the inability to really nail the character down in film.

I’d like to see an honest-to-God Punisher movie. I think that’s been the biggest problem – that the movies try to make him something that he isn’t, try to come up with a conceit that’ll justify everything he does. His origin isn’t the problem; Hollywood balks at the idea of him continuing to pursue vengeance after that “personal” quest is attained, in my opinion. What they don’t understand – and what was so great about the “Dirty Laundry” short film – is that precisely the point. He’s the Punisher. Most movies want to soften him. “Dirty Laundry” didn’t.

@MrRyanClark @ twitter

How many Punisher stories did you read while researching the character? What were the standouts?

Oh man, too many to count! I’ve already talked about Garth’s run, I mean… I went back through the black-and-white phone book collections, I read everything I could, and I still felt I was missing stuff. For a character who “can’t sustain his own book” (and those are not MY words), he’s had an awful lot of books published!

If you forced me – and I mean FORCED ME – to pick, I’d probably say “Mother Russia,” for a variety of reasons. I really liked Frank’s interactions in that one in particular; moving him out of his own AO, for lack of a better phrase, and putting him into a mission-specific environment.

Candid Rook @ CBR

1. Did you have plans for Frank beyond his capture by the Avengers or was that your planned endpoint to the series?

Answered above!

2. Were there any planned arcs that were never realised and if so what were they? I know there was something with Frank vs SHIELD and I think I read something about another Daredevil crossover down the line.

The S.H.I.E.L.D. idea was War Journal. There was another DD story that Mark and I had discussed, as well, dealing more with Matt/Rachel/Frank, and Matt’s attempts to try and wrest her from, as he saw it, Frank’s influence. There was also an idea that, once the Avengers had caught Frank, they’d actually try to put him on trial, and Murdock would’ve had to defend him.

3. Were you required to truncate the planned Frank vs Avengers storyline due to the mini format?

Other than the trial idea, not really. It’s probably best that I didn’t do the trial, actually. I suspect it would’ve been staggeringly boring to read ;)

4. Rachels actions with the accidental shooting of Walter Bolt put Punisher in a new situation I don't believe any writer has covered before.
As a fan I just wanted to voice my recognition of that. Having said that many writers could validly have had Frank take Rachels life. Interestingly enough, you didn't. Could you tell us about your justification for Frank letting Rachel live and continue his mission despite the fact she took the life of an innocent?

I was sincerely going to have Frank kill her all the way up until I wrote 16, but the more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t make it work. At the start of the run, the untouchable Frank would’ve probably shot her dead and not blinked, but I just couldn’t default to such a simple decision; it seemed a disservice to Frank not to consider more than the action. In a way, it seemed to me, that doing so would turn him back into the Punisher who snipes jaywalkers, and that’s… that’s never sat right with me.

Frank kills, and people call him a killer, but he does so with purpose and direction. He knows it was a tragic mistake, yet another in a long line that have dogged both Rachel and himself. He also knows that – unlike himself – Rachel has a death wish. To kill her for Bolt’s death – a genuine, horrible mistake – would’ve been, perhaps, too much even for him at that last moment. And while Bolt is innocent, but he’s not AN innocent; his death isn’t the same as if Rachel had gunned down a cop on the street. The idea that Frank cannot discern between these things, that he does not see nuance, doesn’t sit well with me, you know? It simplifies him too much, and I think that does him wrong. He’s deeper than that, and smarter than that.

One could argue that what he does is potentially crueler, really – he forces her to live on. He takes from her the escape and the peace of ending everything.

And, tactically – and Frank always thinks tactically – there’s the fact that if Rachel survives everything she’s done to herself, he’s got another asset on mission. He’s got someone who, hopefully, gets her head straight and gets to the work that needs to be done.

5. Would you ever consider coming back to the character or even doing a MAX take on the character without the superhero trappings?
Thanks very much for a thoughtful and well written, if somewhat shortlived, run on Punisher.

I’d do it in a heartbeat. Seriously.

Thank you for the very kind and thoughtful words.

B. Kuwanger @ CBR

Thanks for your work. I've enjoyed lesser runs before, but I now I'm pretty reluctant to read anyone else on those characters.
While you were probably very familiar with him, would you have considered yourself a fan of Frank Castle before going in, and could you see yourself writing a similar character in the future?

That’s high praise, thank you.

I wasn’t a Punisher fan before Wacker really came at me about writing the character. I’d enjoyed the work of the last ten years or so a great deal, but he’d never been a character I’d tried to really understand. Wacker forced me to do that, and in doing, he turned me into a True Believer.

I don’t know about similar characters. I’ve written revenge stories before, but the amazing thing about Frank is that he transcends that, he really transcends the genre and has become something wholly unique. He’s a cross between The Man with No Name and the Unknown Soldier. He’s just… he’s the Punisher. There’s nothing else that I’ve read remotely like him.

TonyStark1012 @ CBR

Thank you Mr. Rucka for your work on one of my all time heroes. Your run was amazing.
What are some things you wanted to get too or touch on with Frank that you didn't have a chance to? Again thanks to adding another great run to an amazing character.

There was one story that I’d discussed with Wacker, and that I had wanted Michael Lark to draw. It would’ve come before the showdown with the Exchange, but as part of the build-up, and there just wasn’t any time to do it.

Essentially, I wanted to put Frank and Rachel in a hide with a sniper’s rifle, Frank as spotter, and Rachel as shooter. And the whole issue would’ve been silent, just no dialogue at all, as they waited for four days for the shot. Just four days of them switching off and interacting and communicating without any spoken dialogue, the intense pressure and fear of discovery, all for this one moment when the trigger could be pulled and the target could be downed.

I still think that could’ve been either an amazing issue, or a total disaster.

Would’ve been fun to try it, though.

aNamored @ CBR

Big time thanks to Mister Rucka for making the Punisher accessible to someone who never could quite grok the character before your run.

What was the scene you enjoyed writing the most? The least?

My favorite scene has to be the fight between Frank and Rachel leading up to him “bringing her in” on the mission. That whole issue was a blast for me, and that moment, the moment where Frank actually speaks to her, where he makes her choose between mission and her pain, that was something I’d been working for from the start.

Least favorite, honestly, was the wedding party massacre in the first issue. It wasn’t simply the emotional content, but wanting to convey everything as brutally as possible in the time and space allowed… that had me banging my head against the wall for a long, long time.

You've mentioned Frank is all about the mission: do you feel he completed his mission during your time on the book?

Frank will never complete the mission. It’s impossible, and he knows it, and he keeps going. But there is always going to be someone who needs to be punished for what they’ve done.

Would you work with Marco Checchetto again?

God, yes. He’s amazing. He’s not just a terrific artist, he’s a terrific collaborator, and those are two different things. I’d love to work with him again.

punisher97 @ CBR

Thanks for an amazing run. Would you work for Marvel again if they offered you work on another Punisher title?
Also, if you can, please get Checchetto to do some guest-art on your creator-owned work.

I’d happily work for Marvel again on Punisher or another project, assuming the project was the right one for me and they wanted me to do it. I’ve got not ill-will towards Marvel at all, honestly.

Getting Marco on a creator-owned project would be fantastic. It would also be difficult, because most CO projects have a much smaller budget than work-for-hire.

James Hunter @ CBR

1) What were your long term plans for the character of Rachel Cole?

Honestly? I’d thought she was going to end up dead. I was surprised as anyone when Frank let her live and put her on mission. I’d like to think she’s still out there in the 616, on her own, following in Frank’s footsteps. It’d be interesting to see what happened if they ever met again, but there’s another piece of me that likes the idea that they NEVER see each other again.

2) If Marvel had not decided to incorporate Frank in THUNDERBOLTS would you, at any stage, ever have had him encounter Venom or General Rulk (my name for the Red Hulk)


No. Never even considered it.

3) Do you plan to do any more stories for QUEEN AND COUNTRY at Oni Press

Yes! Hopefully summer 2014!

4) Are you currently working on any novels?
Thank you for your time.

Just finished the second Jad Bell novel, called BRAVO-INDIGO. Working on revisions, and hopefully that’ll be out for summer 2014, as well.

John Gee @ facebook

Link between WarZone and Thunderbolts - how did Frank get out of Stark's prison?

Not a clue.

Neil Byce @ Facebook

Any clues/ideas on Rachel's future in the Marvel U. now that Rucka's run is in the bag. Is his run cannon?

I’ve no reason to believe it’s not canon, but like all things in comics, it’ll be ignored or acknowledge as others see fit. As far as I’m concerned? Rachel is working the Western United States, “on mission.” She works alone. She works very carefully. She’s slower than Frank at target selection and operational execution, but that’s because she’s still new at it. She’ll get faster as she gains more experience.

Was Rucka's plans for the detectives storyline larger than it ended up being in the end?

There was more to do with Ozzy, Bolt, and Norah, yes, but ultimately it worked out in the run.

What do you think of future of Frank Castle in comics?

I think they’re always going to have the Punisher in print somewhere; not necessarily in his own book(s), but he’ll always be operating in the 616 and MAX.

If you could continue with the character, where would he potential take him?

I’d have liked to have put him into more of an espionage/spec-ops setting for a while, with specific targets chosen by Nick Fury or the like.

Were other characters not fleshed out as much because of the cancellation?

Sure. I’d have done a lot more with Gerard and Poulsen, honestly, and we’d have seen a lot more of how Frank and Rachel worked together – and didn’t work together, for that matter.

Is there a future that doesn't feel like a retread for this character?

The thing with Frank is that he CAN change, but he can only change incrementally, and in a manner that won’t alter his fundamental design, ie, the pursuit of the mission. But there are more stories, always more stories, and there will always be new ways to look at what’s been done. I don’t think we should fear a retread as much as a compromise of who he is, if that makes sense. I don’t want him simplified. I don’t want him cheated.

Derek Bergquist @ Facebook

Does this War Zone arc tie in at all to Frank's role in Thunderbolts? Is it simply independent of Thunderbolts and vice versa? Thanks.

Not to my knowledge. My head canon says War Zone, prison, then Thunderbolts.

Jacob Williams @ Facebook

Will you come on Body Count? (http://punisherbodycount.com/)

I’d be happy to. Contact me via twitter or tumblr or through the Lady Sabre website (www.ineffableaether.com).

Why did you keep doing the husband's name thing over and over and over again?

To annoy you ;)

Honestly? Because Rachel couldn’t let it go. You say it was me, but it wasn’t, it was her character. She was obsessed, and that’s why she never, ever, could let it pass. She could not let go of what she’d lost.

@csksos @ Twitter

Will u be writing Punisher novels? Will u return for more comics?

No plans for any Punisher novels, no. And I’d certainly be up for returning if the invitation was extended.

Blackstone @ GPA

Mr. Rucka:

Eventually, would Frank have killed some established villains, or would you have created more threats for him to take out?

That’s a harder question than you might think. I went to editorial a few times asking who Frank could kill, and the answer kept changing. If the book(s) had continued, he’d have to eventually have come face-to-face with some of the big villains. Whether I’d have been allowed to kill them or not, I can’t say.

Astro @ GPA

What is your current feeling's on how The Punisher has been treated in all form's of media. (Movie's, Cartoon's and Yes Canceled Volumes and run's through the years)
I feel the world doesn't understand the message the character is trying to portray.
Not the violence and anger just the ultimate state of the world. (90's Frank stories pulled from real crime stories)
Not like Batman were it's a different world and a city that doesn't exist. Is it that this character could exist?

I’m really not sure how to answer this. Frank runs very close to our reality, as you’ve pointed out, and that may be why his popularity rises and falls as our own situations change. We live in a world where crime is less of a concern now than terrorism, where the nature of war has changed dramatically. It could simply be that it’s a cycle, and that each time Frank wanes we know he’ll wax strong again.

I think, honeslty, that good Punisher stories need to make people a little uncomfortable. Not always about Frank, but about the darkness and evil that he confronts and fights. That’s hard medicine, and not a lot of people want to take it at the best of times.

Sissel @ CBR

-Is there something about your scripts that you would have changed?

Not that I can think of.

-Did they offer you to work on a Punisher MAX title? And if not, would you have written one?

Nope, wasn’t offered. I’d be interested in doing one, though only because of the different continuity, rather than because of the explicitness MAX could provide.

-Did you like the work done by Carmine di Giandomenico on Punisher: War Zone?

I did, but I had to warm to it, as I’d been very much on board with Marco, obviously. But I thought Carmine’s work was perfect for War Zone.

Decimated @ GPA

Hello, I've got one! Other than seeing Frank in a modern day military outfit in a flashback, it wasn't explicitly stated that Greg's run was a reboot even though the series stood on it's own and didn't reference recent continuity (which was a great choice).
It seems to have been deliberately left vague as to how this run fit in with Frank's recent adventures, although it did reference Franks encounter with Daredevil in the 80s, which blurs the issue even more.
I'm just a bit curious had the series continued would it have become clearer that Frank was now a Gulf War vet, or was he still a Vietnam vet made youthful by the bloodstone?

Honestly, probably not. The nature of 616 time is that it’s so fluid, it’s nearly impossible to fix things to a point. Saying Frank is a Vietnam vet versus a Gulf War vet versus an Afghanistan vet becomes a mish-mosh, and perhaps misses the point. In MAX, his Vietnam experiences are crucial, and placed specifically in Vietnam. But I’d argue that in the 616, the actual conflict in which he served is far less important than the fact that he DID serve, and that he served with honor. The focus on Vietnam seems to me to be a holdover from the 1970s, and a reaction to failures of the war, but those are not, sadly, unique to that conflict.

The decision to move away from Vietnam was never intended to disregard or disrespect anything that had been done, but rather to address a perceived problem with his age without damaging the character’s core – ie, that he’s just a man, a flesh and blood man with a lot of purpose and a lot of smarts. This is why I’ve always viewed the whole bloodstone thing with great suspicion. It just never seemed to fit my view of Frank, in the same way that, say, having him get bit by a radioactive spider doesn’t fit.

Final message to the Punisher fans:

You are an amazing group of fans. Seriously. I have written Batman, I have written Superman and Wonder Woman and Wolverine and you name the character, I’ve probably put words in their mouth. But Punisher fans are a breed apart, and your passion for Frank and his journey is why he is never, ever going to fall. He’ll have bad times and good times, like every character, but you are the ones who make sure he stands up again and keeps going.

You have no idea what a privilege it’s been for me to add to his stories, and no idea how flattered and proud I am that, for the most part, you’ve seemed pleased with my work.

Thank you for your questions, and thank you for trusting me with Frank.




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1 comment:

  1. I posted elsewhere but wanted to comment here, too. Greg Rucka is pure class! He understands and respects Punisher. I am bummed out that we will not get to see War Journal or the most EPIC idea of the silent issue with Rachel as a sniper and Frank as her spotter.

    Rucka is A++!

    Ivo, you did a wonderful job coordinating this and all of us Punisher fans are appreciative!