Frank Castle Is Not A “Good Guy”

A chat with THE PUNISHER writer Becky Cloonan.

During the madness of MondoCon 2017 I had a chance to chat with comic book writer and artist, Becky Cloonan. With popular titles such as Gotham Academy, Swamp Thing and Batman under her belt, I wanted to talk to Cloonan about comics and Netflix’s new The Punisher series.

How excited are you for the new Punisher season?

Becky: I still need to watch Daredevil season 2. The same time that Netflix announced the new season, I had just started working on my Punisher series (Volume X) and I didn’t want it to color my vision of the character. I honestly have a billion shows I need to catch up on.

What inspired your version of the Punisher?

Becky: I originally pitched the Punisher as Jason Voorhees but instead of killing teenagers, he’s killing bad guys. I also wanted to take away his guns. I’m not a gun person or know much about them. I really wanted to see what would happen if you took Frank Castle out of New York and away from his guns. He gets very creative with his use of weapons.

The Punisher out of his element, that’s an interesting take.

Becky: Yeah, I lived in New York for fourteen years in the ‘90s, but I grew up in New Hampshire. So when I wrote the story I got to relive my time in New York, but also take the Punisher and fans through New England and the countryside.

Do you know if the Netflix series was influenced by your Punisher story arc?

Becky: I saw a poster for the show that was very similar to the cover art that Declan Shalvey did for our issue one. I’m sure someone will let me know if they spot any similarities in the show. We will have to wait and see.

Was it hard to get into the mind of someone like Frank Castle?

Becky: A little bit, yeah. He has such a black and white view of the world, but it’s fun to challenge that because the world isn’t black and white; it’s all shades of grey. You can always see someone else’s point of view, even if it’s shitty. He thinks he’s a “good guy” and what he is doing is right. But he’s not.

What was it like working with Steve Dillon? Dillon was an acclaimed artist who worked on The Punisher and sadly passed away in 2016.

Becky: I idealized him. I’d never worked with someone so closely like that. It was really difficult when he passed away. I read Preacher when I was way too young (laughs). It was amazing working with him.

What’s your drawing and writing process like?

Becky: When I’m drawing I usually end up watching shows Time Team or Forensic Files. Shows that I can listen to and process. Podcasts are also something I like to listen to as I draw. When I’m writing it’s the opposite and I can only listen to instrumental music or even nothing at all.

Any other comic series you would like to work on?

Becky: I would love to do a Silver Surfer storyline, but as Norrin Radd before he became the Silver Surfer.

Any more Punisher comic book series in your future?

Becky: You know, I told the story I wanted to tell and we executed it with Steve Dillion on board, and I’m happy to leave it at that.