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July 20, 2009



That blast effect really *shouldn't* work, should it? But it does!

I love the way John Romita, Sr. draws the Punisher, by the way. He's got a great, distinctive face that's perfect for a guy who's not your typical "hero."

Al Bigley

Great cover.

A number of today's comic artists have taken a crack at this cover as an "homage" and failed miserably over the past few years. Most can't even draw a figure properly holding a rifle!

Al Bigley


The Punisher, who I have never liked, came along during a non-comics-reading-period for me.

A few comic heroes had anti-hero elements before him, though.

Spidey was originally wanted by the law, as were Hawkeye, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.

The Hulk was a hero only by accident sometimes and was always being chased by authorities.

The Thing, in his very early days, was sullen
and potentially traitorous. He became our
loveable, blue-eyed bashful later.

(Note how all these are Marvel characters)

DC's guys were all stalwarts back in the day,
except maybe for Rorsha...er, I mean the Question.

Other companies, I don't know. Herbie, maybe?


Thanks for bringing up this cover. Along with the Amazing Fantasy cover and the Gwen Stacy cover, I always felt it was an iconic cover for Spider-Man. In retrospect, this is one of those covers that marks the change from the Silver Age to the Bronze Age in superhero comics to me.

Also, as you mentioned, The Punisher seems to be one of those cultural trends that Marvel loved to tap into in the 70's. Although he moved beyond it, The Punisher seemed just as faddish in his creation as Dazzler(Disco), Shang-Chi & Iron Fist (Bruce Lee/Martial Arts) and Power Man (Blaxploitation).

Oh Marvel Comics, you and your amazing attempts to be topical.

Wes C

Great article Mark!
The composition is spot on. I've seen this cover countless times (who hasn't) and never made the rifle, bullet blast connection. You're right even moving the blast a little bit would have thrown the whole thing off.

It's amazing how good composition doesn't draw any attention to itself. It's so "right" that it seems almost invisible. Whereas bad composition screams at you from across the room.

I wish more artist would focus on the foundations of composition over slick photo realistic finishes and gimmicky effects.

Do you have any more post like this planned for the future?

As far as the Punisher is concerned: I loved the character when I was 13-15 (thank you Mike Zeck!), but he was my first experience with a character being waaaay over exposed.
Couldn't care less about him now.

But for an angsty teen in the mid-late 80's, he was awesomeness defined.

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