The Punisher Blasts Off With Marvel's 'Space: Punisher' [Interview]

There are some concepts, some ideas that are just so obviously awesome, you wonder why no one ever thought of them before. Yesterday at WonderCon, Marvel announced one of those projects, with the Frank Tieri written, Mark Texeira drawn Space: Punisher. That's right: Frank Castle, the Punisher, is going into outer space to kick some serious alien butt. To find out more about the project, including why this title might be just the tip of the space-berg, read on:

MTV Geek: Is this Frank Castle the one we know, but in space? Or is it a brand new, all different Punisher?

Frank Tieri: While there are certainly elements of the Frank Castle we all know and love—man loses his family, man goes nutso, man starts killing a %^&*load of bad dudes—this is actually a different version of the character. Living in a very different world than we’re used to seeing him in.

Geek: Are we going to see Frank work his way up the food chain, starting off killing Brood, until he ends up just shooting Galactus in the face in the last issue? I hope?

FT: While I would love nothing more than to have Frank shoot Galactus in the grill, I’m afraid I can’t—the big G’s dead, having been whacked by the Avengers Federation. The AF just so happen to be what passes for the law in our universe-- and also just so happen to be the biggest gang of bastards you’ll find in any universe.

As for the Brood though, it’s funny you mention them since they’re a part of the main threat to Frank in this book… the enigmatic Six Fingered Hand. (Actually, in our series, the Brood and Venom symbiants have merged into one single race.) The 6FH are the undisputed rulers of the intergalactic underworld and the ones responsible for the death of his family… the only question is do they actually exist at all or are they the Marvel U’s answer to Keyser Soze? Frank is determined to find out, even if he has to burn the entire universe and everything in it to do it.

Geek: How does space crime differ from Earth crime, other than the lack of gravity?

FT: Well, in this case, crime of all kinds—space or otherwise—is controlled by the whispered true power behind the Six Fingered Hand. Who, what or even if they exist at all is one of the main mysteries of the series. Frank’s way of trying to draw them out is by going after the faces of the organization, their “capos” the Red Skull, Magneto, Ultron, the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus and the Sym-Brood-ant Queen.

So really, it’s not so much typical crimes that Frank’s worried about in this series. He wants to eliminate the Six Fingered Hand and everyone wants to eliminate him. So he really has to spend more time worrying about surviving.

Geek: For Frank, if he hasn’t been able to eliminate all crime on Earth, how’s he ever gonna clean up the whole Universe?

FT: Earth? Who ever said anything about Earth?

Believe me, Earth is the least of Frank’s problems what with him having to contend with the likes of the Six Fingered Hand, the tyrannical Avengers Federation and the Hulk. (Think of the Hulk as sort of this cosmic Moby Dick that preys on ships, making space travel in our universe a VERY dangerous proposition.)

Geek: Talk about what Mark Texeira brings to the table here… What’s it been like to work with him?

FT: He brings beer, which is always very nice of him. Although her tends to drink it before it actually gets to the table, which is not.

As an artist, well… PUNISHER, GHOST RIDER, HERCULES, BLACK PANTHER, SABRETOOTH, and so on. I’d say his record sort of speaks for itself.

He’s a friend of mine so it’s always fun to work with him, especially since he’s so damned talented. When Tex is on his game, I put him up there with the best in the business—and believe me, with SPACE:PUNISHER, the guy’s as good as he’s ever been. The whole thing’s fully painted and looks absolutely GORGEOUS. He’s really outdone himself.

Geek: I’m curious about the syntax of the title… Is this the first of a new line, like the Noir books? Are we going to get “Space: Wolverine” next, or “Space: Mole Man”?

FT: I would so totally write SPACE: MOLE MAN, dude.

But yeah, that’s sort of what Marvel has in mind with this. The basic premise behind what became SPACE: PUNISHER was originally my pitch to take over the regular PUNISHER book. In other words, it was going to be the usual Frank Castle we all know and fear jetting off into space, fighting cosmic mobsters and bizarre creatures, etc. While that would’ve been a blast too, Marvel saw the potential in this as a bigger thing… like something akin to MARVEL ZOMBIES, they saw it as a whole new universe to play with and possibly spin off from.

So really, it’s up to the fans now. You always hear fans complain that they’re tired of the same, old things—well, this is very much not the same old thing. And if they support it, you better believe there’ll be more.

And why stop at space? UNDERWATER: PUNISHER, KUNG FU GRIP: PUNISHER, LACTOSE INTOLERANT: PUNISHER… The possibilities are endless!

Geek: See, now I really want to read “Punisher: War On Milk.” Anyway, just to wrap up, you’ve written a bunch of iterations of The Punisher by now; what makes the Punisher in this series unique, and fun to write?

FT: Well, you mean other than the fact that he’s in mother$%^&in’ space?

Seriously though, I think part of it is that it’s just so much damned fun to put the Punisher into a world so different than the one we normally see him in. Yeah, he’ll be fighting warped versions of Marvel characters so there’s that touch of familiarity there… but he’s also doing stuff like space jumping from his space ship and using things like black hole bombs and hanging out with a killer robot named Chip (Yes, that’s short for Microchip. So yes… I went there) There’s all these little bits and moments and cameos that we put in there that the Marvel fan will recognize… and yet, it’s nothing like you’ve ever seen before.

And it was a complete blast to write so I hope fans embrace it and we end up doing more. In other words, yes… I’m looking forward to writing SPACE: MOLE MAN.

Space: Punisher blasts off in July from Marvel Comics! Check out the full cover to issue one below:

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