When I was eighteen I went to University and spent a great deal of time curled up in Cornish Bloke’s room reading the comic books he got each week. All of my friends who did this (Cuddles and Man of Taste in particular) really liked two comics that I hated, one was Preacher and one was The Punisher.
At that time I didn’t necessarily want heroes, I’m a sucker for a good female villain or anti-hero (Huntress, Electra, Black Cat) but there was just something too awful about Jesse Custer and Frank Castle.
I have since gotten quite into Preacher, the Prime TV show version, mostly for the secondary characters, (I especially love Tulip O’Hare) but also for the story.
Watching my way through Daredevil I have discovered that there is something about The Punisher that I enjoy, it’s the purity of him. There are no hard questions, he will just kill the bad guys. It’s almost the direct opposite of what I used to enjoy. I had a conversation once, with The Yellow Dart, about what we wanted out of stories. He wanted simple heroics; The Power Rangers, The Transformers. I wanted complex stories; Batman, John Constantine. Now, I enjoy the simplistic solutions of The Punisher.
Given I have noticed that I respond like a sunflower mindlessly following Helios to the subconscious cues of society this worries me. I think we’re gearing up towards war, I think we’re being conditioned to accept the simplistic unthinkable solutions as being the mature and hard choices.
I’ll keep enjoying Frank Castle, because he’s a fictional character, but I refuse to accept war as an adult solution. Who’s putting this in my head? The Russians? The government? The secret illuminati?
I think it’s advertising pure and simple, it’s whoever makes a profit.