Edited by Matthew McEinry, Alicia Goodman, Ryan Cassidy, and Robert G. Weiner
With Netflix’s The Punisher being released in November 2017, it is apparent that a character like the Punisher has a certain kind of widespread appeal. The Punisher was played with great acclaim in Netflix’s Daredevil Season 2 by Jon Bernthal. There were, however, three previous Punisher movies of varying quality dating back to 1989. None of the previous Punisher films did blockbuster business, although 2004’s The Punisher and The Punisher War Zone (2008) were successful on home video.
Created by Gerry Conway, John Romita, and Ross Andru (with help from Stan Lee) in 1974, The Punisher appeared at a time when the idea of vengeance was permeating our popular culture with films like Death Wish and the Dirty Harry series. The character first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #129, but quickly grew to be a favorite among fans and eventually earned his own series, which continues to the present day. The Punisher is judge, jury, and executioner and is considered by many of the heroes in the Marvel Universe to be morally questionable if not outright villainous.
The editors of this volume seek original essays on the character of the Punisher in his various iterations in popular culture, including the Netflix series, films, video games, animated series, and, of course, the comics. We seek tight essays of around 3,000-4,500 that explain why the Punisher continues to be a popular character.
Possible topics include:
- The Punisher in Vietnam
- Why the three previous Punisher Films failed to garner blockbuster status, but did well on video?
- What is the morality of the Punisher? Is the Punisher justified in his crusade against criminals?
- Punisher fan films like Dirty Laundry and what do they tell us about the character?
- Netflix’s version of the Punisher
- The Punisher in kid-friendly shows like Super Hero Squad.
- The modern Punisher in the comics
- How has the character evolved over the years?
- How did the different writers (Garth Ennis, Chuck Dixon, Steven Grant, Greg Rucka, Archie Goodwin, and Mike Baron) envision the character?
- The Punisher in Marvel’s Civil War.
- The Punisher’s relationship to the rest of the Marvel Universe and specific characters e.g., Daredevil, Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine, and Nick Fury.
- Is the Punisher a villain or a hero?
- The Punisher in the Ultimate Universe
- The Punisher in video games
- What is the Punisher’s relationship to police, the military, S.H.E.I.L.D., etc.?
- Analysis of the Black Widow/Punisher animated film.
- 1980s Punisher stories that avoided the Comics Code
- What does the continued popularity of the character say about humanity?
- The Punisher and feminism (female characters in the series)
These are only a few of the topics related to the Punisher. Please send a 200-300 word abstract to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by January 31, 2018. URL: https://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/cfp/2017/11/06/essays-on-the-punisher.