Punisher Creator Reveals His Favorite Live-Action Take Of The Character

Ed. Note: This Article has been updated due to error in quotation.

Jon Bernthal isn’t the first actor play Frank Castle, Marvel’s Punisher, in live action, but he’s the best, at least according to the character’s creator.

Gerry Conway introduced the Punisher to the Marvel Universe with artists John Romita Sr. and Ross Andru in The Amazing Spider-Man #129 in 1974. At this year’s New York Comic Con, Conway went on record with his opinions of every actor to play the role to date.

Dolph Lundgren was the first actor to play Frank Castle in 1989's The Punisher movie, but, according to Screen Geek, Conway thought Lundgren’s version was just terrible.

Thomas Jane was the next to try Frank Castle on for size in 2004's The Punisher movie, but Conway says Jane’s version wasn’t “brutal” enough, while his successor, Ray Stevenson in 2008’s Punisher: War Zone, was “too brutal.”

Update: This quote was attributed in error. Conway never commented to Screen Geek about the Thomas Jane or Ray Stevenson Punisher movies. His comments were solely about Jon Bernthal as The Punisher - those quotes appear below.

To Conway, it was Jon Bernthal in his debut as the Punisher in the second season of Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix that got the balance of brutal just right.

“Jon Bernthal gives the Punisher the kind of pathos that’s underneath the tough guy, and I really like that,” Conway said during a panel at New York Comic Con.

At Comic-Con International: San Diego earlier this year, Marvel’s chief creative officer Joe Quesada also explained why Bernthal’s Punisher is the best Punisher and his reasons weren’t far off from Conway’s assessment.

“It’s his own. He brings the intensity, but there is another side to Frank here,” Quesada told ComicBook.com. “There is a tenderness to Frank. There is a fragility to Frank that you’ll see in this show that is part of that package. It's part of what makes this something really, really special.”

Bernthal’s Punisher made quite the impression on the Netflix executives as well, and the streaming service ordered up a spinoff series for the character, the first new Marvel series added to Netflix’s schedule since the initial deal for the Defenders shows was announced.

Marvel’s The Punisher will debut on Netflix in 2017.

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