Why The Russos Are The Best Thing to Happen to the MCU Since Joss Whedon
For many, stars of professional sports are the closest things to real life superheroes. They’re bigger, stronger, and faster than seems humanly possible. They’re able to perform feats beyond the capabilities of your average individual, jumping and twisting and barreling through opponents.
But just imagine: If the stars of the NFL really were superheroes of comic book lore, who would be whom? The folks at NFL Memes went and matched up the biggest names in football with the biggest characters in comics to answer that question with these incredible mashup renditions. Some are obvious, like Calvin Johnson as Megatron and Cam Newton as Superman, but others are pretty spot on. There’s Odell Beckham Jr. as Spider-Man, Peyton Manning as Iron Man, Rob Gronkowski as Thor, and – perhaps best of all – Andrew Luck as the Beast.
Last year we spotlighted a pretty stylish Dark Knight-inspired motorcycle helmet, but what if you prefer, say, The Punisher, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Wonder Woman to Batman? AirGraffix has you covered.
The Mattoon, Illinois-based company specializes in custom-painted helmets that can transform the rider into everyone from Goku and Deadpool to Iron Man and Spawn. It’s not all superheroes or comic books, either; there’s an assortment of Star Wars, Transformers and Power Rangers designs, for starters.
If you’re unfamiliar with Machinima’s “Super Power Beat Down” short films, they’re essentially those “Who would win in a fight?” fan conversations brought to life — Wolverine vs. Predator, Captain America vs. Master Chief, and so on — with the winner determined beforehand by vote. The latest installment is billed as “the bloodiest battle yet (and make no mistake, it is bloody, so consider yourself warned.)
Created by Bat in the Sun Productions, “Red Hood vs. Punisher” opens with Frank Castle in search of Jason Todd (who’s wanted for murder, aggravated assault, B&E and … disturbing the peace). Twenty seconds into the short, Frank finds his target — or rather his target finds him — beginning a pretty brutal, and well-choreographed, fight that continues for nearly three minutes.
I won’t say who wins, but you likely already have a good idea.
After teasing it in August, Garth Ennis has reaffirmed his inevitable return to the world of Frank Castle.
In an interview with Comic Book Resources promoting Titan Comics’ “Battle Classics” collection, which Ennis is curating, the writer dropped some new details about his as-yet unscheduled Punisher miniseries.
“I finished it last summer,” Ennis said. “I think [artist] Goran Parlov is finishing up another story before he gets stuck in.” Parlov, who teamed previously with Ennis on the recently concluded 13-issue Fury MAX and the Marvel MAX volume of The Punisher, is now working with writer Mark Millar on the Image Comics series Starlight.
Ennis first wrote Frank Castle in 1995’s Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe, and has since tackled the vigilante in a number of series and miniseries, based both in and out of Marvel’s mainstream continuity. His most recent turn with the character in the 2009 weekly Punisher War Zone, illustrated by his frequent collaborator, Steve Dillon.
Marvel had no comment on the project, echoing its statement when word of the project first surfaced in 2013: “Stay tuned.”
A Punisher team-up still seems like a really bad idea. No matter who’s book he guest stars in, the Punisher is just not the guy you want to stand next to for any real length of time. Not only is he a loner by nature, but your average superhero is immediately at odds with something as simple and dangerous as a man with a gun. His motivations just don’t jibe with the code one has to follow to be a hero, let alone a sane human being. To paraphrase Ray Stevenson, who played Frank Castle in Punisher: War Zone, no one should want to be the Punisher, but everyone should be glad he’s out there.
That movie title is catchy because it’s very apropos; Frank Castle truly is a one-man war zone. Please note the one-man part. In recent years, there has been some absolutely brilliant comics work showing you just how strange and solitary the Punisher is. Greg Rucka has brought us the pure poetry of life at Punisher’s right hand. Jason Aaron on PunisherMAX drove us right on through how cruel a world can get to create the Punisher. And, of course, Garth Ennis showed us Frank Castle as a force of nature, something that happened to the worst of the criminal element. Not a bogeyman or a fable but cold, dark fact.
So I can’t say the idea of the Punisher as we’ve come to know and love him in recent years would be signing up for a matching uniform to run around with Ross’ Thunderbolts. He’s not a team player. He certainly doesn’t seem like a man who could even tolerate Deadpool for more than it would take to put air in his lungs. How could a one-man war zone work well with others? Well, let me take a moment of your time, Dear Reader, to theorize with you. I think there’s enough duty and dignity to Frank Castle to will allow him to co-exist with comrades-in-arms.
WARNING: One of my examples comes from the absolutely gorgeous Punisher #16 that was released this week, so grab your copy and read along!
Happy Labor Day, Americans, and welcome, everybody, to What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Paul Allor, writer of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles spinoff, Fugitoid, as well as his own anthology Clockwork.
To see what Paul and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below:
Over what was most likely a perfect cup of Moroccan Mint green tea, Greg Rucka sat down for a discussion with Mark Waid and Steve Wacker about “The Omega Effect,” an upcoming crossover between The Avenging Spider-Man, The Punisher and Daredevil debuting in April.
In the story, the Man Without Fear will find himself in possession the Omega Drive, a file connecting five powerful criminal organizations — dangerous information that everyone’s going to want to get there hands on, right? That’s a well-used motive in our genre with the added twist of science; you see, Spider-Man is operating at the behest of Reed Richards, who invented the Omega Drive to begin with. So either Richards has been collecting dirty sheets on crime bosses in his spare time, or there’s something more delicate to what’s holding all this information in the first place. Remember all the math he used to keep in the basement telling him how to nudge society around? Yeah, this could get ugly.
That’s why we have the Punisher, who’ll go head to head with Spider-Man and Daredevil to put this information to good use — which, as we can guess, probably means shooting some fools. Waid and Rucka are more than willing to throw their supporting casts into the mix, as well as relevant story arcs that coincide with the trouble at hand. Spider-Man vowed that no one else would die on his watch, and that’s a hard vow to keep next to Frank Castle. Daredevil has had a long history with the Punisher, both falling on different sides of the very concept of justice. With his most recent fall from grace and return with a fresh attitude, how will the new Daredevil handle a man acting as judge, jury and executioner?
And the Punisher? Follow me on this one, guys, but what is Frank Castle going to get out of all of this?
(WARNING: Spoilers ahead for PunisherMAX #21 and Punisher #7, out this week. Grab your copies and follow along!)
Paolo Rivera’s blog is always a joy for process junkies, filled with glimpses behind the curtain at projects in various stages of completion and, a personal favorite, “Wacky Reference Wednesday,” in which posts photos (typically of himself) he uses as references for composition or character poses. This morning is no exception: The Daredevil artist dusts off a three-year-old character study of The Punisher, which includes the rare shot of the vigilante laughing. I particularly like the death’s head detail on Frank Castle’s ammo pouches. Visit Rivera’s blog to see a larger version of the image.