When it comes to the Punisher's sense of style, less is definitely more. Unlike fellow crimefighters, Frank Castle's wardrobe is relatively limited, and given his dislike for garish, melodramatic costumes (and people), the Punisher does most of his punishing while sporting the iconic yet minimalist black attire finished with a white skull. In later iterations of the character, Frank's all-in-one costume was swapped out for simply a black T-shirt with the skull logo, with artists feeling it fit the character better, with the idea that the skull draw's his enemies gunfire to his chest, which is the most heavily armored part of his body.
Now the Punisher may not have had many varied outfits in the comics, however in the world of fan art, it's a whole different story; such a dark and grounded character has attracted many outlandish and creative interpretations from all corners of the internet; from past to future, with a few crossovers along the way, we take a look at Frank Castle's alternate, online clothing collection, which has been vastly increased by comic readers everywhere, and as everyone who reads comic books will tell you, when bringing the hurt to the criminal underworld, it always pays to look the part.
Returning to the past we have thedurrrian's medieval-style Punisher, a piece which would be welcome on the cover of any supernatural fantasy novel. Not a world away from the Marvel 1602 version of the character (and looking much cooler), this version of Frank Castle (who we think would definitely go by the name "Francis" instead) shows just what can be done with an existing comic hero and a little imagination.
The weathered, one-eyed look is a little reminiscent of popular Marvel curmudgeon Nick Fury, and the crossbows get about as close to the character's beloved guns as the chosen time period allows with the glowing arrows providing a supernatural feel, suggesting more than just vagabonds and pickpockets will be punished before the night is through.
Steampunk has been a popular theme for fan-designed art for years, with artists taking influence from the science fiction/fantasy style which incorporates steam-powered technology into a very distinct aesthetic design, and often combining this style when drawing or cosplaying existing characters, many of which come from the merry world of Marvel Comics.
Drawn in a cartoonish style by online artist pappaDiPuppi, this steampunk version of the Punisher explores what a 19th century, armor-clad Frank would look like. The dials and valves add a mechanical feel to the costume and the crossbow and revolver make nice finishers to this Punisher of the past. It's easy to imagine this character walking the streets of London searching for Jack the Ripper or hunting down criminals riding a horse and cart.
On the other end of the spectrum, futuristic versions of existing characters are also a common find in the world of fan art, with artists often beefing up existing heroes and villains with big suits of armor and advanced weaponry to produce some impressive pieces of artwork and let's be honest, who doesn't like seeing their favorite comic heroes suit in an overpowered future-form?
This armored and action-ready future-Punisher by johnsonting really illustrates the kind of art that a futuristic theme can yield: simple yet effective. The small touches on the figure's armour really bring the whole suit together, with the sprayed-on skull adding a nice improvised feel and the bloodstained smiley-face badge providing a nice reference to one of the most popular comics of all-time.
12 OLD MAN FRANK
Ever wondered what Frank Castle would look like if he was still hunting down the villains in his later years? Well Deviantart user zecarlos has and created this piece to illustrate that the Punisher's fight will most likely only end one way, and he won't be dying of old age.
Given the tendency for modern heroes to be young and spritely (or at least in good shape) the idea of crimefighters growing old is an interesting idea explored in mainstream comics every now and again and explored in fan art even more, often to amusing effect. This elderly version of Frank shows how grizzled he'd become if his one man war on crime never ended, with nods to the character's military past illustrated by the artist's choice of clothing; whatever you do, don't play on this old-timer's lawn.
11 FUTURE (NO MASK)
Another piece based on a Punisher of the future, hiram67's version equips him with an all-black suit of armor that would feel at-home in a high-octane anime series, with the iconic skull logo taking a backseat to show off the intricacies of the suit itself.
We've all imagined living in the future at some point (it's not just me, right?) and this Deviantart design places Frank firmly in a science-fiction inspired environment, while sticking somewhat close to his classic design by leaving his head uncovered as opposed to his heavily-armored body. While he may not look as deadly as the earlier, helmeted entry on this list, this Punisher looks like he could be a futuristic law enforcer, something which may not exactly appeal to the man himself.
Ahh, Batman. If a character hasn't been given a fan-made internet crossover with Batman then do they really even matter? One of the most popular characters for artists to combine with other heroes (and it's easy to see why) Batman provides a world of possibilities when it comes to unofficial artwork.
This is what MrWills clearly had in mind when creating this Punisher/Batman crossover (Bruce Castle, anyone?) combining the Bat's iconic cape and cowl with the weapon-laden, skull-adorned costume of everyone's favourite criminal-killer. Frank Castle has always been an angry guy, but combined with the famously grumpy Dark Knight you can feel bad vibes coming through the mask; in a world where Batman is packing this much heat, what on earth does Robin look like?
9 HEAVY ARMOR
While maybe not as detailed as some of these other entries, this Punisher certainly looks geared up and ready for war. The skull design has been taken to the max by Deviantart artist j3f3r20n; the suit has a real military feel to it and references Frank's wardrobe choices of both the past and present: using the lower half of the skull to store weapons and provisions evokes his original suit, while a skull face-mask is purely modern lore.
With no trace of skin showing, Frank's human side looks to be all but consumed, an idea explored in many series written about the character, and with comics that explore such dark subject material in comparison to Marvel's other, mostly light-hearted heroes, it's not hard to see why.
If you think that Frank Castle isn't cold and robotic enough during his day-to-day activities, then this deviantart entry by MisterAozame is definitely for you. A sort of futuristic ninja-robot hybrid, this Punisher is easy to imagine as part of a covert crime-fighting force, ruthless and merciless in their approach to justice.
With so many fan-made future-versions of comic book characters out there (and a few on this list) it's often hard to find a way to stay original, and one way the artist has managed to stand out from the crowd is by ditching the Punisher's guns; a move some might perhaps disagree with as the character's love for ranged weaponry is legendary; still, we think this cyber-Frank looks like he really doesn't need guns to cause some major damage.
If the Venom symbiote merged with Frank Castle, could they ever really be stopped? Drawn and colored by online artist Rafael Alejandro Flores Romero, and looking somewhat similar to the Agent Venom version of the classic Spider-Man villain (Flash Thompson bonded with the symbiote, fighting crime and aliens), this crossover merges two of the most famous black-and-white-clad characters in Marvel comics to deadly effect.
The idea of the Punisher acquiring the alien black suit has been explored before in the comics world, with the popular What If? series visiting this possibility in 1992, and whereas the official artwork looked nowhere near as imposing as this impressive piece of fan art, the answer to this question (surprising absolutely nobody) is that a lot of people die.
A simple design carried out well; this skull-painted Stormtrooper conjures forth a world of possibility. Our personal favorite is that one day, trooper Castle-00129 goes rogue and decides to hunt down the most evil enforcers of the Empire, Punishing those who prey on the innocent and doing his best to atone for his questionable past. The red skull pattern evokes Frank’s Thunderbolts costume of the past, while the bloody handprint reminds us of the dark actions to come, most of which will probably be committed with a blaster.
Out of the crossovers featured on this list, this Star Wars/Marvel combination is the most farfetched (although given who owns both companies, never say never), however that didn’t stop J2Artist from creating a fun and colourful addition to the world of fan art.
5 WAR MACHINE
On virtually all the entries on this list, the artwork shown has been examples of fans imitating an original character and putting their own spin on the Punisher, a character created years ago. In an interesting turn of events, Marvel seemed to have imitated this piece by Deviantart user OcsanaArt (whether deliberately is up for debate) by recently providing Frank with the War Machine armor in the comics, previously used by the deceased James Rhodes.
This piece is more personalized to the Punisher's sense of style (with him only recently acquiring the suit in his ongoing series) and based on the War Machine of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, adding a sense of 'real life'; we can only wonder what kind of use Frank will make of that minigun.
If there's one thing the internet loves, it's a comic book crossover. Often inspired by team-ups or combinations that would never happen (although the Punisher/Deadpool really isn't too farfetched, they were both on a Thunderbolts team in 2013) fan art of two existing characters combined is extremely common and not always effective.
Luckily this combination of the Punisher and Marvel Comics fan-favorite Deadpool by BossLogic hits the nail on the head, combining Frank's black and white skull-style with DP's full-body spandex suit to create a seriously dangerous-looking individual. It's hard to think of a more fearsome combination than a crime-fighter as driven (and some might say psychotic) as the Punisher with the extreme healing factor of Wade Wilson, we definitely wouldn't mess with that guy.
Illustrated in a traditional Japanese style, this Samurai Punisher costume is reminiscent of a past -- and extremely cool -- age. Combining ol' Frank's favored black and white color scheme with a full set of samurai armor (and a touch of red, often used in this style of artwork), online artist muenchgesang evokes the spirit of the samurai warrior, similar to the Punisher's disciplined and unwavering stance on serving his own personal brand of justice to the criminal element.
While it can be argued that the character works best in a modern setting, it's easy to imagine a samurai version of Frank Castle roaming feudal Japan, punishing evil-doers and those without honour, on an eternal mission to avenge those he lost, an image which is conjured by just a glance at this Deviantart entry.
The final past-Punisher on the list, this crossbow-wielding criminal-killer looks ripe for a team-up with vampire hunter Van Helsing. Another one-eyed version of the character (the internet just loves heroes with bad depth perception it seems) Isikol's take on Frank Castle combines dark, skull-adorned armor with an extremely vintage version of the long black jacket favored by him for both fun and leisure in many of his comic appearances.
The field of skulls beneath his feet symbolize the dark path that the Punisher walks, yet it looks like there's a hint of a smile on his face, it's almost as if he knows that despite all the pain he has both experienced and caused, there's no stopping this vigilante looking cool while bringing the hurt.
1 TOM HARDY
Let's be honest, Tom Hardy could play Supergirl if he wanted to. A fun yet really effective sketch by jcfabul, this Deviantart entry imagines a world where the actor was offered the role of Frank Castle for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, instead of Eddie Brock for Sony's solo Venom film and decided to portray the damaged yet ruthless vigilante for either the big or small screen.
Jon Bernthal is currently portraying the character in his recently released Netflix series, and although JB brings a real humanity to Frank, there is something about the characters that Tom Hardy portrays that you just simply wouldn't mess with. Maybe, one day we'll see Bane playing the Punisher (stranger things have happened) but for now, this piece will remain firmly in the fantastical world of fan art.
Which of these pieces of art is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!