The use of the Punisher's logo by Dallas law enforcement officials has once again sparked the debate of whether Frank Castle should be idolized as superhero or berated for his violent vigilantism. Punisher co-creator Gerry Conway blasted the officers who used the logo, saying they are "identifying law enforcement with an outlaw." While not officially taking a stance on the events going on in Texas, Punisher writer Garth Ennis has weighed in on whether or not he believes that the Punisher is in fact a superhero.
"Essentially he’s a gunfighter rather than a superhero," Ennis told CBR. "And being one step closer to the real world as a result, he’s just the character you want when you’re exploring the nastier side of human existence."
Ennis also explained why he keeps coming back to the character, highlighting the "simplicity" of the character and the connections to his childhood.
"I think it’s the brilliant simplicity of the character," he remarked. "He reminds me so much of the characters I grew up on -- I’ve said before that he sometimes seems like a British comics character accidentally born on the wrong side of The Pond -- and indeed he should, because Frank and a lot of my childhood comics heroes were based on TV and film of the era (rather than other comics, as is the way in the US)."
Ennis has been writing for the Punisher for years, writing titles like Punisher MAX, Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe and The Punisher: War Zone. He is currently working on two new Punisher series for Marvel. Punisher Soviet will debut in November of 2019 and an untitled Punisher miniseries will drop in 2020.