I Love Ya But You're Strange - Archie Meets the Punisher!

Every installment of I Love Ya But You’re Strange I spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories. Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

Today, in honor of the late Stan Goldberg, we take a look at one of the most famous comics he drew, the famed Archie Meets the Punisher crossover comic book from 20 years ago!

Longtime Archie artist Stan Goldberg passed away on Sunday. When Batton Lash came up with the idea for this story (after the heads of Archie told them of an earlier idea for an Archie/Punisher story that they had that they felt didn't work because it didn't fit the feel of an Archie story) and Marvel Editor-in-Chief Tom DeFalco (who used to work at Archie early in his career and nowadays is writing some stories for them once again) agreed to do the crossover, the artists chosen for the project were Goldberg for the Archie side of things and the late, great John Buscema for the Punisher side of things.


The comic is based on a simple, but extremely effective concept...mistaken identity!

In a really clever move, both the characters are introduced as if their introductions are the first pages of a short Archie-style story. "Wet Works"...

and then "Shtick to your Guns"...

As it turns out, the Punisher is not the only one who is on the hunt for the crook known as "Red." Some hitmen are out to get him, as well, and they and the Punisher both converge on Archie and Jughead, leading to an awesome meeting scene...

The Punisher realizes that this is just some dumb kid, so Archie and Jughead escape and Lash does a great job explaining why no one will believe Archie's tale of the Punisher's involvement, since Archie makes up wild stories all the time or just plain ol' gets stuff wrong (like the time he thought an undercover cop was a spy or that his father trying to get into their house after losing his keys was a cat burglar).


So the whole thing comes to a head at the big Riverdale High dance, where Red has tricked Veronica into thinking he is a wealthy businessman in town for a little while, so they're at the dance together. The Punisher and the Hitmen all take the place of caterers and then hijinx ensue, leading to an awesome final moment...

The hitmen are finished, but "Red" escapes along with Veronica but eventually the Punisher and Archie and the gang track him down to save Veronica from him (with Archie delivering the decisive clue as to their whereabouts), and after being contacted by the U.S. government, the Punisher agrees to let Red live this time, leading to another really clever bit where Lash contrasts Punisher's War Journal with Betty's Diary...


The closing sets up two theoretical future crossovers, one of which actually DID happen later in 1994, the Punisher meeting Batman (a couple of times in 1994, one of which - the one with Punisher meeting Az-Bats - was right around the same time as this crossover, so it worked out well, timing-wise)...

Where is our Jughead/Wolverine crossover?!? The world needs it!

Anyhow, this was a great story with excellent Goldberg and Buscema artwork that meld together beautifully (Tom Palmer inked the whole thing and he did a hell of a job).

We'll miss you, Stan Goldberg!

Okay, that's it for this installment of I Love Ya But You're Strange! If YOU have a suggestion for a future installment, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com!

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