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Punisher's Battle Van, From Comics to TV

That was probably the closest Pendleton ever came to wanting to sue someone. But ultimately, it was just too much of a hassle for an author doing so well with his own novels. It really annoyed him, however, when people would later accuse him of stealing from The Punisher.

The Punisher remained a minor figure in Marvel comics throughout the rest of the 1970s, popular enough as an occasional guest star, but not rate his own feature outside of Marvel's black-and-white magazine line. That changed in 1986, when Steven Grant, Mike Zeck and John Beatty brought the character to true stardom with his first color miniseries. That led to an ongoing series, written by Mike Baron, in 1987. Now, as a supporting character, obviously The Punisher could work by himself, as he would play off of the protagonist, like contrasting his methods with those of Spider-Man. However, with an ongoing series, Baron needed a bit of a foil for Frank Castle, so he introduced his tech expert, Microchip.

That also helped to explain who was maintaining Castle's tech, as his original go-to guy, the Mechanic, died early in The Punisher's comic book career. So Micro was the new explanation for how The Punisher's weapons and computers were so state of the art. In The Punisher #15 (by Baron, Whilce Portacio and Scott Williams), Micro introduced a new van:

Amazingly enough, The Punisher's Battle Van did not get an entry in the original Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, which debuted in 1982. He probably wasn't famous enough just yet. However, in 1990, Castle received, in effect, his own "Official Handbook of the Punisher Universe," called The Punisher Armory. In the first issue, Elliot Brown drew the schematics for the Battle Van:

That same year, the van received its own trading card!

When the Marvel ToyBiz line exploded in popularity, you better believe The Punisher's van was turned into a toy.

In recent years, The Punisher had not used the special van as much, and he didn't employ it any of his movies.

On Marvel's The Punisher, however, the van is much more utilitarian, stocked with medical supplies, far more "mundane" weapons, Castle's military rations and, much to his surprise, Micro's far more appetizing hoagies. It doesn't boast some of the fantastical elements of the original Microchip-designed Battle Van; after all, Marvel's Netflix dramas are far more grounded than its comics.

Arriving Friday, Nov. 17, on Netflix, Marvel's The Punisher stars Jon Bernthal, Ben Barnes, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Amber Rose Revah, Deborah Ann Woll, Daniel Webber, Jason R. Moore, Paul Schulze, Jaime Ray Newman and Michael Nathanson.

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