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The Punisher: How Micro Changed From Comics to TV

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The Punisher: How Micro Changed From Comics to TV

WARNING: The following article contains minor spoilers for Marvel’s The Punisher, streaming now on Netflix.


The most notable supporting cast member from The Punisher’s comic book series, Microchip, makes his television debut on Marvel’s The Punisher. However, the character has undergone a number of notable changes beyond a name change to “Micro” (even there, The Punisher often referred to him as “Micro” in the comic books). Let’s examine the comics history of Microchip, and then contrast him with how Micro is depicted on the Netflix drama.

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When The Punisher debuted, worked with a man named Reiss, whom he dubbed “the Mechanic.” The Jackal murdered the Mechanic in 1974’s The Amazing Spider-Man #129 to frame Spider-Man for the crime so that The Punisher would kill the wall-crawler in retribution. With the Mechanic dead, The Punisher no longer had a weapons specialist, which wasn’t such a big deal when the vigilante appeared infrequently, but when he gained his own ongoing series in 1987, that wouldn’t do. So Mike Baron and Klaus Janson introduced Microchip in The Punisher #4. However, Microchip then was an entirely different guy, different name, Lowell Bartholomew Ori, and he was much older (and he worked with his son).

A few issues later, Microchip’s son is killed. However, soon Microchip is pretty much a completely new guy. It seems likely that Baron never gave the character any more thought at first beyond, “Here’s a guy who I can use to explain where The Punisher gets his battle vans from.” Soon, however, it became clear that there was always going to be a need to explain where The Punisher gets his gear from, so he might as well make Microchip a permanent part of the team. Microchip was then de-aged a bit and became almost a source of comic relief within the series. In a lot of ways, Microchip humanized The Punisher, as he gave him a legitimate friend, something The Punisher obviously has very few of in this world.

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Look at this bit from The Punisher #28 (by Mike Baron, Bill Reinhold and Mark Farmer), by which time the relationship had been solidified into the setup that we would see for the next few years, as The Punisher comic book franchise was hitting a boom period.

The two of them are just sitting there bantering with each other.

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As The Punisher franchise continued to expand into three ongoing series and a bunch of miniseries, Microchip became more and more of an important character, as there was so much story room to fill that a number of writers filled some of it with further details of Microchip. He also sort of became a kind of counselor for the Punisher, as he would be the guy who would try to talk The Punisher into doing things like taking some time off from all of the killing.

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