Comic Legends: Was War Machine Inspired by a Rejected Punisher Story?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and fifty-fourth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This time around, it'll be Punisher legends!

As we've been doing it for some time now, one legend today, one tomorrow and one Sunday.

Let's begin!


War Machine was based on a rejected Punisher/Iron Man miniseries


I'm Going With False

This week, Marvel released Punisher #218 by Matthew Rosenberg and Guiu Vilanova, which featured Punisher using the War Machine armor...

What's interesting is that there was a rejected miniseries about this very topic!

Here's a brief description by the late, great Dwayne McDuffie of The Killing Machine, a prestige format miniseries that would have starred Iron Man and the Punisher, "This one I dreamed up with Xombi and X-Files writer John Rozum. The Punisher steals a suit of Iron Man armor, paints it black with a white skull emblem and goes to town. Iron Man wants it back. This one got lost as editorial teams changed several times while we developed it. I also had vague notions of Jim Rhodes getting the black armor in a sequel. So Mark Bright did some very strong armor designs and we pitched a second Iron Man book starring Rhodey. That didn't happen either, at least not for us. I like to think we had something to do with the War Machine book that came out a few years later. Although admittedly the idea isn't that much of a stretch."

You can read his pitch for it here.

So, was that miniseries an inspiration for the creation of War Machine?

I went right to War Machine co-creator Len Kaminski for the scoop...

I don't recall even hearing of Dwayne and John's proposal. Wouldn't have swiped the idea if I had. Dwayne and I weren't tight, but I considered him a friend. He bailed me out a nightmare jam when I was an assistant editor for which I was and am eternally grateful.

The closest thing to a direct inspiration for the War Machine armor was a cover (I think Dale Keown was the artist) for THE HULK during Peter David's run, where the Hulk was dressed in fatigues and combat boots, firing a Big F'ing Gun at you. THAT was a real attention-getter.

So there ya go! As McDuffie noted in his piece, it's not like it is some out of the ordinary idea, especially during the grim and gritty 1990s.

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Check back Saturday for part 2 of this week's legends!

And remember, if you have a legend that you're curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

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