[[caption-width-right:312:Frank Castle takes the consequences of drunk driving to [[ScareEmStraight their logical conclusion]].]]

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->''When mobsters slew his family, Frank Castle vowed to spend the rest of his life avenging them! Trained as a soldier, and equipped with state-of-the-art arsenal, he now wages a one-man war on crime!''

Possibly the most enduring DarkerAndEdgier AntiHero ever to appear in a comic, the Punisher is one of [[MarvelUniverse Marvel's]] most reliable [[CashCowFranchise cash cows]], a VigilanteMan and JudgeJuryAndExecutioner whose only passion is finding and executing criminals in the most brutal (and sometimes [[CruelAndUnusualDeath imaginative]]) ways possible. The Punisher first appeared in ''Amazing Spider-Man'' #129 (February, 1974), created by writer Creator/GerryConway, along with artists John Romita, Sr. and Ross Andru.

For a while the Punisher appeared mostly in titles starring ComicBook/{{Spider-Man}} (see ''ComicBook/TheCloneSaga''). He received his first origin story in ''Marvel Preview'' #2 (April, 1975), again written by Conway. He received another solo story in ''Marvel Super Action'' #1 (January, 1976), a one-shot publication. After that Punisher returned to making appearances in titles featuring Spider-Man, ComicBook/CaptainAmerica, and ComicBook/{{Daredevil}}. In the [[TheEighties 1980s]], Steven Grant and Mike Zeck campaigned for a Punisher mini-series. But Marvel editors were reportedly reluctant. The series eventually did materialize: ''[[Comicbook/ThePunisherCircleOfBlood Punisher]]'' [[Comicbook/ThePunisherCircleOfBlood vol. 1]] (January-May, 1986). It sold well and consequently Punisher gained his first ongoing series in 1987. The Punisher has since starred in various magazines over the years, even gaining four multi-part events that ran through various titles in the nineties, said events being ''Comicbook/SuicideRun, Countdown'', and ''Over the Edge''.

Frank Castle is a [[TheVietnamWar Vietnam War veteran]] who saw his wife, son and daughter slaughtered in a Mafia hit gone wrong. So he got himself a black shirt with a scary white skull on the front and a whole [[MoreDakka lot of guns]], and started a one-man war on crime (as you do).

The big difference between him and, say, Franchise/{{Batman}}? Castle kills the criminals that he fights. A lot. Often ''several dozen'' at a time.[[note]]His confirmed "high scores" to date are approximately 2,000 in the Marvel Universe with a nuke, and 68 in one night, with 32 in a single location in the MAX continuity. Wizard magazine also had his death count as slightly above 1,000, pre-Ennis and later in MAX, this is mentioned to have climbed to 2K. Combine all that together, and the total death toll comes around to an astounding ''four thousand bad guys''.[[/note]] He uses machine guns, explosives, a certain amount of [[IKnowKarate martial arts]], knives, and on occasion, wildlife (most notably, the time that he punched a polar bear in the face to get it riled enough to eat some Mafia hitmen). He can be very, very sadistic. He tends not to get on with Marvel's actual superheroes, especially when he's written by comic-book scribe Creator/GarthEnnis; many fans think Castle and Ennis were a match made in heaven.

The tone of the stories vary from violent pitch-black comedy to intensively grim-and-gritty noir tales to attempts to make him a full-on SuperHero... who just so happens to kill people. His enemies have ranged from sex slavery rings (the MAX arc "The Slavers" being possibly one of the single darkest stories in the history of comics, if not the history of fiction) to gigantic Russian hitmen augmented with cyborg body parts and enormous breasts... both of them written by Ennis.

The character himself often suffers from inconsistent writing. Many writers have portrayed him as a good man at heart who sincerely does want to help people and keep them from suffering the same way he did, while other writers have portrayed him as a psychopath with no pity for anyone and no motivation beyond killing criminals. There are two notably different Punisher series: the main Marvel Universe series and a second series created for Marvel's adults-only [[Creator/MarvelMAX MAX]] imprint (originally titled ''The Punisher'' and referred to as ''Punisher MAX'', before changing to ''The Punisher: Frank Castle'' and then [=PunisherMAX=]). This latter version, written almost exclusively by Creator/GarthEnnis for four years, features no superheroes and is deeply rooted in "mundane" crime -- TheMafia, Irish terrorist cells, Eastern European sex slavers, gangsters and real-life wars are prominent. It is also considerably less funny than the mainstream Marvel series, though there are touches of black humor here and there. The MAX series is written much more consistently than the mainstream version, due to being almost entirely shaped by Garth Ennis' vision of the character; this series is also notorious for its moral absolutism. The Marvel Universe version may be willing to excuse himself for killing a friend's girlfriend while under the influence of a "hate ray", but the first post-Ennis MAX issue sees Frank on the edge of killing himself after believing that his instinctive shooting had led to an innocent girl's death, declaring to himself that "I must be punished."[[note]]Realizing the possibility of a setup is the only thing that lets him live long enough to exhume the body, which he finds was slain with a bullet of a different caliber from what he had been carrying. Turned out that [[DrivenToSuicide it was a setup]] to get him out of the way of a local crime syndicate.[[/note]]

Three films have been based around the character have been produced to date --- [[Film/ThePunisher1989 one by Artisan Entertainment]], with Creator/DolphLundgren in the role, and two others by Creator/LionsGate: ''[[Film/ThePunisher2004 The Punisher]]'' and ''Film/PunisherWarZone''. All three films are standalone and aren't linked by any continuity.

When his film rights reverted back to Marvel in the early 2010s, many wondered if The Punisher ever officially join the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse. Outside of a reference in the Film/{{Marvel One Shot|s}} ''All Hall the King'', there weren't any immediate plans to reintroduce the character. In June 2015, it was announced that The Punisher would make his MCU debut during the second season of ''Series/{{Daredevil 2015}}'', played by Creator/JonBernthal. Before the season was even released, Netflix execs started bringing up the possibility of his getting his own show.


[[folder: ''Punisher'' comics and stories with their own pages ]]

* ''Comicbook/ThePunisherCircleOfBlood'' (1986) -- Punisher's very first solo title.
* ''Comicbook/ThePunisher2099'' (1993-1995) -- A comic set in AlternateContinuity future of ''Franchise/{{Marvel 2099}}''.
* ''Comicbook/SuicideRun'' (1993-1994) -- An eleven-part storyline event that ran through the main ''Punisher'' title, ''The Punisher: War Journal'' and ''The Punisher: War Zone''.
* ''Comicbook/ArchieMeetsThePunisher'' (1994) -- An offbeat IntercontinuityCrossover with Franchise/ArchieComics.
* ''Comicbook/ThePunisherKillsTheMarvelUniverse'' (1995) -- A WhatIf comic written by Creator/GarthEnnis years before his more regular work with the character.
* ''Comicbook/ThePunisherPurgatory'' (1998) -- A miniseries that [[ReTool Re Tooled]] the character into a sort-of agent for heaven.
* ''ComicBook/WelcomeBackFrank'' (2000-2001) -- A limited series storyline which returns the Punisher back into the "regular vigilante who just shoots criminals" mold, written by Creator/GarthEnnis.
* ''Comicbook/ThePunisherMAX'' (2004-2009 and 2010-2012) -- AlternateContinuity series set in the Marvel's DarkerAndEdgier MAX imprint. The page also lists the various oneshots and miniseries set there.
* ''Comicbook/PunisherNoir'' (2009) -- An AlternateContinuity miniseries, where the Punisher does his work in the 1930s New York.
* ''Comicbook/MarvelUniverseVsThePunisher'' (2010) -- An AlternateContinuity miniseries where Punisher has to fight the heroes and villains of Marvel who have been turned into sadistic cannibals.


[[folder: Anime ]]

* ''Anime/IronManRiseOfTechnovore'' (2013)
* ''Anime/AvengersConfidentialBlackWidowAndPunisher'' (2014)


[[folder: Film ]]

* ''[[Film/ThePunisher1989 The Punisher]]'' (1989) -- Starring Creator/DolphLundgren.
* ''[[Film/ThePunisher2004 The Punisher]]'' (2004) -- Starring Creator/ThomasJane.
* ''Film/PunisherWarZone'' (2008) -- Starring Creator/RayStevenson.
* ''Film/DirtyLaundry'' (2012) -- An unofficial short film which stars Creator/ThomasJane.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''[[VideoGame/ThePunisherCapcom The Punisher]]'' (1993) -- A BeatEmUp from Creator/{{Capcom}}, which also features Comicbook/NickFury as a playable character.
* ''VideoGame/ThePunisher'' (2005) -- A third-person action game, which is rife with TheJoysOfTorturingMooks.
* ''VideoGame/MarvelAvengersAlliance'' (2012) -- Punisher is one of the recruitable heroes.
* ''VideoGame/MarvelContestOfChampions'' (2015) -- Available as a Champion exclusively through Arena Crystals.
* ''VideoGame/MarvelHeroes'' (2013) -- He is one of the Starter Heroes.
* ''VideoGame/MarvelPuzzleQuest''


[[folder: Series ]]

* ''Series/{{Daredevil 2015}}'' season two (2016) -- Played by Creator/JonBernthal.

!! This comic contains examples of:

* AccidentalMisnaming: Detective Martin Soap gets called by the wrong name, and even has to fix the "R" initial on his door to an "M."
* AffablyEvil: The Russian is a [[PsychoForHire murderous, violent and psychopathic killer for hire]]. He is, nonetheless, incredibly friendly to his enemies, actively complimenting and joking with them mid-fight.
** Ditto with Barracuda from Punisher Max, who is like a bizarre fusion of Michael Clarke Duncan from Film/{{Armageddon}} and Michael Clarke Duncan from Film/SinCity, it can be hard to take him seriously as a villain at first [[spoiler: at least until he kidnaps Frank's baby daughter, murderers Frank's only real friend, threatens to eat said baby daughter, and is subsequently chopped into pieces by Frank with a fire axe.]]
* AllCrimesAreEqual: In some stories, many later stories subvert this somewhat, by having Frank focus on higher ranking Criminals.
* AllJustADream: [[spoiler:The infamous comic of Frank traveling back in time to kill Al Capone is just Frank having a dream.]]
* AlternateCompanyEquivalent: The Punisher is modeled very closely on the character of Mack Bolan, who also lost his family to mob violence and becomes a vigilante with the nickname "TheExecutioner". Mack Bolan was featured in a series of books that were first published in 1968, and new books in the series [[PrintLongRunners still come out today]].
* AlwaysABiggerFish: Frank easily kills normal human villains -- put him against a genuine supervillain, though, and he's in trouble. Taken to its logical conclusion with the "Punisher vs. Daken (aka Comicbook/{{Wolverine}}'s psychotic killing machine of a son with all of dad's powers)" story arc in ''Comicbook/DarkReign'': Daken takes Frank apart. ''Literally''.
* AmbiguouslyEvil: This has mostly do with inconsistent writing, but it's still debatable whether Frank is an AntiHero or a [[VillainProtagonist psychotic serial killer.]]
* AndCallHimGeorge: The Russian puts his arm around the shoulder of one of the guys assigned to escort him for reassurance, and ''it kills him.''
* ArchEnemy: [[KillEmAll For obvious reasons]], criminals rarely make repeat appearances. The closest thing Frank's got is Billy "Jigsaw" Russo, whose main claim to fame is tussling with Frank a few dozen times and actually living to talk about it.
* AssholeVictim: Most (if not all) of Frank's victims.
** A few do stand out. In one case, a man actually managed to get the drop on Frank and drugged him into a stupor, then kicked the shit out of him while he was helpless. If that wasn't enough, he also talked down to the Punisher like he was a pet or a small child. Finally, when he's ready to untie Frank, he explains that he's also given him a slow-acting poison that will kill him in six hours, and that he wants Frank to kill some people for him. "I don't have the antidote. I don't know where it is. My associates do. You'll get it when the job is done. Kill me, you're just killing yourself. Understand?" The Punisher nods, and the man is too stupid to realize that Frank is just confirming that he understands, nothing more. Once he is untied, the Punisher immediately ''breaks the man's neck.'' Frank: "Won't waste time looking for the antidote. Probably doesn't exist." Asshole Victim, indeed. The guy was practically begging for what he got.
* AuthorAppeal: Garth Ennis' run prior to the MAX series. His distaste for Catholicism is shown with the psycho priest, while his dislike for popular masked super heroes is shown in a fight with Frank vs. The Russian where ComicBook/SpiderMan steps in; all Spidey does is [[TheWorfEffect get the shit kicked out of him]] and act like a human shield for Frank.
* AvengingTheVillain: After Punisher kills Julius Cabrone, his daughter Rosalie hires several assassins after him. This isn't an one-time incident, as in the words of Punisher: "I've got more vendettas against me than I can count."
* AwesomeMcCoolname: Frank Castle.
* AxCrazy: Many villains and, DependingOnTheWriter, Frank himself.
* BackFromTheDead: Jigsaw, [[spoiler:Microchip]].
* BadassLongcoat: Frank's often depicted wearing a black trench coat, especially in more modern stories where it replaces his more traditional comic costume. Typically, towards the end of the story, when he starts to mean business [[TheCoatsAreOff he just stops wearing it]]. In ''War Zone'', he trades up the longcoat for a more mobile outfit, replacing the longcoat with body armor.
* BadassNormal: Castle has no superpowers of his own, and typically most of his foes are either just mooks or other badass normals. However, he has gone toe-to-toe with various superheroes and villains in the past. **Exemplified with his fight against [[FlyingBrick Sentry]] where Frank wins against the Cosmic - Level villain through a combination of guile and military grade C-4.
* {{Badbutt}}: Any animated version of him will inevitably wind up as this, with the exception of ''Anime/IronManRiseOfTechnovore'', which shows him killing a group of terrorists and acting more like his comic book depiction.
* BearsAreBadNews:
** One of the earlier stories had Frank stranded in Alaskan wilderness and picking a fight with a bear.
** And there is the infamous moment when he deliberately angered a bunch of polar bears to kill mobsters in a zoo.
--->'''Punisher''': Cuddly. Lovable. Docile. '''*POW*''' That won't do at all.
* BerserkButton: Frank doesn't go berserk very often. If someone pisses him off or is on his list, he will go about killing them very methodically and efficiently. He can and will, however, go berserk if you hurt women or children. In addition, mocking or ridiculing or insulting Captain America means he ''will'' go insane on your ass. He respects Cap so much that he on one occasion where Cap was kicking ''his'' ass, Frank absolutely refused to fight back at all. In one story line, he saw a news story where a man dressed in a costume that was very similar to Cap's was boasting about killing illegal immigrants. Frank: "I'm stealing a car. I'm driving to New Mexico. ''And when I get there I'm going to shoot that guy in the face!''"
* BlackAndGrayMorality: The Punisher is a [[SociopathicHero sociopathic,]] cruel, KnightTemplar, BloodKnight, [[OneManArmy mass-murderering]], VigilanteMan, but is recurrently put against UpToEleven versions of the worst sorts of people reality has to offer. Most Punisher villains don't seem to even ''have'' any character traits besides malice, greed, sadism, and selfishness. Creator/GarthEnnis writes the character as 100% aware of this, often repeatedly stating that his only reason to continue living is to punish those worse than himself.
* BlackComedy: Shows up from time to time throughout the character's history, but Ennis's early 2000s run is built on it.
-->'''Punisher''': Gunfight in the morgue rule one. Don't hide behind the thin guy.
* BloodKnight: Why does Frank kill? 33% for revenge, 33% for justice, and 33% because he likes it; the remaining 1% is just plain crazy.
* BodyHorror: The main villain in ''POV'' miniseries is a terrorist who got doused with experimental formula, turning him into a bloodsucking mutant. When he attacks a pregnant woman, the result is a tentacled sewer-dwelling monster baby.
* BookEnds: The first issue of Garth Ennis' mainstream series ended with Frank throwing a criminal off of the Empire State building. In the last issue, he does the same thing again and reflects on all that's happened since he came back.
* BrainwashedAndCrazy: Has happened a couple of times to Frank. He tried killing jaywalkers and his second sidekick's girlfriend.
* BreakoutCharacter: The Punisher originally appeared as a ''ComicBook/SpiderMan'' villain in 1974. He became popular and started to appear on a regular basis, eventually getting his own series in the '80s.
* BrooklynRage: While some men might seek vengeance on those who killed their family, Frank Castle doesn't settle that low. He wants to kill every criminal. ''[[KillEmAll Every single one.]]''
* BulletproofHumanShield: A common tactic of Frank's; use a crook to kill a crook.
* BulletproofVest: Frank's original costume is decorated body armor, but the better writers make it clear that being shot even while wearing such protection is much like getting hit by a truck.
* BullyingADragon:
** When Frank walks in on Anti-Venom busting a Mexican crime syndicate in ''New Ways to Live'', they team up until he realizes Anti-Venom is his old adversary [[Comicbook/{{Venom}} Eddie Brock]]. Castle promptly shoots Anti-Venom -- who was in the process of thanking him -- [[ChunkySalsaRule point-blank in the face with a shotgun]], and when the last surviving thug takes the ex-drug addict Anti-Venom had been using as an informant hostage, Frank coldly states, "That's not a girl... [[ItIsDehumanizing it's]] a junkie" and takes aim, causing Anti-Venom to pull his head back together, ''severely'' pissed off, and smash Frank through a wall.
** In a crossover with ComicBook/{{Wolverine}} written by Garth Ennis, Punisher repeatedly abuses Wolverine, including shooting him [[GroinAttack in the crotch]] with a shotgun and crushing him under a steamroller. Even though, as he can plainly see, Wolverine keeps getting back up unhurt after each attack. Fortunately, Wolverine never decides to seriously retaliate, though he does swear a grudge on Castle for everything he did to him.
*** [[HilariousInHindsight And then]] Wolverine's BastardBastard son ComicBook/{{Daken}}, who killed Castle.
* BuriedAlive: Oneshot comic ''Die Hard in Big Easy'' starts with a Voodoo-practicing villain burying Frank alive as a part of a ritual to turn him into a VoodooZombie. He of course manages to get out, and the comic ends with Frank paying the villain in kind.
* ButForMeItWasTuesday:
** Frank's usual reaction when he runs into somebody trying to [[AvengingTheVillain Avenge The Villain]]. However, this also applies to people that Frank accidentally ''helps''.
** At the end of the issue that inroduced Jigsaw, Nightcrawler and Spider-Man discuss how much the guy hated Punisher for disfiguring him; but for Frank, it's such a mundane occurrence he doesn't even remember it.
* ButtMonkey: Detective Soap, the biggest joke of NYPD, is the prime example. For that matter, if you're a police officer and The Punisher's case is assigned to you, it's a sure sign that you're in danger of becoming this. Charlie Schitti would be another great example of ButtMonkey, if not for the fact that just still being alive at the end is remarkably lucky for a (former) mobster.
* CaptainErsatz:
** One of the villains was a cult leader named The Rev, who was an analogy to Jim Jones.
** "''Politically naive''" actress-turned-activist Alice from ''War Journal'' is one to Creator/JaneFonda.
* CarnivalOfKillers: An early arc in ''Punisher: War Zone'' had the New York mob hiring the seven best assassins in the world to hunt down the Punisher. Such things are something of an occupational hazard for The Punisher.
* CelibateHero: Frank doesn't seem to have much interest in the ladies, but this is most likely justified by the fact that he still thinks about his family and/or he's too busy killing scum. He has had romantic encounters with some women, [[spoiler:including the one that resulted in his illegitimate daughter in the MAX series]], but it's not a significant part of his characterization outside of when he's written by Mike Baron, who has him sleeping around as much as your typical action hero.
* CharactersDroppingLikeFlies: Given the basic premise, no one is safe from death (even Frank died once, though he came back -- while making no reference to the whole affair).
* CharlesAtlasSuperPower: Frank is occasionally depicted as this, between being a Vietnam veteran {{Determinator}} having [[ImprobableAimingSkills Impropable Aiming Skills]] and (as in the ''War Zone'' movie) extremely sensitive hearing. Some of his enemies -- particularly The Russian -- are similarly empowered.
** In addition, Frank's ability to tolerate pain is shown to be off the scale, which allows him to keep functioning despite injuries that would have any other man completely incapacitated. It helps that Frank is both Made Of Iron and a Determinator. Nick Fury and Tony Stark have both observed that Frank's ability to tolerate pain is absolutely psychopathic. When he's going after a target it doesn't matter how much he gets hurt. ''He just doesn't care.''
* ChestInsignia: The Punisher's iconic skull. Like Batman, it serves as a heavily armored target, and in the earlier issues the teeth were spare ammo magazines.
* ChristmasSpecial: He's dressed as Santa whilst gunning down mobsters ''multiple times''.
* ChronicallyCrashedCar: The Battle Van tended to get wrecked every time Frank brought it out.
* ClassicalAntiHero: Some writers also throw in this, a lonely, unstable shell of a man with no future, who can only function as a killing machine.
* ColdBloodedTorture: Frank: (Looking down at a merc who'd just fallen into a pit full of sharpened stakes that Castle had dug for him) "Two through your chest. One through the groin, it looks like. You'll die if you don't get medical attention soon." Merc proceeds to tell Castle everything he wants to know. When he's finished, he asks weakly "...that medical attention...?" Frank: "''No.''"
* CombatPragmatist:
** The following quote from "Welcome Back, Frank" sums it up:
-->'''Frank Castle''': When you're on your own, behind enemy lines, no artillery, no air strikes, no hope of an evac, you don't fight dirty. You do things that make dirty look good.
** Frank is also shown as being very skilled with in both knife fighting and hand-to-hand combat, but consistently prefers to use firearms unless he absolutely has no other choice. "As far as I'm concerned, if you're too close to shoot, you're too close, period."
* CombatSadomasochist: Colonel [[MeaningfulName De Sade]] from ''Summer Special'' issues, who loved to be on the receiving end of pain as much as causing it.
* CoolGuns:
** Even though the Punisher uses a lot of different types of guns, he shows a preference for military weapons such as the M16 rifle or M1911 pistols.
** He actually had a ten-issue series titled "Armory" dedicated to showing off his guns and other equipment.
** And from ''Punisher: War Journal'' (vol. 2) - [[http://comicallycool.tumblr.com/post/5153227797/justchien-a-gun-that-shoots-swords-hell-yeah a gun that shoots swords.]]
* CrazyPrepared: Frank personifies this pretty much all the time, to the point where it's very rare for him to ''ever'' encounter a situation he is not mentally or physically prepared for. It has simply become a way of life for him, as habitual as getting dressed in the morning. One story even showed how, whenever he travels by air and therefore cannot carry any weapons, the first thing he does when he lands is go to the airport gift shop and buy a pocket knife of some sort. "It's not much, but it'll do until I can get my hands on a gun." This saved him once when he was overpowered, tied up, and tossed in the trunk of a car. His abductor just assumed he didn't have a weapon since he was coming from the airport, and didn't search him. He was ''very'' surprised when he opened the trunk and discovered quite suddenly that Frank had not only cut himself loose, but had the knife in his hand and was perfectly willing to use it.
* {{Criminals}}: The Punisher has killed all kinds of them: [[TheMafia Mafiosi]], TheIrishMob, {{Yakuza}}, TheMafiya, [[TheCartel South American crime bosses]], [[WhiteCollarCrime embezzlers]], [[RuthlessModernPirates modern pirates]], [[EvilPoacher poachers]], [[GangBangers gang members]], [[MadBomber bombers]], [[PyroManiac pyromaniacs]], [[AllBikersAreHellsAngels bikers]], [[ThoseWackyNazis modern nazis]], [[SuperVillain super villains]], [[HiredGuns mercenaries]], [[ProfessionalKiller assassins]], {{Ninja}}, [[SerialKiller serial killers]], [[RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil rapists]], [[PaedoHunt child molesters]], [[SlaveryIsASpecialKindOfEvil slavers]], terrorists, [[TheFamilyThatSlaysTogether killer families]], [[HollywoodSatanism Satan worshippers]], [[HollywoodVoodoo Voodoo priests]], [[VigilanteMan ruthless vigilantes]], [[DirtyCop crooked cops]], [[DepravedDwarf Depraved Dwarves]], and so on.
* CrisisCrossover: He tends to be left out of these big events, partly because they don't fit his "''realistic''" tone, and partly because, as mentioned above, most of the spandex set ''really'' don't like him, and would rather he was in jail. Two notable exceptions:
** In the ''ComicBook/CivilWar'', ComicBook/CaptainAmerica recruited him for the anti-registration side. Most of Cap's allies hated this -- especially when Cap tried to recruit some low-level villains, who the Punisher promptly ''shot dead in front of everyone''.
** Frank appears very briefly in ''ComicBook/JLAAvengers''. Franchise/{{Batman}} sees him in action, and swiftly kicks the tar out of him.
* CrusadingWidower: Castle seeks vengeance then effects genocide on the American criminal element for the murder of his family during a botched mob hit.
* CulturalTranslation: One of the early arcs had a CarnivalOfKillers, one of which was described by Frank as shooting "faster 'n greased lightning". The French translation has "[[ComicBook/LuckyLuke shoots faster than his own shadow]]".
* DarkerAndEdgier: Though pretty mainstream by today's standards, the first Punisher miniseries (''[[Comicbook/ThePunisherCircleOfBlood Circle of Blood]]'') was a far cry from most other Marvel Comics products of the mid 1980s. Today, ''The Punisher: Frank Castle'' (the MAX imprint title) is the epitome of this trope for Marvel.
* DarkIsNotEvil: The Punisher is an AntiHero example who only kills bad guys and he has black clothes with a skull. This, however, is often DependingOnTheWriter, as a lot of the time he practically qualifies as a VillainProtagonist.
* DeadMansTriggerFinger: A ComicBook/CaptainAmerica[=/=]Punisher teamup comic has Frank cause this with a precise knife-throw into a guard with a machine gun, which takes out the other guards for them.
* DeathByNewberyMedal: Frank's old guard dog, [[http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/maxrottw.htm Max]], which was killed off in the same arc it was introduced in. It's shot by a gangster trying to raid one of Frank's hideouts. When Frank sees that he's dying, he [[ShootTheDog puts him down]] with a knife. Frank's ''crying'' when he does this. In a later two-parter, Max was retconned into surviving, and he's quite possibly still around to this day.
* DependingOnTheWriter: How much Frank fights to help innocents and how much because he likes killing, as well as how sane he is in general. His feelings towards other Marvel heroes he runs into also varies with the writer. Does he view them as admirable but too soft? Just annoying obstacles in his path?
* DepravedDwarf: Frank and Wolverine take on an entire gang of these at one point, led by the midget brother of a mafia boss killed by Frank. It doesn't end well for them (or Wolverine).
* TheDeterminator: Frank, of course. As he once said, "A man who doesn't have anything to lose, can't help but win."
* DirtyCoward: About 95% of the criminals behave like this when on the wrong end of a gunpoint, begging Frank for their lives and promising him anything and everything (this ''never'' helps). The remaining 5% are mostly [[PsychoForHire Psychos For Hire]] or otherwise too raving mad to feel fear -- only very rarely do you see a sane villain who just has enough guts for something like FacingTheBulletsOneLiner.
* TheDreaded: Frank himself. The white skull on his chest has become such a terrifying icon of death that just the sight of it can make men from EASTERN EUROPEAN DEATH SQUADS fall to their knees and sob for mercy.
* EmpoweredBadassNormal:
** In a ''What If'', Castle visits the Our Lady of Saints church a few minutes before Eddie Brock does and winds up becoming Comicbook/{{Venom}}.
** There was a brief period of time in the [[UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeofComicBooks late nineties]] when Castle was given a supernatural bent for two miniseries (''[[ComicBook/ThePunisherPurgatory Purgatory]]'' and ''Revelation''). He became a divine assassin on behalf of God, using angelic firearms to smite demons in return for a chance to be reunited with his family in heaven. Predictably, this didn't turn out to be a popular development. When Ennis began his run in "Welcome Back Frank", he pays lip service to it by acknowledging it before declaring: "''It didn't work out''."
** Later, ComicBook/{{Morbius}} the Living Vampire resurrected Frank as a FrankensteinsMonster version of himself after a fight with Daken left Frank shredded into pieces.
* EpicFail: In Issue #18 of the original ''Punisher: War Journal'' series, Frank is in Hawaii tracking down a gang of drug dealers. He ends up armed with an old double barreled pistol taken off the body of Captain Cook. Frank ambushes one of the dealers and fires at him, causing a loud bang and bright flash...followed by the ball bearing slipping out of the pistol. Frank then throws the gun at the guy, which he ducks, causing the pistol to smack against the stump of a tree... which makes the other barrel discharge, hitting Frank right in the kevlar.
** In Superior Foes of Spiderman, Punisher attempts to assault a group of supervillains including Mister Negative and Tombstone... [[spoiler: Only for C-Lister Shocker to knock him out in one hit.]]
** During the ''Slavers'' arc in Punisher MAX, Frank attempts to ambush the hired guns for the slavery ring. Frank has forgotten, however, that these are not the usual street punks with poor aim and no tactics. These were hardened soldiers from the Yugoslav wars. Frank was nearly killed.
* ExplodingFishTanks: Frank has twice shot aquarium tanks with sharks in them to take out bad guys.
* FailureIsTheOnlyOption:
** The mainstream incarnation of The Punisher has only once succeeded at dispensing his own brand of justice to significant supervillains he encounters, even those who badly screw with him personally, like [[PsychoForHire Bullseye]]. Probably that's why he mostly goes for mundane mobsters, who don't have JokerImmunity (or superpowers). The one exception is Stilt Man, which he got with [[GroinAttack a bazooka to the groin]]. The saddest aspect of all is, getting offed by the Punisher was probably was the high point of Stilt Man's career.
** No matter what continuity Frank appears in, he will always lose his family to set up his reason for becoming The Punisher.
* FalseReassurance: If you're a criminal and The Punisher promises you something like "''scratching your name from his list''"... you better talk anyway, even if you are sufficiently GenreSavvy to recognize what that means, as being shot right after giving him the necessary information is still preferable to his [[ColdBloodedTorture other methods]] [[JackBauerInterrogationTechnique of loosening tongues]].
* FillerArc: The "Taxi Wars" arc in the Marvel Knights run, those issues(and the one-shot where Frank travels back in time to kill Al Capone) are the only ones during that period not written by Garth Ennis and are also the only Knights issues to not be reprinted.
* FlamethrowerBackfire: The Punisher is well aware of the flamethrower's limitations: "Flamethrower's no good for a prolonged firefight. Sooner or later one of the tanks is going to take a bullet. Too bad for [[{{mooks}} them]] [[ShootTheFuelTank that's what I'm counting on."]]
* {{Flanderization}}:
** The Punisher's appearance in ''ComicBook/{{Runaways}}'', which isn't too surprising, as Creator/JossWhedon kind of hates him, infamously referring to Frank as a killing and firearm-glorifying "coward" in an interview with ''Wizard''.
** Frank's UltimateMarvel counterpart may be even more fanatic about his crusade than Frank is. Even having the UltimateMarvel version of ComicBook/GhostRider, an agent of {{Satan}}, telling him "''keep up the good work''" doesn't dissuade him from his killing spree. He thinks the message comes from his family, or maybe even God himself.
* FollowTheLeader: Almost single-handedly kick-started the DarkerAndEdgier trend of the late 80s and on through the 90s, and remains one of the few such series/characters to have retained his popularity and effectiveness after it died out (though Lord knows he's had his share of {{Dork Age}}s).
* FunetikAksent: Mrs. Pearse
* GenreBlind: The numerous gangsters, mobsters, and other crooks who think that ''they'' [[AttackAttackAttack will be the one to finally bring Frank down]].
* GenreSavvy: Frank always knows when he is being manipulated or played and ''always'' refuses to play along.
* GiveChaseWithAngryNatives:
** Chased by Mafia goons through a zoo, Frank runs through the polar bear enclosure, punches the first sleepy one he sees, and keeps running. By the time the goons get there, they are facing three very pissed-off polar bears.
** In another story, Frank is driving around town killing various gang members and criminals. One group survives the initial attack and gives chase. Frank gets rid of them by driving through a Mafia meeting without stopping; [[MoreDakka the gangstas following aren't so lucky]].
* GunPorn: ''The Punisher: Armory'' miniseries is an entire line devoted to loving descriptions of the guns and tactics Punisher uses.
* GunsAkimbo: The Punisher frequently does this.
* HandicappedBadass: Frank lost an eye during his fight with the Red Vulture.
* HandyCuffs: Frank was captured by a minor gang leader named Machete, who insisted on killing a cuffed Castle in a machete duel. Castle rejects the machete, and kills the guy with his bare hands.
* HeWhoFightsMonsters:
** The Punisher is often presented this way whenever he makes a guest appearance in more idealistic books like ''ComicBook/{{Spider-Man}}'' or ''ComicBook/{{Daredevil}}''. However, in his own books, he's portrayed as a profoundly messed up individual, more tortured machine than man.
** The MAX imprint is much darker and basically shows Frank operating as an uncompromising engine of vengeance in a Crapsack World. He's fully aware that his war on crime has damned him to Hell and there's no hope of redemption. ''He just doesn't care.''
* HeroAntagonist: Any superhero that shows up in his comics is likely to become this. Especially Comicbook/{{Daredevil}}, who is the superhero most determined to put a stop to the Punisher, to the point where they might as well be members of their respective [[RoguesGallery rogues galleries]].
* HeroicDolphin: Subverted in an issue of ''The Punisher War Journal''. A Hawaiian "''kahuna''" controls sealife to rescue Frank from being stranded in the sea, and he thinks to himself that he didn't know that dolphins rescuing humans was true. When he gets back to the shore, she reveals that she actually used a shark to help him.
* HiddenInPlainSight: Despite being a fugitive for 30+ years and having his mugshot on the news semi-regularly, the only time he is ever recognized is when he opens his coat and reveals the skull on his chest. Either people recognize him but pretend they don't or they don't watch a lot of news.
* HighAltitudeInterrogation: Frank uses this among other interrogation techniques. Like most typical [[AntiHero Anti-Heroes]], he often does go through with the threat of letting them plummet to death.
* HollywoodSilencer: Averted in ''Punisher: War Zone''. During Castle's attack on Jigsaw's hideout, Castle uses an M4 variant with a suppressor. The gunshots sound more like muffled cracks than a "fwip". Also, the Smith and Wesson model 500 he uses is fitted with a suppressor which makes the shots sound like loud thuds.
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: Often justified, as most of the mook criminals he faces don't really have much skills or experience in real combat.
* ImpersonatingAnOfficer: Frank has been known to use fake ID to enter crime scenes and get firsthand information before the detectives arrive.
* ImplacableMan: Frank himself, but the trope also extends to the enemies like the amnesiac Thorn, Roc who survived being shot in the head and having his neck broken and the Russian, who's just a large man.
* ImprovisedWeaponUser:
** Oh, so much. He uses piranha, giant snakes, rhinos, [[GroinAttack table saws]], nail guns, fuses, meat packing equipment, a shark, the list goes on and on. Some more notable examples:
** The keeper would have to be punching out a polar bear to anger it into taking out a mob boss, and using a pizza and the morbidly obese Mr. Bumpo on The Russian.
** Once he used the freakin' Hulk against Daredevil, Spidey, and Wolverine to get them off his back.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: While most of Frank's fights are up close, he pulls this off every now and then. For example, in one of his earliest fights he manages to shoot out both of Spider-Man's web shooters while he's in mid-leap.
* InstantDeathBullet: Played straight or subverted depending on the comic.
* ItWorksBetterWithBullets: While attempting to infiltrate a drug cartel, the cartel's boss hands Punisher a rifle and orders him to execute a captured DEA agent. The Punisher turns the gun on the boss only to discover that the gun is unloaded. It was a test of Frank's loyalty.
* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique: Frank is a big fan of it.
* {{Jerkass}}: Kevin the bartender, who is always giving Det. Soap a hard time.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Frank is homicidal towards criminals and is very cold to innocents he comes across, but he does genuinely show concern for innocents. He does have a softer side that comes out on ''very'' rare occasions, too -- he was notably a perfect gentleman towards Miss Grundy in ''ComicBook/ArchieMeetsThePunisher''.
** Also gets a beautiful one in the MAX story "Mother Russia" , which involves Frank rescuing a little girl from some Russian soldiers, he is very protective of the girl, even admonishing another character for cursing in front of her.
** Also in "Mother Russia", the BatmanColdOpen features Frank rescuing an elderly Russian WW2 veteran from some gangsters, with Frank explaining that he "has a thing about respecting his elders."
* JokerImmunity:
** Most notably, the Kingpin. The biggest gang boss in New York, but it's been explained that Frank can't kill him because if he does, New York will be devastated by gangs trying to take his place.[[note]]The Punisher's [[Comicbook/ThePunisherCircleOfBlood first miniseries]] actually had Frank claim to have killed Fisk, who was not in New York at the time. He spends the following issues trying to stop the resulting gang war from spiraling out of control.[[/note]] Also Jigsaw, who Frank has let live numerous times [[spoiler:except in [[Film/PunisheWarZone the 2008 movie]], where Frank impales him with a metal rod, then pushes him onto a large torch]]. [[spoiler: Frank finally kills Kingpin, along with Bullseye, Green Goblin, and several other villains for real just before the Incursion that destroys Earth-616.]]
** Lampshaded in his crossover with Batman. Frank has cornered the TropeNamer himself, who immediately starts cracking jokes about going to Arkham. Frank just coldly cocks his handgun and prepares to blow off the Joker's head, until Batman intervenes.
---> '''The Joker:''' (Staring at Frank's gun) [[OhCrap ... You're really going to do it.]]
* KarmaHoudini: Strange, given the nature of the character, but there have been a few. One arc set in Baltimore involved a family of drug dealing hicks led by an EvilMatriarch. After killing her boys, Frank breaks into their home and demands to know who's in charge, and Maw blames it all Paw, allowing her to escape Frank's wrath. A drug designer named "Wizard" also never crosses paths with Frank, and makes it out of the story intact. The "Sicilian Saga" arc had Frank's uncle and aunt killed on the orders of local mafia boss Elio Bessucco. Despite encountering him during a mob wedding in a later arc, he managed to escape and hasn't been seen since. Finally there's Salvatore Carbone, AKA Thorn, who was one of the only recurring villains not killed off before the "Angel Punisher" story.
* KickTheDog:
** Frank killed the reformed Stiltman, and later bombed the wake held for him by other villains.
** The villains also constantly do this (if not much, much worse), because as bad as he is, Frank's the protagonist.
* KillEmAll: [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe]] of course. [[spoiler: Even Frank himself dies.]]
* KillSat: The oneshot comic ''G-Force'' features a drug-dealing astronaut who uses the laser-firing satellite that his company built for the French government to fry his rivals. Punisher follows the guy into space, and uses the thing to destroy his own operations after killing him.
* KillerYoYo: One of Frank's one-time villains was an evil scientist named Dr. Ng, who used a razor-sharp yo-yo as a weapon.
* KnifeNut: When met with an assassin who prefers knives, Frank's inner monologues notes that one must be either insane or really good to use knives. Then he notes that [[NeverBringAKnifeToAGunFight knives are nothing against guns]], and blows the guy away.
* LampshadeHanging: The aforementioned split in The Punisher's portrayal as regards to his interactions with the rest of the Marvel characters is lampshaded in ''Secret War: Secret Files'' (written in the voice of Nick Fury as entries in the SHIELD database); it comments on how it seems like Castle lives in "two different worlds," one where he interacts with the other heroes and one where he never crosses paths with them. Also:
--> "I caught a glimpse of heaven once. The Angels showed me. The idea was I'd kill for them. Clean up their mistakes on Earth. Eventually redeem myself. Tried it. Didn't like it. Told them where to stick it. So they brought me up to heaven, to see what I'd be missing. A wife. A son. A daughter. I hadn't seen them since they bled out in my arms. Then I was cast down. Back to a world of killers. Rapists. Psychos. Perverts. A brand new evil every minute, spewed out as fast as men can think them up. A world where pitching a criminal dwarf off a skyscraper to tell his fellow scum you're back is a sane and rational act. The angels thought it would be hell for me. But they were wrong."
* LetsYouAndHimFight: In their very first meeting, Punisher and Wolverine attempted to kill each other because they mistook each other for poachers. They form a strong friendship soon after.
* LimitedWardrobe: While it's entertaining to think that Frank has been wearing the same skull T-shirt all these years, no doubt stained with the blood of hundreds, he appears to have lots of spares. He even states in one comic devoted to showing his equipment and methods that he orders the shirts by the gross (gross = 144).
* MadeOfIron: To an absolutely '''insane''' degree, The Punisher can take a ''lot'' of [[{{Pun}} punishment]]. He has survived falls from considerable heights, countless gunshots (even unarmored), being stabbed, being [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown brutally beaten]] up and much, ''much'' more during his career. He has even tangled with super-powered beings more often than the Average-Joe {{Badass Normal}} of the Marvel Universe.
* MerryChristmasInGotham: There's a story where Frank is about to snipe a drug lord, when suddenly there's a little girl pulling on his coat telling him she's lost her dad. Frank stares at her and puts the gun away. When they find her dad, he starts to thank him before recognizing his chest emblem and starting to panic. Frank tells him to calm down, that he should really teach his daughter not to talk to strangers, and then leaves.
* MookChivalry: Obviously used quite a lot. What makes this extra-hilarious is that the smarter bosses (Cavella, Zakharov, Maginty) actually take the failings of their Mooks into account and use it to engineer {{Batman Gambit}}s; Zakharov manages to blindside Frank with this trope twice.
* MoreDakka: Frank's solution to most problems is massive firepower. Submachine guns are just the starting point for automatic ballistic mayhem in his arsenal.
* MuggingTheMonster: Happens to Frank a lot, considering his habit of walking around the worst neighborhoods alone. Naturally, this does not end well. In one short story, Frank pretends to be a drunken hobo to the specific purpose of practicing his knife fighting.
* MugglesDoItBetter: He has fought many super powered heroes and villains, sometimes beating them or at least fighting to a draw, with nothing more than his wits, aim, and guns. Averted of course at times... DependingOnTheWriter.
** In Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe [[spoiler: Frank kills the X-Men and Brotherhood of Mutants with s tactical Nuke he stole from Doctor Doom.]]
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Seriously, you don't wanna be on the bad graces of a man who calls himself ''The Punisher''.
* NeighbourhoodFriendlyGangsters: The Geracis, [[spoiler:who convince Frank to be their next Don]].
%%* NerdGlasses: Buddy Plug
* NeverHurtAnInnocent: This is one of the reasons the Punisher is an [[AntiHero Anti]] ''[[AntiHero Hero]]''. He takes great pains to avoid civilian casualties while he's gunning down dozens of [[{{Mook}} goons.]] Frank has also on occasions been shown to dislike killing animals, because an animal can't truly be guilty. That said, Frank's definition of "''innocent''" can be very narrow, as he would have shot an otherwise innocent drug addict to get to the gangster holding her hostage in ''New Ways to Live''. This, like many of his traits, [[DependingOnTheWriter varies quite a bit by the writer]].
* NewYorkCityCops: Whenever the NYPD show up, they are usually put into three groups; [[SympatheticInspectorAntagonist honest cops who truly believe that the Punisher is a danger to society]], {{Dirty Cop}}s who end up becoming more victims of ThePunisher, or cops that secretly approve of the vigilante's activities and don't put that much effort into arresting him.
* NoNonsenseNemesis: Inverted (at least with respect to morality) in a ''Punisher''/''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' {{crossover}}.
--->'''Punisher:''' I've got all the therapy you'll ever need right here, comedian.\\
'''[[SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker Joker]]:''' ... [[OhCrap you're really going to shoot?]]
* NonLethalWarfare: Generally averted; however, the Punisher has been known to carry less-lethal weapons around. In the earlier stories, he often used "Mercy Bullets" when teamed up with other superheroes so as not to violate their no-kill rules; with no explanation as to what they were. Modern stories will sometimes explicitly mention him using rubber bullets. He'll usually only use non-lethal weapons grudgingly. For instance, in the ''Omega Effect'' crossover with Spider-Man and Daredevil:
-->'''Punisher:''' We'll need forty minutes to prep the action.\\
'''Spider-Man:''' With ''zero'' fatalities?\\
'''Punisher:''' Forty-five.
* NonPoweredCostumedHero: [[AntiHero Close enough to hero]] for the trope.
* NoodleIncident: We catch the tail end of [[ButtMonkey Soap]] describing how he was once handcuffed to a dead sheep.
* OhCrap: Punisher was taken aback when [[Comicbook/{{Venom}} Anti-Venom]] got back up after having his head blown in half by a shotgun.
* OneManArmy: In the side materials to ''Comicbok/SecretWar'', ComicBook/NickFury compares the Punisher's destructive capabilities to that of ''Comicbook/IncredibleHulk's''.
* OneSteveLimit: Averted. Oddly enough, one of the men who killed his family was also named Frank (surname Costa).
* OnlyAFleshWound: About 90% of times when Frank actually gets shot, it's OnlyAFleshWound, as a side effect of him being MadeOfIron. Sure, writers pay some superficial attention to things like blood loss and shock, but Frank still can operate at practically 100% efficiency within hours after, say, taking bullets from a machine gun in his flank and shoulder.
* TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou: Jigsaw started to feel this way about Punisher when he heard about his (fake) death in the electric chair.
* OpponentSwitch: The ''Acts of Vengeance'' event saw Doctor Doom deciding to one-up Kingpin by taking out the Punisher.
* PayEvilUntoEvil: Pretty much the cornerstone trope of The Punisher is doing bad things to even worse people.
* PermaStubble: Sports this in some adaptations.
* PetTheDog:
** Frank is shown to be capable of at least consideration for others, although it rarely approaches truly displaying kindness. Understandable, in that he's a loner who knows better than to let anyone get too close to him. Still, if he feels a debt is owed or that he's obligated to someone, he'll make every effort to even things out.
** Having beaten Jigsaw, Frank goes to finish the job when Soap calls for help, having been taken prisoner. It nearly costs him his life, as Soap tries to reason not to kill Jigsaw, before shouting a warning when he tries to shoot The Punisher.
** In the end of Greg Rucka's run, Frank [[YouShallNotPass stays behind to take on a whole bunch of superheroes]], [[spoiler:including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and Black Widow]] in order to buy time for his partner, Rachel Cole-Alves, to escape.
* PlayAlongPrisoner: Whenever The Punisher is jailed, it's usually because he allowed himself to be (usually he walks up to a police station and says "''I surrender''"), so he can kill one or more guys who are unreachable otherwise. Given that he's the friggin' Punisher, no one gives him trouble (those that do [[TooDumbToLive don't last very long]]).
** During the story arc wherein Matt Murdock was in prison, Frank even let himself be captured in order to be put in the same prison, because he knew that Matt was going to need an ally. The two of them have a healthy respect for each other, despite their completely different approaches to crime. They even carried on civil conversations while eating meals in the cafeteria, and Frank respected Matt enough to comply when he asked him not to kill a prisoner who'd just attacked him. They'll never exchange Christmas cards, though.
* PowerArmor: Frank had Micro whip up a suit in order to combat a bunch of cybernetic mutant hunters. He broke it, and had in repaired in order to assault a gang boss who was selling a modified version of PCP... and then broke it again. Punisher 2099 has some as well.
* PowerCopying: ''New Ways To Live'' reveals that Punisher got replicas of Captain America's shield, the Green Goblin's glider, and Doctor Octopus' tentacles from a raid on one of Comicbook/TheHood's weapons stashes.
* PsychoForHire: Mondo Pain, The Russian, Barracuda, Bullseye, Harry Heck, Jigsaw - most of Frank's serious opponents are this.
* PreMortemOneLiner: Gives one in Secret Wars 2015 [[spoiler: When he crashes Kingpin's End of the World Party and kills Kingpin, Bullseye, Green Goblin, Lizard, Absorbing Man, Scorpion and Sandman.]]
--> '''Frank''': Gentlemen, they say when you die you can't take it with you... which begs the question, what am I supposed to to with all of these bullets.''
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: Frank was raised Catholic, but didn't have much use for the idea of forgiving people who'd done terrible things. The fact that he saw a lot of terrible things ''while still a child'' also caused him to have serious doubts about the idea of a loving God. Now when he sees terrible things done to innocent people, he's pretty direct about the way he feels: "There are times I'd like to get my hands on God."
* RasputinianDeath:
** Many Dragons or more physically tough {{Big Bad}}s require a rather spectacular sendoff. This includes Roc ([[spoiler:a broken neck and a barge filled with explosives]]) and The Russian ([[spoiler:a nuke]]).
** [[spoiler:Frank himself]] gets one in ''Comicbook/DarkReign'', when Daken quite literally tears him apart piece by piece. Then Morbius the Living Vampire brings him back as a patchwork monster [[spoiler:(Franken-Castle).]]
* RatedMForManly: {{Badass}}? Check. Brooding? Check.
* RedEyesTakeWarning: Frank is sometimes drawn with red eyes during his darker moments.
* RedRightHand: The Russian from the Marvel Knights series' has a huge scar on his face.
* TheResenter: In the ''Blood & Glory'' crossover miniseries with Comicbook/CaptainAmerica, Punisher resents Cap for being hailed as a hero of World War II, whereas he and other Vietnam veterans were branded as murderers of innocents for just being part of an unpopular conflict. Which makes it all the easier for the bad guys to dupe Punisher to believe that Cap is corrupted and part of the illegal weapons deals that had been happening recently, and try to assassinate him.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Frank's entire point, in some incarnations, tearing through entire towns worth of criminals connected to the death of his family.
* RuthlessModernPirates: Frank targets modern day pirates as readily as any other criminals.
* ScopeSnipe: The first Punisher story in ''The Nam'' depicts Frank Castle as a sniper in Vietnam. The entire two-part story is plagiarized verbatim from Carlos Hathcock's RealLife experience, including the Scope Snipe finale.
%%* SemperFi: [[CaptainObvious Frank's a Marine]].
* SerialKiller: In the ''Young Masters'' arc of ''ComicBook/YoungAvengers'', Hawkeye (Kate Bishop) notes that the superhero community of the MarvelUniverse only sees the Punisher as a serial killer and any real hero would bring him down as hard as any villain if necessary.
* SerialKillerKiller: Frank's more of a Mass Murderer Murderer, but he still fits.
* SeriesContinuityError:
** Oddly, Frank's daughter has had at least four different names, Barbara, Donna, Christie and Lisa, while the name of his son (Frank Jr) is always consistent. Also Microchip's real name was originally "Lowell Bartholomew Ori", but was changed to "Linus Liberman" later. Additionally, the first time Frank's father is mentioned he's given the name "Mario", but a later story arc has him named "Lorenzo".
** Also goes for Frank's last name (sometimes his birth name is Castiglione, other times it isn't; the whole thing was a clumsy attempt to add mobbed-up relatives as part of an ExpansionPackPast) and his Vietnam service (usually shown as an officer, many stories feature him instead as an enlisted rifleman). Several attempts at an AuthorsSavingThrow have him illegally re-entering the Marine Corps under his assumed name, which only raises further questions.
* ShellShockedVeteran: After three brutal tours of duty in UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar, Frank Castle lost his wife and children to Mafia thugs and now wages a one-man war on crime. Various authors have toyed with Frank's mental state relating to his past in the war.
* ShoutOut:
** The late, great, Puerto Rican rapper "Big Punisher" (he had a heart attack; dude was 698 pounds).
** Ma Gucci mentions Namor the Sub-Mariner by name in the midst of all her snarking, and it's thrown in with lots of other off-hand reference to lots of different Marvel heroes made throughout the book.
** One of the mooks is reading ''Literature/TheBridgesOfMadisonCounty,'' of all things.
** In ''The Punisher: Assassin's Guild'' oneshot comic, Frank guns down [[LawyerFriendlyCameo thinly-disguised counterparts]] of Franchise/LupinIII and his gang.
** While fighting Roc, who keeps on going even after having his neck snapped, Frank notes that the guy's "just like [[Franchise/FridayThe13th Jason]], he never dies!"
* SinisterMinister: The Rev, a CaptainErsatz of Jim Jones, and one of the few villains to survive his initial run-in with Frank.
* SlasherSmile: Many of the Punisher's PsychoForHire foes and Frank himself occasionally sports one in the mainstream Marvel universe.
* SlidingScaleOfAntagonistVileness: Subverted repeatedly. Killing {{Anti Villain}}s and {{Harmless Villain}}s accounts for the majority of Frank's KickTheDog moments.
* SociopathicHero: Frank is either this or a VillainProtagonist.
* SquashedFlat: One of the stories has Wolverine coming after Frank, mistaking that recent mutilations are his doing. Due to Wolverine's HealingFactor, Frank uses a steamroller to get him off his track.
* StealthHiBye: While Frank doesn't do this much in his own books, it is a fairly common way for him to take his leave at the end of a superhero team up.
* TheStoic: Frank is either calm, detached, and homicidal, or (much more rarely) [[TranquilFury pissed off and homicidal]]. That's it. To quote [[VideoGame/ThePunisher the 2005 videogame]] (written by Creator/GarthEnnis):
--> ''* after blasting Bushwacker through a wall* '' I don't smile much. Don't smile ever. But if I did, [[SlasherSmile this would be one.]]
* SuperDetailedFightNarration: Punisher's various authors have employed this, to incredible anatomical precision.
* SupermanStaysOutOfGotham:
** Avoided by having the DarkerAndEdgier Punisher relegated to his own MAX title while the Marvel Universe Punisher took up Captain America's costume for an issue and had some LighterAndSofter (by comparison) adventures.
** Creator/GregRucka indicated, when starting his 2011 series, it was all a matter of viewpoint. The other superheroes are far better equipped to deal with major threats like Comicbook/{{Galactus}}, Comicbook/NormanOsborn, and [[Comicbook/DoctorStrange Dormammu]], but ''someone'' has to pay attention to the drug pushers and mobsters.
** Tackled head-on in one storyline wherein Daredevil enlisted the assistance of both Spider-Man and Wolverine to capture Castle and turn him over to the police. While the Punisher would not use lethal force against them since he did not regard them as criminals, he still managed to create enough collateral damage that capturing him simply became not worth the cost. In addition, none of them had a ready answer when Frank pointed out that if they put him in prison, all he was going to do was start killing everyone else in there with him. All three heroes left, having to face the fact that short of killing him, there simply wasn't an easy solution to the Punisher.
* TakeThat: [[http://www.slashfilm.com/fantastic-four-movie-cast-killed-comics/ Marvel NOW!'s Punisher #12]] opens up with CaptainErsatz versions of the cast of ''Film/FantasticFour2015'' being blown to smithereens. NoCelebritiesWereHarmed, of course, but the characters themselves weren't so lucky. Though the writer of the issue [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial denied actually killing the characters off, and claimed he was looking forward to the movie]].
* TeethClenchedTeamwork: Force Frank to team up with another hero, and this trope is the result. While he and the hero community in general tend to dislike one another, he's at least willing to work with them against the 'real' villains. Averted more often than most people might assume, at least in the nineties. Frank had quite a few crossovers, and most of the people he worked with were either okay with him or felt he was a good man at heart. There were only a few who outright hated him.
* ThemedAliases: The Punisher often uses aliases that are linked to Castle, his real last name: Charles Fort, [=McRook=], Frank Rook, Francis Stronghold, Johnny Tower, Frankie Villa, etc.
* ThouShaltNotKill: Unlike the traditional position of heroes, it's rare when the villain du jour ''doesn't'' wind up getting killed by the end of the story.
* ThreateningShark: A couple of mobsters thought that a big shark in an equally big (and not bulletproof) glass fish tank would be a great addition to their opulent mansion. They eventually learn their lesson just before their messy demise.
* TooDumbToLive: Quite a lot of villains. One minor gangster was dumb enough to brag about how he would take over his boss' territory and "business" when Frank (who had just offed said boss) was still right there; this was met with the predictable results:
--> '''Gangster''': I-I-I...I mean I'm gonna leave all this shit behind me. Get a job. Leave town.\\
'''Frank:''' Yeah. Well. ''*shoots him*'' Just in case.
* TortureTechnician: Not a villain, but Frank is pretty knowledgable about the human anatomy and torture methods. Press a BerserkButton of his and you'll wish he was just practicing the JackBauerInterrogationTechnique.
* TranquilFury: More often than not, Frank's completely and totally calm when brutally murdering villains. Pushing one of his {{Berserk Button}}s leads to UnstoppableRage. Either way, people die.
%%* TroubledBackstoryFlashback
* VictoryByEndurance: There's one story where a mook barely escapes from Frank, and his mental condition gradually worsens as he seeks help everywhere. Frank barely appears at all except at the end, allowing the mook to tire himself out all by himself.
* VigilanteExecution: Frank once executed an arsonist as he was leaving the court. [[DeathByIrony With a fire truck]].
* VigilanteMan:
** He's actually been ''called'' "Vigilante Man" a couple of times.
** Frank also has a disdain for other "amateur" vigilantes, as shown when he calls out the "Vigilante Squad" (a trio of Punisher fanboys who don't have as much scruples) for being AxCrazy {{Knight Templar}}s before gunning them down.
* WallOfWeapons: Frequently, with one issue devoted to a detailed study of his armory.
* WeaponizedCar: The Battle Van, which Frank had a tendency to trash every time he used it. He also once had what was basically a go-cart from Hell. It was destroyed in its second appearance.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Frank's uncompromising morality is mixed with the fact that he's [[AxCrazy quite]] [[BloodKnight nuts.]]
* WhatADrag: Punisher does this once to a homophobic priest who had killed a young gay man, sparking a near-war between the sheriff (the victim's lover) and the military supplies dealer (the victim's mother).
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse:
** Averted with most of the recurring villains from earlier books, whose plotpoints were resolved in various one-shots, annuals, and miniseries before all three of Punisher's main books came to an end.
** Played straight with Thorn, who is probably still shuffling around [[{{Joisey}} Newark]], and Dr. Ng, who is shown surviving his debut but fails to make an another appearance.
* WhatTheHellHero: The Punisher gets this from almost every superhero (and a few supervillains) he comes across. Frank himself occasionally gets to deliver these.
* WifeBasherBasher: Frank is [[UpToEleven extra-cruel]] towards scum who beat women.
** To anyone who abuses their family, really. In the ''MAX'' series, he attacks a neighbor for having cheated on his wife. Granted, this was before he was the Punisher, and just after he'd lost his family, but still. He also snipes a woman who killed her children, even though she was already under arrest.
* WouldNotShootAGoodGuy:
** Frank doesn't kill honest cops ({{Dirty Cop}}s aren't so lucky).
** Naturally, he avoids lethal force against superheroes as well, with the exception of the {{Elseworld}} issue ''Comicbook/ThePunisherKillsTheMarvelUniverse''.
* WriterOnBoard: Garth Ennis hates conventional superheroes. You cannot help but notice that whenever any of them appears in an issue of the main Punisher series written by him.