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Comic Book / Archie Meets the Punisher

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"The team-up you thought would never happen... Archie and the Punisher wish you were right!"
— Cover Blurb of the Archie Published Version

After dealing twice with DC Comics' Batman, the next logical Intercontinuity Crossover for Marvel Comics' no-nonsense vigilante The Punisher was for him to try to shoot that delightful neighborhood rapscallion Archie Andrews.

Wait... what?

Frank Castle, the vigilante known as The Punisher, is working together with the FBI to bring the up-and-coming drug dealer known as Red Fever to justice. Red tries to evade him by going to idyllic Riverdale, where he tries to establish a new criminal enterprise. However, Punisher follows and stops him with the help of Red's lookalike Archie and his friends.

The premise started as a joke by Archie editor-in-chief Victor Gorelick when the company was trying to find an idea for its first Intercontinuity Crossover with a superhero publisher. Writer Batton Lash submitted a proposal showing how the idea could actually be done, and both Marvel and Archie decided it was just Crazy Enough to Work.

The Marvel-published edition of this book is titled The Punisher Meets Archie.


  • Bald of Evil: Red is actually bald, a fact that he hides with a red toupee.
  • The Cameo:
    • Josie and the Pussycats perform for the 50s dance at the school.
    • Among the guests of said dance are Sabrina, Patsy and Hedy, Katy, and Millie.
    • Wolff and Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre, also briefly appear (Batton Lash, the writer of Archie Meets the Punisher, created Wolff and Byrd).
    • The entertainment at the dance is implied to be Dino Manelli of the Howling Commandoes (he mentions the kids reminding him of a friend he names as Junior Juniper). note 
  • Cassandra Truth: Archie tries to tell the local cops about the danger he is in due to the Red Fever situation, but they don't believe him due to various calls he made in past that turned out to be mistakes and misunderstandings on his part.
  • Criminal Doppelgänger: Red Fever looks exactly like Archie. Played more realistically than usual because the two are clearly distinguishable despite their identical facial features, and everyone (including Frank) is quick to notice the difference when seeing them up close. The ending also implies that Jughead has one as well in the form of an Eastern European dictator.
  • Hostage Situation: Red takes Archie's possible girlfriend Veronica hostage after Punisher catches up to him. The rest of the comic's drama comes from how that situation unravels.
  • I Have Many Names: Red Fever is also known as Czar, Mel Jay, Montana Bob, and Freckles.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: When Archie and the gang spot Punisher at the dance, everyone is quick to spring into action. Reggie, to avoid any trouble, announces that he'll check the bleachers. This is a bad choice in hindsight, since Punisher's gunfight with the gangsters takes him there.
  • Internal Monologue: Frank has one while walking through empty halls of Riverdale's school, about what a nice place it is and how he would like to keep it safe by killing the bad guys... then he notices a mural that says "It's up to you to keep Riverdale clean!"
  • Lighter and Softer: Deliberately invoked in-story, even Lampshaded by Microchip. It's implied to be because Riverdale's innocence reminds Frank of what his family life could have been like. He even defies his modus operandi by sparing Red Fever, because he doesn't want to expose Archie and the other residents of the town to the bloodshed and cruelty that he lives with every day. Betty provides the closing narration for the night's events while everyone is talking about the adventure and Frank and Microchip are preparing to depart; she makes an astute observation that Frank doesn't seem to want to leave...
  • Motif Merger: The comic combines Punisher's skull logo with Archie's features.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Frank and the other Marvel characters are drawn by John Buscema, while the Archie characters are drawn by Stan Goldberg. This leads to Frank looking far more realistic than the Archie cast.
  • Pet the Dog: Frank is so moved by the genuine innocence of Riverdale that he allows Red to escape. He justifies it to himself in hindsight by saying he can always get him later and that the Feds are closing in, but there's also the fact that Archie and the rest of the gang are there. Frank clearly knows that it's the night of the big dance, everyone had a little adventure, no one got hurt, and these kids don't need to see a man gunned down right in front of them. Riverdale's innocence would be gone forever if he did that.
  • Pie in the Face: A mook mistaking Archie for Red has him at knifepoint. Punisher, currently unarmed, throws a cake into the mook's face just as the crook realizes that he has the wrong man.
  • Sequel Hook: The comic ends with a suggestion that Archie's pal Jughead is going to meet up with another popular Marvel Comics character; Wolverine.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The list for possible destinations in the train station includes such destinations as Gotham, Ivy Town and Happy Harbor.
    • Red takes his hostage Veronica to a building which stores giant balloon versions of Spider-Man, Archie Comics' own Captain Patriotic The Shield, and Sonic the Hedgehog.
    • One of Red Fever's aliases is "Montana Bob". Bob Montana was the original creator of Archie.
    • In a throw-away line, Sabrina says to a friend, "So I asked the Doctor if the Hosts of Hoggoth were really hoary."
    • "That Wilkin Boy" is mentioned as being at the dance.
  • Story-Breaker Team-Up: This comic, thanks to the setting being primarily Archie's, puts much less of an emphasis on Frank's common traits involving death and mayhem.
  • Sue Donym: In Riverdale, Castle works under his family's original name Castiglione.
  • Unwilling Suspension: Red Fever is finally caught when his leg ends up tangled in the rope for a parade balloon, lifting him high into the air.
  • Versus Title: Of the old-school Universal Horror variety.
  • Weird Crossover: Admit it, a violent antihero vigilante visiting a normal high school isn't really expected.

Alternative Title(s): The Punisher Meets Archie