Plus: TWIM gets ready for the Red Carpet Premiere of Marvel Studios' 'Avengers: Infinity War'!

This week’s installment of This Week in Marvel is chock full of Marvel news from comics to video games to our biggest cinematic event to date — Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War”!

But first, we dropped some great interviews with some of your favorite comics creators including the announcement that Matthew Rosenberg will be taking Frank Castle from War Machine to the streets — and beyond! Find out where he and artist Riccardo Burchielli plan to go with the Punisher next and read the interview here.

We also welcome Andrew WK to the show and hear all about his new album “You’re Not Alone,” available now!

Plus: Ryan and Jamie take deep dives into their favorite books of the week before Ryan leaves us all to go on vacation! (Which means that next week: Tucker is back!)

Wish you could be on the red carpet for the huge Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” premiere? You can tune in to our live coverage on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube at 8:30 pm ET / 5:30 pm PT for real-time updates. You can also stop by marvel.com/infinitywarpremiere.

Subscribe to This Week in Marvel on Apple Podcasts or download the episode from Marvel.com/podcasts!

With new episodes every Friday, This Week in Marvel delivers all the latest Marvel discussion and news about comics, TV, movies, games, toys, and beyond! Tweet your questions and comments about the show to @AgentM, @jamiefrevele, or @Marvel with the hashtag #ThisWeekinMarvel!

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Matthew Rosenberg discusses what happens after Frank Castle's romp as War Machine!

By Jess Harold

He put Frank Castle in the War Machine armor for Marvel Legacy — but that was just the start. Now writer Matthew Rosenberg discusses his plans to take the Punisher’s war on crime to the next level in a brand-new series!

Marvel: In the new Punisher series, Frank will no longer have the War Machine armor. Is this, then, a back-to-basics approach?

Matthew Rosenberg: In some ways yes, and in some ways no. We’re going to get back to Frank Castle with a handgun and a knife, stalking the streets of New York, and getting his hands dirty. But we’re also going to see a man who has changed from his time in the armor. He developed a taste for bigger game and larger targets, and he’s not going to give that up easily. So in a sense it’s back to basics — but on a bigger scale.

Marvel: What will Frank have learned from his time with the armor?

Matthew Rosenberg: I think the big thing for the Punisher is the knowledge that he can affect things in a more direct way. We’re going to have seen him travel overseas to overthrow a government and kill a world leader, and then come back home and go toe-to-toe with some of the most powerful people in the Marvel Universe. He’s been able to do real damage, cause real change, in ways he’s not used to. They used to say that when a shark attacked a human they had to be hunted down because once they’d developed a taste for it they’d never stop. That’s Frank. He’s back on the streets, but he has a taste for the bigger game and he isn’t going to stop until he puts them in the ground — or they put him in it.

Marvel: And what have you learned in your time writing Frank? Has he surprised you in any ways?

Matthew Rosenberg: I think the big thing that surprised me about writing the Punisher was the ease with which you can find humor in him and the situations. I know Garth Ennis was a master at this, and others have followed suit. I think Jason Aaron and Becky Cloonan both had some real dark humor hiding just under the surface. But yeah, it’s fascinating. Frank lends himself to these uncomfortable situations where you just can’t help but giggle. There is this disturbing, awkward humor to him that doesn’t diminish the severity or the drama of the story. That’s been fun to explore.

Marvel: Obviously, Frank is not an overly loquacious character like, say, Spidey or Deadpool. He likes to do his talking with guns. What is the secret to capturing his “voice”?

Matthew Rosenberg: Frank is direct and honest. He’s here to kill people, and he doesn’t need to spend a lot of time debating them or telling them why they’re about to die. But I think the thing about Frank that a lot of people miss, because it’s subtle, is his very dry sense of humor. He says a lot of things that are clearly just for his own quiet amusement. He is the ultimate comedic straight man. People think Frank is doom and gloom all the time, but if you dig through you will find these gallows-humor moments that are maybe a sliver of who he once was.

Marvel: What can you tell us about the kind of big game Frank is going to be targeting in his new book?

Matthew Rosenberg: I can’t say too much, but I can say that issue #1 has some of the biggest bad guys in the Marvel Universe pop in. And that Frank still has his eyes on shaping nations these days. The classic Marvel villains are getting savvier. They aren’t thugs and gangsters anymore. They’re becoming mayors and CEOs and kings. But Frank is still coming for them.

Marvel: Frank has a complicated relationship with other vigilantes, such as Spider-Man and Daredevil. Is that something you’ll touch on?

Matthew Rosenberg: Frank and the capes will most definitely be touched upon. More than touched upon. With Secret Empire, the War Machine armor, and what he has coming up, he has made himself something that means they can’t just look the other way. And he knows that. He’s operating in cape spaces these days, and he knows that puts a target on his back. But he also knows he’s willing to do what they won’t — and that gives him an advantage over the capes on most days.

Marvel: You have Riccardo Burchielli on art. He hasn’t done a lot at Marvel before, but he certainly knows his way around military combat, following a lengthy run on DMZ. Are Frank Castle fans going to like what he brings to the party?

Matthew Rosenberg: I am so excited to work with Riccardo. I am a huge DMZ fan, and his work on that book is really unparalleled. The sense of detail he brings to a city, to a war zone — and to the people in both — is breathtaking. I think those who aren’t familiar with his work are going to be absolutely shocked. There is just this sense of the world he conveys, this realism, that is so captivating. You can feel the buildings rise up around you and the bullets fly past your head. It’s going to be a real treat watching him drag all of us down into Frank Castle’s world.

Marvel: Finally, what’s your one-line pitch for the new PUNISHER book?

Matthew Rosenberg: With some of the biggest villains in his sights, the best heroes on his tail and every nation on high alert, this is Frank Castle against the world.

THE PUNISHER #1 by Matthew Rosenberg and Riccardo Burchielli is on sale August 1!

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Beginning this September!

Visionary creators such as Joe Quesada, Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, Garth Ennis, Christopher Priest, Steve Dillon, David W. Mack, Grant Morrison, Jimmy Palmiotti, Jae Lee, Kevin Smith, Jeph Loeb, and more created the stories that would change the comics industry! And together, with co-founders and editors Quesada and Palmiotti at the helm, they would become superstar legends for their revolutionary work!

With Marvel Knights, Marvel traded traditional style for daring storytelling, creating new and bold tales for Marvel icons such as Punisher, Daredevil, the Inhumans, Black Widow, and Black Panther. By reinventing classic characters and focusing on strong stand-alone story arcs, Marvel Knights nearly recreated the Original Graphic Novel as monthly comic format—and became the industry’s spark that paved the way for the bright and intrepid stories of today’s heroes!

This fall, in honor of the critically acclaimed imprint’s 20th anniversary, Marvel is celebrating the inception of Marvel Knights by bringing fans a uniform set of new trade paperbacks featuring the best of Marvel Knights, as well as two brand new Omnibus editions.

Look through the covers here, then find your favorite in your local comic shop starting this September!

SEPTEMBER:

  • DAREDEVIL BY SMITH & QUESADA: GUARDIAN DEVIL TPB
    • COLLECTING: Daredevil (1998) 1-8, 1/2
  • BLACK PANTHER BY PRIEST & TEXEIRA: THE CLIENT TPB
    • COLLECTING: Black Panther (1998) 1-5

OCTOBER:

  • MARVEL KNIGHTS BY DIXON & BARRETO: DEFENDERS OF THE STREETS TPB
    • COLLECTING: Marvel Knights (2000) 1-15
  • FANTASTIC FOUR BY MORRISON & LEE: 1234 TPB
    • COLLECTING: Fantastic Four: 1234 1-4, material from Marvel Knights Double-Shot 2
  • DAREDEVIL BY BENDIS & MALEEV: UNDERBOSS TPB
    • COLLECTING:Daredevil (1998) 26-31
  • BLACK WIDOW BY GRAYSON & RUCKA: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION TPB
    • COLLECTING:Black Widow (1999) 1-3, Black Widow (2001) 1-3, Black Widow: Pale Little Spider 1-3

NOVEMBER:

  • CAPTAIN AMERICA BY RIEBER & CASSADAY: THE NEW DEAL TPB
    • COLLECTING:Captain America (2002) 1-6
  • MARVEL KNIGHTS BY JOE QUESADA OMNIBUS HC
    • COLLECTING: Daredevil (1998) 1-15, 1/2; Daredevil: Father 1-6; Marvel Authentix: Daredevil 1; material from Marvel Knights Double-Shot 1

DECEMBER:

  • PUNISHER BY GARTH ENNIS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION VOL. 1 TPB
    • COLLECTING:Punisher (2000) 1-12, Punisher (2001) 1-5, Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe
  • MARVEL BOY BY MORRISON & JONES TPB
    • COLLECTING: Marvel Boy 1-6
  • DAREDEVIL: MARVEL KNIGHTS by BENDIS, GALE & JENKINS TPB
    • COLLECTING:Daredevil/Spider-Man #1-4 & one-shot, Daredevil: Ninja #1-3, Daredevil (1998) #20-25
  • DAREDEVIL BY MACK & QUESADA: PARTS OF A HOLE TPB
    • COLLECTING: Daredevil (1998) 9-15
  • JEPH LOEB & TIM SALE: YELLOW, BLUE, GRAY & WHITE OMNIBUS HC
    • COLLECTING: Daredevil: Yellow 1-6, Spider-Man: Blue 1-6, Hulk: Gray 1-6, Captain America: White 0-5
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Get an exclusive look at the fight on its way in Punisher #225!

This May, Frank Castle becomes an antihero again. Literally.

Fresh off his noble outing as a freedom fighter in Chernaya, Castle makes his way back to the States to find that his War Machine armor is being tracked—and that Nick Fury is holding the leash. In “Target: Punisher,” Frank needs to stay one step ahead of Fury if he wants to keep a handle on his heavy artillery. And for what the Punisher’s got planned…he’s gonna need it.

Written by Matthew Rosenberg with art by Guiu Vilanova, PUNISHER #225 sees the heroes of the Marvel Universe team up to take on Frank Castle.

“Expect it to get ugly,” says Rosenberg. “Since we first announced Frank was taking the War Machine armor people have been asking us when we’d see him go up against some heavy hitters in the Marvel Universe. The answer is right now. Frank going over to Chernaya, decimating an army, and killing a world leader was just his warm up. Now he’s bringing the war to New York City and the list of people who don’t want that to happen is long. Frank Castle has leveled up and he’s going to be fighting in a whole new weight class.”

Series editor Jake Thomas portends a rough ride for all involved. “The Punisher stepped up his game with the War Machine armor, taking on an entire army single-handedly,” he explains, “But going after bigger enemies also means getting the attention of bigger heroes, and not everyone is thrilled with Frank Castle starting an international incident, particularly not while wearing James Rhodes’ old mech. Now Frank has a group of Marvel’s biggest heavy hitters coming after him, and he’s pulling no armor-enhanced punches. Get ready for one of the biggest knock-down, drag-out Punisher fights ever!”

Steel yourself for Matthew Rosenberg and Guiu Vilanova’s PUNISHER #225—out May 30!

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Welcome Marvel Legacy to the mobile gaming adventure!

Don a suit of armor as Punisher. Soar the skies with Falcon’s new wings. Incinerate your foes in style with Satana. Witness true power with the Savior of Worlds, Adam Warlock. Marvel Legacy has arrived in “Marvel Future Fight” as of today!

To get the full rundown on all things Marvel Legacy brings to “Marvel Future Fight” this month, we grabbed a few minutes with Netmarble Monster’s lead game designer Minkyun Kim, content designer Hyunseok Kim, skill designer Jongho Park, and system designer Youjung Kim.

Marvel.com: Can you tell us about the latest Marvel Legacy update? What can fans expect?

Minkyun Kim: For the first update of 2018, we wanted to continue with what makes “Marvel Future Fight” great, while making things feel fresh. Marvel Legacy, the current event that is reenergizing Marvel’s comic book line with new costumes and stories, seemed to correspond well with the direction that we wanted to take. Existing characters return with new directions and new costumes as well. We hope that players will enjoy these new characters and the brand-new event stage we’ve cooked up for this update.

Marvel.com: Will our heroes sport new uniforms?

Hyunseok Kim: We selected heroes from the Marvel Legacy event whose looks change drastically and impactfully. Falcon is one of the key characters, because he has re-embraced his classic identity as he now fights alongside the Avengers. We decided to release his new uniform first. The same goes for the Punisher. You can find the all-new War Machine armor clad Punisher in this update! Don’t forget to thank Nick Fury while you’re at it since he helped spruce the Punisher up a bit. Lastly, you can also find a striking uniform for Satana, featuring her new look from the SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE series.

Marvel.com: X-23 and Adam Warlock finally make their debut in ‘Marvel Future Fight.’ What role will they play?

Jongho Park: X-23 and Adam Warlock are characters that the Dev team have been itching to add to the world of Future Fight. For X-23, we thought a lot about how to best portray her in a similar way to Wolverine while keeping her unique. In Adam Warlock’s case, we thought long and hard about how to express his powerful energy attacks. As these two characters are very important, we cut down the number of new characters in the update and we spent a lot of time and effort to create them. You’ll be able to meet these characters and glimpse their powerful and showy skills.

Marvel.com: Can you share any fun moments or something you were proud of while preparing for this Marvel Legacy event?

Jongho Park: What comes to mind are the things we talked about while developing the character of Adam Warlock. Inspired by his “battle mage” era from the Guardians of the Galaxy comic book series, we talked a lot of about what kind of magical energy attacks we would create for him, as well as what color his bursts should take on. In the process of discussion, we even talked about the shape of his fingers! The hand and fingers take on a variety of shapes when someone uses magic. As we talked very seriously about which stance looked stronger and better suited to a wizard, we realized that everyone was standing with their hands and fingers in different positions.

Marvel.com: What improvements have been made for the players?

Youjung Kim: We improved the elements that prevented players from playing with ease. We made sure to improve the way to check if Comic Cards are registered in a collection, and added a function where you can check the current Rank of all the characters a player possesses. We’ve also added a refresh function that makes it possible for you to check for newly-created Dimension Rifts.

Marvel.com: What can players look forward to and expect?

Minkyun Kim: We are always striving to have differently themed updates to give players a fresh experience. Since this update is themed in celebration of the newest event from Marvel’s comic books, MARVEL LEGACY, we hope that players will enjoy the refreshed characters. This year, a lot of updates will focus around not only the comics, but the new movies as well. Stay tuned!

Marvel Future Fight is available worldwide on the App Store® and Google Play™. For all the latest on “Marvel Future Fight,” stay tuned to Marvel.com and @MarvelGames on Twitter!

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See what happens as Frank Castle gets his hands on heavy duty weaponry!

Frank Castle’s always been something of a battle automaton, but with November’s PUNISHER #218, he’ll become a true war machine!

Writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Guiu Vilanova’s Marvel Legacy series will kick off with an idea planted at the end of Secret Empire: Punisher wants to do more and S.H.I.E.L.D. wants to help him. Feeling the need to make up for following the false Steve Rogers, Castle agrees to armor up in a modified version of the War Machine suit to tackle evil on a whole new level.

We talked with Vilanova about ratcheting up the violence, designing the armor, and working with one of Marvel’s busiest writers!

Marvel.com: How was it mixing elements of the previous War Machine armors with the iconography of The Punisher to come up with something new?

Guiu Vilanova: The creative process always means good fun to me. And to mix two huge iconic elements like the Punisher’s skull and the Iron Man armor is great!

Marvel.com: Has it been difficult retaining Frank Castle’s look as he’s outfitted in this new armor?

Guiu Vilanova: Sure. It’s always difficult to keep the resemblance of a character in each and every page. But I can’t complain, it comes with the job!

Marvel.com: What’s it been like working with Matthew to create or redesign a new supporting cast around Frank?

Guiu Vilanova: To work with great artists such as Matthew is always a pleasure. It makes my job way more easy and enjoyable!

Marvel.com: Punisher’s always been violent, but with this new set of weapons, he can do that on a whole different level. How has it been working in that realm?

Guiu Vilanova: Well, it’s basically the same guy but with a “bigger gun.” But Frank’s still being Frank.

Marvel.com: Does sending Frank in with this armor mean you’ve been working on even more dangerous threats for him to face?

Guiu Vilanova: That’s top secret. You’ll have to buy the book if you want to know it. But he’s not wearing the war machine armor to fry an egg, I can tell you that.

Matthew Rosenberg and Guiu Vilanova’s PUNISHER #218 ships in on November 15!

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Nick Spencer wraps up an epic event with SECRET EMPIRE OMEGA.

Each week, we use our super sleuth skills to dig into the histories of the characters fighting on both sides of Secret Empire!

Nick Spencer kickstarted an epic tale starting with CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #1 last year and this week, he wrapped it all up with SECRET EMPIRE: OMEGA #1 along with artists Andrea Sorrentino and Joe Bennett. 

Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016) #1

Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Before getting to the main event, let’s look at a few of the side stories that found their completion in this issue. First, as Clint Barton wept over Black Widow’s casket, Bucky Barnes found himself in Madripoor looking into the upcoming assassination of a general who aligned himself with Hydra. When the guy gets shot, Barnes thinks that the killer had to be Black Widow.

At the same time, Emma Frost and Hank McCoy talked about the dissolution of the mutant nation New Tian. While McCoy said that the efforts to put forth a solid mutant society would mean a lot to younger generations, Frost regretted that they would never know who their actual queen was.

Meanwhile, we also caught up with one of the more surprising members of HydraCap’s crew: The Punisher. Feeling betrayed and used, Frank Castle decided to make it his mission to burn Hydra to the ground. As Punisher continued his crusade, Nick Fury looked on and said to Control, “He’s ready.”

With those mysterious set-ups out of the way, it’s time to talk about the main confrontation in this issue which came between Steve Rogers and his Cosmic Cube-created copy with the octopus tattoo across his chest. To do so, Cap broke into a jail holding just the one captive.

Inside, he faced the man with his face. HydraCap, still convinced that the reality he understood thanks to Red Skull’s essential brainwashing of Kobik, was the correct one and one still worth fighting for. He also brought to Steve’s attention how quickly people seemed to turn on one another and reach for the power he offered them.

Rogers, while concerned with the damage HydraCap did to his image and reputation, still saw some good in the whole situation, hoping that this whole nasty endeavor would stop some people from blindly following anyone, even himself.

Ultimately, though, the true Captain America believes in the goodness of people and the resilience of his homeland. We’ll see him trying to make up for the mistakes a man with his face made over in MARVEL LEGACY #1 and CAPTAIN AMERICA #695.

The Empire Strikes Back

Upon leaving HydraCap’s cell, Steve Rogers warned his double not to leave his cell, letting him know that he’d be able to spot him no matter the face he wore. As the guards rushed in at the very end, though, one of them whispered something in his ear: “Hail Hydra.” So, while the threat of HydraCap seems low at this point, don’t be surprised if we see him again!

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Joss Whedon and Michael Ryan send the Runaways back to NYC...and back in time!

Before Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka’s RUNAWAYS launches in September, take a look at all of their major adventures as seen on Marvel Unlimited!

When series creators Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona announced they planned to leave RUNAWAYS with #24, fans clamored to find out who could possibly replace them. The answer soon came forth, surprising many: Joss Whedon and Michael Ryan.

Readers will remember that BKV and Alphona left the kids in a precarious position as they left, facing off against Iron Man and armored S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in the Hostel. As Whedon picked the story up, the kids sat in a fancy New York City restaurant waiting to meet with The Kingpin! 

Runaways (2005) #25

Runaways (2005) #25

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Playing off of Wilson Fisk’s respect for their parents, the kids agreed to do a favor for the Kingpin of Crime in exchange for room and board that would allow them to stay below the radar in a post-Civil War Big Apple.

That favor involved breaking into a secure location to steal a device that Chase’s parents actually built. In the process, they attracted the attention of the Punisher who didn’t take kindly to the Kingpin using children for crime. 

Runaways (2005) #26

Runaways (2005) #26

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Eventually, the kids decided to take the device and run, but Fisk figured on this move and revealed that he’d been hired to make all of this happen by an old woman and her giant, winged assistant Tristan. In making their escape, the Runaways hooked the object to Leapfrog and wound up back in 1907!

While there, they met a number of other young people with powers – dubbed Wonders back then – including a young girl named Klara with power over plants. And that’s not even mentioning the likes of The Sinners, the Mineola, the Merchant’s Trust and the Upward Path all of whom the Runaways get tangled up with in their search for a way home. 

Runaways (2005) #27

Runaways (2005) #27

What is Marvel Unlimited?

None of them actually hold a candle to the nova of surprise that came when Chase and Xavin met Gert’s time-traveling parents, the Yorkes, also working in the same era! 

Runaways (2005) #29

Runaways (2005) #29

What is Marvel Unlimited?

All of these elements bubble to a full-on boil as they explode into a street war. Thanks to some time-travel shenanigans on Chase’s part and Nico getting a power upgrade thanks to her great grandmother, the kids made their way back home with Klara in tow, but not Victor’s new flame Lillie because she had to stick around in order to hire Kingpin to get them to steal the device in the first place! 

Runaways (2005) #30

Runaways (2005) #30

What is Marvel Unlimited?

LOST & FOUND

Before returning to Los Angeles, the kids stuck around New York City to give Klara a chance to say goodbye to her home as seen in SECRET INVASION: RUNAWAYS/YOUNG AVENGERS #1-3. That leads to another meeting between the Runaways and their Young Avengers counterparts as the Skrulls lead into their full-on invasion thanks to both teams playing home to Skrulls in Xavin and Hulkling. That leads to more than one conflict with various green-skinned aliens, but ultimately a win for both squads at the end.

Terry Moore and Humberto Ramos launch a brand new volume of RUNAWAYS next week!

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Goran Parlov on re-enlisting with Frank Castle.

Before the skull, Frank Castle shipped off for Vietnam where his life changed forever. Surrounded by blood and death, the man who would become the Punisher witnessed the cruelty and awfulness the world had to offer, but also the power of violence.

Garth Ennis and Goran Parlov plan to explore these facets of Frank even further in the pages of the long-awaited, PUNISHER: THE PLATOON, debuting in October.

We talked with Parlov about tackling each script, drawing inspiration from everyday life and constructing a pre-Punisher Frank Castle.

Marvel.com: What is it about Frank Castle and his world that keeps capturing your imagination as an artist? 

Goran Parlov: I love the fact that he acts like a robot – the Terminator. Matter of fact, in the first issues I pictured him as the Terminator. He’s all business, emotionless… Or at least it appears so.

He works in binary code, 1 or 0, plus or minus…guilty or not guilty, as simple as that. I love his steady, emotionless face, but with eyes that burn – the stare that scares you.

I took that from “The Terminator.” The way Arnie stares at us, with that red eye. Wow, thats’s it, you just freeze! It’s even better when the endoskeleton does that. Frank, in my version, acts like the Terminator, thinks like him, walks like him.

Frank is the Terminator for me. Maybe the fact that I’d been working on the Terminator books right before I started my run on the PUNISHER MAX had some influence on me. Yeah, I am a big fan of the Terminator and it was just easy for me to adapt the things from the movies into the Punisher books.

Marvel.com: You mentioned that you often laugh when reading Garth’s scripts. How do you translate that reaction on your part onto the page?

Goran Parlov: It is very positive thing for me. It means that the thing works. If I am the first to laugh, I know many others will too.

Usually I never read the whole script. I read it as any other reader, page by page, day after day. This way I allow the script to surprise me. And the emotions it gives me in that moment, I put them on the page right away. It’s very immediate.

If I read the whole script, later I would only remember the emotions from when I first read it, not really feeling them. Yeah, sometimes I laugh, sometimes I am disgusted, some other time it’s something else. But I always like to use those immediate emotions that the script gives me.

Marvel.com: This is a pre-Punisher Frank Castle, so what sets him apart from his skull-wearing future self?

Goran Parlov: This is a Frank Castle before the “anger.” Before his family has been killed. So here he doesn’t carry that frustration with him.

I hope that will be noticeable.

Marvel.com: Your characters are so expressive. How do you achieve that? Is it purely out of your imagination and sketching?

Goran Parlov: Yes, for the most part. The rest comes from observing the world. Or TV. Or magazines. Or comic books. The important part is not to observe comic books only.

Marvel.com: Do you use a mirror or photo reference of yourself?

Goran Parlov: No, I never had that habit. I don’t even own a small mirror. I use photo references a lot, but I don’t copy them. It’s rare for me to find a photo that is exactly what I need. It’s almost a curse. Happens that I always have to draw an object from a slightly different angle than it is on a photo, so that excludes copying the photo. In almost 90% of cases it’s like that. I have the exact image in my head, and I don’t want to change the image just because the object on a photo is taken from a different angle. So I render the things in my head and draw them from the angle I want.

Marvel.com: Do you use in-person models or get your hands on physical objects for reference?

Goran Parlov: I don’t. Think I would feel uncomfortable having one in my studio. Or, at least not really focused on work.

As for weapon models, etc., I don’t have them. The only models I have are one Dodge Charger from “The Dukes of Hazzard” and a Ford Capri, a car owned by my father and still in my garage. And a Tin Tin rocket model! Two of them! A bigger one and a smaller one. I did a variation of that rocket in my Starlight book. The Dodge Charger, I used it in my Terminator book. I really like that car, but it was way before I bought the actual model. I love cars. And my dream would be a Punisher book with lots of cars. Something like The Punisher meets “Mad Max 2,” one of my all-time favorite movies.

Actually, now I remember… I had a small endoskeleton model that I borrowed from my friend. I used it a lot while working on The Terminator. And I took a hundreds of photos of it.

Marvel.com: What sort of approach did you take on character design for this book? It takes place in both the past and the present with soldiers in Vietnam who are later seen as veterans. Do you get your inspiration more from movies or television or just from people around you in Croatia?

Goran Parlov: Both, I think. One of the main characters has been inspired by Steve Buscemi, but after he went through all my filters he might have became completely unrecognizable. But the initial inspiration came from there.

I’ve been using Steve Buscemi as a starting point for a whole lot of characters during my professional career, but surprisingly all those characters went completely different in final versions that one would never say they all started from good ole Steve.

I don’t want to look at his photos all the time. Or to copy those. A drawing often loses its energy when it’s a copied photo. It is static, completely different from the rest of the book, because you try to copy all the information that’s there on a photo – the things that you would never draw if you didn’t see it on a photo. There’s too much graphic information there. You need to synthesize those and make them coherent with the rest. And if an artist is not very skilled, the result might be scarce.

So, back to Steve; I see him, I do few sketches and then the character evolves, all by himself, throughout the book. I don’t care if that’s not Steve anymore. Another one of the four has been inspired by one of the bosses at my previous publisher. Some of my friends might recognize themselves here and there. Things like that. You never know where an inspiration might come from. It just strikes you.

Marvel.com: Who are your biggest influences? I see some Alex Toth, some Moebius… a little Milt Caniff? Some Hal Foster?

Goran Parlov: Alex Toth, Jean Giraud – Moebius, Alfonso Font, Bernet, Frank Thorne, Frank Robbins, Ernesto Garcia Seijas, John Romita Sr, John Prentice, Jim Holdaway, John M. Burns, Romero, Angelo Stano, Sergio Tacconi, Duncan Fegredo, … and billions of others. Those are my top. But I actually often find myself learning something even from the artists that I consider bad. You can always pick something good even from the worst artist in the world.

PUNISHER: THE PLATOON #1 by Garth Ennis and Goran Parlov ships off on October 4.

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The remorseless vigilante ends up in the office of Marvel.com’s resident therapist.

While not actively seeing Frank Castle, better known as the violent street vigilante and wanted criminal Punisher, as a client, I am nonetheless writing up our recent encounter as a session note. I explained this to Castle as well, as I was doing it for reasons of liability—had he told me he had a plan to kill someone, I would have had to report in accordance with Tarasoff—and he consented, albeit gruffly.

During a recent blackout, Mr. Castle and this therapist spent an hour or so in lockdown in my office due to a pre-existing protocol meant to protect the staff in the case of some kind of violent event like a super powered battle in the city streets. Castle had accessed the building to find and utilize first aid supplies and his timing was “perfect” to get in before the lockdown but not get out prior to it taking place. With only the two of us locked in together, given that it was after hours, the “client” eventually began to engage the therapist.

It was clear from the outset that Mr. Castle is a skeptic when it comes to therapy. He immediately cast aspersions on the value and validity of talking therapy and insisted that some pain was not able to be gotten over. As this was not an active client but rather a heavily armed man with a skull on his shirt, and at least one still-fresh wound, I initially resisted his invitation to debate him on this topic. Over time however, it felt clear to this writer that he did not represent a danger to me and I began to question his basic assumptions about therapy, trauma, and the nature of “getting over” pain.

The Punisher #16

As Castle has been arrested multiple times and much evidence on his psychological makeup has been presented in court hearings, as well as less savory sources of information like disreputable 24 hour news therapists and true crime writers, I was fairly familiar with the basics of Castle’s transition from “average” man to the Punisher. In fact, he was—and I imagine remains—a well-studied example of vigilante psychology in most graduate programs.

While I never directly addressed the shooting deaths of his wife and kids—I did not wish to see how “far” I could take it under the circumstances—I made sure to present hypotheticals that would speak to that traumatic event as well as his time as a soldier in an active combat zone. I validated his pain and frustration with the legal system and agreed that some pain does not disappear while contesting the underlying assumptions—that pain that never goes away always feels as intense, or the same as it does from the start, that the impossibility to ever truly eliminate psychological pain means that it should not be addressed, explored, and processed, and that the inability of the justice system to work with 100% effectiveness and therapy’s lack of magical properties to simply return a person to a pre-trauma state justifies going outside the law to seek justice.

When the system override finally completed and he and I were released, it was obvious he remained skeptical. Nonetheless, I offered him a follow-up appointment with Doctors Becky Cloonan and Matt Horak, who both have significant experience working with veterans, survivors of violent trauma, and those living with survivor’s guilt. While I do not expect Frank Castle to follow through, if he does, the appointment is set for September 27 and any notes on that session will be found in the file marked PUNISHER #16.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who has never used a weapon in anger because his remarks are so much more devastating.

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