Does Punisher work in animation?


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The Overlord

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The Punisher is getting his own TV series on Netflix, after a great appearance on the Daredevil show.

So I thought, does Punisher work in animation? He has appeared only a couple of times in animation, a toned Punisher,showed up in the 90s Spidey cartoon and a comedic Punisher in Super Hero Squad.

Here's the problem with Punisher, he kills criminals, its hard to sell such a character to kids without soccer moms getting mad.

Also to make Punisher sympathetic, the writers often have him fight the most sick and twisted psychopaths you can imagine, who are really unsuitable for a kids cartoon.

I think a toned down Punisher might work as a guest star in another character's cartoon, but Punisher can never really carry a cartoon series on his own, unless it was strictly aimed at adults. He might work better in live action.
 
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RoyalRubble

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Well, a more violent Punisher was in the two Marvel Anime movies (Rise of Technovore and Avengers Confidential), though granted those were aimed more at teens than the current animated series.
 

RoryWilliams

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Spider-Man: The Animated Series had a decent compromise of having him try to kill villains, only for them to be rescued by the police this time. It was a good way to work around the censors, but it only really worked because it was a guest spot. If you have Punisher consistently try to kill bad guys and fail every time, he starts to look pretty sad.
 

Frontier

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I think he can work in a more toned down context where he's portrayed as a more ruthless and darker vigilante compared to, say, Spider-Man or The Avengers even if he's not allowed to kill anyone as in Spider-Man: The Animated Series or played for humorous effect on Super Hero Squad :).

But to do the Punisher complete justice, as in the Netflix shows, you would likely have to include him in something more geared towards teens or adults, which I don't think Marvel Animation is currently interested in producing...
 
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Rick Jones

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I thought he worked very well in the anime movies, where they didn't have to make him kid friendly, and I think the quick cameo in Super Hero Squad was hilarious. I'm not a big fan of what they did with him in Spider-Man, but that has more to do with not liking the execution than not liking the idea of using him as an antagonist. There have been all kinds of assassins and vigilantes in kids shows over the years that worked due to writing, so I think Frank could work but he can't be a protagonist. I think he can only really work in a kids show as an antagonist or reluctant ally. The shows are aimed at a very, very young demographic (younger than all of the 11 year old Punisher fans I knew in 6th grade even) and while they understand a lot, I don't think they'd want to push protagonists that morally ambiguous or psychologically damaged to them. I think Frank works best as the guy you don't want to be.

Who knows how open they would be to trying him though. The last time we saw him was his surprise cameo in Avengers Assemble season 1, which wasn't too long ago, but Doom was used there as well so it was probably just a different time. It's possible to do similar stories with less extreme vigilantes like Daredevil as well, who I really hope gets another shot at animation.

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Frontier

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I don't think Punisher would be too far off from Deadshot, who does show up in animation relatively frequently.

The only difference is that Punisher would be targeting bad guys and you would probably have to address his sympathetic backstory to some degree.
 

The Overlord

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I don't think Punisher would be too far off from Deadshot, who does show up in animation relatively frequently.

The only difference is that Punisher would be targeting bad guys and you would probably have to address his sympathetic backstory to some degree.
I feel like the bad guys Punisher goes after can make him unsuitable for children as well.

To make Punisher more sympathetic, the writers often have Frank face off against some of the worst kind of scum bags and psychopaths, the Punisher would be pretty unsympathetic if they had killing petty thieves, so I would say a lot of Punisher's villains are not suitable for kids.
 
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Frontier

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I feel like the bad guys Punisher goes after can make him unsuitable for children as well.

To make Punisher more sympathetic, the writers often have Frank face off against some of the worst kind of scum bags and psychopaths, the Punisher would be pretty unsympathetic if they had killing petty thieves, so I would say a lot of Punisher's villains are not suitable for kids.
I would certainly not expect to see the Punisher's Rogues Gallery adapted into a kids cartoon, especially someone like Jigsaw...
 

General Mike

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I don't think you can do a whole series with him, but you can probably get a multi part story out of him, even for a children's show. On GOTG, Drax and Gamora both constantly wanted to get vengeance on Thanos for what they did to them.
 

Rick Jones

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I don't think you can do a whole series with him, but you can probably get a multi part story out of him, even for a children's show. On GOTG, Drax and Gamora both constantly wanted to get vengeance on Thanos for what they did to them.
Ultimate Spider-Man had Spidey trying his best to keep Deadpool from "un-aliving" Taskmaster and his henchmen as they fought them. We've also on-screen and off-screen kills happen on Avengers Assemble. It all just depends on how it's handled creatively.

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TheVileOne

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Yes. I think his guest spots on 1990s Spider-Man The Animated Series generally worked and were pretty well written. They even kept his origin intact of his family being killed, and we also got Microchip and the Punisher van.

I remember Chris Yost saying something to me about violent characters in animation. I'm paraphrasing, but he basically said, "Wolverine with the claws is like Leonardo with his swords. He can tear you to shreds, but he just doesn't." I think what he basically meant is that with their weapons, the threat and implication he could use them to kill people is there, they just don't necessarily show that.

Then again, it's weird what some animated shows were able to do and get away with on TV and what other were not. Like for example, Gargoyles could actually get pretty dark and violent. And so could SWAT Kats of all things. I know they were anthropomorphic cats, but I recall in one episode, the Metalli-kats point blank murdered another mob boss and they depicted the whole thing.

In Exo-Squad, characters died or got shot constantly. It was explosions or laser blasters instead of real guns, but characters still died and got killed on camera. And all of this was in the 1990s.
 

The Overlord

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I would certainly not expect to see the Punisher's Rogues Gallery adapted into a kids cartoon, especially someone like Jigsaw...
I don't think you can do a whole series with him, but you can probably get a multi part story out of him, even for a children's show. On GOTG, Drax and Gamora both constantly wanted to get vengeance on Thanos for what they did to them.
I am kinda bumping this thread, I was not sure whether to do that or start a new one, but Punisher villains are pretty out there in terms of content.

Some of them can be over the top (a cyborg Russian, a demon-worshipping cult leader based on Jim Jones) or they could frighten realistic criminals more at home on dark procedural shows than animation:



The thing about Punisher villains is how extreme they can get, to the point you could sympathize with Frank, despite the inherent immorality of his mission, given how over the top his villains can be in terms of heinousness.
 

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