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Vote for the 40 Greatest Punisher Stories!

In honor of the debut of the second season of the Daredevil TV series on March 18th, which will introduce the Punisher into the Marvel Netflix universe, we’re going to be doing a countdown of the forty greatest Punisher stories from March 11th through March 18th.

Punisher has had many great stories over the years, from one-shot issues to multi-issue stories to, well, sagas. So here you will be casting your vote for who you feel are the greatest Punisher stories!

You folks all vote in the comments section here up until 11:59 Pacific time, March 10th. I’ll tabulate all the votes and I’ll begin a countdown of the top 40 the next day. This is not a whole lot of time, but, well, the idea only occurred to me this morning.

Okay, here are the guidelines!

1. Vote in the comments section below, making sure to include that classic word “ACBC” somewhere in your comment so your vote will be marked invisible.

2. Vote for your TEN favorite Punisher stories.

3. Rank your ten stories from #1 (what you think is the greatest story) to #10 (what you think is the 10th greatest). I’d prefer it if you actually numbered your entry, #1-10. It’s easier for me to count. On that note, please also avoid listing them like this “1) 2) 3) 4),” because 8 with a ) after it transforms into a smiley face in the comments section (this one 8) ). Just plain ol’ “1. 2. 3.” works best. Really, just use this template:

ACBC
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

4. Your top choice will be given 10 points, your second choice 9, etc.

5. Now for the most annoying part of the rules. What is the definition of a particular story? First off, runs are not stories. To wit, you can’t pick, say, Garth Ennis’ Punisher and call it a story. It is not. That is a run made up of a bunch of different stories. You have to vote for the individual arcs. The easiest way nowadays is to simply split, say, Ennis’ run into the individual trade paperbacks. Same with Mike Baron’s Punisher. Although, and this is important, you can always go SMALLER if you’d like. Like say you want to vote for a one-off issue of the Punisher (like that Ennis/John Severin one-shot from a few years back, one of Severin’s very last comics before he passed away).

6. Mini-series count as one story. Like the original Punisher mini-series. “Welcome Back, Frank” counts as one story.

7. Guest appearances in other books by the Punisher count if you would like to vote for them.

8. Graphic novels are also one story.

9. Make sure to include ACBC in your ballot.

10. If you have questions and/or requests for clarification, feel free to ask them in the comments section below. If you’re unsure of something, probably better to ask BEFORE you vote. You have a week to vote, ya know?

11. I’ll make various ruling in the interest of fairness as I see fit.

12. I’ll list notable rulings in this section here as we go along:

Remember, please include the following word: ACBC – on your ballot. It will make it so your ballot appears invisible to other readers, so only I can read it (and count your vote secretly).

Most importantly, have fun!

Now vote! :)

23 Comments

Taylor Porter

March 3, 2016 at 3:39 pm

What’s this about Ennis & Buscema doing a Punisher one-shot? Can’t recall that one.

Annoyed Grunt

March 3, 2016 at 4:38 pm

I love that this is a top 40. It will be nice to see what makes the list other than Ennis’ stuff which is sure to dominate the top 20.

i liked the Punisher as a weird anti-hero concept when he started but lost interest in him. Though I loved the Zeck covers… I wonder how many themes there are for his stories.

1. The one where he shoots a guy
2. The one where he doesn’t shoot a guy but probably should have.
3. The one where a real superhero stops him from shooting a guy and he learns a lesson.
4. The one where a real superhero stops him from shooting a guy but he doesn’t learn a lesson.
5. The one with a flashback.
6….

tbc

Duff McWhalen

March 3, 2016 at 9:36 pm

Logan, that sounds like selective cynicism. Fact is, all big two franchises are intensely repetitive by a certain point. That said, there are a ton of really fun stories if you like the basic set up of the character. I could easily do a top ten pre-Ennis stories.

When I first started collecting comics I had to promise my mother that I wouldn’t buy Punisher because guns. (I know, it makes no sense). Anyhow, pre-teen completist me just absolutely had to buy What Iff…? v.2 #10, which was a Punisher story, and my mom flipper her lid. That was almost the end of my comic book reading career, only three or four months after it began. They should have called it, “What if Nu-D’s mom had stopped his comic book collecting in 1987?”

Anyhow, that’s the one and only Punisher story I’ve ever read, and I don’t remember it at all.

i liked the Punisher as a weird anti-hero concept when he started but lost interest in him. Though I loved the Zeck covers… I wonder how many themes there are for his stories.

1. The one where he shoots a guy
2. The one where he doesn’t shoot a guy but probably should have.
3. The one where a real superhero stops him from shooting a guy and he learns a lesson.
4. The one where a real superhero stops him from shooting a guy but he doesn’t learn a lesson.
5. The one with a flashback.
6….

tbc

That’s like criticizing Batman comics because too many of them involve Batman punching a guy.

It doesn’t mean that there aren’t a bunch of Punisher stories that are repetitive, but there are plenty of good ones that are not.

I’ll be interested to see how Greg Rucka’s run fares up. I only read the first arc and the issue which crossed over into The Omega Effect so I don’t feel like I read it to the point where things started to ramp up, but I liked the premise, and I know the guys at my comic shop were praising it heavily as it ended, so here’s hoping it scores highly.

My second vote went to a mini which I’m not sure whether people remember but which I felt was absolutely fantastic. I’m expecting it not to show up on the list but a bunch of Cap stories I voted for that I felt would be overlooked showed up on the top Cap list, so who knows?

Obviously the Ennis stuff and Frankencastle et al are great, but I really hope we get some of the quintessential 90s Punisher in here. I’ve been on a massive late 80s early 90s Punisher kick recently. They’re just like the great grungy VHS action movies never made, and instead put into comics form

Would the Rucka run from a couple of years ago count as one story? It seemed like one long story to me, maybe without the Avengers crossover at the end.

No, still split ‘em up.

Also, that reminds me. People, when voting for Punisher War Zone, note that there have been three EXTREMELY different Punisher War Zones (Dixon/JRjr, Ennis/Dillon and Rucka/Di Giandomenico), so please make sure to describe which one you’re voting for.

Oh geez, I can’t even remember ten Punisher stories. I’m just wondering where ‘The Final Days’ ranks up there, being that it’s a Punisher story that basically has him shit on by a bunch of people and manage to escape by the skin of his teeth and never really get the chance to revenge himself on most of them.

Would Franken-Castle count as one story?

Would Franken-Castle count as one story?

It’s really two stories (one where Frank adjusts to becoming Franken-Castle and then one where he works as Franken-Castle, coinciding with the title being renamed Franken-Castle), but Marvel only released a single trade with all of it in there, so okay, I’ll allow Franken-Castle as one story.

Just to confirm, does Jason Aaron’s 22 issue Punisher Max saga qualify as a single story or is it broken down into the 4 arcs?
I’m currently assuming the latter – though that does lead to the question of whether the epilogue is a 5th story or part of the 4th

Break down.

Taylor Porter

March 5, 2016 at 7:54 am

So I’ll just assume this “Ennis/Buscema one-shot” is a mistake. Can’t seem to find any other mention of it.

So I’ll just assume this “Ennis/Buscema one-shot” is a mistake. Can’t seem to find any other mention of it.

Yeah, it was actually one of John SEVERIN’s last comics before he died. Fixed that.

me neither
Buscema did the art for Chuck Dixons Punisher Western – A Man named Frank
and also a certain Punisher crossover (featured in I love ya but you’re strange)
and Garth Ennis wrote a number of Punisher specials
but I can’t identify any story credited to both Ennis and Buscema

Brian got in while I was typing that – so its Punisher: the Tyger

Thanks! Big fan of Garth Ennis’ Punisher, and anything by Johns Buscema and Severin.

Only 2 non-Ennis stories made my list: Year One, and Circle of Blood. That’s how quality and definitive Ennis’s stories are IMHO.

Jg: well to balance you out I didn’t vote for any Ennis stories.

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