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Cover Art by Jim Lee

Punisher Armory 1 Cover Art Story

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The First Cover to the Punisher Armory Series

The Punisher Armory. Put out by Marvel Comics. Hardly seems likely? No superheroes, no super powers. No stories, as we knew them; no panel-to-panel continuity. No page of small panels. Sort of a narrative that has only the character’s voice as the constant. Sometimes the technical guy (“Micro” Chip) threw in an entry. Mostly a gun on a table. As happy as I was with such a project I admit I found it strange. The Punisher was already one of Marvel’s most controversial characters. Not a “fantasy” doing veiled parallels to modern society—no; a kind’a real guy doing very human things right out of today’s headlines. And I was trying to make it even more real. But it was a good gig and going to be printed. Eventually, it would need a cover…

What to do? Covers are always hard—the fun kind of hard that Marvel thrived on. Back then, doing covers was the icing on the cake for the artist who did the interior. Except when the book was late, then having another person do it just saved time. Technically speaking the cover is slightly larger than an interior page and cover art rates were 120% of an artist’s page rate. So it was a good deal. That little extra bit of money was to encourage one to “go to town” on detail or execution of action. More than the usual design “oomph.”

Don Daley had been doing Punisher covers for months and months at that point. He was the Editor of the whole line, so he knew what went into a Punisher cover. Big booms, guns and screams—those were the elements of a good one. I had taken on the Armory as almost an “answer book” to the regular line of Pun titles. The character was giving comics a hard time; too violent, unrealistic, glorifying vigilantism, etc., etc. I was putting in a slower, more thoughtful Punisher. The man who has to train in order to be able to pick up any weapon, any time and deliver bone-blasting justice to—well, you know… (continued)

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