Cover Art by Jim Lee

Punisher Armory 1 Cover Art Story

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But the weapon in question is both Punisheresque and yet not very much so. At least not under the circumstances which that cover image is showing. I was right in claiming that that thing was not a gun—even though it looked like one. It is a 40mm grenade launcher. An M203, attached to the barrel and shroud of a Steyr. The M203 has its own grip. I found the same source that Jim used, which turns out to be:

GunsOfTheElite Cvr001Guns of the Elite
By George Markham
Copyright 1987, George Markham
DAG Publications Ltd. UK
Distributed in the USA by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
387 Park Avenue South, NY, NY 10016
ISBN: 0-85368-866-4

[I include the American distributors because much to my amusement, they were housed in the same blasted building Marvel Comics was at the time this book was printed in the USA. If I’d known they were in the building, I would’ve spent more time dumpster diving… Marvel moved down to 28th Street, to the “Publishing District” in order to avoid the high prices of midtown in 1981. If I ever noticed Sterling in the building directory, it just never occurred to me to drop in.]

So, really good book and filled with interesting side-notes. Lots of pictures. The cover picture, for example, helped me to understand the very complex receiver assembly of the M16. Which, parenthetically, is where most M203s are attached to! That’s one on the cover.

Here’s the weapon on the cover in question, rotated so you can see it a little better:

PA 1 Cvr CU M203001

And here is the reference image so kindly provided by Jim—except this is a spanking new scan from the book.


The above Austrian soldier, by the name of “Reisenhoffer,” is holding the weapon as it should be. The grenade launcher needs a steady hand and has a bit of kick. It also fires one big “bullet” at a time. This weapon does not fire bullets from cartridges, even though that is a Steyr AUG barrel. I am guessing that it is the shroud/fore grip that provides a nice set of under-slung rails to mount the M203 on and has sling hardware and a sight with which to aim the thing. There’s also a small butt stock that has the rest of the sling hardware. So it looks great, will do a good job blowing something up many meters away but is not the close-quarter rock-n-roll full-auto weapon that the Punisher I know uses…

And that’s why I criticized Jim’s choice. Which is in turn, why, no doubt, Mr. Lee has not called me in for a business lunch. I’ve got lots to say, Mr. Lee; all of it good! (continued)

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