Garth Ennis has always been known for more adult comic writing and his series Preacher is a perfect example of this. However, his writing has also always had a sense of humour to it. He had been brought on to re-launch The Punisher with Welcome Back Frank in 2000 and after a successful run under the Marvel Knights imprint, he wanted to try something different. In 2002 Ennis teamed up with Darick Robertson and wrote a proposal for a short run of comics about Frank Castle’s time in Vietnam. This outline would ultimately become The Punisher: Born. This became the framework story for the series, detailing the differences between Castle and another main character in the series, a young Private called Stevie Goodwin.
At this time, the MAX imprint was relatively new. It was created in 2001 when Marvel broke from the Comic Codes Authority to establish their own rating system. The first series in the MAX line was the Jessica Jones Alias series- which served as inspiration for the recent Netflix series. The MAX line allowed artists and writers greater freedom to tackle more adult storylines. It wasn’t just about blood, gore, swearing and nudity- the stories would tackle hard hitting themes such as rape and also give readers the first ever star of their own comic that was openly gay (Rawhide Kid). The MAX imprint was essential for Garth’s Born mini-series. It allowed them the freedom to really drive home the horrors of war. With the success of Born, a new series of The Punisher was greenlit with the first issue premiering in March 2004.Continue reading Blood, Grit and Skulls: Garth Ennis’ The Punisher MAX 15 Years Later