Exclusive: Mitch Gerads On Frank Castle’s New Surroundings In The Upcoming PUNISHER Comic

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punisherMarvel has a lot of new comics coming up as part of the Marvel NOW! phase 2 initiative. There are several characters getting fresh new #1 titles and a few brand new characters are getting new series as well. One of the recently announced titles that has a lot of people talking is The Punisher, from the team of the hit series The Activity. Nathan Edmondson and artist Mitch Gerads will be taking Frank out of his natural habitat and transplant him to Los Angeles to take on a new threat. A few weeks ago I got the opportunity to speak with Edmondson about the series, which you can read by clicking here. This week I was lucky enough to get the chance to ask artist Mitch Gerads a few questions as well. The artist talked about Frank‘s new surroundings and what sort of weaponry we can expect to see him use.

 

Were you a fan of the Punisher? What do you find so appealing about the character?

Of course. I’ve always appreciated the grey area that Frank operates in.  He doesn’t waver. He knows results don’t happen if you’re always the boy scout. There’s a nobility to the character that I don’t think many have explored in the past and I’m really excited about bringing that trait to light.
I’ve heard you say before that you’re obsessed with research and accuracy. What sort of research have you done for both the location of the new series and for Frank Castle and his gun-toting alter ego?
I’m obsessed with “setting as character.” A huge part of the draw of the Marvel universe is the reader is led to believe these stories are happening in our world so anything I can do to make that as recognizable as possible just helps drive that theme home. It will be very rare to see a Los Angeles setting in The Punisher that isn’t an actual place you could go visit.
Can you tease us with Frank’s gear? What sort of weaponry will he be utilizing?
A fun fact about Frank’s kit is it’s all based off real world special operations kit that is still in the prototype phase. Tres’ cool stuff. Something else I really am trying to do with The Punisher is give Frank a “go-to” armament that readers will recognize from issue to issue and really become familiar with the character and our take on him. Keep a look out for Frank’s badass H&K 416!
punisher 2Since the announcement we’ve seen two pieces of your art. One was a very stunning cover for the first issue and the other was an equally awesome piece with Frank wearing an “I’m Not Daredevil” shirt. Those two images seem to me to show a hardcore, serious Punisher with some comic book-ness thrown in for good measure. Is that fair to say?
I think that’s a fair assessment. I’m definitely approaching the series artistically a little different than I did on The ACTIVITY. The PUNISHER is a completely different book and a new beast so it deserves a new approach. I think fans are gonna dig it!
I think one of the most interesting things that’s come out regarding your series is that it’s going to explore Frank Castle AND The Punisher. Nathan talked a little about what that means in the story, but does that translate to the art? Does Frank carry himself any differently when he doesn’t have the skull on his chest?
Frank’s an ex-Marine. You can’t turn that off. ;)
In an interview you did with Marvel you described your Punisher with a music example, saying it’s “less the ‘Slipknot soundtrack’ Punisher book and more the ‘Hans Zimmer scored’ Punisher book” which I absolutely love. Can you talk a little about how you direct the action?
When Nathan and Marvel first approached me about the book the first thing I said to them is I want to do The Punisher that enters a room with five bad guys and exits the room having only shot five rounds. But the flip side of that is that sometimes you need to be loud and show that escalated violence of action. Our Frank Castle knows when to be silent and knows when to be loud, but he’s always tactically minded.
In that vein, I asked Nathan this question and I want to see what your take on it is since you’re really the ‘director’ of the comic: If your first arc was a movie trailer, what would it look like?
Quick cuts of large set-pieces, badass gear, and swift movement all set to a sweeping badass orchestral score!
You guys are set for stories for the first arc at least, but is there anything in the Marvel universe you would like to draw? Have you found yourself thinking wouldn’t it be cool if ____showed up or I’d like to draw that?
I’m still a huge comics fan. I try and get to the shop every Wednesday and I’ve always been a pretty big Marvel fiend. There are tons of toys in their sandbox that I hope to get to play with. Really looking forward to maybe one day getting to put my mitts on Captain America or THOR.
 Finally, what do you hope fans get out of the first arc whether this is the first Punisher comic they’re reading or the 1000th?
My hope is that long-time Frank Castle fans will see the character they know and love presented in a fresh and exciting way and my hope for new fans is that they try the book and they see that nobility in the character that they were maybe discounting in the past.
                                                                                                                       
Our thanks to Mr. Gerads for taking the time to answer some questions about the new series. Both Gerads and Edmondson seem to have a new take on the character that should make for an interesting read. The more tactical Frank Castle with some real world munitions approach as described above is something we haven’t seen done too much. It will be interesting to see the Punisher who walks into a room and takes out five guys with five shots while a Hans Zimmer track plays throughout. Gerads did some amazing things with The Activity, and it sounds like we can expect something bigger and better things with the action in Punisher‘s first arc. What do you think about Gerads‘ comments? Are you going to be picking this one up in February?
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