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Two decades ago, Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti were given the Marvel Knights imprint to revitalize some of Marvel's lesser-selling heroes. Daredevil and Black Panther were successful out of the gate. However, it took some time for The Punisher to hit his mark.
It's also easy to forget that the first Marvel Knights: The Punisher series completely reinvented the character as a supernatural avenger who fought angels and demons.
That was the "Ghostbusters Punisher," as aptly described by writer Garth Ennis. In 2000, Ennis and his Preacher collaborator, Steve Dillon, were tasked with bringing the Punisher back to basics. The result was "Welcome Back, Frank," a 12-issue miniseries that did that and more. Ennis and Dillon brought a comedic sensibility to the Punisher that was immediately embraced by fans. It quickly led to a new Punisher ongoing series by Ennis and Dillon, which doubled down on their approach.
In the latest installment of SYFY WIRE's Behind the Panel, Ennis shared a few of his memories about Marvel Knights: The Punisher. He also expressed his belief that this was the character best suited for him to write.
"There's no other Marvel character I could write for any length of time," said Ennis. "Not coming from a superhero background, I have no attraction to any of those characters... At the time, the Punisher was the only one, because the Punisher resembles a lot of the characters I grew up with in British comics."
According the Ennis, the only reason the "Ghostbusters Punisher" happened at all was that he was simply too busy to work on the book earlier. However, Ennis also came to realize that The Punisher was responsible for getting his work in front of readers who would have never dared to read Preacher.
For more Marvel Knights: The Punisher details from Ennis and Palmiotti, check out the full video!