The Punisher (Frank Castle) is a fictional character, an anti-hero appearing in comic books based in the Marvel Comics Universe. Created by writer Gerry Conway and artists John Romita, Sr. and Ross Andru, the character made its first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #129 (February 1974).
The Punisher is a vigilante who employs murder, kidnapping, extortion, coercion, threats of violence and torture in his war on crime. Driven by the deaths of his wife and two kids, who were killed by the mob when they witnessed a gangland execution in New York City'sCentral Park, the Punisher wages a one-man war on the mob and all criminals in general by using all manner of conventional war weaponry. His family's killers were the first to be slain. A war veteran, Castle is a master of martial arts, stealth tactics, guerrilla warfare and a wide variety of weapons.
The Punisher's brutal nature and willingness to kill made him a novel character in mainstream American comic books in 1974. By the late 1980s, he was part of a wave of psychologically troubled antiheroes and was featured in several monthly publications, including The Punisher War Journal, The Punisher War Zone, and The Punisher Armory. Despite his violent actions and dark nature, the Punisher has enjoyed some mainstream success (although toned down) on television making guest appearances on Spider-Man: The Animated Series and even The Super Hero Squad Show. In feature films, Dolph Lundgren portrayed the Punisher in 1989, as did Thomas Jane in 2004, and Ray Stevenson in 2008.
Punisher is the recipient of multi-disciplinary military training from the U.S. Marine Corps. While a Marine, he also received training from the U.S. Army and Navy as well as cross-training with the Australian Special Air Service Regiment during the Vietnam War. In addition, since beginning his work as the Punisher, Castle has used his military discipline and training techniques to update and expand his skills in areas that aid in his mission (disguise, acting, use of non-military weapons, etc.). From this training, Punisher is proficient in not only basic infantry skills, but in special operations, which includes the use and maintenance of specialized firearms and explosive ordnance. He is highly trained in infiltration into heavily-guarded enemy territories and structures for the purpose of assassination, capture, and military intelligence. Also, he is trained in various forms of camouflage and stealth. He is also highly adept at hand to hand combat, and has been trained in multiple forms of martial-arts.
Both Nick Fury and Tony Stark have commented on how extraordinarily high his pain tolerance is. He does not take even over-the-counter painkillers, as he feels that their benefit of dulling pain is not worth the side effects of drowsiness and slowed reflexes.
He maintains multiple safe-houses and vehicles around the greater Manhattan area as well as multiple forged identities and bank accounts (most of the funds and equipment aiding him in his work being taken from the criminals he hunts).
The Punisher has a Kevlar uniform which protects him from most gunfire, though he can still suffer concussive injury or penetration from sufficient or repeated impacts.
The Punisher has been using technology derived from super-villains and other costumed characters, such as the Green Goblin's pumpkin bombs, a modified Goblin Glider and a Doctor Octopus tentacle that he can shrink down for easy storage via Pym Particles.