Sunday, July 25, 2010

Why The Punisher?

Picture this – you are enjoying a day out at the park with your family. Your children play as you hold the love of your life close in your arms. Her warmth and your children’s joy help to silence the horrors of war for just a little while. That is until you stumble upon another type of war. Witnessing a mob-hit, you watch helplessly as everything you have ever dared to love is gunned down before your eyes. Criminals take everything from you. You want to return the favour.

This is the reality which Frank Castle lives in. Driven to avenge the death of his innocent family, Frank is a man obsessed. He will bring down every criminal, crime boss and drug dealer...and will die trying.

While we have dabbled with villains here at thoughtballoons, it has all been pretty PC. Having The Punisher as this week’s character, I’m hoping our team of fantastic scribes plunge to the darker depths of their minds. Could they show the serial killer Punisher portrayed in Garth Ennis’ MAX run? Will they favour the black humour side of the character? Or will they completely sell out and do a FrankenCastle story? Only one way to find out True Believers, and that is to visit back each day this week as we bring you...The Punisher.

If you're interested in reading some other awesome Punisher stories, written by some other people who are also good, then click some of the links below, and each click and purchase (and you can purchase anything, so long as our link to Amazon is your portal) will help us here at thoughtballoons make a little scratch to get by. Thank you in advance:

The above post is Dolph Lundgren approved


  1. I've never known much about The Punisher aside from his iconic T-shirt...

    Might be sitting this one out anyway due to another Thoughtballoons "project" I'll be working on this week ;-)

  2. I'm always a bit nervous of characters fuelled by "revenge", however he is an extreme version of this kind of character.
    Fun Punisher fact- Dolph Lundren has a degree in chemical engineering.

  3. [I know I said I'd be sitting this one out, but I just thought I'd whip up a quick one before bed...]


    Clint Barton (aka Hawkeye) and Frank Castle (aka The Punisher) are walking through a forest. Clint is holding a bow and has a quiver strung over his shoulder, while Frank has a black duffel bag on his back.

    Close-up on Clint, his finger to his mouth and his other hand held up in the military "hold" position.

    CLINT (whisper): Shhhhh. I can hear something.

    Clint is drawing his bow. Frank has his bag open on the ground and is reaching into it.

    From over Clint's should we see a deer off in the distance.

    CLINT (whisper): There it is. I'm going to take the sh--

    FRANK (O/P): It's OK, I've got this.

    The whole frame is filled with SFX.


    From high up above the forest we can see a large circular clearing in the trees, a thin cloud of smoke and dust drifting up from it.

    CLINT (cold): I am never taking you hunting again.

  4. Danial - I really like this idea, a simple gag that would work well as a one-page in something like Strange Tales. I think it'd be funnier though if the deer then still ran off in the distance, or Barton was dead, but maybe that's just me, ha.

  5. Another quality script, Danial! Keep it up, man.

  6. Great script Danial. Like Ryan said, having the deer skip off in the background would have been a great little touch.

  7. haha You guys are right, that would have made a funnier punch-line : ) Thanks for the feedback.

  8. Just put this together -- hope you guys enjoy it! (If not, try to go easy on me... first-time scripter here!)


    Night. From behind his shoulder we see Frank Castle (the Punisher) training a pair of binoculars on Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Children. He is unarmed, aside from a hunting knife in his belt. All is quiet and still.

    CAPTION: So you think you can take me out when my guard’s down and just walk away, huh? That I won’t find you? Wrong.

    Close-up on Frank’s face as he lowers the binoculars. Three ugly, blood-red scars extend from his left temple to the lower right side of his face – claw-marks. His features are contorted into a vengeful sneer.

    CAPTION: I’m coming for you, you hairy little freak.

    Frank leaps easily over a fence on the border of the estate.

    CAPTION: This security system is a joke. Even Charlie knew how to set up a decent perimeter.

    Frank crawls past a hedge stealthily, his head almost touching the ground. Two mutant students, a boy and a girl, gaze obliviously into each other’s eyes on the opposite side of the hedge. The mansion’s main door is in sight.

    CAPTION: Charlie didn’t have an adamantium skeleton, of course. But even that won’t save you. Not from me.

    Close-up on Frank’s knife as he draws it from his belt.

    CAPTION: And not from this. Pure vibranium, Logan. “The best there is.”

    Frank stands silhouetted in the doorway of the mansion.

    CAPTION: Piece of cake. Come out, come out—

    Close-up: light emanates from beneath a door in the hall.

    CAPTION: Aha.

    Frank leaps into the doorway of the lit room, knife at the ready, a look of pure death in his eyes.

    CAPTION: No guns, Logan. I’m going to carve you up like a Christmas turkey, just like you did to me. And I –

    Same shot, but Frank is whirling his head towards the door, which has slammed shut behind him.

    SFX: SLAM!

    CAPTION: Huh? What –

    Over-the-shoulder shot. Frank is standing in a bare, high-ceilinged chamber. A giant Sentinel robot towers over him. For the first time, he is at a loss for words.


    Wolverine is leaning back on a chair in the Danger Room control center, his hands behind his head and his feet on the control panel. His mouth is open in laughter as he watches a terrified Frank cower before the Sentinel on a video screen.

  9. Marc, I really enjoyed reading this, found it thoroughly entertaining - and most impressively, I could easily picture the panels you described.

    I suppose my one concern would be the amount of panels on the page; not necessarily that your script wouldn't fit on a single page, rather it might be more dynamic if it was spread over a couple - many of my scripts have suffered from a similar issue, specifically my Iron Man.

    No denying the quality here, though. Well done, mate - hope to see more scripts from you in the future!

  10. Ditto for everything Simon said : )

    Thanks for sharing it. Hope to see more in the future!

  11. Marc, I love the script. Punisher V Wolvie is a great set up, love the vibranium blade, love the scratches down his face. It's all pretty moody. Great work and love to have you here in the comments.

    I will have to agree, though, that there's too much for one page. I think you could easily condense this into about 6-7 panels and still retain a lot of meaning. Just slice some superfluous motion out, maybe start a little later, and you'd be golden.

    And if you look back to nearly all of our first scripts you'll see we raised this problem time and time again. And I think we're getting better at it...maybe.

  12. Thanks for the comments, everyone! I agree -- while the script could physically be done in one page, it would probably need two or three to keep the mood and a sense of dynamism intact. Hopefully I'll be able to follow in your guys' footsteps and outgrow that little problem next time around.

  13. I once read on a comic-scripting website that you should try to aim for 6-9 panels as a max, which I've found is a good "rule of thumb" : )

  14. Hey guys, this week I finally jotted down another script. Hope you like it!

    Google Docs:

    “Punisher: Abuse”– script by Ivan Antonio

    [i]Context: Timeless “classic Punisher” story. Probably MAX imprint because of content. Something similar has probably been done before, but I wouldn’t know as I haven’t read Punisher in ages.

    I wanna try something different this time. Instead of breaking down the page into panels, I’m gonna write “scenes”. The arrangement of these “scenes” into panels is entirely up to the artist (or the reader, in this case).[/i]

    Scene 1. A black luxurious car pulls over in a dark alley.

    Scene 2. In the alley’s shadows, we see two shadowy figures. The first one is a big man in a red hoodie, that’s all we can make out. The second one is much shorter, a child. Give her a detail that establishes her as a girl: pink clothing, braid, ribbon in her hair, I don’t know. The man is holding the girl by her hand.

    Scene 3. A henchman opens one of the car’s backdoor, from which a distinguished gentleman emerges. Fat old guy with a mustache and grey hair, or balding.

    OLD GUY: Punctual as usual, my friend. I see you’ve got my company for this evening.

    HOODIE: Yeah. Got the cash?

    Scene 4. Old guy going through his wallet, while directing a wicked grin over to the girl.

    OLD GUY: Right here, my good man.

    OLD GUY: Now, let me take a closer look…

    Scene 5. The old guy has stepped into the shadow to inspect the girl, but what he sees is the cold, plastic face of a mannequin.

    OLD GUY: (Empty speech balloon. Maybe an asterisk)

    Scene 6. Hoodie pulls a machine pistol from inside his jacket, and we see a glimpse of that particular skull insignia as he mows down the old guy’s henchmen.

    Scene 7. The Punisher, hoodie still on but skull now clearly visible, towers over the old guy with a very angry grimace.

    PUNISHER: Enjoy your company, you sack of shit.

    Scene 8. The Punisher beats the guy to death with the mannequin. Make this GROSS. Spread through many small panels if you feel like.

  15. Just catching up after being away most of the week, some great scripts everyone.

    Danial - I laughed my ass off, that was brilliantly executed. Awesome. It was exactly what one would expect from those two in the woods.

    Marc - You beat me to the punch on using Wolverine! Great piece, really well executed, and the vibranium knife - perfect.

    Ivan - Damn. Love the open format for the layout, I pictured a few different options in my head as I read it, each emphasizing a small detail a little differently. You definitely hit the classical mark by going for the core of the character. Well done everyone.

  16. Virtue From On High

    PANEL 1: Medium shot detailing the outside of a warehouse type structure at night. The view is focused in a circular manner with faint crosshairs dead center on a HAMMER-uniformed figure, obviously armed, near the edge of a large set of windows. There are pains missing from the glass, including one over the SENTRY. This is our view from the outside… of a high-powered scope on a rifle. Edges around this clarity blurred slightly.

    V.O. (Top Corner): Clandestine HAMMER facility, outside Brooklyn.

    FRANK (V.O.): Sentries are always easier with bureaucracies.

    PANEL 2: Reuse of same shot only the sentry is in the midst of falling to the ground dead.

    FRANK (V.O.): They follow a pattern, timetables: order within the chaos of paperwork. Snipers?

    PANEL 3: The scope has moved to another set of windows a floor above, denoted by the line of the rooftop appearing in the top of the scope’s purview. A NEW SENTRY was walking out of the open sight of the window, but we already see that he is in fact taken out already. Our boy moves quickly.

    FRANK (V.O., TOP LEFT): Snipers are the best means for assaulting a facility such as this.

    FRANK (V.O., BOTTOM RIGHT): You just have to have a little patience, a simple virtue.

    PANEL 4: Zoom in through the scope, crosshairs faintly appearing, but full-framed shot. There was a THIRD SENTRY on the top floor, he moved into frame from the right as his compatriot fell. His weapon is raised and ready, but pointing at a silhouetted target in the shadows WITHIN the warehouse.

    SENTRY THREE (small jagged bubble): !


    FRANK (V.O., Bottom Right): Not get antsy…

    PANEL 5: THERMAL VISION, the cold blue of the warehouse frames our setting in deep hues of blue, the silhouette of SENTRY THREE is noted in the foreground, holding the temperate steel of his weapon. We see the figure of the man singlehandedly responsible for this incursion: there are wide horns coming off a mask on his head, and three cold protrusions from each hand – apart from the tinges of warm blood on their tips. LOGAN, the only man who can delve this much damage with only a blade, except when FRANK runs out of ammo. The crosshairs have converged on LOGAN’s head.

    FRANK (V.O., BOTTOM RIGHT): … and not shoot at the first shiny target you see.

    PANEL 6: A flash emanates from the lower edge of the panel as a shot is fired from our POV. We were never watching from FRANK’s view. The shot has hit it’s mark as we see the warmth of blood on LOGAN’s head.


    FRANK (V.O.): Patience is a damned good virtue… A better one?

    PANEL 7: Wide Shot from behind THE PUNISHER, crouched on top of the warehouse, hunting HIS hunter. He is clad in the traditional black and white garb of his origins to further delineate him as our hero. The light muzzle flash on rooftop across the way gives him the target he was waiting for.

    Frank: Gotcha’.


    FRANK (V.O.): A better one is having a recon buddy with a healing factor to draw OUT the sniper.

    PANEL 8: Close up of the HAMMER SNIPER, blood trickles from under his helmet, an entry hole above the temple denoting its source. He is still at his post, even in death.

    VOICE OVER RADIO (non-attributable): DID YOU GET HIM?! Is that bastard DEAD?!

    FRANK (V.O.): Except he can be a bitch afterwards.

    PANEL 9: FRANK is standing on the edge of the roof, surveying his handiwork; the skull on his chest faintly appears from the shadows. A massive rifle with an proportionately sized scope is at rest on his shoulder.

    FRANK: Yeah, I got him.

    RADIO VOICE (LOGAN): I got the registration list, but you owe me for the goddamned headache I’m gonna have come morning, Bub’!

    FRANK (V.O.): Like I said.

  17. Apparently my play-at-home was a bit too long, so I cut out the setup for the location, wanted to tack that on here. Hope you enjoy this, been meaning to post all week.

    Location setup:
    A HAMMER Warehouse is the main setting of this piece, your traditional, dilapidated location where all things nefarious can occur – governmental or non. The place is dimly lit, but there is movement through the windows, which are peppered with glass panes here and there; shadows of its former glory.

  18. Casey, glad you appreciate my style. :)

    And great script BTW, didn't see the twist coming!


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