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Tim Bradstreet

The Punisher

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This is the official Punisher thread here on my forum. Feel free to open up other Punisher related threads but this one's mine, all mine.

I've been doing the covers for "The Punisher" since 1999, eight years to be exact. It's been an incredible journey, from the freedom Joe Q and Jimmy Palmiotti gave me on the Marvel Knights editions, to the more directed Max series. All told I've created over 100 covers since that fateful evening at the San Diego Comicon (way back when), when Jimmy cornered me at the Hyatt bar and asked me if I'd be interested in taking on covers for the 12 issue series "Welcome Back Frank", with Garth Ennis.

 

Over that time I've gained a new audience of Marvel readers and Punisher fans, taken abuse for my photo real style, and helped to influence the film franchise, even getting the opportunity to do all the movie posters for the 2004 film version of "The Punisher". It's had it's ups and downs. There have been times when I felt I was just spinning my wheels (as my detractors would agree), and times when I felt I've done my strongest work drawing this character. The past few years I've been working with my old pal (from the Vertigo days) Axel Alonso.

Axel likes to challenge me so I feel like for the most part, the max series is my best work. Not all of them are home runs, but when you are the regular guy every month hitting home runs evey time is no easy task. What I know is that I've worked my ass off on this book over the years. I've taken pay cuts on my rate to help keep the book from cancellation, I've worked without an editor (and it really helps when you actually have one), and I've seen merchandise that numbers in the hundreds with my work plastered all over it that I do not see a dime for. I also see nary a penny of royalties despite my work being reprinted in dozens of trades. People ask me, "Why don't you leave?", or "Why do you put up with it?" The answer is simple. For me it's a trade off. I LOVE drawing the character every month. The Punisher has always been one of my favorite characters and to get an opportunity to become a part of the history of that character is important to me. Also, with Marvel I'm reaching a hell of a lot more people with my work than I would reach most other places, that's exposure. Doing the covers got me involved with the film version. Working on the Punisher film introduced me to my RAW Entertainment partner Thomas Jane, which I wouldn't trade for anything. It got me involved with Marvel Entertainment, Lion's Gate Films, and has brought in a slew of other studio work. That's all cool, but bottom line, I do it because I love it. Hopefully it shows.

 

So I kick this thread off with an advanced look at the newest cover from Punisher MAX - issue #54.

PunM54.F1.jpg

 

I'll be posting some of my favorites here as time goes on. This will be an open thread.

Cheers to the Punisher faithful, you are LEGION.

 

xo - TB

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Well done, Sir. Your covers on the MAX series are the reason I got back into comics after almost a decade. Garth's stories are great, but it's your covers I really look forward to every month. Keep it up!

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Tim, I got a bb gun that looks exactly like that shotgun! Speaking of which, are all the weapons that have been on the covers authentic and real, or replicas?

 

I didn't start reading the Punisher until the movie, and your covers were the main reason I did read it (well, Garth's stories had something to do with that too, but you get the idea).

 

By the way, my Lurkers proof is still the coolest damn thing on my wall!

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Great info Tim, I had no idea the book ever got near the cancellation point. As a huge Punisher fan you have my utmost respect for sticking around and taking less money to keep the book going. I find it disturbing that Marvel reuses your work for shirts and trades etc and that you don't see anything for it. They were the same company that paid Todd McFarlane royalties on everything weren't they? Just seems like bullshit that they are not showing you the same respect when you have showed a lot more loyalty than Mr. McFarlane ( I have nothing against McFarlane BTW)

Having been a Punisher fan since the late 80's I have to say your visual take on the character is my favorite. Hats off to you and I look forward to seeing which are your favorite covers.

 

Aaron

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One question and I hope this is not a sensitive issue, what do you think about the Punisher War Zone film? I ask since you had involvement with the 2004 film. I myself am worried that the film is going to be fairly bad. I have nothing against Ray Stevenson and enjoyed him quite a bit on Rome but just do not see him as Frank. Thomas Jane nailed the part and I really can't see anyone doing a better job than he did with the role.

 

Aaron

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One question and I hope this is not a sensitive issue, what do you think about the Punisher War Zone film? I ask since you had involvement with the 2004 film. I myself am worried that the film is going to be fairly bad. I have nothing against Ray Stevenson and enjoyed him quite a bit on Rome but just do not see him as Frank. Thomas Jane nailed the part and I really can't see anyone doing a better job than he did with the role.

 

Aaron

 

No Aaron, not sensitive. I stand by Tom's decision to leave the franchise and it's not one he took lightly. When the current production contacted me for reasons I cannot get into yet, I talked with Tom about it. He's a stand up guy. He has no ill feelings towards LGF or Marvel, etc . . . He was mightily depressed when it became obvious that all factions were not on the same page in terms of the film's direction. For Tom, it was the best possible decision to steer clear. I wanted him to know that I still have ties to this thing and if the production decides to include me I'd like to get onboard. I wanted to know, bottom line how he would feel about that considering our friendship or a conflict of interest. Tom's been very cool about it and understands that my ties to the Punisher, comics and film, run deep. So I have his blessing which is very important to me.

 

I was terrified that LGF and Marvel might try to recruit a star for the film out of pro wrestling or some such nonsense. When the announcement came that the production had snagged Ray Stevenson I actually got excited as I am a big fan of Ray's work on Rome and his wonderful little role in King Arthur. I'm curious to see Ray anchor a film like this. I'm not real familiar with Lexi's work but I'm also not one of the jaded Hollywood crowd who believes that pigeon holing someone based on their past credits is the only way to find success. Think back to the classic directors of yesteryear, guys like William Wyler, who could be equally effective directing drama/action (Ben-Hur), or comedy (Some Like It Hot), two classics of film and two completely different movies. Robert Wise is another prime example. Granted, those two examples are tough for anyone to aspire to, but I say if someone is talented, genre shouldn't matter, not if you know that their head is in the game. And that's not to say you should just blindly reach out and get John Woo to direct a musical because his last Chinese shoot-em-up made a 100 mil. There are intangibles to be sure. But I wouldn't count someone out soley because they haven't attempted a certain kind of material. I guess I'm just more optimistic than some folks. I don't blame fans for feeling wronged or even betrayed with Jane out. The strongest thing about 2004's Punisher film was Jane's performance. I think it sucks that it couldn't be worked out to everyone's satisfaction, but what can ya do? Jane is gone. With Stevenson at least this thing feels like it has a chance to be something, and I think Lexi has earned her shot at the title. Only time will tell. If it hits, everyone (well, most everyone) is happy. If it bombs then little hope is left for the franchise, for the forseeable future at any rate.

 

I want to see it succeed because I'd like to see a story and film that does justice to the character. I felt that Hensleigh came close, even nailed it at the end. Shooting in Tampa, no matter how much money it saved, or how great the locals were, was in hindsight a mistake. The studio probably figured that fans wouldn't care where it took place so long as they could afford to make it. Unforunately, shooting in or doubling for NY was not in the cards and it ended up becoming a big bone of contention with fans. And Travolta was more of a hindrance than a help. I'm sure he's a nice fella, and I mean him no disrespect (seriously), but having THAT recognizable a face in the film just didn't work. On top of that the performace was uneven. I was never "scared" of him. And a villain you aren't scared of does certainly take the wind right out of the sails. I'd have cast Terrance Stamp. He would have been brilliant. And the money the production could have saved by NOT hiring Travolta might have afforded a gritty, urban location. Someone make me an exec right ;)

 

Anyway, Tom's cool with me doing what I gotta do. And that's pretty cool.

 

Best of luck to Kevin Feige, Gale Anne Hurd, Lexi, and Ray.

Have a ball in Montreal and do us proud.

 

- TB

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OK, so while I'm at it here, I'm going to go ahead and post one of those classic favorites.

This is from the Marvel Knights regular series. Its issue #35, towards the end of that incarnation.

 

With this I wanted more of a character study and I wanted to incorporate a "dossier-like" background.

So fans can sit and read about how cool this dude is, and also absorb the character a bit. If I did it over again I'd incorporate the skull somewhere in here.

But at the time, the skull had been prevalent everyhere on those covers and I wanted to depart, this was more Frank Castle, the man.

The foreground portion of this piece is a hand drawn brush and ink piece, watercolored by hand. I then scanned it and dropped it onto a field of solid black.

I did the background elements digitally and used elements of my "Wanted" cover (Punisher Vol. 4, #8) for the fingerprints and headshot.

 

Watercolor by Goleash.

 

Hope you dig seeing it again, and without trade dress!

 

punisher35f3.jpg

 

- TB

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This is probably somthing that only Garth could answer, but I thought maybe you might know. Is there any reason Jigsaw has not poped up in the MAX series? He is the only Punisher villian that I can recall off hand that has stuck it out.

Also, if he does end up in future issues, if you could pick anyone, who would you like to use as a model?

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That really is a question only Garth or the editors could answer. I don't really have a clue why they haven't brought him out into the light again.

I can tell you this, Garth may have wanted to steer clear for reasons of his own. Maybe he sees Jigsaw as a more "super villain" type character. And Garth can't really stand the whole superhero/super villain thing. Still, I think Garth could have written the character more realistically and likely could have plugged him in somewhere if he really wanted to.

It seems to me that Garth simply wanted to create his own world for Frank. You notice that not many people from the Punisher's past made it into the pages of Garth's run.

 

I dig that, but I also see the upside of bringing popular characters back to a certain storyline. So again, only Garth really knows.

 

As for casting the character for the covers. Hmmm, not sure. I'd have to give it more thought. Frank is older here in the MAX books which would make Jigsaw that much older as well.

Maybe Ray Winstone? God, that's a good question. Hopefully I'll be forced to answer it if Garth brings him back.

 

- tb

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Tim, my friend, its a crime against nature that any of your work gets covered up by trade dress. As for the one above, one of my favorites. "Dark" doesnt even begin to describe it, or do it justice.

 

And I had no idea how much you had to deal with on the back end of the Punisher covers. Especially in regards to the royalties. I for one, feel very blessed you love the character so much, and its that fondness that got you and Tom involved, and has created this beast we're all typing away on, and rooting for these jacked up movies and comics being produced. I've been a Punisher fan all my life, so you know a lot of the crap I've had to deal with as a Punisher fan. Your initial cover to the original Knights mini punched me in the face and once again got me excited to be a Punisher fan again. As for all the other stuff that came down the line, you know how grateful I am for all that, bud. I'm pretty damned excited for you guys, and I hope RAW really makes its mark, and you all explode from the overdue royalties. ha

 

As for the Punisher sequel. I still have very mixed feelings. I'm glad to see you might be participating in it to some capacity. That shows some respect for the source material. I think Ray Stevenson, while it pains me Tom isnt returning to the role, is one helluva great actor. "Rome" has been fun to watch, and he's the main reason. I dont doubt he'll do fine. I dont know much about Lexi Alexander. But she's young and passionate, and that aint a bad thing. She seems from interviews down right giddy over getting the director nod. We'll see who the Jigsaw actor is, I'm routing for Guy Pearce just cuz I cant imagine much of anyone else bringing that kind of screen presence to the role, and not phoning it in. I'm pretty convinced he, as well as a select few actors (wink), can turn a pile, into gold.

 

Enough ranting. I dunno what the Ennis deal is... damned internet rumors, but you'd better be staying. That's all I'm saying. I guess that Punisher project with you and Tom is out as well?

 

Oh...pssst, Heroes-Con '08. Heh

 

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Thanks for the thorough answer Tim. I think Lexi will do a good job with what she has to work with. If you get a chance check out Green Street Hooligans, it's about British football gangs. She actually was able to make Elisha Wood look like he could fight. My main concern is the script and the sheer amount of sub plots and characters they are trying to work in. I have also heard that this is a restart of the Franchise and will have nothing to do with the 2004 film. Time will tell I guess.

 

So is Garth Ennis leaving the Punisher? I have read that rumor several places now and if it is true he will be sorely missed.

 

Aaron

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Guest AdminGuyX

Yeah, that's a kick ass cover. I dig the figure/shadow you put in there, very nice.

 

Any time you put a double barrel sawed off shotgun in the punisher's hand, you've got my attention. It's just that kind of weapon, a vigilante weapon.

 

;)

 

Much like I used to with Hellblazer (which I just posted about in a different thread) I look for your Punisher covers at the shop every month. It's something I really look forward to see, new Bradstreet every damn month. 8 years? Time effin' flies. I remember your first cover hitting, I have a marvel produced print of it framed and hanging on the wall to my left as I type this. Right next to my Blade Runner poster. :)

 

After the director and star of the next Punisher film were announced, and we knew where things were headed on that front, I have very mixed feelings about it. Very much a "wait and see" attitude. I have to admit, though the first film was shot in my backyard (and many of my friends crewed up for it) I really missed New York. The Punisher in Tampa was just . . . The Punisher in Tampa. I love Tampa, I've shot 3 films there myself, and it's an awesome cinematic city, but not for Frank Castle. Just ain't enough grit.

 

Though they tried. Admirably.

 

I'll admit my looking forward to it meter has gone up a few notches knowing you might be involved Tim. is it toolate to hire you on as director though?

 

:unsure:

 

Maybe someday. :P

 

 

 

 

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From what I've heard it was Artisan Entertainment that gave them very little money and time to make the film. The 2004 Punisher movie that we saw was a movie that was edited and re-written many times due to the low budget and the limited time they were given. They wanted to do more and do things differently. As for the location of the city they were not even given enough money to even shoot in Canada.

 

But I remember in the comic books the Punisher going down to the Gulf Coast of Florida to kill the Costa mob, the people who killed his family. If they were given more money I'm sure they would have filmed in a place to make it look like New York. City location really doesn't matter. To the hard-core fans that's another story. But it doesn't make or break a film and by now we should all know that comic book movies are not going to be a 100% like the comic. The movie wasn't like the comic book but there were things from the comic. It's intresting that nobody has brought this up. I'm beginning to wonder if anybody here really the movie at all.

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Right now the punisher is one of my most favorite characters.

Basically he's tied with Wolverine and Spiderman as my 3 favorites.

 

I've done some punisher art, so i'll be postin some stuff on here... Just as long as my dial-up doesn't crap out on me when I try uploadin.

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Wolverine is the best on paper for me (Just see my Myspace and it'll be obvious).

 

I'm countin the days 'til the film comes out. Hugh's takin it to the Mad Max feel - it's being shot in Sidney.

 

Castle comes in second, and The Rider (Blaze/Zarathos) in third. Parker refuses to kill off the vermin J. That's why he doesn't make the top three for me.

 

-TL

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The Wolf is the best on paper for me (Just see my myspace and it'll be fuckin obvious). I'm countin the days 'til the film comes out. Hugh's takin it to the Mad Max feel - it's being shot in Sidney. Castle comes in second, and The Rider (Blaze/Zarathos) in third. Parker refuse to kill off the vermin J. That's why he doesn't make the top three for me.

-TL

 

Yeah, my myspace shows it to, I upload most of my artwork there, which I think I need to start puttin here.

 

 

 

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I didn't used to think about covers as much of a big deal... but then there were a few years that I was out of comics, and when I came back and saw Tim's covers for the Marvel Knights run, I was kind of shocked that that the illustrations on the inside didn't try and match or mimic what was on the cover, either in realism or in the design of the Punisher character... what was on the outside was just way more bad-ass. Kind of a militaristic layer over a heavily urban character. I wonder what would happen if we did get an entire issue of Bradstreet-esque visuals... Punisher MAX was getting close for awhile there, but it's definitely drifted away to something else now.

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I didn't used to think about covers as much of a big deal... but then there were a few years that I was out of comics, and when I came back and saw Tim's covers for the Marvel Knights run, I was kind of shocked that that the illustrations on the inside didn't try and match or mimic what was on the cover, either in realism or in the design of the Punisher character... what was on the outside was just way more bad-ass. Kind of a militaristic layer over a heavily urban character. I wonder what would happen if we did get an entire issue of Bradstreet-esque visuals... Punisher MAX was getting close for awhile there, but it's definitely drifted away to something else now.

 

Yeah I know what your sayin. I mean when I did my first comic page ever, thats when I tried to do a realistic style like tim uses. But for me I couldn't do a photoshoot, so I had to sort of wing it.

 

But check out the Comic page I did in the thread you show your stuff in the tim bradstreet section.

 

It kind of sucks, but I haven't got used to the comic page style, right now I think i'm only good for cover and stuff.

 

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Street, I think the Punisher movie would not have been as iconic had it not carried your art. I have no doubt about that.

 

What I never understood was, why did they never get you to do a cover or piece of Kevin Nash as The Russian?

 

My favorite issues of Punisher are 5th series (Welcome Back Frank) #8-10. The mountain of a man was the next best thing in the film to Thomas Jane. If I had massive amounts of money, I would actually pay you to do this. I would recruit Nash myself!!!

 

Can your process be done by using any photograph?

 

And how does one photograph 7 Feet and 350 lbs. of solid muscle?

 

04ut1.jpg

 

-TL

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HI THERE!! just joined up, glad to be here! tim, i just want to say that i have always been a huge punisher fan. i won't say at what point, but for a while i wasn't happy with what and where marvel was taking the character so i stopped reading punisher. sincerely, you and garth ennis SOOO brought back what the punisher is supposed to be about. i love both you guys, not to mention what tom jane has done for the character, too!!! thanks to all you guys for bringing back the best character out there!!!

 

also, i know tom is off the punisher movie now, but what about an animated tim bradstreet punisher movie, written by garth and starring tom? would that kick @$$ or what?!

 

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i know tom is off the punisher movie now, but what about an animated tim bradstreet punisher movie, written by garth and starring tom? would that kick @$$ or what?!

 

THAT would most certainly kick ASS.

If only that someone with the power to make it happen were savvy enough to actually see the value of it.

 

But that's OK. You can see us do our thing in DARK COUNTRY when it hits theaters next year ;)

 

- TB

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I'll tell you what. And this is not an asskissing comment.

 

DARK COUNTRY has become my most anticipated movie.

 

Again I'm not saying that to kiss any ones ass. It is based on what I have read and experienced here on the RAW forums. Seeing the influences, the movies and writers and artist that have been posted and commented on by this creative team. I have a ton of repect for you guys and I know this creative team is going to put together a WORLD CLASS KICK SOME MAJOR ASS MOVIE LOVERS MOVIE.

 

Thanks.

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I might have been dreaming but. Did't Tom talk about doing a Punisher comic? Writing and with him as the Punisher? And Tim doing the art (... That would take a long time, and a lot of pics :P)

 

Probably just a fanboy dream I guess. :P

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I might have been dreaming but. Did't Tom talk about doing a Punisher comic? Writing and with him as the Punisher? And Tim doing the art (... That would take a long time, and a lot of pics :P)

 

Probably just a fanboy dream I guess. :P

 

No, he said it... it was probably in late 2005 or early 2006 he brought it up. A lot of Punisher stuff is falling between the cracks though, like the "People v. Castle" one shot that never came through. Haven't heard anything about either for a long time.

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