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Leaving The Punisher

Tim Bradstreet

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Hey folks -

Just want to address this news which is indeed true.

After an 8 year run doing covers for The Punisher, Welcome Back Frank, The Marvel Knights series, And Max, I'm nearing the time (MAX Issue #60) when I'll be hanging up my regular monthly gig. Time to turn things over and give someone else a chance.


A few years ago I stated that I'd probably hang with the book until Garth Ennis decided to leave. I'm going to hold true to that. I feel like the editors welcome the change as well. Not because we don't get along famously, there just has to come a time when all good things must end. I'm sure they would love to have a fresh look come in. It happens. Still, fresher doesn't necessarily mean better ;)



Leaving the regular series doesn't necessarily mean that I will leave the character permanently so never you fans and supporters fret. I'll be back someday.


For me it's not that I feel I've said all I need to say with the character. I'm not done by a long shot. I think it's more a case of needing to recharge the batteries, and this is the perfect time to do that. I'm very fortunate to have been given an opportunity to bring my vision to this character for the better part of a decade. How many illustrators get to say something like that? And I've gotten to say it twice now having also enjoyed a 7 year run on John Constantine: Hellblazer.

Both incredible journeys, but my association with Frank Castle has been extra special, and not only because of my personal affinity for the character. The Punisher has been VERY VERY good to me. It's brought me a legion of DIEHARD fans, it led to work in a LOT of other places, it led to working on and being associated with the film franchise, AND it brought me together with Mistah Thomas Jane. The Punisher has done a lot for me.


So if you are sad, don't be. I'll still be around and hopefully revisiting the character from time to time.

I've spoken to my editor Axel Alonso in depth about the whole thing and he wants me to stop by the 'ol stomping grounds at some point. He's currently trying to find me something new that is a perfect fit. I welcome that if we can find the right vehicle. Regardless of that, you can be sure that you haven't seen my last Punisher illustration with issue 60.

You can't get rid of me that easily ;)


I'd like to openly thank Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti for bringing me on board and letting me ride with the skull.

Big thanks and respect to Garth Ennis who inspired me to raise my game with his spot-on interpretation. It's been an honor mate.


Huge love to Tom O'Brien, my incredible model, the face of Frank Castle!


A gracious nod to all the wonderful Punisher editors and assistants it has been my pleasure to work with over the years - Axel Alonso, Nanci Dakesian, Kelly Lamy, Daniel Ketchum, Stuart Moore, Cory Sedlmeier, John Meskis, and company.


Giant affection to the Punisher inner circle - Eric Lieb, Adam Johnson, Adam Gilbert, Mike Powell, and Tony-Bag-A-Donuts.


Massive, big, eternal thanks to Photographer Scott Harben, for the use of his awesome studio, his collaboration, and friendship.


My brothers and sisters in arms - Thomas Jane, Jonathan Hensleigh, Gale Anne Hurd, Avi Arad, Ari Arad, Kevin Fiege, Eric Lieb (again!), Tim Palen, Miguel Casillas, and John Leonetti.


To the ladies - Missy B, Lydia.

To my brethren - Bob Bradstreet, Jimmy Phillips,


Most of all I want to thank all of the amazing fans. It's been a great ride but it would have sucked without you.

The best fans in comics.


- TB

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WOW Street. WOW. I must say, this whole thing is giving my stomach a nasty feeling. It has been 8 years - but that wasn't enough. I usually don't follow the work of any artists or behind the scenes guys, but your covers - got me to read about Frank Castle, and got me to ask: "Who does these fuckin bad-ass covers???" The shot of TJ as Frank that was used as a theatrical poster is forever BRANDED in my brain Street. You did that. I'll say it again, 2007 was the year Frank Castle Jr died.



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Guest AdminGuyX

I look forward to seeing what you do next Tim. As always. You certainly defined the character ways no one else had before you, or will be able to after you.


It will be interesting to see where marvel takes the covers from here.


Not seeing Tom O'Brien's mug on the Punisher every month is going to take some getting used to. No question about that.


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My man, you know how much I love ya. And that beer is on its way, I promise. It'll just have to be home where you and TJ enjoy it.


As for the matter at hand. I'm going to try not to be sad.. gonna try really hard. But there's this sucking wound in my chest... so you better keep me updated on all things Punisher. This can also give you the chance to get back to some old school Bradstreet stylings on perhaps some War Journal covers, yes, yes?! And the big option, once you get a nice breather from Hollywood... you do realize that's your nickname, right, I kid... we need that fully illustrated Punisher mini from you, even if the Brother's Adam and I have to script it ourselves. Yup, you heard me. It's the only way you're getting permission from me to leave the series, big guy, even if its only temporary.



In all seriousness, you completely recharged the Punisher as a character, brought him back from the brink of extinction that only the 90's comics could dish. We all know Garth co-led the charge with his spot on telling of the life of Frank Castle, but its you, who got us Tom Jane... got us a movie, and blessed us with some honest to goodness kick assery that the character has lacked since the 80's. Thank you, for that, and for so much more. You're a great guy on top of it all, and as a fan-friend (is that a word?), I've enjoyed the times we've all gotten up, hung out and just talked comics, music, and who knows what else, over some dinner and a few drinks. There's not a fan in the world that can dream of all these things happening to them. It's all due to you, being such a gracious guy, and the great company that you keep. The icing on the cake was the photoshoot, there's just no way on Earth I can thank you enough for that. The Punisher Circle has been, and will be continue to be a fun ride...so stick with it. Looking forward to the next time we can all get together and do it all over again. Next rounds' on me.


Oh, and get your ASS to Heroes-Con!!!!!

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Truthfully, your covers were what made me feel like I should pick up the comic again after years of not reading... you did a hell of a job sir! Extremely interested to see what you can work in for the Punisher in the future.


For some reason, this is one of my personal favorites that you did. Love the color tint, the pose, and the background... so much detail! Almost reminds me of a scene or the art from The Crow (though I'd say yours is way more polished,) but it's iconic to say the least.



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Favorite you say?







Gah, dont make me choose.








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I envy you Mike. What I wouldn't give (or pay) for Street to model me for one of his covers. And good choice on issue 45 - its being used as the cover for the 4th Max Graphic Novel.


Street, I think if you're gonna walk away from Frank, you oughtta go after another Marvel character that could use your help. There are so many characters you never had a chance to dance with. Daredevil and Wolverine were awesome when drawn by you, but with Murdock it was just that one cover and with Logan there was no face. I think you could do a fuckin awesome job on Wolverine, which actually opened with some of my all-time favorite Marvel covers (next to yours) from issues 1-6 by Esad Ribic. Ribic also closed off the 1st series of Wolverine with equally realistic covers from issues 181-189. The 3rd part to Punisher: First Round where you drew Wolverine, was done by Ribic in which Logan wears the skull on his chest.


Wolverine Vol II #4



I feel you have the power to revive worn out characters. Elektra and Nick Fury by you, I think depict them at their finest. Fuck it, you and TJ shoulda done a Nick Fury miniseries after Punisher #13 - which sold out here in Miami in every shop!




I remember asking you this back in the Punisher thread 5000 years ago, how come you never did a cover or shot of Kevin Nash as the Russian? You covered so much ground that involved that character back in series V and VI, I was surprised to see that after Nash mastered him on-screen, you didn't rush him to meet you at the studio. Same thing with the Hulk, you did an outstanding job with the 5 issues of Confederacy of Dunces to close off the 6th series of Punisher - yet no Hulk cover. I can ONLY imagine the Tim Bradstreet Hulk. Hopefully in the future, I'll walk into a comic shop in Santa Monica and see some new character Tim Bradstreet is making iconic.



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Tim, there is no man on the face of this fuckin Earth that can do it better than you. I know its been 8 years but shit man they flew by too fuckin fast. You gotta do what you gotta do buddy. As long as you come back sometime like you said it's all good baby! Thanks for everything that you did for Marvel. I'm damn proud of you big guy and when I get to Cali, I'm buyin the beers (even though I don't drink). Fuck it, I'll buy myself the protein shake and you the beer! GOD BLESS YOU TIM BRADSTREET!




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Wolverine . .

I flirted with picking that up as a regular back before Esad grabbed it.

Esad kicked it's ass though. Still, might love a crack at it at some point.

If Marvel would do a new Nick Fury book I'd leap at it, long as I could do my thing.


What I'd ideally love is to pick up another book like Criminal Macabre, not in terms of tone and theme but in terms of doing something monthly where they leave me alone with my interpretation, gimme the script an let me cook.

Some editorial direction is nice, even welcome . . . But what I really want to do is be left free to jam it home with a character I love, and a little freedom to create. Doesn't everyone?


Here are a few of my favorites, including a first look at my latest cover.


Punisher Max 55



Max 42



Max 54



Max 50 - The way I originally intended it, with skull.



Max 20 - Dare I say . . . a classic?



Punisher: Tyger



Max 19



Max 49 - My wife Missy in the foreground.



I got more and will post as we go.


- tb


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And now my favorite 6 issues of Punisher Vol. VI (which I own):


Frank Castle at his finest...








My 2 favorite guest star covers of Vol. VI:




As you can see, I feel you closed off Vol. VI perfectly. Those final issues were fuckin sick. But hey, now you ain't closing a series - you're closing the book. I noticed Max 55 is more on the color temperature side of things rather than your usual dark toned/heavy shadow pieces.



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Guest AdminGuyX

Yeah, 8 years seems like a long time, but it doesn't seem like a long time that you've been doing the covers! DAMN.


I like the idea TL had about Marvel releasing all your covers in one volume. That's just gotta be the longest a single cover artist has ever run on the punisher, or hell, ANY Marvel book. Yeah?



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The cover of 42 will always be my favourite, tied with the cover of The Tyger... your work is iconic, man... it's sad to see you go off of the on-going, but at least you'll be back every once in a while.


Tim, since you and Ennis are both leaving after the next arc (which ends at 60), and the art for 61 has already been released in the MAX sampler... who's doing the writing for MAX after Ennis is gone?

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No idea about the new writer. If Marvel hasn't revealed that to the public yet I'd be out of line to reveal it even if I did know. OK, I'd whisper it in your ear . . . But honestly, I don't have the intel.


Here are a few more of my favorites . . .


The one that started it all!



Not a cover but a hell of a trading card.



Marvel Knights issue #47



From the "Mother Russia" arc . . . Printed too dark, though almost all of the Max issues have.



Co-Starring Adam Gilbert of PunisherART.com fame.



More to come.


- Tb

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...



I just updated my MySpace blog and my official blog with the news of my departing with Garth on issue 60 of Punisher Max.

Check them here -




And while I'm here, I've posted this sneak peek at the cover to issue 57.

Hope you dig.

Shit, only three more to go.


- TB

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