The Punisher (Francis "Frank" Castle, born Castiglione) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer Gerry Conway and artists John Romita Sr. and Ross Andru. The Punisher made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #129 (cover-dated February 1974).
The character is an Italian-American vigilante who employs murder, kidnapping, extortion, coercion, threats of violence, and torture in his campaign against crime. Driven by the deaths of his wife and two children who were killed by the mob for witnessing a killing in New York City's Central Park, the Punisher wages a one-man war on crime while employing the use of various weapons and firearms. His family's killers were the first to be slain. A war veteran and a United States Marine Corps Scout Sniper in Force Recon, Castle is skilled in hand-to-hand combat, guerrilla warfare, and marksmanship.
The Punisher's brutal nature and willingness to kill made him an anomaly in mainstream American comic books when he debuted in 1974. By the late 1980s, the Punisher was part of a wave of psychologically-troubled antiheroes. At the height of his popularity, the character was featured in four monthly publications: The Punisher, 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 on television, making guest appearances on series as Spider-Man and The Super Hero Squad Show, where the depiction of his violent behavior was toned down for family viewers. In feature films, Dolph Lundgren portrayed the Punisher in The Punisher, as did Thomas Jane in The Punisher, and Ray Stevenson in Punisher: War Zone. Jon Bernthal portrayed the character in the second season of Daredevil and the spin-off The Punisher, set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.