SDCC 2023: Frank Castle’s Out, Joe Garrison’s In – Marvel Unveils New Punisher

Punisher #1 2023 Main Cover by Rod Reis from SDCC 2023

This year saw the culmination of Jason Aaron and Jesus Saiz’s critically-acclaimed run on The Punisher, tying a neat, Weirdworld-shaped bow on Frank Castle’s story (at least, for now).

In the wake of its conclusion, speculation has run rampant as to the future of the character: will Frank return in a new series; will Marvel shelve him for good, in light of associated controversies; will he receive another all-new, all-different makeover?

The answer? None of the above. Instead, a new character will take up the mantle of The Punisher – and no, it’s not any of the previously established successors to the mantle.

Rather than tap Nigel Higgins (a British character who was once inspired by Frank’s war on crime to start one of his own) or Rachel Cole-Alves (Frank’s old apprentice of sorts), Marvel have opted for an entirely fresh approach. Enter, Joe Garrison: a man who is ‘a retired S.H.I.E.L.D. black ops agent’ and who ‘is brought back into the action after his past rears its violent head’, according to Marvel’s marketing.

Punisher #1 2023 Variant Cover by Mico Suayan from SDCC 2023
Mico Suayan. Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Joe Garrison will debut as the new Punisher in his own ongoing series in November 8th 2023, picking up where the Aaron/Saiz run ended with Frank gone but his forever-war with the criminal element ready to draft someone new.

Hot off Savage Avengers and currently penning Moon Knight: City of the Dead, increasing fan-favourite David Pepose will assume writing duties. Meanwhile Dave Watcher (Planet of the Apes) will provide interior art with Rod Reis (New Mutants) drawing the covers.

Pepose also gave something of a window into the creative philosophy behind the creation of Joe Garrison, highlighting the desire to welcome new readers while paying respect to long-time fans:

‘I asked myself ‘How do we build a bigger table? And how do we invite as many readers as possible?’ For existing fans of the Punisher and for new fans, this is a story that’s not going to sacrifice any of the attitude, any of the action, and we are not letting the pedal off the metal.’

David Pepose, “SDCC 2023: A New Punisher Makes His Marvel Comics Debut” on

Whether Frank will return in down the line, in the pages of this new series or not, remains to be seen. For now though, it’s clear that Marvel’s priority with the character is to try new things.


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