Punisher: Year One!
A little late on the bandwagon for this, but the trade for Punisher: Year One has finally been printed!
This was initially printed as a 4 issue mini-series. I thought the scripting was excellent, the first time I'd been exposed to Dan Abnett and andy Lanning as a writing team, I thought they knocked it out of the park, I especially liked the clever angle on the "forget-me-nots," and Dale's work was (and remains) very stunning. I really liked the greco-roman stuff he did with the sheets in the hospital scenes. I imagine this trade is out now because of Dale's return to Marvel, coupled with the presence of the only other person I think might remember that this project existed, the original assistant editor for the project, who now works in a different position within Marvel. Institutional Memory is a peculiar thing.
When I initially worked on this book, the trade was almost assuredly in the works. My editors were let go in the 1994 Marvelcution, just as the fourth issue had left the office, and that threw things into a bit of disarray. When the new editor came in to wrap things up, turn out the lights on old projects and start new things, the trade fell under the wheels in a difficult marketplace environment. I remember the new editor being a little startled by the amount of inventory the Punisher office had accrued as a hedge against rainy days, and with the market collapse that began in 1993 (and would continue through 2001) a little downsizing of the line seemed in order. The Punisher line was pretty substantial in those days - I think some Punisher material came out every week.
It's really nice to see this out, it's an interesting period in my artistic development, my shining lights at the time were Klaus Janson and Al Williamson, and I'm a little too heavy handed to do that style justice. My work has adjusted over the last 15 years, I used to ink with an absolute abandonment that has probably fallen by the wayside, for good or for ill. I carried this scratchy style over into the first few issues of Captain America, but wound up adjusting to a starker and sleeker style in response to what I perceived as Ron's angular and broader stroke. I still didn't completely abandon that loose aspect in my inking, and have let it fly on occasion, the Stuart Immonen run on Thor and the Hulk were especially fun, but much broader, a little skritchy. I really enjoyed that Hulk run, I thought everyone was firing on all cylinders.