The Punisher Meets Archie or Archie Meets The Punisher #1 (1994)
Welcome to Out of the Longbox, the newest feature here on Dissecting Fiction. In one form or another, this column has been planned since before the site came together, though it has changed form since its inception. Let me explain. Do you remember when we were posting pictures of different comics’ arcs on Facebook?
Well, if you did, I would let you know that this column came from that concept. What we’ve wanted to do is pick out some underappreciated comics to throw your way. Our original idea was to do different runs, but those all came out like book reports, something we try to avoid here as much as possible. By reducing the issue count to one, we can alert you to the comic without spoiling as much of the fun inside. Well, at least we hope to.
Anyway, you’re now probably thinking that I listed two separate comics in that fancy header. I did but, lo and behold, those are both the same issue! Yes, when Archie and The Punisher met, you could decide which icon was more important to you! You can decide with company’s logo is on top! I personally own the Marvel one, but hey, maybe you don’t like sweet die-cut covers. You should probably avoid comics from 1994 in that case.
While I don’t want to ruin the denouement, the story revolves around a villain who barely escapes the sites of Frank Castle, runs off to beautiful Riverdale and maybe, kinda looks like one Archie Andrews. One of the cooler elements of the book is a literal visual clash between 1994 Marvel and the still-classic-art Archie. Harvey Award winner Batton Lash provides an appropriately comedic script, but it is broken into two worlds. The legendary Sal Buscema crafts The Punisher and his supporting cast, and any other elements unique to the vigilante, while the equally legendary Stan Goldberg takes the pencil for Archie and the gang. These aren’t separate segments either, the two artists literally team-up on individual panels, creating a feel still unique over twenty years later. Archie even starts his own War Journal.
Boy, do I wish that carried over to the Mark Waid run.
Though this is a farce through and through, I think it is a cool piece of history for both Punisher and Archie fans, and a clash of two of the most important characters in the history of the industry. The bigger comic companies have seemed to move away from cooperation in recent years, and we simply can’t expect crossovers such as this to happen.
Archie meets The Punisher/The Punisher Meets Archie isn’t difficult to track down, and though not incredibly cheap, it is usually not all that expensive. If you’re looking to add something fun and unique to your collection, it is worth the price.