According to Deadline, US TV network Fox have bought the rights to produce a pilot for the Marvel Comics character The Punisher. Ed Bernero, the creator of Third Watch and Criminal Minds, is reportedly overseeing the pilot episode which is described as an hour-long procedural with a Marvel signature.

The show sounds like it will practically re-invent the character and offer a new take on the character of Frank Castle. Instead of the former detective whose family are murdered by the mob forcing him underground to become a vigilante waging a one man war on crime, the TV show would see Castle as a rising star in the New York Police Department who moonlights as a vigilante seeking justice for those the system has failed. It’s certainly a formula that has worked for Dexter but will it work for The Punisher?

The Punisher was created for Marvel Comics by writer Gerry Conway and comic book artists John Romita Sr and Ross Andru. The character made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #129 in February 1974. Originally pitched as a villain the character developed into one of the publisher’s most popular stars as a violent anti-hero with his iconic skull motif.

Despite The Punisher’s popularity on the page the character has proven notoriously difficult to translate to the screen. With three attempts so far; Dolph Lundgren in 1990, Thomas Jane in 2004 and most recently Ray Stevenson in 2008’s Punisher War Zone. Each version has had strengths and weaknesses but none have inspired audiences and all have failed at the box office stopping any potential franchise in its tracks. Could The Punisher have found a natural home on television?

The show joins other Marvel Comics shows in development including Guillermo Del Toro’s The Incredible Hulk and lesser known comic book property AKA Jessica Jones both for ABC. In addition to The Punisher, Fox are also currently working on a pilot for DC Comics’ The Spectre, a superhero character co-created by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel and Barnard Baily.

There is currently no word on casting for the show or any proposed air date but it is promising news for one of Marvel’s most interesting characters

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This article was first posted on October 21, 2011