Comic: "The Punisher Meets Archie"
Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Batton Lash
Artist: John Buscema (Punisher), Stan Goldberg (Archie)

Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Posted: 8/23/2009

Plot: The Punisher pursues a dangerous criminal to the sleepy town of Riverdale. Once there, he discovers that the villain in question bears a striking resemblance to Archibald "Archie" Andrews, a local boy who just wants to know why a certain homicidal vigilante wants his head.

Review: Two titans of the comic book world meet at last on the field of battle! Two men enter, only one man leaves! Who will be victorious: the gun-toting vigilante who is currently waging a one-man war on crime, or the orange-haired kid who is constantly getting into all sorts of Happy Days-style mischief?

The book opens with an introduction explaining how the idea came about, how it evolved from a silly notion to a silly comic. The idea of taking Archie and putting him in a grim, modern setting was quickly rejected, but then the idea came of taking the Punisher and putting him in an innocuous Archie storyline, albeit one with slightly more violence.

And thatís what you have with this book: A combination of the two styles that tends to favor the Archie side of things. The most notable example of this combination is the use of two different arts styles. The story opens with the Punisher depicted in his usual gritty art style, but once the story moves to Riverdale, youíll see the simple, newspaper comic art associated with Archie Comics. Artist John Buscema does a few panels, but for the most part, heís mainly in charge of drawing The Punisher, his assistant Microchip, and their van. Personally, I think the juxtaposition of the two different art styles did not reflect favorably on the fairly plain-looking Archie. Archie fans must read the comic for its gripping storylines instead.

Apart from the two art styles, the other thing that stands out is the lack of killing. It starts with the Punisher trying to bring in the main villain of the story alive as part of a deal with the FBI. During the course of the chase, the Punisher encounters other thugs who are after both him and said villain, and these gang members narrowly escape the fate reserved for all Punisher villains first when one claims that the bullets whizzing past their heads are ďwarning shotsĒ, and then later when Microchip convinces the normally strategic-minded Punisher that letting them go will lead them right to the other bad guys. There are a few other artful dodges like this to keep things from becoming too intense, but it is implied that a few of the thugs are eventually shot, albeit off-camera and in a way that apparently doesnít upset anyone present during the actual shooting.

Even given all this, it is a fairly entertaining story. Fans of the MAX series arenít likely to be impressed, but as far as one-off non-canon crossovers go, this one does pretty well. I wasnít an Archie fan before I read it, and Iím not one now, but itís still an amusing story. In retrospect, itís odd to see how, years after this comic came out, The Punisher has undergone numerous revisions to make his stories seem more compelling and interesting, whereas Archie has remained just as plain and anachronistic as ever. Maybe Archie is just waiting for the right hero tie-in to drag him out of the 50s. Possibly a superhero with time traveling powers.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Aug 24th, 2009, 04:54 AM
Definitely a musthave if you're a fan of Frank's; perhaps it's also worth having just so you can own a comic where (spoiler) he gets a happy ending for once!
Funky Dynamite
Aug 24th, 2009, 05:09 AM
There's got to be a better way to phrase that.
Aug 24th, 2009, 08:09 AM
I would add "it does NOT involve some kind of Punisher/Archie slash fic", then.
The Claw of Justice
Aug 24th, 2009, 10:58 AM
I've always been mildly interested in this. I saw a copy of it the first time I went to Comic-Con, stared at it for a few confused seconds, and put it back, vainly hoping I hadn't lost my precious sanity. Kinda wish I had gotten it now.
Aug 24th, 2009, 02:44 PM
The Punisher meets Archie? Really? That's freaking hilarious!
Is a RoboCop.
Aug 24th, 2009, 03:55 PM
This is the only Archie comic I've ever owned or read. I liked the Marvel guy's original idea better. I believe they wanted Archie characters to be brutally murdered and the Punisher had to kill the culprit, but they settled for this.
Forum Virgin
Aug 24th, 2009, 06:44 PM
Of course I have both covers for the issue. I thought they were different stories (one being from Archie's POV, and the other being from the Punisher's POV)but nope.
Aug 24th, 2009, 09:16 PM
I try to forger this ever happened.
The Magnificent Bastard
Aug 24th, 2009, 09:36 PM
This comic is a childhood favourite of mine. I was actually an avid Archie reader as a kid, and I still read them sometimes today (laugh all you want. I don't give a shit).

For the record, there are now "New Dynamic Look" Archie stories that are drawn in a more realistic style and have more serious and modern sensibilities.

They're a separate continuity from the regular stories, and are not meant to be a total permanent change, just an occasional dip into a more modern style. They can be found in certain Archie digest magazines along with more traditional Archie stories, but get collected into graphic novels soon after completion.

You might want to try those for your next review.
Is a RoboCop.
Aug 24th, 2009, 09:53 PM
Dear God no.
Aug 24th, 2009, 11:47 PM
Oddly enough, The Punisher (the 2004 film) was aired last night on a local channel.
Aug 25th, 2009, 01:18 AM
oh man how come they haven't made a live-action Archie movie, get with it film producers
Shinobi Hero
Aug 25th, 2009, 03:18 AM
Heh, I remember reading this comic. I found it pretty interesting. I wish I hadn't lost my copy though...
Forum Virgin
Aug 25th, 2009, 07:00 AM
I think there is a copy of this languishing in my mom's basement. I remember it coming out but nothing else. Mockings of "Comic Book Guy" types echoing in my head... As a suggestion, in the headers you guys should note when these movies/video games/albums/comics were released. Would help to place an easy context on a review and save a Wikipedia lookup for us lazy sorts... However apparently I'm (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archie_Meets_the_Punisher) not lazy enough. This was released in 1994, which makes sense considering the whore that Marvel was at the time. I'm surprised there wasn't a limited edition holo cover variant to commemorate the importance of this important (With trading card!) meeting.
Former Virgin
Aug 25th, 2009, 10:36 PM
What do you suppose the odds would be on an Archie vs. Punisher death match?

Would it be a furturma style 0:1000 for Archie? Where a bet of $0 earns you $1000 if Archie wins? Would there still be very few takers?
King of the Monsters
Aug 25th, 2009, 11:48 PM
It's a hilarious look at different styles and outlooks in the comic world, and for the most part it does a decent job of playing off the absurdity of it all, yet doing a good job at running with this idea. The Punisher feels obviously out of place in the quaint little world of Archie, and poor Archie almost soils himself when confronted by the (90's-era) violence of the Punisher.

To make a long story short (too late) they manage to do a pretty good job with an absurd concept. Can only imagine (and slightly shiver) at the thought of a new crossover between the characters, with the MAX-style Punisher especially.
Aug 26th, 2009, 06:14 AM
I think I remember when this came out. As I was not a Punisher fan (and still am not), I don't think I picked it up, but then, I have boxes of comics upstairs. Maybe I'll have to go diving.

Originally Posted by executioneer View Post
oh man how come they haven't made a live-action Archie movie, get with it film producers
And actually, back in the early 90's, they did. Granted, it was a made-for-TV movie that I never watched, but I remember *wanting* to see it because it was Archie.

Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again
Aug 26th, 2009, 10:12 PM
Archie couldn't take punisher. Now Jug-head... that's a match made in hell! Just look at that mo-fo! You know he's got mad skillz.
King of the Monsters
Aug 27th, 2009, 12:50 AM
funny enough i was always curious as to whether or not they would've EVER have made that Wolverine Meets Jug-head crossover.
Aug 27th, 2009, 03:59 AM
they're both the best at what they do