The Punisher (Francis "Frank" Castle , born Castiglione) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics . The character was created by writer Gerry Conway and artists John Romita Sr. and Ross Andru, with publisher Stan Lee green - lighting the name . The Punisher made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider - Man #129 (cover-dated Feb. 1974).
The character is an Italian-American vigilante who employs murder , kidnapping , extortion, coercion, threats of violence , and torture in his campaign against crime . Driven by the deaths of his wife and two children who were killed by the mob for witnessing a killing in New York City 's Central Park , the Punisher wages a one- man war on the mob and all criminals and employs the use of various firearms. His family 's killers were the first to be slain by the Punisher. A war veteran and a United States Marine Corps Scout Sniper , Castle is skilled in hand -to- hand combat , guerrilla warfare, and marksmanship.
The Punisher's brutal nature and willingness to kill made him a novel character in mainstream American comic books when he debuted in 1974.