This started out as a JOKE.
In 1974, one of my favorite new characters was THE PUNISHER. He'd only made 3 appearances so far when, in January 1975, I was sitting no the couch one Saturday night, trying to come up with an idea for my next comic. I'd been knocking out a lot of work around that time, all amateur, home-made stuff. My brother had come up with the idea of doing "mini-comics" as a way of focusing on ideas & stories without worrying about the quality of the art. If the stories worked out, he figured, you could always redo the art later.
Anyway, 2 ideas crossed my mind that night. I thought, I could do a story about a priest fighting supernatural demons (THE EXORCIST was a big deal around that time, though to this day I've never seen it). Or, I could do something like THE PUNISHER. I decided on the latter. But of course, I didn't want to just do a blatent swipe. A bit of "mix-and-match" seemed called for. Now, at the time, I'd been watching rerus of one of my Dad's favorite TV shows from before I was old enough to ever see it when it was first-run-- THE UNTOUCHABLES! And Robert Stack as Elliot Ness became one of my heroes. At the same time, reruns of THE SHADOW radio show were also being run on a local Philadelphia radio station. Coupled with DC's comic-book of THE SHADOW, the elements fell into place.
I'd do my own version of a trenchcoat-wearing "vigilante". And I'd up the level of violence to extreme levels, turning the whole thing into a comedy. I was in such a funny mood that night, I decided to do the whole thing in my own special "stick-figure" style, which I'd done all my comics in back in the late 60's, and which I had also done a quartet of BATMAN comics in. The style just added to the hilarity of it, I thought.
As I said, this started out as a JOKE. It was never meant to go beyond the initial 16-page story-- which, incidentally, I did in 2 hours flat! But some things take on a life of their own. WHO KNEW I'd wind up writing 50 episodes over the next 4 years?
By the way, the clean-up in Photoshop wound up taking MUCH longer than the original work itself did. Enjoy!
(Continued in THE GUN #2)
Story & Art Copyright (C) Henry R. Kujawa
All prominent characters are Trademarks of Henry R. Kujawa