Lynn Michaels aka Lady Punisher
One of the things we see a lot in the comic collecting is people only want a book after the FOMO sets in. Most collectors/speculators are reactionary rather than proactive. By proactive what I mean is figuring out books that are likely to be important in the future, IF a character appears in other media.
It’s much harder to do because the probability is high that you’ll have to sit on the books for months and more probably years before that investment pays out… if at all. The other reason this is more difficult is because the available information is also very sparse. However the buy in with obscure characters can be vastly cheaper. So this week, I thought Lynn Michael's might be a good example of this… to which many of you are probably thinking, WHO?
Punisher War Zone Vol 1 #7 is Lynn’s first appearance… and I’m not aware of an earlier appearance at time of writing this. If you’ve been reading this column over the years you know by now, that’s not the book I’m looking for.
Since Lynn is best known for donning the Punisher skull and being dubbed Lady Punisher, her first as such is what I’m after. That “in costume” first appearance. Because, who cares about a hero… or in this case a vigilante, before they put on the mask or took up some mantel.
Oddly enough, I wasn’t able to find this information online, doesn’t necessarily mean someone hasn’t figured it out prior, if they have, it doesn’t come up in any of the google searches I've used. That being said, it wasn’t a very large rabbit hole, so I took the time to jump down.
Punisher War Journal Vol 1 #62 is what I ended up with, it's part of the Suicide Run storyline. Narrowing it down to that was even more difficult than I had anticipated. In part because Suicide Run stretches across 3 titles. Ultimately I had to read more of this storyline than I would have cared to. I had quit collecting Punisher comics by the time this storyline originally was published. For those of you who actually look inside books, there’s a splash page homage to Jim Lee’s Punisher War Journal run, Lynn standing on a building loaded to bear.
While the print run is assumed high, this book still has a lot going for it. For starters, it’s got a Michael Golden cover, which is never a bad thing. Lynn appears on the cover sporting the punisher skull, which is important to many collectors to have a book as the first with the character in costume on the cover.
The other thing is 9.8’s might be harder to track down, since it’s probably been kicking around in discount bins since the mid 90’s. The nicer copies are probably tucked away in private collections. The final plus for this book is it’s a full appearance. Lynn appears wearing the punisher skull for about half the book, making it a full issue appearance as opposed to a single panel tease.
Okay, so now we have 2 book for Lynn, is there anything else? Well, I’ve only found one other book that I would think collectors might might be interested in.
Punisher War Journal Vol 1 #75. While issues 75's are considered milestones, and possibly over printed. This one has a homage to Mike Zeck’s Punisher mini series issue #3 cover. The Punisher standing in front of a bleeding target. This homage was illustrated/painted by Mark Texeira and of the two, I like this homage more than the original, if that’s even possible.
I did see a few listing stating this is Lynn's first appearance as the Punisher, but clearly that is not the case. I think the burst on the front cover is a bit misleading to some collectors also. It's not like Frank dubs her the Punisher or passes the mantel. It's more about her return than anything else… Technically she “returns” in issue #70 in a panel. Lynn then makes another full appearance starting in issue #73 where the book focuses on her up till issue #78. Two issues later it's cancelled with issue #80. What I think is kinda clever is if issue #73 is the equivalent of an issue #1 for Lynn returning as the Punisher in her own mini series. Then issue #75 would be the equivalent of issue #3.
So there you have it, 3 books for a character that may or may not ever make another appearance in comics, much less in a TV Show or Movie.
However due to the overall tone in tinseltown, #Metoo and more women directors popping up on larger scale productions. It’s extremely likely, one day, Lynn will make an on screen appearance. There’s other factors too. As we’ve seen just with the Avengers movies, at some point, age of actors play a factor in the characters on screen longevity. It’s difficult to just reboot with a new actor in the roll so close to another one. That seems to be an issue with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, as an example.
Having a female version of a popular character is a great bridge to keep a property alive for a while before rebooting it with a new male lead. From the sound of things, the Punisher Netflix series will not picked back up on Hulu or some other Disney owned streaming site. So a reboot is inevitable.
While I do believe Lynn’s story completely hinges upon seeing Frank out doing what he’s does first, another male lead Punisher would have to come before. I think it would be wise for producers to at least lay the groundwork for Lynn to have that avenue available to use one day. I'm sure many comic fans have no clue there has ever been a female version of the Punisher. The Punisher is a top tier character for Marvel. It’s doubtful he’ll be sidelined for very long just because his Netflix series was shut down.
Well, that’s it for this week. As you’ve all probably noticed I’ve moved to a twice monthly schedule for the foreseeable future.