Spotlight on the time the Punisher smoked synthetic Crack

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In a speculative world where people jump on first appearances like New Guardians #2 – the first appearance of Snow Flame – a villain fueled by his use of cocaine, I thought it would be fun to explore the time the Punisher, Frank Castle, smoked what appeared to be crack.  The Punisher has been many things in the various volumes of his comic books – but one thing he has always been against is the use of drugs. Which is why I think it’s very odd that in the early 90’s in a two part story-line featuring Ghost Rider, the Punisher smokes what appears to be crack.

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In Marvel’s 1991 Punisher War Journal #29 – Frank Castle goes on a mission to fight a gang known as “The Roaring Island”. As part of that mission he infiltrates the group by riding a motorcycle and going undercover selling drugs. The drug dealers are selling a new drug called “spin” and with an upcoming Aerosmith Aerostar concert the Punisher has to act fast to stop its distribution. The Punisher attempts to get Ghost Rider to help him but he declines.

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At one point the Punisher’s right hand man Mircochip gives the Punisher a drug to counteract any effects of “Spin”.
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The issue ends with the Ghost Rider leaving and saying he’ll be watching Frank. Frank then proceeds to get into a gun-fight that ends with him getting knocked out with a concussion grenade. All of this is important to understand what is to come.
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Punisher War Journal #30 begins with Frank Castle being handcuffed inside a semi truck (previously referred to as the heart of the Roaring Island) and being welcomed by “Straker”, who welcomes The Punisher to Roaring island. Trying to infiltrate the gang the Punisher agrees to the initiation ritual that has him agreeing to try “Spin.”
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This is followed up by what the title of this article suggests, The Punisher smoking what appears to be crack and what keeps being described as something stronger than crack.
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While The Punisher did take Microchips “Spin antidote” – it didn’t work as indicated by the Punisher saying the drug is making him want to go fast and how he had to take a few hours of rest for the effects to wear off.

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So why is this important?

The Punisher is a fan favorite character and even though the Netflix TV show has been cancelled you shouldn’t be surprised if Marvel relaunches the character in their cinematic or television universes like they have three times previously. The Punisher hates criminals, crime, gangs and drugs – him doing drugs is very out of character. It is also important to note that this story-line was approved by the Comics Code and has been approved for all audiences, another oddity.
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The Punisher War Journal #29 and #30 sell for a few dollars online and can be found in most bargain boxes at comic conventions. These are two books you should be looking for based on the story-line alone.
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Punisher War Journal 29          Punisher War Journal #30

Well that’s it for the spotlight on the time the Punisher smoked crack (kind of!) Let me know in the comments (or on social media)  if you disagree with me or if you have a book you think I should spotlight next!

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