Marvel Knights: The Punisher: Silent Night (One-Shot), 2006, Marvel Comics, Cover by Mike Deodato, Jr.
POP continues its examination and celebration of iconic comic covers from the 1960s through the 2000s, this week returning to the Nineties, for this month’s next edition of a Christmas POP Retro Cover Of The Week.
The Punisher is certainly the unlikeliest of characters to have his own Christmas special, but at least it was appropriately named a one-shot for this Marvel assassin antihero.
At first glance this cover seems to be a very simple, Norman Rockwell type scene of a kid catching fake-Santa. But closer examination of all the details that artist Deodato includes tells a more complicated and interesting story.
Apparently the Punisher has posed as Santa to get closer to his target in a mall Santa’s Workshop or perhaps even someone’s home. Just as he’s finished his assignment—note the dead man’s hand sticking out of Santa’s sack—a kid surprises him and wants to tell him what he wants for Christmas. The expression on Punisher’s face is a bit vague, but we can see hints of frustration and impatience. How is Santa going to explain he’s packing a gun on his hip? And if this is someone’s home, this kid isn’t going to have a very Happy Holidays when he finds out who’s in Santa’s sack.
Other details are the sentry sleeping on the job, the scared stuffed bunny and dolly behind Punisher’s boot, and the surprised-looking troll ornament on the tree.
Deodato’s illustration is beautifully rendered and colored, and the cover title logo adds some dripping blood just to let us know that this Silent Night will be a deadly one.
Merry Christmas from the POP Retro Cover Of The Week!