He may have been a loyal friend to Frank Castle on the Netflix series, but Curtis Hoyle was a ruthless villain in The Punisher comics. The Punisher is one of Marvel’s most unique superheroes since he has no powers to speak of and tends to straight-up murder villains instead. Frank Castle/The Punisher was introduced as a Spider-Man villain before earning a solo series. He was also one of the first Marvel characters to hit the big screen with 1989’s The Punisher starring Dolph Lundgren. The film received a poor reception at the time – especially due to the controversial decision to remove the trademark skull from his vest – but it’s earned a fanbase in the years since.
Tom Jane would next don the armor for 2004’s The Punisher where his performance was praised but the movie itself had mixed reviews. It was successful enough to greenlight a sequel, though Jane opted out of returning. Instead, a soft reboot dubbed Punisher: War Zone emerged with Ray Stevenson taking the lead. This movie was a box-office dud but like its 1989 counterpart, it’s now considered a cult gem. Jon Bernthal is the most recent actor to take on Frank Castle, making his debut in Daredevil season 2 before receiving a solo Punisher series.
The Punisher show lasted for two seasons and while the overall reception was mixed, it was praised for its performances. Both seasons revolved around Frank’s friendship with fellow war veteran Billy Russo (Ben Barnes, Westworld), who turns out to have been involved with his family’s death. Billy barely survives their confrontation in season 1 and returns as villain Jigsaw in season 2. Another friend of Frank on the show is Curtis Hoyle (Jason R. Moore), another war buddy who lost a leg in combat.
Curtis doesn’t agree with Frank’s war in The Punisher show but remains a loyal friend. Curtis also runs a support group for veterans suffering from PTSD, which is a major theme in both seasons. While he’s an all-around good dude on the series, the Curtis Hoyle in the comics is a very different character. Hoyle only appears in two issues of The Punisher comic and is a Vietnam vet who ran into Castle during their tours, though they weren’t friends.
Instead, Curtis Hoyle fakes his death and works for drug lord General Buktir Van Tranh. Hoyle becomes the General’s right hand and most ruthless operative. Their push to expand into the U.S. is what brings The Punisher into proceedings, who tries to infiltrate their group in disguise. Hoyle recognizes him, however, and Castle is imprisoned. Castle later breaks out and by the end of Punisher Vol 2 #2, he throws Hoyle to his death from a helicopter. The Curtis Hoyle seen in The Punisher comic and TV show are two very different characters, outside of sharing a name.
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