I realise weve had the retcon debate before, but I would maintain that I disagree with Ruckas 'a war, is a war, is a war' opinion.
I still maintain that the opinions, feelings and politics displayed by Frank over many, many years are more unique to Vietnam than any other modern conflict.
Since then actual conflict has become somewhat sanitised. That was the last time American troops faced an enemy in close quarters to any great degree. It was Americas longest and dirtiest war, and one which carries an undertone of shame from the way the foot soldier was treated by his commanders, his government and his fellow Americans - and Frank endured three Marine tours of it.
I know politics, war profiteering and negative public perception have played a role in every American conflict since, but Gulf I was as swift and clean an American conflict as we'll probably ever have in modern times, and I simply cannot believe that the six months or so that Frank would have spent in the gulf and the things he would have experienced there could have shaped him into the character we see on the page.
Really, saying Vietnam isnt integral to the character if like saying that Vietnam wasnt integral to Rambo in the first of his movies. It was - it was absolutely integra -, and theres no way that a 'clean' war like Gulf I could have produced someone as damaged, tortured, victimised or embitterd as Rambo, or Frank Castle.
I'm also loathe to acknowledge Angel-Castle or Franken Castle, but they did happen. We dont need to remember them in any detail, other than the fract that they both gave a perfectly plausable (for a comic) excuse for why a 60 year old man is still kicking ass today.
The Rambo argument is a solid one.
Maybe Punisher could be retconned as the first of the Marvel vigilantes...Since the other heroes (except Cap and Fury and Wolverine...and Thor, probably...definitely
Hercules) showed up "10-12 years ago"....