Ross: But that's why some comic characters succeed over the long term, and some don't. Batman doesn't really resonate until you understand that every day he's struggling not to become the monsters he fights.
John: I was thinking Batman's admirable because it would be easier for Batman to kill the bad guys, and he doesn't.
Ross: Yes, morally --
John: No, literally from a scheduling standpoint.
John: I mean if Batman kills people, he's the Punisher. They're essentially the same hero except for that one choice.
Ross: Riiight ....
John: Look at the books. Batman's working his ass off. He's always exhausted. He's out all night, every night. He barely gets home in the morning in time to pretend to be sleeping with supermodels.
Ross: But in the Punisher books --
John: Franks' brooding, doing monologues, cutting deals with Nick Fury, he seems to have nothing but time on his hands. Why?
Ross: The killing thing.
John: Exactly. Batman's fights take all night. He punches a guy, he punches another guy, the first guy's up and shooting, Batmans' ducking and having to hit the guy again, this eats up time.
The Punisher, I mean, how long's your average firefight? Fifteen seconds? Every book, no matter who's writing it, it's the same story. Frank shoots an informant in the kneecap, he firebombs a warehouse, then guns down the criminals as they run screaming from the flames -- maybe he pries a slug from his ribcage with some needlenose pliers, fine, but he's home before Letterman.
Ross: So you're saying the Punisher's a pussy.
John: No, but I'm saying he has no work ethic.