Yesterday, Bleeding Cool ran the scoop on the return of The Punisher to Marvel Comics in his own series, written by Jason Aaron. It is expected to be a radical reinvention of Frank Castle; we have heard the title "Punisher No More" used. Planned Punisher projects were previously pulled from Marvel schedules as a result of concern around Black Lives Matter protests, the use of Punisher symbols in the January insurrection of the Capitol, as well as by police, army, militia, white supremacist groups, QAnon events, and Sean Hannity on Fox News, and a focus on real and fictional police behaviour, including the use of Punisher imagery by the police.
The Punisher was created by Gerry Conway, John Romita Sr. and Ross Andru and made his first appearance as a Spider-Man villain in The Amazing Spider-Man #129 in 1974. The character is depicted as an Italian-American vigilante who employs murder, kidnapping, extortion, coercion, threats of violence, and torture in his campaign against crime. Driven by the deaths of his wife and two children, who were killed by the mob for witnessing a killing in New York City's Central Park, the Punisher wages a one-person war on crime using various weapons and a big skull motif on his chest because, why not? The Punisher's brutal nature and willingness to kill made him an anomaly in mainstream American comic books when he debuted in 1974. By the late 1980s, the Punisher was part of a wave of psychologically troubled antiheroes. You can see why he might cause issues when epitomised as a hero for some. How he will return may be just as interesting as the fact that he is. And now, as part of Heritage Auctions Search, Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction 122131, that first appearance in an 8.5 CGC slab is up for auction tomorrow, with bids of up to $1650 and more to come. After all, an eBay copy just sold for over $4100. Is this time to pick up a bargain or set a new record?
The Amazing Spider-Man #129 (Marvel, 1974) CGC VF+ 8.5 Off-white to white pages. First appearances of the Punisher and the Jackal. Gil Kane and John Romita Sr. cover. Ross Andru art. Currently on Overstreet's Top 25 Bronze Age Comics list. Overstreet 2021 VF 8.0 value = $1,250; VF/NM 9.0 value = $1,875. CGC census 7/21: 1152 in 8.5, 3168 higher.