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1974-02-01 00:06:10
Defenders #12
1974/Box 8/EiC: Roy Thomas
Man-Thing #2

Amazing Spider-Man #129

Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #129
Published Date: Feb 74
Title: "The Punisher strikes twice!"
Gerry Conway - Writer
Ross Andru - Penciler
Frank Giacoia & David Hunt - Inker

This is the first appearance of the Punisher. It's also the first appearance of the Jackal as the Jackal, but as a character the Jackal never really went anywhere (due to the fact that he's awful) so that's not as important (ok, that's not really true; the Jackal is ultimately responsible for all the clones!).

The book opens with the Punisher shooting a "concussion rifle" at a Spider-Man statue and saying it's still a little stiff and he needs "the mechanic" (or possibly "The Mechanic", it's hard to tell since comic dialogue is always in caps) to look it over.

He tells the Jackal, a green prancing idiot that looks nothing like a jackal, that he doesn't enjoy killing, but Spider-Man deserves to die.

Could you imagine the Punisher today being misled by a guy who is dressed in a "hi, i'm a Super-Villain" outfit?

Meanwhile Spider-Man is fighting crooks and getting depressed over Gwen and Harry. But in a nice scene, before entering the Daily Bugle, he puts on his "happy face".

JJ puts him on an assignment to get pictures of the Punisher, who, as the rival paper the New York Star puts it in a headline, has started "war against mob!!".

Luckily, coincidentally, contrived-ly, right after changing back into his Spidey suit and leaving the building, the Punisher attacks him. The Punisher is still using the concussion rifle and a wire gun that ties up Spidey (i.e., non-lethal weapons). In what appears to be a pitch for a Punisher series, the Punisher says to Spidey "You're all alike -- using whatever means to get control of the public... drugs, gambling, loan-shark operations... some of it legitimate... but all of it evil. Sometimes I wonder if that evil's rubbed off on me... but I know that doesn't matter. All that matters is the job."

This book came out the same year as Death Wish and it seems pretty clear that the Punisher was made in the mold of Bronson's character. Update: Actually, it seems he was actually modeled after Mack Bolan, the Executioner. See comments below. Seems to be part of a trend for this sort of thing.

As the Spidey/Punisher fight starts looking like it's going Spidey's way, the unseen Jackal sneaks up behind and claws Spidey in the back.

Spider-Man falls off a rooftop, apparently to his death, something the Punisher isn't happy about.

Spider-Man actually survives, however, and returns to the fight scene to find that his enemies have left, but finds a gun with a convenient tag on the bottom that says where the gun was purchased. He returns home to stitch up his costume. Harry, suffering from severe paranoia, creeps around the apartment.

Meanwhile MJ is stopped at school by Professor Warren. MJ's thought balloons, debating the merits of committing to a relationship with Peter, once again manage to be compatible with the idea that she knows Peter Is Spider-Man, and that makes them more interesting.

The next scene shows the Punisher smacking around the Jackal, who is more concerned with more "profitable" things now that Spider-Man is dead, which possibly shows that the Jackal's secret identity hadn't been determined at this time.

The Punisher then leaves to head the weapon's dealer. But Spider-Man had previously tracked "the Mechanic" to a Reiss Armorers, and when he arrived, he found that Mr. Reiss was dead.

So Punisher arrives to find Spidey at the scene over his dead friend.

After a fight, they figure out that this was actually a set-up by the Jackal...

...and they part ways as the police arrive.

A flashback giving us a little more background on the Mechanic will be seen in Marvel Super Action #1.

The Punisher is definitely set up to be a non-typical villain, and that alone makes him interesting even if there are a lot of inconsistencies here compared to his later appearances. The Jackal on the other hand i'd love to just ignore completely if he wasn't responsible for a couple of important periods in Spider-Man's history.

Quality Rating: C+

Historical Significance Rating: 8 - first appearance of the Punisher, 1st appearance of the Jackal in costume

Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A


Cross-over: N/A

Continuity Implant? N

Reprinted In: Marvel Milestone Edition: Amazing Spider-Man #129

Inbound References (3): show

Characters Appearing: Betty Brant, Harry Osborn, J. Jonah Jameson, Jackal, Joe 'Robbie' Robertson, Mary Jane Watson, Punisher, Spider-Man

Defenders #12
1974/Box 8/EiC: Roy Thomas
Man-Thing #2


"This book came out the same year as Death Wish and it seems pretty clear that the Punisher was made in the mold of Bronson's character"

Actually, Gerry Conway in Marvel Vision#15 admitted that he took a little of the Shadow and a lot of Mack Bolan, the Executioner.

The Punisher's costume was designed by John Romita.

When letters on this book were published, the Punisher was immediately and repeatedly criticized as an Executioner ripoff. the fact that Mack Bolan was interviewed in the Punisher's first solo book(Marvel Preview #2) didn't exactly change that perception.

The next ennemy Jackal is not a preerly foolish idiot, I don't think in primary it's a scientist created in chimist
who becomes interested by clones from anyone maybe Spider-Man and I think he is psycothic due to the fact he tried to crush Mary Jane that he loved and abused. That's foolish he is vicious to propagate under war between Daily Paper director, stealing the copies and killing Hammerhead in next to him and I was very disappointed he used Punisher to help him take control Robotic Accursed Center in his own. Ugly, badly, unscrupulous he is a bad guy and SDpider-Man has to stop him

To each their own of course but once the Jackal got more actively involved in bis own schemes I was freaking RIVETED as a kid. I know he opened a huge can of worms that led to a lot of BS later but those initial stories had me hooked. And the climax got me good.

So, Harry can hear Peter through the door talking to himself out loud, but HE is the crazy guy?

According to Conway in Alter Ego #131: he wanted to call the character the Assassin, but it was Stan Lee who changed it to the Punisher.

"The Assassin"? That name is right up there with "The Hitman" and "The Bounty Hunter." Talk about being defined by your work...

Gerry Conway stated in Comics Interview #75 that he had nothing to do with the cover describing the Punisher as a "hired killer".

According to Tony Isabella's blog; it was Roy Thomas, not Stan Lee, who changed the name from Assassin to Punisher.

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