Comic Books You Should Collect: Amazing Spider-Man #129
This February, Dibbs, the real time fractional marketplace for collectibles and NFT sports cards, is showcasing iconic comic book issues that you should be collecting, all in part to celebrate comic books making their way onto the platform! While not every book we feature will end up on the Dibbs app, our list is jam-packed with the greatest stories from old and new!
Be sure to join us, February 8th @ 10am PST / 1pm EST, when we drop our first graded comic book, The Incredible Hulk #181 (The first appearance of Wolverine)!
The Morally Ambiguous
ASM #129 is a key issue that introduces readers to the morally ambiguous vigilante, The Punisher. While Frank Castle was introduced as the murderous supporting character, his popularity turned him into a main staple of 80s and 90s Marvel comics. Created by Gerry Conway and artist John Romita, Sr, The Punisher tows the line between anti-hero and full on vicious murder; that line only got muddier as time went on.
To most superheroes, Castle is a mass-murdering psychopath hellbent on eliminating crime. A tall order for a single ex-Marine with no superpowers and even taller when you consider “crime” isn’t always black and white. His misguided moral compass often has the vigilante at odds with heroes across the Marvel Universe. Even so, that doesn’t stop them from teaming up when needed, making him one of the biggest “necessary evils” in Marvel Comics.
One of the hardest parts about reading comics from the 70s, 80s, and even 90s was how confusing and convoluted series could get, especially if you missed an issue or two in-between. ASM #129 is a perfect example of this.
Fresh off the conclusions of ASM #122, where Spider-Man’s long time girlfriend, Gwen Stacey, is accidentally killed thanks to his naïve understanding of physics – Issue #129 picks up with Spidey’s reputation in the trash can! Everyone believes Spider-Man murdered Norman Osborne in cold blood, unaware that Norman was actually The Green Goblin this entire time. Now Peter Parker has targets on his back from every side. Which is exactly where The Punished enters.
The Jackal has hired The Punisher to eliminate Spider-Man. Castle agrees to the job, because he believes Spider-Man is a menace to society and responsible for Osborne's death. A classic case of signals being crossed and two “good guys” duking it out. While Spider-Man pretty easily handles The Punisher, The Jackal pounces out of nowhere and leaves the hero hurling off a building to his death. This leads to an interesting argument between The Jackal and The Punisher about the “right and wrong” way of killing someone.
Luckily for readers, Spider-Man escapes the freefall and discovers where Castle’s going next. The rest of the book has Spider-Man and The Punisher fighting over yet ANOTHER mistaken murder, only to learn the whole thing was a setup, because of course it was!
Today, The Punisher’s mostly known for the “Skull” worn on his chest. While some fans may use the symbol as homage to one of their favorite anti-heroes, many others use Castle’s logo to identify with parts of the character the creators never intended. So much so that Gerry Conway has stated he wanted to “reclaim it” from being misused and misunderstood. The Punisher was never intended to be a model citizen or a role model to look up to, yet many continue to misconstrue.
Read More Punisher
Punisher: War Zone by Klaus Janson and John Romita
Punisher Max: The End by Garth Ennie and Richard Corben
Punisher: Born by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson