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It Came From The Stacks #2

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Steven Grant
Penciler: Mike Zeck
Inker: John Beatty
Colorist: Mike Zeck
Letterer: Ken Bruzenak
Editor: Carl Potts
EIC: Jim Shooter

The Punisher Limited Series #1, Jan 1986

I bought my copy of this at the Red Food grocery store at the foot of Signal Mountain, TN during one of my mother's seven hour shopping sprees.  When I saw it sitting in the magazine display, I literally could not believe my eyes!  When I was a teenager, the Punisher was my favorite character.  He was wild and crazy and killed people for j-walking!  Nobody classified as a "Hero" did that in any of the comics I was reading at the time.  And although I didn't know the back room discussions at Marvel regarding the character, I suspected it was for good reason.  A Super-Hero who killed people?  Sure, Wolverine did from time to time, but it was always attributed to his feral, non-human side and it was generally related to some alien monster de jour.  But no, the Punisher was just a normal crazy guy who decided that the law wasn't good enough and that all criminals should die.  Up to this point, the only exposure I had to the character was in Amazing Spider-Man where he was basically portrayed as a gray-market villain who ended up being treated as an anti-hero.  And from what I understand now, that's the way many at Marvel wanted to keep it.  But rumor has it that Mike Zeck was being courted by DC Comics at the time and that he and Steven Grant wanted to produce a series devoted to the character.  Apparently to keep Mike, Marvel agreed to produce a series devoted to this serial killer but would not promote it.  Little did they know that all of the teenage boys in America were like me!!!  The Punisher limited series sold like hot cakes and Marvel did a 180 on their previous stance and pushed the Punisher hard.  Soon, he had his own regular series, then several spin-offs, and a crappy movie starring Dolph Lundgren.  Nearly twenty years later, the character is still trucking along strongly and just had another movie hit the screens.  This comic was also my first exposure to the fickle comics collectors market.  A couple of years after I got this comic, when the big Punisher comics explosion hit, the value on the limited series skyrocketed.  Apparently, since Marvel did no promotion for the series back issues were highly sought after.  I think the high point was when each issue of the Circle of Blood five part series was worth around $70.00 a piece!  Since then the market cooled drastically and now I'd be lucky if I could get $15.00 for the first one and $5.00 for all of the others.  Such is life...