When this series first came out, it was a big deal. Punisher was about to become one of the most popular characters ever and there was a lot of buzz surrounding his first solo story.
The covers produced by MIKE ZECK were fabulous and only added to the hype. MIKE ZECK did all the covers and the interior art, but for some reason MIKE VOSBURG did the interiors for issue #5.
When the issues came out, they sold very well and prices on the back issues were through the roof.
Doing a search on eBay will allow you find these for under $10 bucks. However, before the internet showed up, issue one used to sell for a minimum of $35.
The story itself was pretty sweet back then. Today, t doesn't hold up as well but it's still pretty good.
Punisher is in prison. Jigsaw is locked up with him. Punisher beats down everyone who tries to mess with him.
After foiling an escape the warden offers him a deal. "Join up with an organization known as THE TRUST and you can wage war against crime with unlimited resources."
Punny begins killing mob bosses and gang wars form all over the city.
He starts to get upset when other people start dressing like the Punisher and begin their own killing sprees.
As Frank Castle begins to do some detective work he finds out that THE TRUST as been brainwashing criminals and making them think they are the Punisher or something.
Punisher starts killing the other Punishers and finally finds the head of the TRUST.
After a dog is sicced on Punisher, he punches it in the face in mid-air. Rather than killing the head of the Trust, Frank Castle makes him call every newspaper starting with Ben Urich at the Bugle, to confess everything he been doing.
Frank leaves the scene and the dog follows as he likes him better than his old master. Thus we are left with a great 1980's TV show: "CASTLE and the CANINE".
I was re-reading the 1985 PUNISHER mini-series "Circle of Blood". It was a pretty good read, but not as good as I remember it. The Mike Zeck covers are the best thing about the series. Issue #1 is the one that stands out as Punisher is in prison, tangles with Jigsaw, and is made an offer by THE TRUST.
The rest of the series is pretty good but, after finishing it I am contemplating putting them up on eBay. The only thing keeping me from selling them are the Zeck covers. They are so cool. I stare at them for long periods at a time.
As I was finishing up the final issue, I saw this Captain America ad, "THE HUNT FOR SCOURGE". I was reminded of that storyline and remembered how much I loved it.
I didn't know about it at the time but apparently Marvel decided they wanted to thin out all the villains. What better way to reduce the amount of bad guys congesting the MARVEL U, than create a new bad guy that begins killing them all off.
When Scourge first started his rampage, there was a lot of mystery surrounding the character. He first appeared in IRON MAN #194 but most of his storyline took place in CAPTAIN AMERICA.
I remember fans trying to figure out who exactly Scourge was. Some speculated that it was the PUNISHER using a new guise. That would have been better than what was ultimately decided upon.
If I remember correctly Scourge was not one person but part of an organization. I was disappointed that it wasn't just one guy who was bad to the bone but, rather multiple men using the same moniker.
Regardless of the merit of story, something about Scourge has remained with me my entire life since.
When ever Scourge would deal death to a B-level villain, the sound effect from his gun was ... ... ...
(Sorry! I can't say what it was as I want to keep it a secret. I use it, you see, as a nickname.)