No Puzzle Jigsaw

by Michael Vlachakis

128509_8a75f7c58f0d60bc4171915323489d70bfbb3177-194x300 No Puzzle Jigsaw

Spider-Man comics are the backbone of any good comic collection.  He has had a series of comics across all eras from golden to modern.  His adventures have showcased everything from the mundane action of NYC crime to the cosmic happenings of Battleworld and everything in-between.  However, most importantly, Spidey comics have been the doorway to many of the great characters who made their first appearances within the annals.  Today, I am going to focus on the first appearance of the character Jigsaw!

The character Jigsaw (real name William “Billy” Russo) was introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man #162 (ASM #162) in November of 1976.  Jigsaw is one of the main enemies of The Punisher (real name Frank Castle), who also made his debut in an Amazing Spider-Man title: ASM #129.  These two characters came from Spidey books and Spidey books have a propensity to grow in value, with character first appearance books growing at an even faster rate.

Jigsaw had a fairly mundane backstory in the comics.  He was an orphan and mafia hit-man who was responsible for the death of Frank Castle’s family which means he became The Punisher’s main target for revenge.  For those readers who have watched Netflix’s The Punisher Season 1, the name Billy Russo should be very familiar.  In the updated back story, for the show, Russo is a friend and former spec ops partner of Frank Castle.  Russo, in this depiction, is also ultimately to blame for the death of the Castle family which leads The Punisher to seek his revenge on his former friend.  For those who have yet to see the Punisher Netflix series, I will say this…it is intense.  On the final episode of Season 1, we see the battle that leads to Russo becoming the disfigured crime-boss named Jigsaw.  Although he asks The Punisher to end his life, The Punisher refuses, which, luckily for us leaves Billy Russo alive in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and poised to return for revenge on Frank Castle.

Analysis for The Amazing Spider-Man #162 is interesting.  Long-term data shows that the 9.8 graded version of this book has been mostly flat, however, in the past year or so there has been some upper movement in real-time sales.  Approximately a year ago, you could snag a copy of ASM #162 for around the $400-$500.  Recently though copies have been listing on the market around the $600-$700 price point even as Fair Market Value (FMV) sits firm at $525.  As tantalizing as The Punisher series has been, that type of jump does not typically come from a character on a MCU show.  The census numbers are also a bit of a quandary.  There appear to be plenty of 9.8 copies available, with the census sitting at 103.  However, that number is fairly low compared to the total amount of CGC graded copies at 747 and there is the fact that they do not often show up for sale on the open market.  The cover art by John Romita and Ross Andru for this issue is phenomenal.  The bright orange cover also has The Punisher and Nightcrawler featured in a very New York-y scene…all which equal collector’s gold.  Look for this issue to gain steam with the future seasons of The Punisher and the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Are you excited about the future prospects of Jigsaw?  Do you have another Spidey issue first appearance that you feel is undervalued?  Drop your comments and join in the conversation.

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