People are calling on Marvel comics to consider retiring The Punisher character in light of his symbol being seen on rioters at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6.
The character’s symbol has been a topic of debate for years after it was adopted as a symbol of pride among some in the U.S. military and law enforcement, as well as some far-right activists. Many have found it alarming that police, as well as potentially violent right-leaning groups, find kinship with Marvel’s most violent and murderous anti-hero.
For those unfamiliar, The Punisher, first introduced by Marvel Comics 1974, is the alter ego of Frank Castle. After witnessing the murder of his family, Castle uses his skills as a military veteran in a one-man war against crime. However, unlike other Marvel heroes like Spider-Man or Captain America, Castle isn’t shy about employing torture, violence and even outright murder as a means to his end.
Some people at the Capitol riots, including the person who was photographed carrying zip ties, were sporting The Punisher’s infamous skull with long teeth symbol. As a result, there have been renewed calls for Marvel to either enforce its intellectual property on the symbol or retire the character altogether.
“The seditionists that invaded the Capitol today wore a Punisher logo. I say @marvel needs to either aggressively enforce their trademark so it isn’t printed everywhere or abandon the Punisher completely. You can’t allow your characters to be used by terrorists,” one critic wrote.