Marvel Comics Called to Retire ‘Punisher’ After Skull Logo Worn by Capitol Rioters

Marvel Comics Called to Retire 'Punisher' After Skull Logo Worn by Capitol Rioters national guard walks on the steps near the US Capitol (Getty Images)

By Charlie McCarthy | Thursday, 14 January 2021 03:47 PM

Marvel Comics has been encouraged to retire The Punisher after the character's symbol was seen on rioters at the U.S. Capitol.

Adopted as a mark of pride among some in the U.S. military and law enforcement, The Punisher's skull with long teeth symbol also has been used by far-right activists. Some demonstrators at the Capitol donned the logo.

Since the violent Jan. 6 attack, there have been renewed calls for Marvel to retire the character or, at the very least, enforce its intellectual property on the symbol, per Fox News on Thursday.

"The seditionist 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," one person posted on Twitter. "You can't allow your characters to be used by terrorists."

"I've attempted to articulate my thoughts on the controversy of the Punisher, his place at Marvel and in our own reality, to take a closer look at how to move forward with the character," another person tweeted. "There's one thing that is certain, it's time for a change. An all too necessary evolution."

Introduced by Marvel Comics in 1974, The Punisher is the alter ego of Frank Castle, who after witnessing the murder of his family used his skills as a military veteran in a one-man vigilante.

Unlike other Marvel heroes such as Spider-Man or Captain America, Castle isn't hesitant about using torture, violence or murder in his pursuit of what he sees as justice.

Many people have been concerned that police and other groups apparently take pride in being associated with Marvel's most violent anti-hero.

"When it comes to Punisher (Pepe, PogChamp, etc), it doesn't matter what meanings were originally intended. Enough people see these symbols as aligned with their beliefs and the continued use of them encourages those people to think their numbers are larger. It's that simple," a third person tweeted.

Not everyone has asked Marvel to take action. Some people, such as the star of the most recent live-action adaptation of The Punisher, "The Walking Dead" actor Jon Bernthal, defended the character.

"I'm with you. Beautiful work," Bernthal tweeted in response to a person's artwork of the character. "These people are misguided, lost, and afraid. They have nothing to do with what Frank stands for or is about. Big love. J."

Marvel had not responded to Fox News' request for comment.