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Marvel Under Pressure To Retire Punisher Character And Logo


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Voices calling for Marvel to retire the Punisher and/or his logo following its continued adoption as a symbol of hatred and division have increased following the riots at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Last week, multiple rioters were seen sporting a modified version of the iconic character's logo as they stormed the Capitol in an act of domestic terrorism.

The Punisher logo has been adopted by a number of different groups over the years but has become more prominent in recent months. A former marine, countless writers have been clear that the Punisher is first and foremost a murderer driven by vengeance, putting that above the patriotism and sense of duty he long ago left behind. The Punisher himself has admonished police for wearing his logo, clarifying that it has no place alongside the duty to protect and serve, but that hasn't stopped it showing up on the uniforms of cops and soldiers, as well as in Blue Lives Matter demonstrations and at the Capitol this weekend.

Photos were snapped last week of rioters at the Capitol with Punisher logos on shirts, backpacks, and hats. Most of these designs featured the Punisher skull on the United States flag. Following the chaos that ended with multiple people getting killed, comic creators and voices in the industry wondered if the logo and character had been tainted and called for Marvel to do something about it.

 

The discourse on social media has offered potential solutions instead of Marvel retiring the Punisher for good that would make sense if the publisher continues with the character. The first being drastically shifts who the Punisher is - make him fight systemic injustice, abuse of power, and everything the rioters are against. Another option is to allow the Punisher title to pass to a character of color - as has been done with many other Marvel heroes (and even the Punisher before) - in order to turn away those who would project a theme of racial hatred onto the character.

But the thing that most have commented Marvel should do is enforce their trademark. They haven't been stingy in enforcing it before, but in order to stop organizations from adopting it, they need to get their entire legal team on the situation and start issuing cease and desists, otherwise, there's no coming back from it. Regardless, something needs to change about the Punisher - Marvel can't sit around and do nothing, otherwise the character and his iconic logo will be tainted forever.

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