With his military-grade arsenal and take-no-prisoners attitude, Frank Castle, a.k.a. the Punisher, has never fit the conventional model of a Marvel Comics hero. And according to Gerry Conway — who co-created the stalwart soldier-turned-ultraviolent vigilante in 1974 with John Romita Sr. and Ross Andru — that’s by design. “The Punisher was originally conceived as a villain and was not intended to be an antihero,” the legendary comics writer told Syfy in 2019. “In the course of writing the first story, I realized that’s what he was – an antihero. He had a moral code I could use to resolve story points. And, it was a simpler time in the ’70s.”
But the Punisher’s legacy has grown more complex since his introduction in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man. An instant reader favorite, he eventually graduated to his own title and became one of Marvel’s most popular characters in the ’80s and ’90s. He found a particularly devoted audience among actual soldiers and police officers, with many of them adopting the trademark skull symbol he wears on his chest. Those symbols have been spotted on officers during the recent protests following the death of George Floyd, but they had found their way onto police uniforms even before that.Nick Krieger@nckrieger
Here are some photos of Detroit police apparently from today. Can anyone explain the skull? Given the use of the totenkopf by the SS, doesn’t it seem just a little bit inappropriate??
Cops are using the Punisher a symbol of mass murder. r @DisneyStudios and @MarvelStudios should press charges if they aren’t removed they will fine the police and the proceeds will go to charity to help #BlackLivesMatter foundations. If you agree retweet.
Conway has never shied away from expressing his distaste for seeing Punisher signage adorning real police officers. “It’s disturbing whenever I see authority figures embracing Punisher iconography because the Punisher represents a failure of the justice system,” he remarked to Syfy. “He’s supposed to indict the collapse of social moral authority, and the reality is some people can’t depend on institutions like the police or the military to act in a just and capable way.”
While the Walt Disney Company — which owns Marvel — hasn’t moved to take legal action against police departments (despite the urging of many on Twitter) for using the Punisher symbol, Conway is using social media to launch a project. In a series of tweets on June 5, the writer outlined his plans to “reclaim the Punisher skull” and benefit Black Lives Matter in the process.
This article was originally posted on yahoo.com/entertainment/.