Over recent years, the Punisher has become an increasingly controversial figure in the Marvel pantheon of heroes. Or more accurately, there’s been increasing controversy surrounding how he’s been embraced by certain sections of society. Frank Castle’s skull insignia has been co-opted by both law enforcers and criminals alike of late, muddying just what it is that the gun-toting vigilante stands for.
Discussions surrounding the character have started up again over the past few weeks after photos circulated online showing one of the rioters taking part in the US Capitol Hill incident earlier this month wearing the Punisher’s logo. This led to some calling for Marvel to retire the antihero if he’s being seen as a pin-up by these kinds of people. The company dropping one of their most recognizable IPs was never going to happen, of course, but it’s possible that they may feel compelled to change up his look.
According to insider Daniel Richtman, Marvel is indeed considering switching the iconic skull for a different logo going forward in the face of how it’s been misappropriated in recent years. “[They] want Punisher to get a new logo after the riots used [it],” he says.
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So far, the House of Ideas has resisted altering the character in response to real-world events, but the Capitol Hill incident shook the country like never before, so it makes sense that it could force them to make a big change. Then again, this can only be classified as a rumor for now and just because they’re considering it, that doesn’t mean it’ll happen.
It’s also worth stressing that a switch to a new symbol for the Punisher would very likely be temporary and not permanent. I mean, how many times in comics have we seen characters get a wild new look only to revert to their classic threads soon after? As for what his replacement logo might be, well, we’ve got no idea.
The Punisher himself, actor Jon Bernthal, has previously blasted rioters wearing the skull. “These people are misguided, lost, and afraid. They have nothing to do with what Frank stands for or is about,” he wrote on social media. And while that’s obviously true, Marvel might still have to reboot Frank Castle somewhat given all the backlash.