Punisher Creator Says Symbol Can Be Reclaimed, But Hero Needs a Reboot

Punisher Creator Says Symbol Can Be Reclaimed, But Hero Needs a Reboot


Punisher co-creator Gerry Conway says the Marvel Comics character’s symbol can be reclaimed, but the hero probably needs a reboot.

Legendary writer Gerry Conway believes the Punisher should be rebooted into something new, while Marvel can reclaim his iconic skull logo from far-right extremists. In an interview, the antihero’s co-creator admitted that it’s probably time for the Punisher to evolve into something different, as he offered his opinion on what he’d like to see the character transform into. However, when it comes to Frank Castle’s logo, he wants to see it reclaimed from its current use as a symbol of real-world hatred and division. Marvel’s handling of the symbol has come under renewed focus after its use at 2021’s attack on the Capitol in Washington.

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The Punisher is one of Marvel’s most notable characters, having become a fan-favorite of many comic readers since debuting in Amazing Spider-Man #129. Co-created by Gerry Conway, John Romita Sr., and Ross Andru, the Punisher is a former marine who – after the murder of his family during a mob shootout – abandons his moral code and the law to wage a lethal war against all those he sees as responsible. Punisher’s lethal, lawless approach hasn’t stopped his symbol being unofficially invoked by military and law enforcement personnel, and the skull logo has become increasingly linked to far-right politics. Conway has attempted to reclaim the Punisher’s logo in the past with his “Skulls of Justice” campaign, which redesigned the logo with all proceeds going to Black Lives Matter. Now, Marvel is altering the logo for a much-publicized upcoming story, and the symbol’s future is unclear.


Related: What The Punisher’s New Logo Is Actually Supposed to Mean

Conway recently appeared on the Endless Thread podcast’s ‘The Punisher Skull’ episode (with a transcript available from 99% Invisible), where he talked about his attempts to reclaim The Punisher logo and his hopes for the antihero in the future. Conway expresses that the Punisher is an antihero and an enemy of society, with his stories generally depicting him contrary to the way in which the symbol is often invoked, and describes Frank Castle as “a Rorschach test” who interprets the time in which he’s written through that lens. Conway said there will be a time when Marvel reboots the character, sharing that he would prefer the Punisher to become a Black veteran who comes back from war and faces real-world issues.


You know, there’ll come a time, just like in the 80s, when that character can be rebooted, you know, and turned into something new. I mean, my personal preference would be that the next iteration of The Punisher would be a Black vet, you know, who comes back and faces the issues that minorities in the world face today… Again, as I say, like a Rorschach test. And when he does, you know, I’ll be proud of him again.


Punisher Logo Quiz

Talking about the “Skulls for Justice” campaign, Conway said that he hopes the original Punisher logo can still be reclaimed. But if it can’t, “sticking your finger in the eye of the bad guys is always a good deal,” calling the campaign and funds raised a “pretty hefty ‘F- you’ to people who deserve to have an ‘F- you.'” 

Conway co-created the Punisher and is obviously disheartened by seeing the antihero’s logo he helped popularize used as a symbol of hatred and division. While the skull logo might be able to be reclaimed one day, Marvel Comics continues to face criticism for its lack of response to the antihero’s cultural impact, and is seemingly taking action in the upcoming prestige series by Jason Aaron, Jesus Saiz, Paul Azaceta, and Dave Stewart, where the Punisher will sport a new logo and seemingly pursue a new mission involving the villainous cult known as the Hand. Time will tell if Frank Castle’s Punisher skull symbol can be reclaimed or whether the character and his logo will be turned into something new entirely.


Next: Marvel’s Faith in the Nostalgia Cycle Is a Huge Miscalculation

Source: 99% Invisible

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