Marvel Gave ‘The Punisher’ A New Logo After Many Years Of Controversy, And People Are Very Divided Over It

The Punisher‘s been through a lot of tug-and-war messiness (largely due to certain groups misunderstanding his fictional purpose as an ex-soldier-turned-extrajudicial-killing-machine) over the past handful of years. Netflix’s final season of the Jon Bernthal-starring MCU show softened Frank Castle in an unconvincing way, which only further muddied the waters of what’s essentially a pretty clear-cut comic book character. And in 2021, the already bold misappropriation of the antihero’s logo by (misguidedly enamored) members of law enforcement and the military (including Chris Kyle of American Sniper fame) continued throughout responses to BLM protests. The far-right also began co-opting the symbol with even Fox News’ Sean Hannity wearing a stars-and-stripes retooling of The Punisher’s logo as a lapel pin on air. (Fancy.)

Last summer, I argued that Marvel should put The Punisher to sleep because efforts to remedy the situation had stalled. After all, Detroit cops had been photographed while apparently wearing The Punisher logo on their uniforms while they arrested protestors of police brutality. To no avail, The Punisher writer Gerry Conway also kept pointing out Castle’s distaste for cops and military members. Further, Marvel had already attempted to shut down the cop enthusiasm for Frank Castle by issuing The Punisher #13 comic, which included a story of cops fanboy-ing all their hero, who tore up their logo-sticker and told them to get f*cked. Meanwhile, Disney’s dogged efforts to halt some related unauthorized use of its logos had led to a court shutting down a summary judgment motion and denying a trademark infringement claim.

Fast forward to now, and Marvel has decided to really do something about this long-winded logo fiasco. They’re putting a new logo on Frank Castle, so the cops and military members (and right-wingers who love bumper stickers) will be the ones waving the old one. Will it work? Who knows, but as revealed by Marvel, Castle will roll out his new look in 2022, and here’s a first glimpse:

The Punisher New Logo
Marvel Entertainment

Hmm. This looks like Frank Castle’s really into death metal now, but alright. Something needed to be done, after all, and Marvel won’t ice him, so we’ll see how this goes. The new look will take place in what Marvel calls the “definitive chapter” of Frank Castle, which feels like a real line in the sand that Conway and Marvel and Disney have been attempting to draw for years. Here’s how Marvel describes the new limited series:

PUNISHER, written by Avengers architect Jason Aaron, will be a 13-issue prestige limited series. Running monthly, each issue will be oversized to explore the past, present, and future of Frank Castle’s character and reveal where his motivations truly lie. The series will be drawn by Jesús Saiz and Paul Azaceta, with each separately taking on Castle’s present day and Castle’s past through flashbacks, respectively.

As one might expect, the opinions to this announcement are strong ones with some people noting that the far-right’s gonna be awfully mad about this.

And predictably, some people (including some on the right) hate this move.

Finally, here’s some feedback from a Marvel fan who points out another character who could add a lot of flavor to this discussion. “Bring back the Outlaw, too” is an excellent suggestion. Do it.

(Via Marvel)