Marvel has finally changed The Punisher’s logo

This character is so misunderstood, it’s honestly embarrasing.

words by: Alee Kwong
Feb 6, 2022

The logo change comes along with a brand new 13-issue series, written by Jason Aaron, with art by Jesus Saiz, and Paul Azaceta. The first issue of the new series lands in March 2022, with the series concluding in April 2023.

When speaking about the premise of the new series, Aaron says, “This story is the destined next step in the dark and tragic evolution of Frank Castle, from a troubled kid to heroic soldier to revenge-driven vigilante…to the duly anointed King of Killers.”



The Punisher’s new storyline

While the mention of darkness and tragedy sounds extremely on-brand, and nothing new for the Punisher, Marvel Editor-in-Chief, CB Cebulski, made it a point to promise that the character will go through significant changes.


“The story Jason is telling – a truly epic tale about darkness, violence, and choices – can only be told with the Punisher at its core. This series will build on Frank’s legacy while introducing us to a side of him we’ve never seen before, setting the stage for an evolution that we’ll find was inevitable,” he says.


In this new series, Frank Castle has become the warlord of the Hand (which, if you are only familiar with Netflix’s Daredevil series, you’ll know as the ruthless clan of assassins). In this new role, he is known as the Beast of the Hand—a demon that has been worshiped by the Snakeroot clan of ninjas.


The story announcement from Marvel hints at major changes, including, “Tragedy, war, and rage come together as he takes up his sword and his new armor with the most notorious clan of assassins in the Marvel Universe. Will it mean an end for the Punisher? Or a whole new bloody beginning?”


The Punisher, the Thin Blue Line, and a NAVY Seal

Reeling the line back to the real world, the Punisher logo has been co-opted by the “Thin Blue Line” crowd, also known as the group of people who are pro-law enforcement and positioned against the Black Lives Matter movement.


The Punisher’s logo being co-opted by this group has led to a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to the character’s relationship with the law and his general alignment. More times than not, the Punisher ignores the law, believing that the law that society has in place doesn’t actually serve justice and has made it his mission to correct corruption—a lot of which is found in law enforcement.


Gerry Conway, co-creator of the Punisher, criticized the use of the character’s logo in association with Thin Blue Line groups by firmly stating, “Any ‘cop’ who wears a Punisher logo in his official capacity is identifying law enforcement with an outlaw. These ‘cops’ are a disgrace to serious police officers everywhere. They show an imbecilic level of irresponsibility and should be fired immediately.”


“By definition,” Conway continues, “He’s the opposite of what they’re supposed to be, you know? He is someone who is outside the law taking the law into his own hands. So if they are claiming the Punisher as their symbol, they are saying they are outlaws and that they are criminals and that they are enemies of society. Is that really what they want to be saying?”


While Conway heavily criticizes and wholeheartedly opposes law enforcement using the logo, he does understand, to some extent, why the logo means a lot to those who are in the military. “I didn’t think it was the best thing in the world,” Conway said on a recent episode of 99% Invisible, pointing out that much of the skull’s popularity stemmed from associations with the late Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL during the Iraq War.


“But I could kind of see it because the Punisher was a vet, you know, and was a sharpshooter in Vietnam, and in his updated version was an Iraq war vet. So, you know, it made sense to me that somebody working in that world, you know, being a soldier might embrace that.”



Kyle, whose story was told in the autobiography-turned-film American Sniper, served four tours of duty in Iraq, and had over 150 confirmed sniper kills. He explained that he and other men in his unit adopted the Punisher’s skull as a mascot of sorts.


“We all thought what the Punisher did was cool,” Kyle wrote. “He righted wrongs. He killed bad guys. He made wrongdoers fear him. We spray-painted the Punisher skull on our Hummers and body armor, and our helmets and all our guns… And we spray-painted it on every building or wall we could. We wanted people to know, we’re here and we want to f*ck with you.”


Despite understanding of Kyle’s use of the logo, the misunderstanding of the Punisher’s alignment doesn’t sit right with Conway and he wants to see the logo reclaimed for good. “For too long, symbols associated with a character I co-created have been co-opted by forces of oppression and to intimidate Black Americans,” Conway wrote on the campaign’s website at the time. “This character and symbol was never intended as a symbol of oppression. This is a symbol of a systematic failure of equal justice. It’s time to claim this symbol for the cause of equal justice and Black Lives Matter.”


While we wait for the new series, here are the February movie releases you should check out.


Photos via Getty, Marvel