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Marvel faces pressure to retire The Punisher after Capitol chaos; actor Jon Bernthal addresses controversy


The son of legendary Marvel Comics creator was 'mortified'

Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

There are calls for Marvel Comics to retire The Punisher after rioters at the U.S. Capitol building were seen wearing the signature symbol of the popular comic book character.

Numerous individuals noticed that several of the rioters at the chaos at the Capitol were wearing The Punisher's distinctive logo, a painted white skull with a black background. Online commenters were particularly alarmed over a Capitol rioter who had the infamous comic book symbol and was seen carrying zip-tie handcuffs or flex cuffs.

One popular tweet, which featured a photo of the criminal wearing The Punisher logo, that had nearly 3,000 Likes said, "The seditionists that invaded the Capitol today wore a Punisher logo. I say @marvel needs to either aggressively enforce their trademark so it isn't printed everywhere or abandon the Punisher completely. You can't allow your characters to be used by terrorists."

One online commenter said, "Following a tragic moment for the United States that once more resurfaced distorted uses of the Punisher's logo, it's time to examine the character's place in the Marvel lineup as well as our own society, and pursue an all too necessary evolution."

A Twitter user declared, "It's time @Marvel retires the Punisher logo."

One critic said, "I've attempted to articulate my thoughts on the controversy of the Punisher, his place at Marvel and in our own reality, to take a closer look at how to move forward with the character. There's one thing that is certain, it's time for a change. An all too necessary evolution."

Another person noted, "When it comes to Punisher (Pepe, PogChamp, etc), it doesn't matter what meanings were originally intended. Enough people see these symbols as aligned with their beliefs and the continued use of them encourages those people to think their numbers are larger. It's that simple."

The controversy became so loud online that Jon Bernthal, the actor who previously played Frank Castle in "The Punisher" series on Netflix, was forced to address the demands to retire the vigilante comic book character.

A Punisher fan mentioned Bernthal on Twitter, "No matter how many nut-jobs steal his logo, I'll still be a Punisher fan. They don't understand what it truly symbolizes. If they did, they wouldn't wear it. And I'm not going to let them take it from me."

Bernthal responded by saying, "I'm with you. Beautiful work. These people are misguided, lost, and afraid. They have nothing to do with what Frank stands for or is about. Big love. J."

Despite The Punisher being a gun-toting vigilante that takes the law into his own hands, police officers and military service members have embraced the logo of the anti-hero's logo that was first introduced by Marvel Comics in 1974.

In a 2018 Esquire interview, Berenthal was asked about military members wearing The Punisher symbol, to which he said, "I feel honored to play a guy who people putting their life on the line identify with."

When asked about "alt-righters" wearing the logo, Berenthal responded, "F*** them."

Comic book writer Garth Ennis, who wrote stories about former U.S. Marine Frank Castle for nine years, was asked by Syfy Wire about Capitol rioters wearing the comic book character's symbol.

"The people wearing the logo in this context are kidding themselves, just like the police officers who wore it over the summer," Ennis said. "What they actually want is to wear an apparently scary symbol on a T-shirt, throw their weight around a bit, then go home to the wife and kids and resume everyday life. They've thought no harder about the Punisher symbol than the halfwits I saw [on Wednesday], the ones waving the Stars & Stripes while invading the Capitol building."

Representatives for Marvel Comics did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Fox News.

The symbol of another Marvel Comics character was seen at the Capitol chaos on Jan. 6, which has enraged one comic book enthusiast.

Some of the Capitol rioters were seen wearing Captain America t-shirts with the iconic star shield. Neal Kirby, the son of Captain America co-creator Jack Kirby, said he was "appalled and mortified" by the storming of the Capitol by those wearing Captain America merchandise featuring President Donald Trump.

"Captain America has stood as a symbol and protector of our democracy and the rule of law for the past 79 years," Kirby wrote. "He was created by two Jewish guys from New York who hated Nazis and hated bullies. Captain America stood up for the underdog and, as the story was written, even before he gained his strength and process from Army scientists, always stood for what was righteous, and never backed down."

"While watching one of the horrific videos of the storming of the Capitol, I thought I noticed someone in a Trump/Capt. America t-shirt! I was appalled and mortified," Kirby said. "A quick Google search turned up Trump as Captain America on T-shirts, posters, even a flag! These images are disgusting and disgraceful."

"Captain America is the absolute antithesis of Donald Trump," the 72-year-old Kirby continued. "Where Captain America is selfless, Trump is self-serving. Where Captain America fights for our country and democracy, Trump fights for personal power and autocracy. Where Captain America stands with the common man, Trump stands with the powerful and privileged. Where Captain America is courageous, Trump is a coward. Captain America and Trump couldn't be more different."

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