Column: Police use of ‘The Punisher’ logo baffling

Elizabeth Taylor

Frank Castle, aka Punisher, is a fictional vigilante created by Gerry Conway for Marvel Comics; his logo, a distinctive skull shape, is popular among law enforcement and the military across the U.S.

Even if you don’t know Marvel, you know this skull logo. It’s plastered across trucks, military vehicles and even police uniforms, sometimes combined with the “Thin Blue Line” flag.

When I watched Netflix’s series The Punisher, I began to question this use.

Castle’s story is as complex as most comic book characters, but basically: A veteran who is suffering from PTSD witnesses the violent death of his wife and children, driving him to seek revenge and justice by all means.

He becomes a dangerous vigilante, tracking down and killing unreasonable numbers of criminals.

What part of this story appeals to police officers?

Many other comic book characters promote the ideals of justice while operating within the confines of the law.

Castle, a literal serial killer, a villain in most stories, was never intended to be anyone’s personal hero.

Conway, the character’s original creator, completely disavows this use and said in an interview with SYFY WIRE that people who use the skull symbol are “embracing an outlaw mentality.”

“It’s disturbing whenever I see authority figures embracing Punisher iconography because the Punisher represents a failure of the Justice system,” Conway said. “He’s supposed to indict the collapse of social moral authority and the reality some people can’t depend on institutions like the police or the military to act in a just and capable way.”

At this point, I have to see any officer who uses the Punisher’s symbol as a fake comic book fan.

Frank Castle’s experience with the military and PTSD gave him a very black-and-white view of morality.

In his eyes, if you break the law, you deserve to die, and he is not particularly concerned with making sure you really broke the law.

In an era where police brutality is being exposed at higher rates than ever before, maybe this attitude from the police should not be surprising.

Maybe this is the attitude that has led to the exact issues America is dealing with right now.

These ideals are unacceptable and always will be.

Law enforcement officers: Stop being fake fans and choose a new hero.

To quote the Punisher himself, “You took up an oath to uphold the law. You help people. I gave all that up a long time ago…. You boys need a role model? His name is Captain America, and he’d be happy to have you.”


Elizabeth Taylor is a sophomore journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 of [email protected]