When it comes to superhero logos none are more controversial than the Punisher skull. Many have seen the skull displayed on military equipment, on patches, and even with members of law enforcement during the current protest. As such many have associated the skull with oppression, abuse, and violence. The Punisher gained fans by being one of the few veteran comic book characters. But now Punisher co-creator, Gerry Conway, has launched a campaign to reclaim the skull and raise money for Black Lives Matter. He’s calling the campaign Skulls for Justice.
Gerry Conway has teamed up with mostly young artists of color to create new designs for the punisher skull. Conway states on the campaign site “For too long, symbols associated with a character I co-created have been co-opted by forces of oppression and to intimidate black Americans. 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.”
Currently, there are three shirts for sale on the site. Conway announced that a new design will go live every two days. With the current artist offering different and original concepts. These artists are Wess Hancock, Demonte Price, and Don Nguyen with more to be announced as the campaign drives on. At the time of writing the campaign has already raised over $5000 and still has 20 days left in the campaign.
As for how Disney and Marvel are reacting to all the news surrounding the Punisher skull, nothing is concrete. Disney has pledged $5 million towards organizations that support social justice. Meanwhile, Marvel itself has stated to io9 that it stands by a message that was in a Punisher comic. They reference The Punisher issue 13 from 2019. In it the Punisher is confronted by two NYC cops that admit they support the Punisher and have his emblem on their car. The Punisher condemns this and rips the emblem. But neither Disney nor Marvel have made an official statement about the use of the Punisher skulls.