Marvel Comic’s The Punisher is iconic. His trademark skull on his costume is as recognizable as the Batman & Superman symbols. Now the co-creator wants to put the skull to better use.
Per The Independent:
Comic book creator Gerry Conway has encouraged fans to help him reclaim The Punisher’s skull symbol from police in favour of the Black Lives Mattermovement.
Over the years, the superhero’s trademark skull symbol has been co-opted by right-wing campaigners. It’s most recently been spotted on police officers fighting against Black Lives Matter demonstrators during the George Floyd protests in the US.
“I’m looking for young comic-book artists of colour who’d like to participate in a small fundraising project for #BLM to reclaim the Punisher skull as a symbol of justice rather than lawless police oppression,” Conway wrote.
“To be clear, this little project is open to anyone who wants to contribute their time and effort. It’s not a paying gig, it’s intended to raise funds to support BLM. I hope to use multiple artists with a variety of styles and artistic approaches.”
The Punisher’s skull first became an authoritarian political symbol during the Iraq War, when it was painted or sewn onto uniforms as an unofficial symbol of the US military, and was later associated with the “Blue Lives Matter” movement.
But the character was never a fighter for truth and peace. Frank Castle was a broken man whose family was murdered right before his eyes. He doesn’t bring criminals to justice. Instead he is judge, jury, and execution.
So far, Skulls for Justice has three shirts available for purchase on the T-shirt fundraising website Custom Ink, with each one detailing the artist behind the artwork in the description. The artist’s social media information also appears to be available on the shirts, although its not clear if that’s just for online watermarking purposes or not.
Conway’s statement on the website further discusses his views on oppression against Black Americans.
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.
The available shirts have 20 days left to meet their order goal. If they do meet it, all funds will go to Black Lives Matter Los Angeles’ GoFundMepage. If not, the campaign will close, BLM will not get funds, and fans won’t get their shirts. So, anyone who loves The Punisher and supports the cause should head over to Skulls for Justice’s page and grab one as soon as possible.