Don’t Mess With Success

Punisher Lapel PinPictured above is an enamel lapel pin of The Punisher’s logo. I actually forgot I had this and came across it while looking for something else. It’s always the way.

The skull logo has become the subject of controversy lately in that it has been embraced by police and members of the military.  It’s on patches, tee-shirts, stickers and is nearly as omnipresent as the Superman logo. Rather than happily banking this income, the corporate holder of the intellectual property (Disney) as well as the author of the original character find this discomfiting. They want customers, but not those customers! There has been talk of retiring the character or changing the logo.

Yep. Great. Don’t mess with success. Remember New Coke? C’mon — it wasn’t that long ago.

I always loved The Punisher, but I always knew he was a derivative character. He was a knockoff of The Destroyer, The Executioner and a bevy of other gun-toting anti-heroes from the pulps all of whom had better names. The name The Punisher fits now after almost 50 years of publication, but back then it felt like they were scraping the bottom of the barrel for a name that wasn’t already taken. Why not Big Meanie With a Gun?

I always wondered why the King Features Syndicate who owned The Phantom didn’t bring suit against Marvel Comics. The skull motif definitely looks like a lift from the earlier comic strip character. Give Punisher a hood and a harlequin mask and he would be The Phantom!

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2 Responses to Don’t Mess With Success

  1. Old NFO says:

    Often wondered about that myself. It’s pretty much the skull ring in pin form.

  2. Joe says:

    I don’t know what the deal is. Marvel has been on the brink of bankruptcy more than once, and maybe King Features didn’t take them seriously at the time. Comic Strips were in daily newspapers with massive distribution. Comics were monthly and a lot of newsstands treated them as a nuisance.

    As far as the Punisher logo, the spray painted version from the 2004 movie seems to have taken root among fans. They may never have read a Punisher comic in their life, but they like that logo.

    Meanwhile, The Ghost Who Walks gets no respect.

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