The Punisher season two is on Netflix now, and even though this is likely the last season for the violent vigilante, tons of fans are still tuning in. That's because, even though he's not as friendly as Spider-Man or as inspiring as Captain Marvel, Punisher is a Marvel Comics icon. Part of that is his signature violent methods, but there's a lot to be said about his striking visual appearance. Specifically, that grim skull he wears on his chest. We did a little research on the Punisher's insignia and came up with some interesting stuff, which we think you'll enjoy. Get ready to get dark, Marvel fans, because here comes the Face of Death: 10 Things You Didn't Know About the Punisher's Skull Logo.
10. It Comes From The German Totenkopf
You probably saw a skull used as a death symbol way before you’d ever heard of The Punisher. However, you might not have known that there’s actually an official term for using the skull as a symbol of mortality. In German, that term is Totenkopf, or “death’s head.” It adorned German military outfits to signify a rejection of the fear of death, symbolically marking the soldier who wore it as brave. Punisher creators Gerry Conway and John Romita Sr. started off with the idea of a deaths-head-wearing vigilante, and the idea progressed from there...
9. It Was Originally Much Smaller
When Gerry Conway first came up with the deaths head logo, it was originally much smaller. Instead of taking up Punisher’s whole chest, the logo only sat on one breast, like a military badge. However, the other artist working on the Punisher concept thought that it could use some embellishment. He came up with a slightly different design, the one that we’re familiar with now. His Punisher’s skull took up his entire chest, making a striking visual design even though Punisher only dressed in black and white. That character was legendary Marvel artist John Romita Sr., and whole we’re talking about him...
8. The Same Artist Designed Wolverine
John Romita Sr. did so much for Marvel Comics, it’s hard to even start listing his contributions. He helped create Wilson Fisk, Mary Jane Watson, and Luke Cage. But since we’re talking about characters with inspiring visual designs and a thing for murder, we think it’s worth mentioning that Romita also helped create Wolverine’s costume. The eye flairs and possibly even retractable claws were from Romita’s early designs, and though many great artists have handled him since, we couldn’t imagine where Wolverine (or the Punisher) would be without him.
7. It's To Draw Enemy Fire
The Punisher skull logo is cool. But Frank Castle doesn’t just do things “because they’re cool.” In the comics, there is a tactical reason for the logo on his chest, one that makes total sense for someone who spends so much time getting shot at. Under the Punisher’s skull logo is an extra thick layer of armor. Since it is so huge and clear, a bad guy’s aim is naturally drawn to it. But if Frank gets hit there’s he’s covered. It’s a brilliant piece of strategy, clearly from someone with a military background. We’ve gotta say though, wouldn’t Frank also want a helmet to go with that? Or maybe some Iron Man armor?
6. The "Teeth" Hold Extra Ammo
Here’s another practical tip from the Punisher. If you’ve got long teeth on your outfit, why not use them to store extra ammo? Yes, the pocket-like aspect of the teeth makes them perfect for storing other clips. Punisher has to reload pretty frequently in his line of work, so their size and placing make for easy access to ammo. It’s a lot smarter than storing them on his sides or his back, though it does beg the question: is Punisher technically wearing a fanny pack?
5. American Sniper Chris Kyle Wore It
The Punisher is one of Marvel’s most popular characters. Fans of his come from every walk of life, sporting his symbol as a sign of admiration. One of the people to do so was expert marksman Chris Kyle. Kyle, who was portrayed by Bradley Cooper in the biopic American Sniper, thought that the Punisher logo would intimidate his enemies. He and his unit decided to all wear the skull symbol, which you can see several times in the motion picture about his life.
4. So Have Several Police Units
Whether you like the Punisher or not, you can’t deny that he is a vigilante killer. So, it might not be a good idea to put his signet on a police car. However, this hasn’t stopped several police units from around the country from displaying the Punisher logo on their automobiles and memorabilia. This decision has obviously been met with serious controversy. After all, the Punisher isn’t about protecting and serving as any police force should be. He’s about violent and lawless punishment, and he’s really not the type of person you’d want carrying a badge.
3. Marvel Had To Stop Unlicensed Usage
The real-life usage of the Punisher logo isn’t limited to the military and cops. Actually, you mostly see it just worn by regular fans who enjoy the character. However, not everyone selling the Punisher logo is doing so legally. In fact, Marvel has had to get serious about so much unlicensed use of the logo, with so many knock-off versions being made and distributed without their permission. And we've got to say, those folks are making a huge mistake. Crossing Frank Castle is one thing, but messing with Disney's copyright laws? Now that's insane.
2. An Alternate Peter Parker Wears It
In the recent Marvel Comic What If...?, the House of Ideas took readers on a journey through a weird, darker version of the Spider-Man story. The radioactive spider-bite is still there, and so is the death of Uncle Ben. But Peter reacts to his uncle's death very differently, donning a skull-bearing spider-suit to match his murderous nature toward villains. Also in this version, Peter Parker's Punisher wields wrist-mounted guns that function like web-shooters. Though this character only appears in a short story, the spin on Spider-Man is something interesting we could see Marvel pursuing later. However, we don't think he'll show up in the Spider-Verse movies any time soon.
1. Frank Once Redesigned It To Match... The HYDRA Logo?
This redesign comes from Frank himself, and we've got to say, it's a little baffling. In the comic storyline Secret Empire, Captain America turns out to be a HYDRA agent, inspiring some of Marvel's characters to join the organization as well. One of those people is Frank Castle. We can argue all day whether or not Frank would ever join HYDRA, but what we absolutely can't understand is why Frank would change his skull logo to have tentacles. Was he trying to match Captain America? Probably not, as Cap was only HYDRA in name, retaining his red, white, and blue uniform. Was Frank making a statement? If so, it's the first time he used fashion to do so. Maybe he was just into aquatic life at that time? Whatever the reason, it was a strange redesign, probably one we'll never see again.
What do you know about the Punisher's skull logo that we don't? Do you have a favorite Punisher artist who drew it? Let us know in the comments section below!