Marvel's Punisher Versus Molon Labe Militia This Wednesday?
"Molon labe" is reportedly the response of Diogenes of Sparta to Xerxes I of Persia when Xerxes demanded that the Greeks lay down their arms and surrender. You know, like in that historically accurate documentary 300. It basically means "come and get them". After the success of that film, the phrase has been used since by gun enthusiasts, against potential threats to their ownership of guns.
And a company called Molon Labe LLC had been set up to produce gun-related goods with that phrase. As well as images using a Spartan helmet, they also used the Punisher skull image. And then tried to trademark it.
Now, that particular and recognisable skull is notoriously hard to trademark. Molon Labe LLC then tried to trademark these images for "pistols and parts thereof; rifles and parts thereof; shotguns and parts thereof". Which saw Marvel Characters oppose it in the trademark court. Molon Labe abandoned their trademark claim.
In July last year, Bleeding Cool scooped the news that Jason Aaron was to reinvent The Punisher for a new age, adding the headline story "Jesus Saiz and Paul Azaceta Join Jason Aaron on Punisher No More" In recent years there has been increasing criticism of the use of the Punisher skull by police, army, militia, white supremacist groups, QAnon events, and Sean Hannity on Fox News, even Trump Punisher pins have been popular. And then during the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol building in Washington DC, many Punisher skull insignias were seen. This also followed Black Lives Matter protests and a focus on real and fictional police behaviour, including the use of Punisher imagery by the police. Amidst calls for Marvel and Disney to cancel The Punisher as a character, Bleeding Cool observed that this may have happened already and that there had been no published or solicited Punisher comic books since November 2020. There was a collection of Punisher Vs Barracuda – but that series was never completed. It was initially postponed by the pandemic but then abandoned altogether, despite completed issues having been finished. Marvel announced that series for March 2022, no longer called Punisher No More, simply… Punisher. Showing us Frank Castle seemingly working with ninja group The Hand, sporting sais rather than guns as well as a new devil face logo rather than the traditional skull image. And to be published this week.
And sees Punisher up against… well, it looks like it's the Molon Labe militia. Reckon this is intentional?
(W) Jason Aaron (A) Paul Azaceta (A/CA) Jesus Saiz
WILL THE PUNISHER'S WAR END? Born of tragedy. Devoted to war. Unstoppable in his rage. As the Punisher, Frank Castle has become the most accomplished killer the world has ever seen. Now it's time for him to face his true destiny. What shocking secret from Frank's past will convince him to take the reins of the Marvel Universe's most notorious clan of assassins? And once Frank becomes the warlord of the deadly ninjas of the Hand, will it also mean an end for the Punisher? Or a whole new bloody beginning? Join the superstar team of writer Jason Aaron and artists Jes s Saiz and Paul Azaceta for an epic exploration of the dark and violent past and inevitable future of one of Marvel's most iconic characters. PARENTAL ADVISORY In Shops: Mar 09, 2022 SRP: $5.99