Marvel and Netflix canceled their October 7 The Punisher panel at New York Comic Con following the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
They released a joint statement:
We are stunned and saddened by this week’s senseless act in Las Vegas. After careful consideration, Netflix and Marvel have decided it wouldn’t be appropriate for Marvel’s The Punisher to participate in New York Comic Con. Our thoughts continue to be with the victims and those affected by this tragedy.
For its part, New York Comic Con supported the decision with their own statement:
New York Comic Con wholeheartedly supports Netflix & Marvel’s decision to cancel Saturday’s The Punisher panel. NYCC takes great pride in offering fans the best in pop culture programming and we are working tirelessly to fill that time spot at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. We will continue to update fans via our social channels throughout the weekend.
Some might see Marvel and Netflix pulling the panel as a socially responsible move. I would argue that these industry leaders are playing right into the hands of terrorists like Stephen Paddock.
Terrorists want us to fundamentally change the way we live our lives. Whether we realize it or not, they have been extremely effective in achieving just that. Consider for a moment your experience at airports now versus before September 11. The security procedures the average person must endure are extensive and oftentimes invasive. Most of us don’t blink before allowing strangers to pat us down. That was something we never went through before September 11.
By pulling their panel, Netflix and Marvel are doing exactly what terrorists want. Marvel and Netflix are changing their behavior to cater to the terrorists’ actions. That is NOT how you respond to terrorists. We should never change our behavior to bow down to their demands. Instead we should stand tall and defy them.
As odd as it might sound, a show like The Punisher can also offer emotional relief from those reeling from this horrific attack. Coming from my own experience as a freshman at Virginia Tech where Seung-Hui Cho murdered 32 of my fellow students, my main emotional state was anger. I wanted to see retribution for his heinous acts. But we were deprived of that right. Cho took his own life and escaped facing justice at the hands of man. The Punisher allows people like myself to escape to a world where justice is carried out. It may only be for an hour – and it might not be against Stephen Paddock or Cho – but it is against characters just as bad.
Watching The Punisher serve justice week after week might just give us hope that the bad guys eventually will get what is coming to them. It’s a safe outlet for fans to explore their emotions and relate to a character who is probably feeling them as well.
How Do We Right This?
Marvel and Netflix made the wrong decision here. Marvel is the universal face of super heroes – symbols of truth, justice, and strength. Netflix is a media maven – chasing bold choices that traditional networks wouldn’t dare. These companies should be setting an example. They should fearlessly reinstate their panel at New York Comic Con and remind Americans that we don’t kowtow to terrorists.