Long-time Punisher writer Chuck Dixon recently went in-depth on why he believes Marvel Comics hates the Punisher.

Punisher War Journal #80 (1995), Marvel Comics

In Episode 152 of his Ask Chuck Dixon series on YouTube, The Gunslinger asked, “Chuck, I have been a fan of the Punisher since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to ask: Do they hate the Punisher because he doesn’t fit into their vision? Or do they hate him because of the idea and the fans liking the idea that refutes most of their ‘heroes don’t kill’ argument?”

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Dixon responded, “They don’t like him for the same reason that DC doesn’t like Guy Gardner and fans like the Punisher for the same reason they like Guy Gardner. Most comic book characters are either brainiacs, mutants, scientists, you know whatever. There’s very few superheroes that have blue collar origins. Frank Castle and Guy Gardner are blue collar superheroes. They are average guys driven to extremes. And a lot of readers response to that because a lot of readers aren’t brainiacs, mutants, or scientists. They’re driving a truck, or stocking shelves, or, you know, working for a paycheck.”

“People response to these characters because of those origins and because they have blue collar origins — when they’re written correctly — they say stuff and do stuff that other comic book characters won’t. They don’t have the same mores, the same code,” he said.

Punisher War Journal #79 (1995), Marvel Comics

Specifically addressing the idea of superheroes not killing, Dixon said, “Now, as far as superheroes don’t kill, Wolverine certainly kills. We see other comic book heroes, superheroes who kill. It’s hard to believe Captain America didn’t kill a lot of Nazis. He didn’t take them all prisoner. So this is a misnomer. To single out Frank Castle because he kills people, you know, if that’s their argument it’s an inaccurate one.”

The Punisher War Journal #24 (1990), Marvel Comics

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After discussing how America embraced Archie Bunker in All in the Family, he noted that Punisher followed a similar trajectory where blue collar Americans embraced the character while New York elites and writers were “horrified at the results.” But nevertheless they were still willing to make cash off the character despite their distaste for it

Dixon then detailed this changed for Punisher when “new people took over at Marvel and they were just really, really just embarrassed about everything about the Punisher particularly his audience. They didn’t like the Punisher and they didn’t like the people who liked the Punisher.”

Punisher #12 (2023), Marvel Comics

He then pointed to the tipping point, “And I think really this all came to a head when our military and police began using the Punisher skull symbol on uniforms. I mean literally painting it on the sides of armored personnel carriers and Bradly fighting machines in Iraq. And suddenly the public was seeing the Punisher skull symbol, many of them for the first time, non-comic book readers, didn’t know what the symbol was, but here it was popping up everywhere on car windows and things like that. And as I said, actually on military vehicles in Iraq.

“And, you know, cops are wearing the symbol, ‘Eww!’ Our soldiers are wearing the symbol, ‘Oh Boo! Boo! Boo! We don’t like them and so we don’t like them, we don’t like the Punisher readers. We’re going to take the Punisher and we’re going to mangle him and we’re going to destroy him. We’re going to do what no other entertainment company ever has done. We are going to purposely take one of our intellectual properties and tear it to the ground. And that’s what they did. And it is for that reason,” Dixon declared.

The Punisher #13 (2019), Marvel Comics

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“Any other lofty reason they give is BS. The main reason they wanted to get rid of the Punisher is because they hated the Punisher and they hate you for liking it. It’s that simple,” he asserted.

Dixon then concluded by rhetorically questioning, “Why else would they do what they did in such a ham-handed, Soviet-style deconstruction of an extremely popular fiction character? Who would do that? Why would they do that? They don’t like you. It’s as simple as that.”

Punisher War Journal #45 (1992), Marvel Comics

Back in February 2022, Dixon also posited that the current crop of editors at Marvel not only have a contempt for the Punisher, but a “deep-seated dislike of the police and military as well.”

He said, “Quite frankly when I was at Marvel writing Punisher in the 90s there were quite a few editors who didn’t like the Punisher. They sure liked to have him show up in their books because it would increase sales, but they didn’t like him as a character. And Marvel didn’t seek those kind of readers even then.”

“They certainly don’t seek the kind of readers who would like the Punisher now. In addition to their contempt for the Punisher, I think this current crop of editors has a deep-seated dislike of the police and the military as well. So, it’s the old gang of deplorables thing. They don’t want to deal with them. And they don’t like the idea that they use this symbol. And I think they don’t quite understand why the police and military adopted the Punisher symbol,” he continued.

Punisher War Journal #46 (1992), Marvel Comics

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After discussing the Punisher’s iconic symbol, Dixon also added, “The woke crowd at Marvel are changing the symbol and changing Punisher’s entire modus. He’s carrying samurai swords now. Because they are embarrassed. They are embarrassed to be associated with people who probably don’t share their world view. And that’s really as simple as it gets.”

“And do they hate their fans? Well, yeah. Except they’ve converted so many of their fans into non-fans now. So many people who followed Marvel for years and years have stopped,” he posited. “Have gone away. They’ve left comics or looking for some alternative to what Marvel is offering.”

“Is it a bad business model? Of course it is, but generally comic book companies — the big two in particular — are kind of clueless about their own readership. They don’t know who is reading them. They don’t reach out for new readers. They don’t care to find out what their readers want in order to keep them reading. They stopped doing that 20 years ago,” he asserted.

Punisher War Journal #47 (1992), Marvel Comics

While Marvel Comics alienates their Punisher readers, Dixon is hoping to gobble them up. He’s working on a new character and series at Arkhaven Comics titled Black Warrant.

Dixon detailed, ““It’s not exactly a secret that the Punisher is my favorite character to write. For whatever reason I have an affinity for the guy and the stories came easily. But, if we’re being honest, Frank Castle was never a good fit at Marvel Comics.”

“There were always restrictions when writing about him,” Dixon explained. “Editors waved me off for ‘going too far.’”

Black Warrant concept art

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With Marvel editorial out of the way, he’s ready to supplant the Punisher with Black Warrant, “Now I’m working on Black Warrant which is in the same vigilante justice genre except the guardrails, training wheels and safety bumpers have been taken off.”

He added, “I’m allowed to take this genre in places it’s never been taken and having a blast doing it.”

Alphacore #1 (2023), Rippaverse Comics

Not only will Dixon be doing Black Warrant at Arkhaven Comics, but he’s also teaming up with Joe Bennett to introduce a new vigilante into Eric July’s Rippaverse after the two collaborate on Alphacore #1.

Dixon told Bounding Into Comics, “The second thing I did for [Rippaverse] was kind of in the vigilante, sort of Batman, Punisher mode, but I sort of turn everything on its head in a way that Marvel and DC wouldn’t allow you to do it.”

He clarified, “But not in a R-rated way. I’m still writing comics for a precocious 10-year old.”

Chuck Dixon Twitter

What do you make of Dixon’s analysis on why Marvel hates the Punisher?

NEXT: As Marvel Kills The Punisher, Longtime ‘Punisher’ Creator Chuck Dixon Announces ‘Black Warrant’ Series

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    John F. Trent
    Founder and Editor-in-Chief

    John is the Editor-in-Chief here at Bounding Into Comics. He is a massive Washington Capitals fan, lover of history, and likes to dabble in economics and philosophy.