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Captain America creator’s son calls out Capitol rioters for their ‘disgusting’ use of superhero’s symbol

Chris Evans as Captain America in ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ (Photo: Jay Maidment/Marvel Studios/©Paramount Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

The son of a Marvel Comics legend is speaking out after one of his father’s most famous characters was appropriated during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. As documented in news photographs, several of the rioters were seen with Captain America symbols, including his signature American-flag inspired shield, which was gifted to him by his creators, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. (Simon and Kirby died in 2011 and 1994, respectively.)

Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest in the US Capitol Rotunda on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. - Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
A supporter of President Trump carries a Captain America shield during the riots in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

In a statement released to CNN anchor Jake Tapper — and retweeted by outspoken actor Chris Evans, who plays Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Kirby’s son, Neal, strongly denounced the rioters’ use of Captain America-inspired imagery, noting the character’s World War II-era origins as a super-soldier against fascism. “He was created by two Jewish guys from New York who hated Nazis and hated bullies,” Kirby’s statement reads. “Captain American stood up for the underdog and… always stood for what is righteous and never backed down.”

Kirby went on to say he was “appalled and mortified” to see Captain America symbols on T-shirts and flags during the Capitol insurrection. “These images are disgusting and disgraceful. Captain America is the absolute antithesis of Donald Trump ….If Donald Trump had the qualities and character of Captain America, the White House would be a shining symbol of truth and integrity, not a festering cesspool of lies and hypocrisy.”

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Kirby’s statement arrives as Marvel Comics is facing renewed calls to retire the skull symbol associated with the Punisher, which was used by the rioters on Jan. 6, as well as members of law enforcement during the Black Lives Matter protests last summer. Actor Jon Bernthal, who played the anti-hero Frank Castle on Netflix’s Punisher series, made his distaste known, writing on Twitter: “These people are misguided and lost. They have nothing to do with what Frank stands for or is about.”

An image from 'The Punisher' #13 where Frank Castle has very specific words for police officers choosing to wear his image (Photo: Marvel Comics)
An image from ‘The Punisher’ #13 where Frank Castle has very specific words for police officers choosing to wear his image (Photo: Marvel Comics)

To date, Marvel Comics hasn’t provided an official comment on the Punisher controversy. Interestingly, the subject was addressed in a 2019 issue of the Punisher comic, which featured a scene where Castle confronts a group of New York City cops who claim that they’re on the same side. After pointedly telling them, “We’re not the same,” the Punisher goes on to suggest a hero whose example they should follow instead. “You boys need a role model? His name is Captain America, and he’d be happy to have you.”

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