Superhero masks and suits pop up within the protest movements in the USA: Spider-Man stands on a bridge and holds up a sign that reads "Black Lives Matter", a protester with a joker mask lights police cars. Peaceful, aggressive or even pro-police: superhero iconography has achieved the movement.

It's hardly the first time that people demonstrate in superhero costumes or with comic symbols. Whether wanted or not, animated films like Joker (2019) to wear the masks symbolically – as it already did in 2019 Demonstrations in South America and Lebanon happened. The ongoing protests about the anti-racist Black Lives Matter movement are no exception.

Wednesday night this week, thousands of people in New York left their homes to demonstrate against racism – including a demonstrator crawling on a railing and a sign that read “Black Lives Matter“Held up. He particularly attracted attention by having one full spider-man suit wore:

A day later came Man in batman costume right in front of the White House and said into a megaphone: "I am there to save the day."

The Batman moment was compared by some Twitter users to the end of Dark Knight Rises when Batman led Gotham's rebelling citizens against the villain Bane. However, symbols from the Marvel and DC universes are not always used for peaceful purposes: on May 30th, a has Man with a joker mask set fire to a police car in Chicago, and this also during a protest march under the sign of Black Lives Matter. How Polygon reports, more and more police officers and pro-police activists are using it Skull symbol from the Punisher comics – there the self-proclaimed Punisher takes revenge on those who have killed his family, relying on vigilante justice and violence.

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In one Interview with Syfy Punisher creator Gerry Conyway made it clear in 2019 that he finds it "disturbing" how police officers use his symbol. The protagonist in Punisher was a criminal and committed self-justice; something that should be completely against the values ​​of a government organization. But maybe exactly It is also a sign of why so many people are actually protesting and taking to the streets right now in the USA: Because police officers carry out vigilante justice and become violent precisely where they should protect and help.