How Marvel Went From ‘Nazi-Punching Comic Universe’ to Symbol of Capitol Rioters

“One of the things we know about the aesthetics of fascism is that it’s willing to borrow from any and everything,” an expert on extremism tells TheWrap

The siege of the U.S. Capitol can be remembered by the dizzying visuals of it all. Amid the utter chaos and violence, there were the outlandish costumes — images of Halloween-like buffoonery that seemed to defy the seriousness of the insurrection. Rioters were photographed in face paint, dressed as war-time drummer boys and bald eagles, outfitted with the flags of hate groups and militia movements as if they were superhero capes, and clothed in head-to-toe camouflage and paramilitary gear, animal pelts, and — to the horror of several Marvel fansAvengers-inspired “Civil War” T-shirts and Punisher stickers.

The comic book imagery was juxtaposed by real-world sounds and consequences: Trump’s inciting words at the rally preceding the insurrection, the agonizing screams of an officer calling for help as he was crushed between two doors by the mob inside the Capitol, the bang of a gunshot that ultimately took the life of a rioter, the reverberating clang of a thrown fire extinguisher as it hits — and likely kills — a Capitol police officer.

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J. Clara Chan

J. Clara Chan

Media and politics reporter • jclara.chan@thewrap.com • Twitter: @jclarachan