From the Punisher to Paramilitaries

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Images of unidentified men with military grade equipment brutally cracking down on peaceful protesters in Portland have many Americans worried the country is sliding into fascism. While it’s easy to blame President Trump, whose dictatorial impulses have been on full display since the beginning of his tenure, cartoonist Nate Powell argues that we have been normalizing the militarization of the interior of the US for decades. From our glorification of anti-heroes to the symbols that appear on our clothes, our society is permeated by a paramilitary aesthetic. The result has been a steady and dangerous increase in paramilitaries operating within the US.


  • Nate Powell is the illustrator of the March trilogy and the author of the graphic essay “About Face.” You can find more of Nate in our 2019 episode “Drawing Comix at the Margins.”

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