Posted June 12, 2013, under Gee Whillickers!

The “chest symbol” motif is a universal signifier of a superpowered adventurer/crimefighter, and it’s a motif pioneered by DC Comics, one of the major players in the field. Given that the trend was started with Superman way back in 1938, this represents an impressively long-running and well-executed example of branding.

While not every character’s branding is a winner, many of them enjoy broad recognition world over — even when radically altered! We’ve collected a few examples below. In contrast, documentation for most marks and brands include stringent requirements for proper usage.* This gives DC merchandizing and advertising powers far beyond most mortal companies, allowing them to successfully promulgate their message in every medium imaginable. It’s a marketing success story of heroic proportions!

*NOTE: This is not a recommendation that anyone play fast and loose with their branding. This example is notable because it defies conventional wisdom.


Most logos evolve over time, and the symbols of costumed crimefighters are no different. Below you can see how two of the most popular emblems have changed through the decades, culminating in the modern versions developed for film.

What’s in a Name?

Yep. This is a real thing that actually happened. This guy must’ve had an interesting childhood. We can’t help but wonder if he’s chosen a career in law enforcement.

As it turns out, though, “Suparman” is a fairly common Javanese surname. The obvious similarity is coincidental. “Bin” roughly translates to “son of,” apparently giving this young man an impressive pedigree.

But our research found little doubt as to the origins of his first name. The adventures of the World’s Greatest Detective are as well-known in Southeast Asia as the rest of the world, and have been since long before the various cinematic treatments.

Just another example of the power and reach of these properties!