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Chest Insignia

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Chest insignias are obligatory. Shirts are optional.

Lois Lane: What's the "S" stand for?
Superman: It's not an S. On my world it means "hope".
Lois: Well, here it's an S.

The universal formula for depicting a character to be instantly recognizable as "a Superhero" of some sort: put them in reasonably form-fitting clothes, and then add a prominent symbol on the chest.

Almost universally in the earlier eras, and in many cases today, the logo is centered and covers at least half the space available; a variant, that appears more and more frequently nowadays, has it shrunk down and off-center like a police badge, or on a belt buckle. Symbols on the back, shoulders, or even forehead are less common, but still viable. Symbols on the legs or feet are extremely rare and usually only on characters with costumes too skimpy to fit them anywhere else. Copyright-holders soon realized that these insignia were marketing gold, in that fans of the characters were more consistently attracted to the insignia than the faces of the characters themselves; a valuable realization when different performers were chosen to portray the characters for various reasons. In addition, it's often easier to slap a stylized letter or icon onto merchandise, since it might look creepy when trying to incorporate character faces onto merchandise. The rare occasions where character faces are used as insignias almost always involve masked or clearly inhuman characters. Even then, the insignia tends to be heavily stylized and simplified representation of the face/mask or a silhouette with only their most identifiable features or accessories depicted.

Recently there has been a trend (particularly with less "super" characters) of justifying the symbol by having it attract gunfire towards the torso (which is easier to armour), such as with Batman and The Punisher.

Said symbol will often be Brought to You by the Letter "S". If it glows, there's overlap with Heart Light.

Compare Highly-Conspicuous Uniform (the group and/or military version of this trope), Symbol Motif Clothing.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. All the team members have a stylized bird chest symbol on their costumes.
  • Pretty Cure in Yes! Pretty Cure 5 have butterflies on their chests.
  • The hiragana character "bu" (ぶ) in Super Pig.
  • MegaMan NT Warrior (2002):
    • Every Navi has a circular personal symbol of some sort, and several mount it in the center of their chests, notably Rockman himself. (Hino "Hinoken" Kenichi actually used recolors of the same symbol for all three of the Navis he operated during the series: FireMan, HeatMan, and FlameMan.)
    • There's a subversion with Blood Knight Bass/Forte: in place of a symbol he has a massive scar where his symbol would normally be.
  • All of the bread-headed superheroes from Anpanman have a symbol to represent them in some way. Anpanman has a smiley face, Currypanman's is a lemon-shaped smiley face with a neutral expression, Shokupanman has an angular "S", Melonpanna has a lowercase "M", Creampanda a "C", and Rollpanna two hearts (one red, the other blue to represent both of her hearts).
  • While the title character of Lyrical Nanoha only has a ribbon on her chest in the main continuity, the Movieverse Nanoha gets a golden emblem with a red gem at the center that resembles the head of Raising Heart's combat form.
  • Kaneda from AKIRA has his gang's symbol (a capsule) on the back of his jacket.
  • Variation in Dragon Ball; the iconic orange gi worn at various times by acolytes of the Turtle school (most notably Goku, Krillin and Yamcha during the original Dragon Ball) has the kanji for "turtle" ("kame") prominently featured on the back, and in smaller type on the left chest (instead of centered on the chest like in most examples). The kanji is sometimes changed to reflect the wearer's fighting style: Piccolo gives Gohan a version with his demon clan insignia when he trained him during the Saiyan saga of Dragon Ball Z, and Goku swaps out the back insignia for King Kai's (while retaining the turtle insignia on the front) after training with him in the afterlife.
  • Gundam: The Crossbone Gundams X1 and X2 have the Crossbone Vanguard's emblem on their chest, while the Crossbone X3, the later X1 "Skull Heart" and its successor the Full Cloth have skull & crossbones in the emblem's place, which doubles as a Machine Gun.

    Asian Animation 
  • A few of the superheroes in Happy Heroes have a chest insignia.
    • Happy S.'s symbol is a heart.
    • Sweet S.'s symbol is a pink-red first aid cross, symbolizing her healing abilities and protective personality.
    • Careful S. has planet Gray's symbol (a yellow alien head with antenna-like ears on its sides) to represent how he was continuously used for evil from seasons 1 to 9. From Season 10 onwards, the insignia is changed to Kalo's triangle symbol to represent how they used to form the Gallant duo.
    • Kalo's symbol is an inverted triangle. As mentioned above, Careful S. adopts this symbol himself starting from Season 10.

    Comic Books — The DCU 
  • All-Star Squadron: Both Liberty Belles wear an image of, surprise surprise, the Liberty Bell. Johnny Quick (husband of the first and father of the second), had a pair of wings on his costume.
  • Batman:
    • The iconic bat silhouette. This was lampshaded in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, where Batman admits that the famous bright yellow background is, obviously, a great big target as he gets shot smack dab in the middle of it, revealing that there's armor plating behind it. He then goes on to explain that he did it because he "can't armor my head". (Has Batman not heard of helmets, or does he just not want to wear one?)
    • Some of the Silver Age stories have the bat-emblem used as a diamond-edged cutting tool.
    • And Robin's off-center "R" in a circle.
      • The similarity of the original version to the registered trademark symbol ® has been a frequent parody gag.
      • On Tim Drake's Robin uniform, the "R" was a hidden stylized shuriken.
    • The Batgirls also have batsymbols on their chests, although Cassandra Cain is more of an outline.
    • As does Batwoman. The original Bat-Woman and Bat-Girl didn't, though.
    • Nightwing has ... a sort of stylised wing-shape, although adaptations and the New 52 make it more recognisable as a bird.
    • Red Robin has a large circular disk with a stylized silhouette of a bird's head on it in the middle of his chest.
  • Captain Atom: A stylised atom, with four electrons orbiting a nucleus. Depending on the incarnation, the atom might be fully drawn, although the most familiar version just has a sillhouette of the orbital paths.
  • Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!:
    • Captain Carrot has a "C" over a carrot.
    • Fastback has a big up arrow.
    • Rubberduck has a yellow "R".
    • Little Cheese has a wedge of green cheese in a sunburst.
    • Yankee Poodle has a white star, but on her midriff rather than her chest.
    • Pig Iron and Alley-Kat-Abra have belt logos: a "P" formed from a bolt and a magnet, and the same four-pointed star that appears at the end of Alley's "Magic Wanda".
  • The Flash: The various incarnations of the Flash (and Kid Flash though Impulse does not use one) uses a lightning bolt insignia.
  • Global Guardians: The Tasmanian Devil puts an interesting spin on this, as the character transforms into a werebeast form. When he does this, red fur grows over his entire body... except for a white patch on his chest forming the letter "T".
  • Green Lantern: The Green Lantern's namesake — more stylized for the Silver Age Green Lantern Corps than for Golden Age's Alan Scott.
    • With the formation of more Lantern Corps, each of them have their own insignia.
    • This is done for maximum horrific effect in Blackest Night among the Black Lanterns. When a corpse rises as a Black Lantern, the Black Hand symbol (a downward-pointing triangle with five lines coming from the top) is always incorporated into their new costume; sometimes in extremely imaginative ways (for instance, Black Lantern Superman has his S-shield as the triangle).
  • Hawkman: Hawkman is the page image, with a symbolized hawk in the middle of his chest, despite not actually having a shirt or top to wear it on, which on its own should be an indication of the importance of the trope.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: The reboot version of Lar Gand wore a costume with an insignia that could be seen as either an "M" for M'onel (his 30th century Code Name) or "V" for Valor (his 20th century one). Various other Legionnaires also wear or have worn chest insignias, such as Sun Boy's sunburst and Timber Wolf's stylized wolf head.
    • By the post-Zero Hour: Crisis in Time! continuity, if not before, it became standard for all Legionnaires to wear a belt buckle with the Legion's insignia, an L and star inside a circle.
  • O.M.A.C.: The various O.M.A.C.'s all have an eye symbol on their chests, representing their connection to orbiting satellite Brother Eye.
  • Phantom Lady: The new Phantom Lady has a triangle insignia on her costume. It's a lot smaller then most insignia — but then so is her costume.
  • Power Girl: Power Girl infamously averts this, as she instead has her distinctive costume "keyhole" as a kind of anti-insignia.
    • In JSA: Classified #2, Power Girl explains her reasoning for it: "The first time I made this costume, I wanted to have a symbol, like you. I just... I couldn't think of anything. I thought eventually, I'd figure it out. And close the hole. But I haven't."
    • Leading to the infamous "Fill my hole, Superman."
    • Ironically, the original reason was just that Power Girl was an aggressive woman who took pride in her femininity.
    • She also categorically refused a P insignia offer by a JSA teammate.
    • The lack of an insignia became an unintentional bit of Fridge Brilliance. Her "cleavage window" is the same kind of circle with a line that's used as the 'Power' icon for most electronics.
    • In the New 52, Power Girl wears a more modest outfit with a stylized "P" on the left side of her chest...until enough people complained about it that they went back to the Cleavage Window.
  • Seven Soldiers of Victory: The Golden Age Crimson Avenger, after he abandoned his Civvie Spandex, wore a costume with a sunburst on the chest. The modern Crimson Avenger claims this was a stylized bullet hole; her own Civvie Spandex has a realistic blood-splatter.
  • Shazam!: The "Marvel Family" use a giant thunderbolt.
  • Supergirl:
    • Kara shares her cousin's "S" shield—later versions of the Superman mythos have established that it's the emblem of the House of El.
    • During her Red Lantern stint in Red Daughter of Krypton, she wore a modified Red Lantern Corps emblem: a circle and two crooked lines on its right and left sides inside a diamond silhouette.
    • Her Supergirl (Rebirth)'s uniform has a modified S-shield. As she's fighting Lar-On, he associates her with the House of El when he sees her emblem.
  • Superman:
    • Superman's "S" shield, shared by various sidekicks, and parodied repeatedly throughout pop culture.
    • His wacky duplicate Bizarro, on the other hand, has a backwards "S" shield that looks almost like a "Z" — and a backwards spitcurl to boot.
    • In Superman/Fantastic 4, Johnny Storm attempts to recruit Superman by offering, "It doesn't take much to make that 'S' into a '5'."
    • The symbol has varied in different incarnations. Currently the Golden Age Superman is shown with a bloated looking "S". Kingdom Come Superman had a more angular stylized "S".
    • In Smallville Clark gets this scorched onto his chest.
    • Zibarro, the "imperfect" duplicate of Bizarro in All-Star Superman, has a "Z" instead of a backwards "S". At the end of the story the D.N.A. P.R.O.J.E.C.T. has a plan to help the world if Superman doesn't come back, concealed behind a door with an "S" shield that looks like a "2".
    • One-time Superman foes Protector and Radion—who bugged him in the Krypton No More story arc—had chest emblems: a flaming sword and a big red circle crossed by several black lines respectively.
    • In Superman: Brainiac, Brainiac points out that Superman's bio-suit appears to serve no purpose as he touches the S-shield. Superman growls that "My uniform's designed after the Kryptonian flag and my father's family crest".
  • Wonder Woman:
    • For most of her history Diana has had a soaring eagle on the top of her one-piece. In 1982 it was replaced it with concentric W's (explained in-story as the logo of the "Wonder Woman Foundation" and, Post-Crisis, as Diana Trevor's WAFS insignia). The eagle has recently returned.
    • Donna Troy had a version of the eagle on her red shirt as Wonder Girl.
    • Cassie Sandsmark's original Wonder Girl costume had a black shirt with Wonder Woman's concentric Ws overlaid with a G.
    • While many versions of Nubia wear a, generally more modest, take on whatever the current Wonder Woman costume is her original incarnation wore armor with a stylized phoenix gilded across the chest.
    • In Wonder Woman and the Star Riders the villain Purrsia wears a P on her chest.

    Comic Books — Marvel 
  • Generally averted by Rob Liefeld's creations, who are instead identifiable as superheroes by their many belts, improbable anatomies, Shoulders of Doom, and thousands upon thousands of pockets. Nevertheless, a few — like Shatterstar — do go in for a Chest Insignia.
  • Alpha Flight: Guardian, leader of the Canadian superteam, has a large red maple leaf that wraps around the left side of his chest. At one point, the whole team got similar uniforms.
  • Captain America: Captain America's white star, though the pattern on his shield and the A on his forehead are also pretty emblematic of him.
    • USAgent, who was Captain America for a while in the 80s, has red and white stripes with a black star in the upper-left.
    • When Steve Rogers served as Director of SHIELD, his outfit had a chest insignia featuring a white star inside an outlined white circle, with three white stripes extending on each side of the circle.
  • Daredevil: Daredevil has two interlocked Ds. His original costume, however, had just the one.
  • Deadpool: Deadpool's, erm, "Deadpool Symbol" (a simplified version of his mask), makes an appearance on his belt buckle, his weapons, his boxers and on the center of many of his shirts.
  • Doctor Strange: In his full garb as Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange's typical tunic has a blue 'demon' with upstretched arms. His new wardrobe in the 2011 revival of The Defenders has a red trident-like symbol which resembles it.
  • Fantastic Four: The Fantastic Four's 4-in-circle.
  • Gravity: Gravity has a circle with four arrows pointing inward. There was a Running Gag where everyone who saw him mistook him for an X-Man, to his confusion; it turns out that it was because his symbol looks sort of like a stylized "X."
  • Quasar: Quasar has a star emblem emblazoned on his chest, specifically on his cape where it joins together.
  • Shang-Chi: Shen Kuei, aka The Cat, has a large black cat tattooed onto his chest.
  • Son Of Satan: Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan, has an inverted five-pointed star within a circle tattooed on his chest. He usually goes shirtless to keep it on display.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Spider-Man's spider at the center of his costume's web-pattern. (He also sports a more abstract spider on the back of it.)
    • The Black Costume/Venom has a larger white spider design that takes up most of the chest and back.
    • Ben Reilly had his own Spider-Man costume design, which Spider-Girl (Pete & MJ's daughter from an Alternate Universe 20 Minutes into the Future) adopted for her own series.
    • Norman Osborn's Iron Patriot armor also has a Uni-Beam, shaped like a star. This feature ironically causes the Uni-Beam to overheat after multiple uses, used to the advantage of Spider-Man in their most recent fight.
  • Spider-Woman:
    • Jessica Drew has yellow arrow pattern marks over her womb and abdomen; connected in between her breasts follows an upside-down triangle placed over her chest. When she switched to her biker-inspired look, she used a minimilistic yellow spider design similar to her original insignia.
    • Jessica Carpenter wears a black costume with a larger white spider design that takes up most of the chest and back. In fact, her costume was the inspiration for Peter's original black costume.
  • Iron Fist: A particularly extreme form of insignia is the dragon symbol sported by Iron Fist — actually an exotic burned-in scar received during his origin story. Previous Iron Fists have had it in other places. A villain who hates the Iron Fist legacy tried to burn the symbol off Danny's body.
  • Iron Man: The uni-beam, which is usually circular or pentagonal.
  • The Mighty Thor: Thor has the six circles on his chest plate.
  • Ms. Marvel:
  • The Punisher: The Punisher sports a prominent skull on his chest — like Batman's symbol, a heavily armored target.
    • In some issues, the teeth are spare ammo magazines.
  • X-Men: The X-Men have an X in circle logo. It usually isn't in the middle of their chest, but it still counts.
    • Emma Frost has a particularly Stripperific variation on the X logo; it's made up of the exposed portions of her skin.
    • Most versions of Sunfire's costume have a red circle and lines across his chest that evoke the Japanese military flag.
    • Havok used to use a pattern of circles within each other that looked similar to the way his energy blasts are drawn. Nowadays he just has a glowing circle with lines reaching out of it.
    • Thunderbird's costume featured a large eagle on the chest, spreading its wings out in the shape of a T.
    • Similarly, Jean Grey sported an abstract, triangular bird shape as Phoenix. The "light" Phoenix version was a small phoenix in a black triangle, whereas the Dark Phoenix showed a very large emblem which covered nearly her entire torso. Double-subverterd by the earliest version of Rachel Summers, who initially wore her emblem-less Hound costume, but she eventually switched over to the traditional Phoenix costume. But she went with the Dark Phoenix version despite not being remotely evil because it looked cooler.
    • Jamie Madrox, aka Multiple Man, has "spots connected by lines" that were originally part of an impact-reducing full-body suit but have since retreated to the chest.

    Comic Books — others 
  • All Fall Down gives us Portia, Paradigm and Siphon.
  • In Archie Comics, Archie's Super-Powered Alter Ego, Pureheart, has a heart for his insignia. Jughead's heroic persona, Captain Hero, also has a heart on his chest, but inside it is a picture of his Trademark Favorite Food, a hamburger.
  • The Astounding Wolf-Man has his wolf insignia on his bulletproof armor.
  • E-Man has Albert Einstein's formula E=mc2 on his chest.
  • Incandescence’s insignia combines a stylized burst reminiscent of her hairstyle, the Greek “female” symbol, and a lightning bolt.
  • In Johnny Saturn, a saturn symbol is worn on the chest of both Johnny Saturn I (John Underhall) and Johnny Saturn II (Greg Buchanan). In the Spire City / Johnny Saturn universe, superhero heraldry has come to include letters, element symbols, and more subtle symbolism.
  • Mike Baron & Steve Rude's space hero Nexus has a lightning bolt symbol, off to one side.
  • Samandahl Rey, the protagonist from the Crossgen series Sigil, has the trademark sigil burned into his chest.
  • Super Dinosaur has an "SD" on the front of his standard harness.
  • The French superhero Superdupont,created by Gotlib, has an insignia with the letters "SD" inside a tricolor (blue-white-red) cockade.
  • Ungrounded: Mister Solenoid's chest insignia is a downward-pointing magnet.
  • WILQ – Superbohater:
    • The sign of Rzuff that Wilg wears on his chest, that looks like a turtle. "Rzuff" is mispronounced "żółw", which means a turtle; similarly, "Wilq" is mispronounced "wilk", which means wolf. Just don't try to think about it too much.
    • Alcman wears the percent sign, which is a reference to his (rarely used) superpower: shooting gushes of 100% pure ethanol.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm:
    • Steve has Captain America's traditional five-pointed star on his chest. Carol, his great-granddaughter, uses variations on it in her own gear.
    • Harry vacillates between the Phoenix, given his connection to the entity in question, and a Tolkien-esque stylised tree with seven stars in a semi-circle above it - the original crest of the Alliance of Realms, which became the Nine Realms of Yggdrasil, worn by his distant ancestor, Frey. (It's seven stars because Muspelheim was their enemy, and Niflheim, later Helheim, was essentially empty, included as part of the design of Yggdrasil rather than an active member). The Tolkien nod is intentional In-Universe - it's revealed that Loki took a liking to him and gave him the tour of the Nine Realms, while his mild abilities as a Seer meant that he picked up far more than anyone initially realised.
    • The House of El crest pops up, eventually, on Clark's suit.
  • This is played with in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Power Girl crossover Origin Story. When Alex Harris decides to assume the identity of Superwoman, the costume she designs has a combination of the classic Power Girl Cleavage Window along with the color scheme of Superman. Alex accepts and believes in Kara's reasons for not having a real Chest Insignia, but she also acknowledges the House of El by including the Superman crest on her belt buckle and on the broaches that hold her cape on. Like Power Girl, Alex feels that if people are overly preoccupied or distracted by her boobs that's their problem, not hers.
  • Inverted in the Facing the Future Series where Sam designs a logo for her ghost identity Sam Tasma that goes on the back of her coat. Despite the impracticalness of it, it doesn't matter to Sam.
  • Superman and Supergirl chest emblems are brought up in Hellsister Trilogy when Izaya asks The Source who can help them fight Darkseid, and the fiery hand draws two S-emblems.
    "Who should we seek for an ally on Earth?"
    The word vanished from the wall's surface. The fiery hand travelled over it again.
    It drew a symbol.
    Highfather nodded, in comprehension. "Ah," he said.
    The symbol was a mostly-triangular shield, with an S inside its boundaries.
    The New Gods well knew who bore that shield, for they had all encountered him on several occasions.
    But the hand did not stop with that. It sketched another symbol.
    The same shield, with the same S, once more, beside the first.
    Two shields.
  • Last Child of Krypton: Shinji's Superman costume has a very prominent red "S" on his chest.
    Those hands belonged to a boy, a boy his own age in red and blue. The sun was behind him so that he shone, and his face was in shadow. On his chest was an emblem, like an English S, angular and stylized in a diamond-shaped red field on the expanse of his blue chest.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: Asuka's Power Girl costume had no insignia, but when she decided to turn into a better, truer super-heroine she made her Supergirl costume, placing a huge "S" emblem on her chest.
    Her tight blue shirt made her not inconsiderable curves very apparent, and the yellow and red shield emblem with the "S" inside it on her chest only served to draw the eye to that area.
  • In Chapter 9 of Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku dons his hero costume for the first time. It also includes the traditional House of El crest, except it's all white as opposed to Superman's traditional red and yellow.
  • In Amazing Fantasy, the Spider-People introduced in the series all have some kind of insignia on their chest. For instance, the insignia on Izuku's chest is white, resembling the Spider-Man of Earth-1048, while the Venom-Bakugou of Earth-2018.688 has the symbol common to all symbiotes of Knull but instead of a tail, the dragon breathed nuclear fire.
  • Discussed in Edna's Intervention. Edna Mode has been hired by U.A. to evalutate Class 1-A's Pro Hero costumes and offer suggestions to change or improve them. Kaminari and Jiro were both advised to add a defining logo to their costumes if they intend to keep using the "casual look".
  • Izuku's Ranger forms in The Echo Ranger have a chest insignia on the chest armor that changes depending on which mode is active, matching the symbol in their respective original Power Coins. Thus, Mode Green has the Dragon Coin, Mode White the White Tiger Coin, and Mode Black the Black Brachio Coin. Averted with Melissa whose Ranger forms do not have this feature.

    Films — Animation 
  • There's the "i" in an oval sported by The Incredibles. Even the villain Syndrome sported an "S" that covered his entire torso. Interestingly, during the lawsuits that force Mr Incredible and other supers into hiding, Mr. Incredible's defense lawyer covers his Chest Insignia with a hand. This makes sense in context, given that Mr. Incredible is an identity defined by said logo.
  • In Bolt, the white-furred dog who plays a canine superhero has a black lightning bolt painted on his side. A justified variant, as Bolt's breastbone usually faces the ground and an insignia there wouldn't often be seen.
  • The Bigger Bad of The Thief and the Cobbler, the One Eye, as well as his entire army, sport their symbol, a single eye with a red iris surrounded by black thunderbolts, on their chest armor.

  • The Redcross Knight in The Faerie Queene has a, you guessed it, blood red cross on the front of his armor.
  • Tales of an Mazing Girl- 'Mazing Girls Wears An 'M. Cause.
  • Septimus Heap: Septimus Heap wears a pentagram, a symbol of Magyk, imprinted on his tunic.
  • Legacy The Tale Of The American Eagle has the stylised Eagle's head from the cover worn by American Eagle. Averted with other superpowered characters, as they are either supersoldiers who like an air of anonymity, or escaped genetic experiments who don't have costumes.
  • Played straight with Black Torrent and Dark Flame of Relativity, averted with Overcast and Zephyra (who simply dress all in black).
  • Played With in My Brother is a Superhero, as Zack gets three glowing stars on his chest when he's given superpowers. While this gives him the name "Star Guy," oddly enough he doesn't think to put the same design on his costume; instead Luke uses an old brooch and a Christmas decoration to make him a "sigil" that spells SG in little stars.
  • Played with in Dave M. Strom's "Super Holly Hansson" stories. Her chest insignia, positioned directly over the impressive bust she developed when she got superpowers, is an upward-pointing arrow.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Super Sentai / Power Rangers:
    • Many teams feature Chest Insignia. Sometimes it's a team logo, sometimes it's a personal one. A few have the smaller offset-to-the-side version. Logo belt buckles are also used but they're generally not as visible.
    • Notably, the original Power Ranger team only had the belt buckle versions (except for the White Ranger), but the trope was powerful enough for all of the toys from the original run to add them to the chest as well. The movie followed suit. (We wouldn't get show-accurate MMPR toys until 2009, well after MMPR's 1993 debut!)
    • These insignias got a lot easier to spot when Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger made prominent use of them. A list (and where they appear on each team's costume) can be found here.
  • Parodied in the live-action series of The Tick. Captain Liberty's chest insignia is a star cut out of her uniform, revealing some fine Fanservice underneath (compare Power Girl). The supervillain Destroyo even makes light of this the episode "The Tick v Justice" — referring to her insignia as "your star full of cleavage."
  • LazyTown's resident "slightly above average hero", the unfeasibly athletic, blue-bespandexed Sportacus, sports a chest badge that reads "10". The number indicates his heritage (he's tenth in a line of similar protectors) and carries connotations of his being a "team player".
  • El Chapulín Colorado had his red "CH" inside a yellow heart.
  • Not quite heroes, but there's the minor fact that Star Trek featured the small-bit-on-the-side version. To the point where some of the fluff says the Enterprise's then-unique pointy thing became Starfleet's actual official insignia so everyone could wear it. In the Next Generation era, they double as communicators/trackers.
  • The many versions of the Japanese Superhero Ultraman always have a light on his chest, which flashes to indicate how much energy he has remaining.
  • Kamen Rider:
  • The Ambiguously Gay Duo have G for Gary and A for Ace. Unsurprisingly, there happened to be times when they had to stand next to something large and Y-shaped.
  • Villainous example: the parallel-Earth Cybermen in Doctor Who have the logo of the MegaCorp that produced them (a stylised letter C for Cybus Industries) stamped on their chests.
    Doctor: Got a logo on the front. Lumic's turned them into a brand...
  • Castle contains a notable example: While the police officers Castle works with have the usual "POLICE" on their bulletproof vests, Castle had one made which says "WRITER" instead.
  • The Whammies on Press Your Luck have a yellow shield with a "$" on their front. On the 2002 series Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck, the shield bore an uppercase "W."
  • Supergirl (2015) of course has her "S". In Crisis on Earth-X she meets an Evil Counterpart from an Alternate-History Nazi Victory who has a double lightning bolt insignia on her chest in the form of an SS.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Professional Wrestlers who wear singlets often adopt a chest emblem. Wrestlers with other styles of ring gear often wear similar logos on their legs, crotch, or butt.
  • Bret Hart had the winged-skull-inside-a-heart
  • Kurt Angle sported an "A" inside a pentagonal shield for Kurt Angle—meant to evoke Superman's famous S-shield
  • The distinctive "nASh" across the chest of Kevin Nash.
  • In a direct reference to the Superman "S" shield, indy wrestler Chris Hero sports a Superman-style shield with the letters "CH" in it.
  • And then there was the Hurricane (Gregory Helms), whose gimmick was of a superhero. Naturally, he wore a 'hurricane' symbol with an H in the center on his costume.
    • His sidekick Rosie, once he 'graduated', sported an R. Since Rosie was about twice the size of Hurricane, his R was about twice as big as Hurricane's symbol.
    • His original sidekick, Mighty Molly, had a symbol similar to the Hurricane's but with an "M" in the center.
  • In ECW, Nova (when he was doing his "Super Nova" gimmick) wore a super hero-type outfit with a sideways Green Lantern logo in the center.
  • Shark Boy, at least before becoming Stone Cold Shark Boy, had the clear shark motif on his outfit.
  • TNA wrestler Suicide has his full name in block lettering written over a vaguely M-shaped logo on his chest. More so after Austin Aries stole his identity and he began going as Mannik.
  • Eugene, late in his WWE run, started wearing a superhero outfit with a backwards "E" on it.

  • On their torsos, all Classic LEGO Space astronauts bear the symbol of a planet with a rocket ship trailing around it in a way that resembles a Saturn-like ring. This logo would eventually come to represent LEGO Space as a whole.
  • In the various My Little Pony series, each pony has a symbol on their flank (known as a "cutie mark" in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic) corresponding to their name and personality. It's where a brand would be on an actual horse, which... is actually pretty dark.
    • Especially in Generation 1, there are variations to this. Some Little Ponies have symbols over their entire torso. Others, such as the Winger Ponies, have their flank symbols matched by one on their forehead. And Sea Ponies for the most part do not have symbols at all; the few who do have a necklace as symbol.
  • My Little Pony Spin-Off lines Fairy Tails and My Pretty Mermaids also have, respectively, birds and mermaids with unique symbols. The birds have them on their chests, while the mermaids have them on their tails. The mermaids' symbols are called name designs and only visible in cold water.

    Video Games 
  • City of Heroes allows players to choose chest insignia from over a hundred symbols, plus every letter in the Greek and Roman alphabets and all ten decimal digits.
    • Although the letter and number options are pretty rarely used, as they look kinda silly.
  • Most Navis in Mega Man Battle Network have their characteristic insignia in a circle on their chest. MegaMan.EXE himself has a stylized H, which stands for "Hikari," the family name of of his operator Lan as well as himself. Long story.
    • Ditto Geo in Mega Man Star Force, though there's only one or two other characters that have one.
  • While it's not superhero exactly, who doesn't wear a tabard with a chest symbol in World of Warcraft these days? Not only can they cover some of the uglier chest armor, but they're good for showing whose guild you're in or what faction you're exalted with, or what achievements you've earned.
  • Jecht from Final Fantasy X and Dissidia Final Fantasy has the logo of his sports team tattooed over his always bare chest.
  • In Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley, Captain Smiley has one that obnoxiously snarks back at him called Star.
  • This cover of Mega Man 10 gives Megaman one of these, an "M" in a six-sided figure. In the official art (and actual games), he has superhero Underwear of Power, but no insignia.
  • Commander Shepard in Mass Effect has the N7 emblem (basically the Alliance's version of a Ranger Tab, although Shepard is the only character seen thus far to have it) on the left breast of their default armor. In the 2nd game it also appears on all non DLC, customizable chest plates. Promotional images for the third game reveal Ashley Williams to have her own version of the armor with S1 in place of the N7.
  • Warframe lets you decorate your warframes' chests (and backs) with various insignias, such as those awarded for defeating bosses, a symbol of your mastery rank and ones earned from syndicates which help you earn standing with them and their allies (and lose standing with their enemies).
  • Dragon Quest II: The Prince of Cannock wears his ancestor Erdrick's Emblem -a Phoenix's white silhouette- emblazoned on his tunic's frontal side.
  • The Legend of Zelda

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner:
    • Though not quite a superhero, the star on Homestar Runner's shirt has become emblematic of the series.
    • Strong Mad similarly has an M on his singlet, and Homsar has his entire name on his shirt.
    • Coach Z also wears a "Z" emblem on his footy-pajamas/stomach. The Coach fancies himself a rapper; that might actually be Flavor Flav-style bling.
  • In the third season of Red vs. Blue, the engine used to film the series was changed when Halo 2 was released. In the game the player can customise their character with different insignias (although they wear them on their shoulders rather than the chest). The main cast feature their own personal symbols at first, but they were short lived.

    Web Comics 
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, after Bob very briefly becomes a Superhero and then loses his powers, he says his one real regret is that he used a permanent laundry marker to make the "B" logo on his shirt.
  • Everyday Heroes:
    • Lampshaded: team leader Matt O'Morph has a super-flexible boneless body; in the same way, his chest emblem is an irregular blob that changes shape in every panel.
    • His teammates have more traditional symbols: Mr. Mighty's gold double-M in an oval, and Dot Dash's dot-and-dash (a convoluted pun on her real name).
  • Hero by Night gets sort of a stylised version of the double arrow used by the Secret Society of Shadows.
  • Skull Girl from Super Temps has a pair of...erm Chest Insignias conveniently positioned.
  • Arachni-Guy from My Roommate Is an Elf has the number 8 with eight stick limbs protruding from it (two for his arms, two his legs, and four for his metal limbs that extend from his back.
  • Homestuck characters get super-hero style clothes with their Aspect's symbol featured prominently on the chest when they ascend to God-tier.
  • The companies from Consolers all have shirts (or other pieces of clothing) with their company logo, or its first letter.
  • In Girl Genius the Wulfenbach troops manning the Deep 6 Model Worm Chaser wear tank tops with large Wulfenbach insignias centered on their chests.
  • Realm of Owls:
  • Heroine Chic, by value of focusing on the fashion designers to superheroes, has several examples. Some overlap with Brought to You by the Letter "S":
    • Valiant's first costume includes a stylized "V" on the chest.
    • Laren's "Liberteen" costume features a white star on a blue background — Zoe's redesign moves the insignia from the forehead to the chest (in order to do away with the Cleavage Window she hated so much).
    • Super Ego's costume includes the insignia on the chest and the back.
    • Superhero Huge has a stylized "Y" on the front of his costume because (according to Huge at least) the name is pronounced "yuuuuuuuuge."
  • In El Goonish Shive, a guest comic features the main cast as superheros and most of them sport a relevant one of these.

    Web Original 
  • Justice Squad: Being a semi-satire of superheroes, it's quite prevalent on the team members.
  • Whateley Universe: the first team uniforms of Team Kimba all had chest emblems, along with color-coded detailing on their uniforms. Phase, who had a capital 'P' on his uniform, complained the most (as always) about them.
  • The super-powered operatives of the Citadel wear the organization’s insignia over their hearts, a stylized white tower on a black circle. The colors are reversed for trainees.
  • In Entirely Presenting You, it's completely averted by the only superhero in that universe.
  • How to Hero discourages superheroes from doing this as it is in practice just putting a brightly covered target over their vital organs.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • All of Ben's alien forms in Ben 10 have the Omnitrix symbol on them somewhere, usually the chest, but the shoulder, forehead, and wrist are also common options. Grey Matter is the form with the oddest placement. It's much larger than usual given Grey Matter's small size, but on his back, where it's not usually visible. Justified in that the symbol basically is the Imported Alien Phlebotinum that lets him turn into those alien forms - the Omnitrix tailors itself to its user and not all of Ben's forms have arms. We have a Flip-Flop of God on this: In the Alien Force/Ultimate Alien years, the reformatted Omnitrix and the Ultimatrix have the symbol always on the chest, and to change directly from one alien form to another (the original version couldn't do that) he slapped the Omnitrix symbol. Dwayne McDuffie, the showrunner at the time, said that the pre-reformatted Omnitrix wasn't working at 100%, and it was always meant to be in the center of the chest for easy reachability. However, Omniverse puts the Omnitrix symbol in different places again, and its showrunner Derrick J Wyatt said that it was errors in the previous models that limited the positioning of the Omnitrix during AF/UA. Neither explanation has been mentioned in-show.
    • It eventually gets his identity exposed in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien: A young fan noticed that there were a bunch of aliens wearing the same symbol in about the same area, and after poking around that area found that Ben wore an identical symbol on his watch...
    • The Plumbers in Alien Force and Ultimate Alien have badges (identical to Ben's Omnitrix symbol) that they wear on the chests of their armor. We find out that the Omnitrix and the Plumbers bear the same symbol because it is an intergalactic peace symbol that predates both.
  • Code Lyoko: Odd, in his Lyoko form, has one of his dog, Kiwi, peeing.
  • Although he didn't have it at the beginning, Danny eventually (although in an incredibly convoluted manner) gets his own at the beginning of the second season in Danny Phantom as a stylish "DP".
    • Dani, on the other hand, has her logo slightly off center.
  • Freakazoid! has a "F!" on his chest.
  • Danger Mouse has "DM". It's off-centre in a similar manner to Robin's.
  • ThunderCats (1985): The Thundercats themselves had the roaring-jaguar insignia that the Eye of Thundera projects, and Mumm-Ra sported an insignia on his bare chest depicting intertwined serpents.
  • ThunderCats (2011): The Blue Blood, Royal Blood and soldiers of Thundera all sport large red cabochons on their clothing, either chest or belt-mounted, and their shields, meant to evoke their Power Crystal, the Eye of Thundera. It's even present on a Thunderian Sphinx. The Cat-headed logo carried over from the original is the royal emblem, seen in the castle throne room, and projected as a Bat Signal, but does not appear on armor or clothing, in part as a deliberate effort to avert instances of the Unreliable Illustrator.
  • Most Transformers sport the robot-face Autobot or Decepticon logo prominently on their chests (Others may have them on their shoulders, or wings if they have an aerial alt-mode). Skyfire switched out his own logo to indicate he'd defected, demonstrating that these logos are removable, not painted or embossed. (Magnetic patches, perhaps?)
    • Some of the Decepticon ones, at least, are brands: see Transformers: Animated, when Mixmaster and Scrapper join the Decepticons.
    • We've also seen these symbols appear out of flippin' nowhere when a character joins/changes sides. And a couple of spy characters have the ability to change theirs at will.
  • In Visionaries each warrior has a totem on their chestplate that represents their animal form.
  • Care Bears and their Cousins also have symbols unique to each character. As an added bonus, these symbols double as a weapon, at least in earlier installments. Originally they were known as tummy symbols, in latter installments they're known as belly badges and can be used to activate special powers, rather than being used as a weapon.
  • Legion of Super Heroes (2006): Every character wears a ring and belt with the Legion insignia, and each character has a symbol that reflects their powers. If they don't have the symbol on their chests, it still shows up in the show intro and several times during the show, usually on computer screens.
  • Subverted in The Tick with Four-Legged Man, whose chest reads "(4 legs)". Parentheses included. The Tick's own chest is pure blue, whereas Barry, the jerkass self-styled superhero that was trying to steal the Tick's name, had a big tick outline on his chest.
  • The mooks working for MAD in Inspector Gadget often went out in public in outfits with the MAD emblem on it. Despite this, the title character never once realized that said individuals worked for MAD.
  • In ReBoot Bob's gold and black icon was displayed over his heart like a sheriff's badge. After he merged with Glitch his icon moved to the center of his chest and had a gear shaped symbol added around it.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy spin-off special Underfist: Halloween Bash has the Underfist symbol on the team members uniforms as well having it on some of their equipment and vehicles.
  • The eponymous superhero duo of Atomic Puppet both have one in the form of a giant "A". AP's is actually a part of him, while Joey's is only being visible in hero form (though he wears one on his t-shirt). It also forms the series' title logo.
  • On the original Wacky Races, each car had an oval with a "W" on it. Closer shots showed an axle with a tire on each side coming out of the W, which was the Hanna-Barbera graphic trademark for the show. (Usually the graphic trademark was a square with the show's characters.)
  • Masters of the Universe:
    • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe:
    • He-Man has a red cross on the harness he wears.
    • Skeletor has an X made of bone on his chest just under his hood.
    • Masters of the Universe: Revelation:
      • He-Man's insignia is changed into a symbol that can either be read as the letter "H" or "M" (for He-Man.) When Skeletor gains the power of Grayskull, the same symbol appears on his chest in glowing green.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2021):
    • He-Man has a depiction of the Sword of Power in red on his chest and the symbol of Castle Grayskull as a belt buckle.
    • Ram Ma'am has her personal symbol, a crashing comet or ram ball, etched into the crystal of her Weaponized Headgear.
    • Man-at-Arms likewise wears a Grayskull belt buckle.
    • Prince Randor had the crest of Eternos on his robes. As Skeletor, he wears a large, horned skull on his chest and shoulders in the likeness of his Havoc Staff.

    Real Life 
  • Oddly, this trope is Older Than Print: Knights on the Crusades typically wore white surcoats with red crosses on their chests. The Knights Hospitallier (a.k.a. Knights of Malta) kept their trademark red surcoat with white cross long afterward.
  • It's fairly common for law enforcement officers to wear a Bulletproof Vest with "POLICE" or "FBI" or something similar stenciled in great big letters across the chest and back for ease of recognition. During the excitement and confusion of a raid or gunfight with bad guys, it helps to prevent friendly fire.
  • The 2005 redesign of the US Army's battle uniform, known as the ACU, moved soldiers' rank insignia from the collar to the middle of the chest. Members of the Chaplain Corps also wear their insignia on the right side of their chests, above their identifying name tape; which is allowed uniquely for chaplains.
  • In sports of all kind it has been extremely common for members of a club or team to wear the emblem of their club on their chest; here historically the smaller type worn over the heart is the more common design, but some teams also used and use the central position. With the greater commercialization of sport it has become more common to show two or more chest emblems, e. g. the club's insignia over the heart, the logo of the main commercial sponsor in the center and that of the maker of the jersey somewhere else. The number assigned to a player or athlete is also now generally worn as a kind of chest emblem on the front of the jersey as well as on the back. Merchandising team shirts, frequently with the numbers and names of popular players, has also become a much greater factor in sports franchises' economic picture over the past decades.


Video Example(s):


Teenage Mutant Ninja Tubtles

Phelous discusses an odd quirk on some TMNT bootlegs.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / ChestInsignia

Media sources: