Here's The Story Behind That Cool S Thing You Used To Draw In Class

If you went to school at any time during the 90s or early 2000s, you probably drew, or saw other people draw, a stylized S made of fourteen connected line segments. Despite its ubiquitous nature, a lot of people still wonder: what's that cool S thing, and where did the cool S come from?

While no one knows the true story behind the S doodle, some things are known about the cool S doodle history. For example, it's popped up all over the world, from the USA to Egypt, and it may have been around since the 1960s. Some theories, like the idea that it might be based on the Superman S symbol, has people arguing its origin. Whatever its origin, students everywhere know and love this S.

Let's learn some more about it!

  • Its Origins Are Shrouded In Mystery

    Its Origins Are Shrouded In Mystery
    Photo: Jack Kingsman / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    Here's the thing - no one actually knows where the S thing came from. Sure, there are plenty of guesses, but none of them have been conclusively proven. Despite that fact that countless students have been drawing it for decades, its true origins remain shrouded in mystery.

  • There Are Some Off The Wall Theories About The Super S

    The Internet, being the Internet, has plenty of wild, unfounded theories as to what the mysterious Super S could be. Many redditors and 4chan members remember specifically being 14 when they were first introduced to it. Some believe that it is linked to something paranormal or a form of mind control.

    Others believe it is a sigil that can activate magic. While none of these have any shred of proof, they are entertaining at least.

  • Every Subculture Thought It Belonged To Them

    Every Subculture Thought It Belonged To Them
    Photo: BloodyKnuckles1 / Wikimedia Commons / CC0 1.0

    Just about every high school subculture has, at one point, claimed the S for their own.

    According to an unnamed former Reddit user:

    "In South FL we called it a "surfers S." In 1994, it was impossible to draw one if you were a poseur. I once linked together 16 S's in white-out on the back of my skateboard so everyone knew what was up."

    Meanwhile, Reddit user Off-Target says:

    "...I always thought is was a Metal thing."

    So, which high school subculture did the S truly refer to? The world may never know.

  • It's Older Than You Might Think

    Most people who remember the S think that it originated during their childhood, but actually, it might have come about as early as the 1960s. One 4chan user who remembers the symbol from their youth claimed to have graduated high school in 1975. Another remembers seeing South Vietnamese schoolchildren drawing it during the Vietnam War. 

    Sorry '90s kids, but this might actually be your parent's thing after all.

  • It's Not The Stussy Logo, The Suzuki Logo, Or The Styx Logo

    There are plenty of other theories regarding the S symbol's origins. Some think that it's the Suzuki logo. Others believe that it's supposed to represent the metal band Styx. Still others think it's a reference to a clothing brand called Stussy. 

    Vice writer Julian Morgans called up Stussy to ask them if the mysterious S had any connection to their brand - they replied in the negative. While no one has explicitly debunked the Suzuki claims, the only basis seems to be that they look kind of similar. The same can be said for the Styx S.

  • It Doesn't Have Anything To Do With Superman, Either

    The S symbol might be reminiscent of the Superman S, but there's no real connection between the two. According to Benjamin LeClear, who manages the comics library at the DC Comics studio, 

    "It doesn't look like any of the emblems from the old Superman Shield logos. His 'S' has a lot of open space and almost never connects to itself."

    LaClear went on to say that he wished the mysterious S was connected to Superman in some way, but unfortunately, that just isn't its true origin.