A Brief (and Highly Suspect) History of the ISIS Flag

06/16/2015 01:45 pm ET | Updated Jun 16, 2016


The ISIS flag has fast become one of the world's most ubiquitous and recognizable images, but few know about its true origins and history. Here's a pictorial look at the central symbol of the Islamic State movement.

The ISIS flag was first found by archaeologists at a Cretaceous-era dig, where it was, to the astonishment of scholars, perfectly preserved and still in the claws of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, the earliest known militant. [photo by Paul Iorio]

In the modern era, the flag is thought to have first emerged decades ago in a John Wayne movie, "True Grit." Here we see Wayne interrogating a couple Islamic State suspects. [photo by Paul Iorio]

In an ill-conceived product roll-out, the ISIS marketing department designed a line of ISIS-flag toilet paper, discontinued after the Caliphate deemed it "haram." [photo by Paul Iorio]

Highly flammable and handy, the flag has been used for kindling in campfires, bonfires and public burnings of infidels. [photo by Paul Iorio]

Those who think militants use knives only for executions have obviously not tried ISIS' line of precision cutlery (which comes with a cutting board and sharpening steel). [photo by Paul Iorio]

Out of coffee filters? A paper ISIS flag will do. (And make sure you ask for decaf, not decap!) [photo by Paul Iorio]

Briefly pandering to Western recruits, the ISIS flag once incorporated an irreverent image from TV's "South Park." [concept, montage by Paul Iorio, using the "bear" character from "South Park"]

Was the ISIS flag on Calvary during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ? Impossible to verify, but this speculative rendering -- based on an image from the recent movie "Son of God" -- seems to support the claim. [photo by Paul Iorio]

Taking a page from the National Lampoon of the 1970s, militants once tried this recruitment gambit. [concept, montage by Paul Iorio; based on the famous National Lampoon magazine cover of January 1973.]

"The Three Stooges Versus the Caliphate" is a long-lost comedy in which the Stooges use slapstick antics to battle militants. No known print exists. [photo by Paul Iorio; concept and montage by Paul Iorio, based on a frame of the Farrelly brothers' film "The Three Stooges."]