The Crimson Ghost or The Fiend Skull. Call him what you will, the fiendish ghoul has been the face of The Misfits for decades. With the “original” Misfits reunion looming, the time is right to revisit the legacy of this iconic mascot.
The Crimson Ghost first found life in the 1940’s. Starring in a serialized film, the masked villain went to murderous lengths in his attempts to steal an invention dubbed Cyclotrode X.
Capable of deflecting atomic rays, the machine would be invaluable in preventing an atomic attack during the precarious years following World War 2. Yet, in the hands of a criminal, the defensive weapon had endless potential to wreak havoc.
The Crimson Ghost could have easily faded into a forgotten relic of the past. Fortunately, The Misfits resurrected his ghoulish image. His first appearance as Misfits mascot was in 1979 on a flyer promoting a gig at Max’s Kansas City.
The marriage of The Misfits and The Crimson Ghost was perfect. To only use the image on a disposable gig flyer would have been ludicrous. A few months after the show, the Horror Business 7” was released with the Crimson Ghost on the cover.
The next record explored a new concept for the cover but the Crimson Ghost was found lurking inside the sleeve. This time he appeared on an insert advertising the address for the Fiend Club. Fans could write in, receive correspondence from the band, and buy exclusive merchandise.
The Crimson Ghost appeared frequently in mailings for the Fiend Club. As such, many fans referred to The Misfits mascot as the Fiend Skull.
Of course the Crimson Ghost continued to appear on records. He had never been the sole source of art. Releases like Bullet and Night of the Living the Dead all featured intriguing artwork independent of the Misfits mascot. Still, even when a group photograph sufficed for the Beware 7”, The Crimson Ghost could be found haunting the back cover.
The Misfits always had fun with art. Multiple covers exist for Evilive. The Fiend Skull lurks on each version.
After the band broke-up, an extended 12 inch release of Evilive was released. The Crimson Ghost floats above live shots of Glenn, Jerry and Doyle.
Other posthumous releases continued to use the classic Fiend Skull. Legacy of Brutality and two self-titled compilations proudly kept the Crimson Ghost alive and well.
After lying dormant for over a decade, Jerry Only and Doyle resurrected The Misfits without Danzig. The Crimson Ghost naturally appeared on the American Psycho album cover. This time his legacy was taken a step further with a new song devoted to the timeless ghoul.
With Glenn Danzig back in the band, legions of fiends are buzzing with excitement. Few details are available but one aspect is certain. The Crimson Ghost will surely be front and center as a unifying link between past, present, and hopefully, future.