Comic book, or superhero, tattoos have been a staple type of tattoo for decades. More and more people find themselves trying to choose the right comic book, or superhero, tattoo for them. As someone who has made this type of selection in the past, and is currently planning his next comic book tattoo, I spoke with some tattoo artists about how to choose the best comic book tattoo.
Make the Choice Yourself
Tattoo artist, Emil Donez of Farmington, Michigan pointed out that, “A lot of people come in and know they want a superhero tattoo. What they don’t know is who of. I am not about to make a choice like that for you. At least one out of five people have no clue which character that they want. The character needs to mean something to you.”
Remember that Comic Book Characters Change
J.D. Stockman (J.D. Hatred) of Dallas, Texas, told me, “I’d say the most important thing about making the choice is accepting that direction and character development are an important thing to consider. If you were one of the guy’s that got “Speedball” tattooed on you, do you think you would still like him now as “Pentance”? It has its ups and downs. You see a guy like “Wolverine” and even if he takes a bad turn story or character wise (Bestial Wolverine), he is still a strong enough character that you can stay behind him.”
Another artist by the name of Stephen Harley in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania reminisced, “I had a guy that came in one day and wanted a comic book tattoo. He said that there was one superhero tattoo that he had thought about since he was a little kid – he wanted Nova. I gave it to him. The next year when Nova came out of the closet, they guy came in to have it altered. He wasn’t too keen about having a gay character on his arm.”
All comic book characters are symbolic. Each different comic book character symbolizes something different, and this type of symbolism might mean something to you. You really should consider this when choosing a comic book tattoo.
For example, the Incredible Hulk symbolizes the struggle of keeping rampant emotions in check, and not letting them take you over. Batman symbolizes such aspects as revenge, vigilance, and respect for the past. Spider-Man deals with teen angst and trying to balance multiple facets of life. The X-Men deal a lot with overcoming prejudice in all of it’s forms.
Stephen Harley told me this about comic book tattoos, “Some people want to get the most popular kinds of superhero tattoos. They look at Spider-Man, Superman, Wolverine, and all of the other big ones. Some people, though, would rather not go along with the crowd and get some obscure, or less popular comic book character tattooed on.”
This is what I went with for my first comic book tattoo. I have a tattoo of the Phantom Stranger. While he had his own series for a while for DC, he usually was seen in the background, or taking part in another character’s story. The Phantom Stranger is sometimes considered to be the most powerful character in the DC Universe, but he is bound to not get directly involved. As a writer, this is very symbolic for me.
Keep these tips from tattoo artists in mind when you go to choose the right comic book tattoo for you. Picking the right superhero tattoo for you might save you from a lot of stress and pain in the future. Emil Donez told me that he has removed one superhero tattoo for every five that he has done.