A select few candidates, from Harley Quinn to the Tattooed Man, battle it out to see who in DC history deserves the title of Best Tattoos.
For DC Comics‘ heroes and villains, the most important aspect of their identity comes down to their powers or skills. When up against their nemesis, it becomes a test of strength and wit, and they must come out on top. No one can deny the crucial role their abilities play in crafting their reputation. However, there’s no harm in looking good while doing it with tattoos.
Tattoos are nothing new to the DC universe as a whole. Some characters have magical abilities tied to their ink, while others may just like the appearance. Like their unique personalities and powers, the art donned by some of DC’s most beloved heroes and villains seems incomparable. Still, why not take a moment to appreciate the incredible tattoo art these characters have gotten over the years, and even present a potential candidate for best ink in the comics? Here’s are some of the best-tattooed candidates.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
This femme fatale went from squirrelly sidekick to rebellious rogue fairly quickly within the DC universe. As her character has progressed, so has her sense of identity and individuality. Her more hardcore persona truly shines through in more modern arcs, including Harley Quinn: Rebirth, where she leads a band of punk rockers. Her clothes, makeup, and hair all get a wilder revamping, along with the addition of some new ink. This rendition followed the Suicide Squad portrayal of Harley as performed by Margot Robbie, which included a variety of small tattoos. The artwork adds even more edge to the already wildcard character that is the Cupid of Crime. Still, they are few and far between and lack consistency.
The Tattooed Man (Abel Tarrant)
Abel Tarrant, aka the Tattooed Man, mainly acts as a villainous foil to Green Lantern. What makes his ink so special is the power they contain. After discovering a chemical that allowed him to manifest objects, he used the substance to permanently tattoo his body. He has the power to manipulate the art on his body as he chooses. His edgy, unpredictable look of this character (heavily supported, if not solely created, by his colorful abundance of tattoos) caused fans to push for his inclusion in the oddball-filled Suicide Squad series. Of all the tattooed characters in DC, his tattoos remain the most practical, yet they aren’t the most well done. Though, who needs the professionally done look when your art literally comes to life?
In Aquaman #47, the King of the Sea switched up his look when the demi-god Tang grants him new tattoos to cover most of his torso and arms. The ink ties him, as the other deities say, to the ocean, as he “belongs to it.” The moment is endearing, and the scale-like art itself isn’t too shabby. However, not all fans were on board. The issue came a few months after the release of DCEU’s Aquaman. Some readers found it cliche to “force” the tattoo design into the comic to match Jason Momoa’s character in the film. Others found the moment to blend perfectly with the development of Aquaman’s print storyline. For sentiment and aesthetic, Aquaman’s tattoos send him to the top of the list… but for uniqueness and timing, he falls short.
Chato Santana (aka El Diablo) has pyrokinetic powers that manifest flames large enough to scare anyone off. In his most extreme state, he transforms into a winged demon. Another Suicide Squad favorite, his character skyrocketed in popularity following the movie adaptation. There’s been much discourse discussing whether or not his tattoos play a role in his powers in the movies, but in the comics, it’s more straightforward. His continuous tattooing fuels his fiery power. This explains just how extensive his work actually is, and why his tattoos seem to continue growing. Aesthetically, his ink might have some of the better designs within the DC universe, but they’re not quite hot enough to beat out the next two candidates.
The Tattooed Man (Mark Richards)
Ex-marine turned hitman, Mark Richards is the third villain to work under the mantle of Tattooed Man. An enemy of the Green Lantern, this villain’s powers work a little different than his original counterpart. Once thought to be dead, he survived disaster utilizing his own tattoos that function similar to those of Abel Tarrant. Rather than using a chemical to create his art, he claims that they were created through a process called “sin-grafting” instead. His tattoos are fueled by the sins of the people he has killed. Whereas his powers seem pretty similar to Tarrant, he trumps him in this competition because of the more well-done artwork…and also because sin-grafting seems like a pretty hardcore way to get your ink.
For the detective and anti-hero John Constantine, his tattoos are for more than just appearances. Constantine works with magic as it relates to the occult. His list of skills is extensive, from the ability to summon demons to the art of deception. When it comes to his tattoos, the designs act as another resource in his toolbox, which makes sense due to his demon blood. Another character with a popular on-screen adaptation, Constantine showed off his ink in the Hellblazer movie and the CW show, Arrow. His print persona arguably wears the symbols with even more confidence. Able to utilize certain symbols to cast spells, he has to take the cake for the best application of incredible art. For both appearance and practically, John Constantine rises above the rest.
Overall, John Constantine may just come out victorious in this battle. His ink combines functionality, quality, and aesthetics quite well. If his personality and unique abilities were not enough to set him apart from other DC all-stars, the art he wears certainly does. Other characters still provide some close competition in this one, and in the end, it’s only a matter of personal opinion! After all, one DC Comics’ hero’s idea of bad art may be another villain’s power.
Next: 10 Aquaman Fan Tattoos You Need To “Sea” To Believe
Star Wars: Anthony Daniels Says He Will Never Stop Playing C-3PO
About The Author