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Jill Harness
Jill Harness

26 Cool Tattoos Spotted at Comic Con

Jill Harness
Jill Harness

Geeks are known for their dedication to their favorite comics, TV shows, video games, and movies—so it's hardly surprising that there are tons of geeky tattoos at Comic Con, the world's largest pop culture gathering. Here are few of the greatest and geekiest tattoos spotted at this year's convention.

1. Batman Vs. Joker

As you might imagine, Batman is a pretty popular tattoo at Comic Con. This one is particularly impressive, since it looks like an actual comic book drawing.

2. Joker Vs. Batman

But if you really want a tattoo that looks like a scene from the comic book, it's best to have an action shot like this Batman and Joker tattoo.

3. Batman: The Animated Series Sleeve

This fan opted to get a whole Batman sleeve, but wanted it to be a little less gritty than many of the comics, so she chose the style of the characters from The Animated Series. While the tattoo isn't quite complete yet (Batman and Talia al Ghul are also on the sleeve, but not yet filled in), it already looks great and will only be better in the future.

4. That's No Moon Tattoo

Did you know that Star Wars was the first film to come in Comic Con? A marketing person from the film showed slides at the convention all the way back in 1976. That's why, aside from the general geek interest, the San Diego Comic Con has always had a tight relationship and adoration for all things Star Wars. This amazing sleeve shows just how much dedication some people at the convention have to the franchise.

5. Aren't You A Little Short For A Stormtrooper Tattoo?

Portrait tattoos require a truly skilled artist and often cost a lot because they need so much detailing. That should give you some idea of just how dedicated this fan must be to get a stormtrooper tattoo with such meticulous detail.

5. Prepare to Become One With the Force, Tattoo Fan

While most fans are quick to loathe the Star Wars prequels, the one character that managed to develop his own fan base seems to be the intimidating, cool-looking Darth Maul. In fact, this was actually the second Darth Maul tattoo I saw, both featuring actor Ray Park's autograph.

6. Time And Relative Dimension In Skin

I particularly like the traditional style of this Doctor Who tattoo. I just wonder if it's a tribute to Matt Smith's Doctor, or if he will add another tally mark when the next Doctor appears.

7. Don't Panic

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has long been a geek favorite, so you should always expect to see a few t-shirts inspired by the books at the convention, and don't be surprised if you see a tattoo as well.

8. Seriously, Don't Panic

Or maybe even a few Hitchhiker's Guide tattoos.

9. This Orwell Was Done Well

There are a number of book-inspired tattoos at the convention; I particularly like this 1984 tattoo.

10. It's No Dark Mark

There are also tons of Harry Potter fans at the convention every year, so it was hardly surprising to find some tattoos related to the books, but I found this guy's illustrations from the book particularly impressive.

11. The Legend of Zelda Tattoos

There are always a few Zelda tattoos to be seen around the con, but I saw more this year than ever before. In fact, this wasn't even the only royal crest chest tattoo I saw.

12. A More Modern Ancient Symbol

This one is interesting because it seems to be a Hyrule crest, but with a modified version of the loftwing rather than the more classic, geometric design. (If I'm wrong, feel free to correct me.)

13. Oh No, He's Only At Half Health!

This one was easily my favorite of the many Zelda tattoos because it featured so many aspects of the game rather than just a logo.

14. Chrono Trigger

Here's a pixelated scene from Chrono Trigger. [NOT Final Fantasy, as we initially wrote. Thanks guys!]

15. I Ain't Afraid Of No Ghost Tattoo

Speaking of classic '80s icons, this Ghostbusters tattoo was simply radical.

16. But I Am Afraid Of These Monsters

There are always plenty of horror fans at the convention, but few of them are as dedicated as this gentleman, who had a full sleeve filled with classic slasher monsters.

17. A Real Monster

I've never seen a tattoo featuring the real Dracula, Vlad the Impaler.

18. She's Still Pretty Sexy For A Dead Chick

When you love both zombies and pinups, it only makes sense to mix the two together. I'd expect nothing less from the mind who created Zombie Jesus.

19. A Pretty Poison Tattoo

Here's another delightfully dark babe in a tattoo, this time, Snow White. This lovely lady is a member of the Pretty Poison Burlesque troupe.

20. This Is Hallow-Sleeve

Nightmare Before Christmas fans are a dedicated bunch and this is far from the only sleeve I've seen that was inspired by the film, although it was the only one I saw at the convention.

21. Adventure Time, Come On Grab Your Ink

There were so many Adventure Time costumes this year and the show has a huge fan base. This girl has started getting a whole sleeve based on the cartoon, even if it has only been on the air a few years now.

22. Down the Rabbit Hole

This guy's Alice in Wonderland sleeve was also unfinished, but what he had completed was pretty impressive. 

23. Kill The Wabbit

Thank you Noah and Brad for identifying these great designs as the work of tattoo artist Jesse Smith.

24. The Most Artsy of the Bunch

This tattoo is based on one of the works of Alex Pardee, who has been an exhibitor at the convention for around 10 years. While he started out as an unknown artist with a tiny booth in the "Artist's Alley" area, he now is fairly popular and always rents out a large booth right beside one of the main convention entrances, making him a true Comic Con success story—and this ink a perfect Comic Con tattoo.

25. Tesla Powers Activate

This tattoo actually belongs to my friend David, but it was nerdy and at Comic Con, so it does belong in this collection. 

26. Narwhal? Narwhere?

This might have been my personal favorite at the convention—not just because I'm a sucker for narwhals, but because it is so simple and so cute at the same time.

So there you have it tattoo lovers—a chance to enjoy and explore the great tattoos spotted at Comic Con 2013. If you want to see some of the fantastic cosplay, don't miss my post featuring over 200 costumes. And if you know anyone featured in this article or the names of the artists who did these pieces, let me know in the comments so I can give credit where it is due. Thanks!

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© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
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Animals
Boston's Museum of Fine Arts Hires Puppy to Sniff Out Art-Munching Bugs
© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Some dogs are qualified to work at hospitals, fire departments, and airports, but one place you don’t normally see a pooch is in the halls of a fine art museum. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is changing that: As The Boston Globe reports, a young Weimaraner named Riley is the institution’s newest volunteer.

Even without a background in art restoration, Riley will be essential in maintaining the quality of the museum's masterpieces. His job is to sniff out the wood- and canvas-munching pests lurking in the museum’s collection. During the next few months, Riley will be trained to identify the scents of bugs that pose the biggest threat to the museum’s paintings and other artifacts. (Moths, termites, and beetles are some of the worst offenders.)

Some infestations can be spotted with the naked eye, but when that's impossible, the museum staff will rely on Riley to draw attention to the problem after inspecting an object. From there, staff members can examine the piece more closely and pinpoint the source before it spreads.

Riley is just one additional resource for the MFA’s existing pest control program. As far as the museum knows, it's rare for institutions facing similar problems to hire canine help. If the experiment is successful, bug-sniffing dogs may become a common sight in art museums around the world.

[h/t The Boston Globe]

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Image courtesy of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum. Photography by Evi Numen 2017.
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History
Mütter Museum Showcases the Victorian Custom of Making Crafts From Human Hair
Palette work from the collection of John Whitenight and Frederick LaValley
Palette work from the collection of John Whitenight and Frederick LaValley
Image courtesy of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum. Photography by Evi Numen 2017.

During the Victorian era, hair wasn’t simply for heads. People wove clipped locks into elaborate accessories, encased them in frames and lockets, and used them to make wreaths, paintings, and other items. "Woven Strands," a new exhibition at Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum, explores this historical practice by featuring dozens of intricate works culled from five private collections.

According to Emily Snedden Yates, special projects manager at the Mütter Museum, hair work—as it’s called today—was common in England and America between the 17th and early 20th centuries. The popularity of the practice peaked in the 19th century, thanks in part to Queen Victoria’s prolonged public mourning after her husband Prince Albert’s death in 1861. People in both the UK and U.S. responded to her grief, with the latter country also facing staggering death tolls from the Civil War.

With loss of life at the forefront of public consciousness, elaborate mourning customs developed in both nations, and hair work became part of the culture of bereavement. "[The 19th century was] such a sentimental age, and hair is about sentiment," exhibition co-curator Evan Michelson tells Mental Floss. That sentimental quality made hair work fit for both mourning practices as well as for romantic or familiar displays of fondness.

Palette work culled from the collection of Evan Michelson and featured in the Mütter Museum's "Woven Strands" exhibition.
Palette work from the collection of Evan Michelson
Image courtesy of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum. Photography by Evi Numen 2017.

Most hair artworks were made by women, and created solely for the domestic sphere or as wearable trinkets. Women relied on multiple techniques to create these objects, fashioning wreaths with hair-wrapped bendable wires—a process called gimp work—and dissolving ground hair into pigments used to paint images of weeping willows, urns, and grave sites. Watch fobs, necklaces, and bracelets were woven using an approach called table work, which involved anchoring hair filaments with lead weights onto a table and using tools to twist them into intricate patterns through a hole in the furniture’s surface. Yet another technique, palette work, involved stenciled sheets of hair that were cut into various shapes and patterns.

Hair work remained popular until World War I, according to Michelson, who co-owns New York City's quirky Obscura Antiques and Oddities shop and organized "Woven Strands" along with 19th century decorative arts expert John Whitenight.

“Women hit the workforce, and death occurred on such a huge scale that it really swept away the old way of mourning and the old way of doing things,” Michelson says. By the early 20th century, tastes and aesthetics had also changed, with hair work beginning to be viewed “as something grandma had,” she explains.

The Mütter’s exhibition aside, people typically won’t see hair work in major museums. Being a craft primarily performed by women at home, hair works were usually passed down in families and often viewed as worthless from a financial and artistic perspective.

“A lot of hair work was discarded,” Michelson says. Many owners repurposed the shadowbox frames often used to display hair work by removing and tossing the artworks within. Works stored in basements and attics also frequently succumbed to water damage and insects. Antique dealers today typically only see hair jewelry, which often featured semi-precious materials or was encased in a protective layer.

Sepia dissolved hair culled from the collection of Jennifer Berman and featured in the Mütter Museum's "Woven Strands" exhibition.
Sepia dissolved hair from the collection of Jennifer Berman
Image courtesy of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum. Photography by Evi Numen 2017.

Yet examples of hair wreaths, palette work, and other delicate heirlooms do occasionally surface. They’re prized by a small group of avid collectors, even though other connoisseurs can be grossed out by them.

“People have this visceral reaction to it,” Michelson says. “They either gasp and adore it—like ‘I can’t get over how amazing it is’—or they just back away. There are very few other things where people are repulsed like this … In the 19th century no one batted an eyelash.”

“It’s a personal textile,” Snedden Yates explains. “It’s kind of like bone in that it doesn’t really decompose at the same rate as the rest of our bodies do. It’s not made of tissue, so if you keep it in the right environment it can be maintained indefinitely.”

Table work culled from the collection of Eden Daniels and featured in the Mütter Museum's "Woven Strands" exhibition.
Table work from the collection of Eden Daniels
Image courtesy of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum. Photography by Evi Numen 2017.

“Woven Strands” features examples of gimp work, palette work, table work, and dissolved hair work. It’s often hard to trace these types of artworks back to their original creators—they typically don’t bear signatures—but the curators “really wanted to find hair that you could connect to an actual human being,” Michelson says. “We chose pieces that have provenance. We know where they came from or when it was made, or who actually donated the hair in some cases, or what the family name was. We also picked out things that are unusual, that you don’t see often—oddities, if you will.”

Woven hair culled from the collection of Jennifer Berman and featured in the Mütter Museum's "Woven Strands" exhibition.
Woven hair from the collection of Jennifer Berman
Image courtesy of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum. Photography by Evi Numen 2017.

Displayed in the Mütter Museum’s Thomson Gallery, “Woven Strands” opens on January 19, 2018, and runs through July 12, 2018. On April 7, 2018, master jeweler and art historian Karen Bachmann will lead a 19th century hair art workshop, followed by a day-long historical symposium on the art on Sunday, April 8.

Michelson hopes that “Woven Strands” will teach future generations about hair art, and open their minds to a craft they might have otherwise dismissed as parochial or, well, weird. “We hope that people see it and fall in love with it,” she says.

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