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Permanent Expressions of Fandom Are Great But Know What You’re Getting Into

Fandom is fun, but tattoos are forever. This is the first rule of tattooing. It will never go away. Even if you get it “removed” you’re probably going to have a pretty sick scar to go along with multiple sessions with a laser – a laser that is much more painful than the initial tattoo gun sessions.

That reminder of permanence aside, tattoos are a great way to show your love for something. We love geeky tattoos. Some of us even have them. They will help you never forget a time in your life, a show, a family member, even a favorite class in school. People get them for all different reasons though it’s somewhat unusual to find someone with only one. Going under the needle is a little on the addictive side and so are the bright colors and intricate designs that a true artist can create on your skin.

Geeky tattoos are truly awesome, and we wanted to gather a bunch together to showcase the pure animal magnetism that exudes from someone who has inked up their skin with their favorite characters, sayings, set pieces and more. Just walking the floor at a convention will give you hundreds of ideas of the kind of tattoo you might want to pay homage to your fandom.

Before we get to the epic gallery, here are some very important things to remember before you have something etched permanently to your skin:

– Yes, it will hurt. It’s a needle going in and out of your skin very fast and leaving tiny droplets of ink in your subcutaneous layer of skin (that’s what’s right below the part that the sun hits)
– Yes, it will bleed. If you can’t handle blood, you should either rethink the entire process of getting a tattoo or figure out a way to do it so you don’t have to see them doing the actual tattoo.
– Yes, it really does cost that much. Tattoos are works of art done in a medium that exposes the artist to human blood which is classified as hazardous by health codes. They charge hundreds of dollars for a reason. This is not a situation where you want to save money.
– It’s important that you take good care of a fresh tattoo – you are basically walking around with an open wound until it heals completely. That means that you should keep it clean and moisturized from the time you take off the initial bandaging job that your artists does.
– Other basics: No lotion with perfumes or dyes; stay out of the sun; don’t submerge your tattoo in water for long periods of time; do not pick at the scab – you will pull ink from the tattoo and need to go get touch ups.

When you go into a tattoo parlor, you should look around and see that it’s clean. Good tattoo parlors will have you do a consultation and make a downpayment and appointment. They won’t cover your back in a tattoo on the first visit. You will be asked to sign paperwork and legal releases, and you should read it. Few places will tattoo someone under the age of 18 even if they have a parent’s permission. And thanks to Health Codes, tattoos parlors that are legit will have separately sealed packages of sterilized needles for each customer. There are no “use it and clean it and reuse it” situations here. Every where this writer has gone for the last 15 years has not only had separately sealed needles but has had policies about having the customer watch them open each package and then dispose of them at the end of a session.

You should feel comfortable going and meeting with your tattoo artist to discuss what you want. They may have suggestions. They may be able to explain the limitations of the style you want. They may also have ideas on how to fix what a shortcoming of your design may be. Listen to them – they’re experts. That said, don’t let yourself get talked into getting something you don’t want because you will be stuck with it forever. If you’re worried you’ll be a pushover, take a friend for the consultation (some states won’t allow guests into the actual rooms where the tattoo happens).

Love the tattoo that you get. It’ll be with you for a long time. And get ready for everyone and their mother to ask you what it means, why you got, and everyone’s favorite “You do know that’s permanent, right?”

They mean well. Kind of. And when you’re done smiling at the naysayers, remind yourself that your tattoo is awesome and completely unique to your personal geekery. Here are some ideas to get you started.

How Fast Were Dany's Dragons in Last Week's GAME OF THRONES?

How Fast Were Dany's Dragons in Last Week's GAME OF THRONES?

How Dustin Saved the World on STRANGER THINGS

How Dustin Saved the World on STRANGER THINGS

Die Antwoord’s “Ugly Boy” Video Features Jack Black, Flea, and Marilyn …

Die Antwoord’s “Ugly Boy” Video Features Jack Black, Flea, and Marilyn …



  1. beth says:

    Let’s see…2 for Coheed and cambria, a huge harry potter piece on my thigh, 2 for Moulin Rouge, and plans for the TARDIS in the works. 

  2. LA-Ed says:

    I have Serenity logo, Stargate Tau’ri symbol, and Invader Zim Military symbol on wrists,  Batman symbol mid back, music note on finger, and best of all, Starscream’s wings on my shoulder blades! I am a child of the 80’s and my tats DEFINITELY reflect that. I love them all!!!

  3. Nicole says:

    I have Excalibur going down my back (hilt on neck)
    And The U.S.S. Enterprise on my forearm with the quote “All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by”
    I love them both terribly.
    My suggestion with any tattoo, but especially large pieces or easily visible ones, is to wait it out a set number of months. With my Excalibur I waited a year before I got it, thinking “that’s going to be a big sword down my back.” There was never much thought that I’d regret it over that year. The only thoughts were “huge big sword down my back..COOL!” or “it’s perfect” or “ugh another _#_ months left!”

  4. David Lyonz says:

    I have So Nyo Shi Dae (Girls Generation) tattooed inside a small love heart on my shoulder. I’m 36 and a guy  🙂

  5. Kylie says:

    My cousin is a tattoo artist and she gave me the best advice for before I got my tats.  Print up/sketch what you want.  Stick it somewhere you’ll see it everyday, several times a day (I stuck mine on my desk.) If after 3 months you still love it, you’ve found your tattoo.

  6. Megs says:

    As soon as the author referred to it as a ‘tattoo gun’, I lost any hope of thinking this person was a credible source to be discussing tattoos (by the way, laser tattoo removal doesn’t leave ‘scars’, and like tattoos, the pain level depends on the person). Please be informed before writing an article, pretending you know what the fuck you’re talking about. 

    • David Lyonz says:

      Don’t be an elitist snob. Journalists are rquired to write on all subjects. They are not experts in the field they write about. This person is not trying to outdo your tattoo knowledge. Don’t be an asshole. 

  7. Earl says:

    I have a 42 on my wrist. Bet you can’t guess which if the above is my favorite.

  8. Elisafish says:

    Tattoo ink does not go into the subcutaneous layer, as that’s all fat and connective tissue. It’s injected into the dermis, as to not fade away or be absorbed into your body and get a systemic infection.Love, a tattooed anatomy student

  9. I have the high council of the time lords emblem on my arm and a stark industries logo and purple bow and arrow on my leg.  

  10. Lucy says:

    I really like the above Totoro tattoo. It’s super cute and very unique.

  11. Abbey says:

    I have a Danger Days Spider from the MCR album, True Lives and the comic, Killjoys. I really love it. Word of warning, though, tattoos are addictive, and if you’re in a bit of a tight spot well it’s even more frustrating. I already have my next thousand tattoos planned and have exactly $0 to get them

  12. Rebecca says:

    I have Err tattoo’ed on my shoulder…..

    What? That’s my Fandom, ATHF.

  13. Luke Joyce says:

    I have an aperture Icon, partly because I worked for a time as photographer… but mostly because I just love Portal

  14. kate says:

    I have recently gotten the structure of dopamine on my left foot 🙂

  15. Elly Foale says:

    I have a doctor who tattoo on my back.
    I want more, but they’re expensive xD
    And i just started a cover up job from a bad tattoo artist.

  16. I’ve got Mario and Luigi on my left arm from elbow-to-shoulder (and it matches my brother’s tattoo), and the Southern Oracles from The Never Ending Story on my calves. 😀

  17. Carl says:

    I have the Mark of Eyghon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) the ship artwork developed for the Phoenix in Star Trek First Contact (never seen on screen, but in the art books)

  18. MST3Kimber says:

    I have Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo from MST3K.

  19. travis craig says:

    I have the bloodstained pin the comedian wears from watchmen on my shoulder and I love it

    • Luke Joyce says:

      I was seriously considering getting that as my first tattoo on my right shoulder, but got a portal one instead. Still considering getting the Watchmen Pin later but I dont know where to have it done.

  20. Dan says:

    Your image of The Doctor’s name is upside down.

  21. Delta says:

    The map one. Oh my god. Incredible.

  22. Liska says:

    It doesn’t matter what awesome design you choose to let the world know how different you are- in the end, they all look like incoherent blobs on your skin. Seriously.

  23. patriciaeff says:

    THANK YOU for taking the time to talk about safe tattooing. My ninth grade students come to class with nasty infections and ask me how to fix it (because biology teacher + one tattoo = expert, obv) and it makes me cringe! 

  24. Tharbiskahn says:

    I got a tattoo when I was 16. It’s a wizard that I picked out of one of their books. I hate it. I’m 29 now and I just got a new tattoo, it’s the Green Ranger’s Dragon Dagger. I love it more than anything else on my body. Really think about what you want and where you want to get it before you go in. Face and neck tattoos are always a bad choice.

  25. s says:

    If you knew anything about tattoos, you would know that the device that artists use to give you the tattoo is called a machine, not a “gun”. That is basically an insult to the tattoo world. Thanks

    • Erik says:

      I’m pretty sure that would depend on who you ask. I know plenty of people that tattoo professionally and I’ve heard them call it a “gun” at least a handful of times..

    • Rev says:

      If you knew anything about being a human being or the internet, you’d know you are a troll.  Go kill yourself (yes, literally).

      • Jessica says:

        And if you know anything about being a human anywhere, you’d know that telling someone to go kill themselves is the worst possible thing to do, ever. Ignore trolls, or possibly innocent people who bother you, and be the better person.