Comics and Ink Part I

Published on December 2nd, 2013

So, why do I love tattoos? I got my first tattoo when I was 18, at my first duty station in the Military. I’ve always been fascinated with tattoos, especially ones with deep meaning. I feel tattoos are a beautiful way to express one’s self. They can be inspiring, healing, and empowering.

X-23TattooI waited many years to get my X-23 tattoo. She’s my favorite comic book character for many reasons. A funny fact is that when I was elementary school, the teachers would have the class line up alphabetically and I was always somehow the 23rd in line. I carried this over into sports as well when we would pick our jersey numbers. 23 has always seemed to follow me and has been pretty much my lucky number. When X-23 burst onto the scene, I was already drawn to her for these silly, obvious reasons. But what I found I liked even more about her was the fact that she was resilient and unstoppable. She was a total badass that took down the entire X-Mansion as just a young girl! There are very few female characters that I like in comics, but the ones I do like are the ones who can hold their own amongst the guys and don’t have to keep reminding everyone that they’re a “tough female.” I feel that if a woman is not inferior, they don’t need to tell anyone that they’re a badass, everyone will already know. Laura Kinney is a woman of few words and as it turns out, the epitome of a badass female to me. My favorite depictions of her are when creators Craig Kyle and Chris Yost were writing her during New X-Men and X-Force. She was all business and arguably the most deadly, ruthless member of the team. What wasn’t there to love?

I’ve had a lot of great tattoo artists do amazing work for me, but for the permanent representation of my favorite comic character, I was looking for something very specific. Something PERFECT. By a random chance, I found Mat Vallez of Blue Panda Tattoo in El Paso, through a friend that he had done some amazing work on. What caught my attention was how meticulously detailed his work was, the kind of realistic detail I had only seen before in magazines. So of course I jumped at the chance and immediately worked out to have some work done by him! The day I went in to start, he free-handed the outline he would use. In all honesty, the Sharpie sketch was so good, I would’ve been happy to have that tattooed on me. What I ended up with was so much more than I could’ve imagined. Our first sitting was 6 hours, we only quit because I had to go to work early the next day. While my arm is healing so we can finish my piece, I’ve been brainstorming who I want to fill my arm with. The fact that he was as stoked to do a comic book tattoo as I was to get it, seemed like a great sign to me. I left there and essentially told him that he has full creative reign of my left arm: I give him a character, and he can do whatever he wants with them.

Check out more of the artist’s work on facebook


Noelle Raemer