My friend Stephen asked me if I wanted to play the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game, so I was poking around on the web and found all kinds of good stuff to get me in the mood, including a CoC Quick Start Guide (pdf), the complete text of the H.P. Lovecraft story "The Call of Cthulhu," and this really fun blog by Paul Carrick about the process of designing, sculpting, and producing a Cthulhu collectible statuette (and other Lovecraft-inspired artworks).
In the process, I stumbled upon—you guessed it—Cthulhu tattoos! So of course I had to perform an exhaustive search for the best on the web. Here are my favorites:
This excellent piece by Billy Beens of Tat-nice Tattoos in Huntington, WV, is everything that I love in a tattoo: bright colors, great design, amazing technique and execution, cool subject matter, and all-around bad-ass-ness. Photo courtesy of TattooArtists.org.
I love the realistic details, the beautiful shading/highlights and the creepy dead eyes of this scary black-and-grey piece. In addition to the photo above (from Tommy's MySpace page), you can see a triptych of different angles on FTAtalk.com and an in-progress shot on Flickr. I gather from these various sources that Tommy Lee is based in Germany, and that this tattoo seems to have been completed in about 8 hours at Northern Ink Xposure 2008 in Toronto.
I really like this stylized interpretation of Cthulhu; bonus ink points for incorporating traditional Japanese style in the waves, etc., and bonus nerd points for including the Necronomicon. Excellent work by John Fitzgerald of Slave to the Needle. Found in BMEzine's tattoo galleries, filed under the shop's name.
This tattoo is one of the more horrific specimens I came across; I think I just lost a sanity point! I also found what looks to be the original artwork on which this piece was based. This guy also seems to be working on a leg sleeve (I'm going to start calling big tattoos on people's legs "pantlegs") featuring Baphomet. Cthulhu piece found on Flickr, inked by Eric Henshaw at Yankee Tattoo in Burlington, Vermont (Baphomet piece by Aaron Reil).
Speaking of horrific, WTF?!? This beauty adorns the back of Brian Defferding, the creator of horror comic School: A Ghost Story. I really hope that Brian posts follow-up photos on his MySpace blog. Tattoo by Jonathan at Alpha & Omega's Tattoo & Body Piercing in Oshkosh, WI.
While this sleeve doesn't feature Cthulhu himself, there is no shortage of tentacles and other Lovecraft-inspired horror. Bonus points for the small portrait of H.P. Lovecraft himself on the forearm. Artist: Mike Tidwell of Obscurities Tattoos and Piercing in Dallas, TX. Source: BMENews.
Again, these are just my favorites; I was actually surprised at how many Cthulhu tattoos I found! I guess it makes sense; scary bad-ass monsters have long been prime subject matter for tattoos... If you find one (or have one) that you want to share with the rest of us Ink Nerds, feel free to post a link in the comments, or e-mail a photo to josh [at] inknerd [dot] com!