Literary Tattoos: Watchmen Dave Gibbons Alan Moore

This image is from the comic Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. It is the signature/calling card of the vigilante Rorschach.  It was submitted by ElleVee:

Yes, I love the comic. Yes, I love the character of Rorschach. But I got this tattoo more for what it (and Rorschach) stood for. Not the character’s opinions or quirks, (I’m not a homophobic/anti-woman hobo vigilante, to my knowledge, although I do eat sugar cubes) but for his ideals. He never compromised. He believed in something, and he fought for it, and never wavered in his belief, and was willing to do whatever it took to maintain those beliefs. Even when it would have been easier to give in and roll over, like everyone else, he stood fast, because it was right, and because sometimes that’s what you have to do. He never doubted himself, and he made his own morals. Then he stood by them, without fear or regret. And as someone who has, throughout their life, been wracked with self-doubt, anxiety, and the tendency to bend to others’ wills, I feel that this is something to remember. Not to be inflexible, but to be true to yourself and the things that are important to you, regardless of what others might say or think. Be who you are, without compromise or apology. Hold fast to your ideals (not politics or opinions, but ideals), and aspire for a better world.

Also, my friend pointed out the humor that the character of Rorschach would have enormous problems with my tattoo because, A) He doesn’t seem like a tattoo kind of guy, and B) It’s on a GIRL OH NOES. I too find this funny.


  1. Onym says

    I don't mean to be rude, but it really bothers me that the girl who got this tattoo would likely NEVER be friends with anyone who wasn't open-minded enough to accept gay people for who they are, but because the guy is a super-cool underground comic book character, suddenly homophobia is just a quirk and he's admirable for never backing down from his ideals.

  2. Anym says

    F'reals. It's like, if Rorschach had been racist, would you still have gotten the tattoo… ? 'Cause homophobia's just one of those things you can overlook, but racism… that shit's bad.

  3. ElleVee says

    Homophobia is not a quirk by any stretch of the imagination (in my original post, I was referring to his habit of sugar cube eating as a quirk). I wouldn't be surprised if he was a racist as well. I'm sorry if you felt I was diminishing the character's faults in any way.

    I think you can have characters who are reprehensible in some ways, but still admirable in others. It was the positive aspects I was trying to extract from the character, and NOT his deeply flawed social attitudes. That's my long-winded explanation.

  4. Mary says

    Perhaps Shakespeare's "To thine own self be true" might have been more appropriate to express what you're trying to say.

  5. Denise says

    Reading these comments, I highly doubt that any of you who are critical of this tattoo or its owner have either read Watchmen or have any real idea of who Rorschach is. If you do know/understand Rorschach, and don't care for him, that's fine & your business. If, though, you don't have a clue about him, which is certainly what it sounds like, why comment about him?

    In Watchmen, Rorschach – an admittedly flawed, troubled human being – manages to rise above his own faults & prejudices in his diligent & continued pursuit of crime against ALL peoples. Yes, he's homophobic & misogynistic, but his childhood horrors explain the origins of those attitudes; he's also supremely brave, resilient, and a good friend. No, he isn't Superman – a morally perfect, cookie cutter archetype of a hero – he's dark, disturbed and vulnerable. And that's exactly why I like him.

    And I'm definitely not alone. There are MILLIONS of us who admire Rorschach WITH all of his faults…and who would KILL for a gorgeous, super cool tattoo like this.

  6. Candy O says

    My favorite fictional character is Richard St. Vier from the Swordspoint series; yet I am not friends with any hired killers in real life. So am I a hypocrite too? Am I not allowed to like him, because I'm not like him myself, or because I don't seek out the society of assasins? Learn to separate fiction from real life, guys. As readers, we're allowed & encouraged to admire fictional people who inhabit grey areas, who might alarm or repulse us in real life..that's part of the great fun of living vicariously inside a book! Show me a completely morally upright character and I'll show you someone I wouldn't want to read five pages about..

  7. Mary says

    I didn't meant to offend anyone, I ahven't read the Watchmen, it's on my bookshelf but I haven't reached it yet (and refuse to see the film until I have). I was not trying to be little your tattoo at all, I'm a firm believer in having tattoos for your own absolute personal reasons & that you should not have to justify yourself, it is your skin afterall. I was simply trying to suggest, if you get any more flack (of course, you can always tell them to mind their own business) that a quote like that from Hamlet sums up your feelings of what this character represents. :-)

  8. Ali says

    i think it's great…what you wrote of rorschach is exactly what i was thinking when i was watching the movie…

    i think he definitely has the most depth of the movie characters…

    by the way i was actually searching for a wallpaper with the same logo and i stumbled upon this pic…it seems hard to find one…

    anyway i still think it's really great

  9. says

    I love that tattoo! I'd really consider having a rorscach signature myself. And I agree fully on the character's discription. "Never compromise, not even in the face of armageddon." Standing behind your beliefs is so important.

    What is so great about R as a character, is that he demonstrates, though in a pretty extreme way, that nobody's perfect, and that everybody can have attributes both good, evil and something in between. You may be able to find something to admire in a person whose actions are not always something to be proud of, or who isn't even exactly "stable" in mind. It may terrify us, but hey, life isn't black and white.

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