Simple question, how (physically) did Aquaman get his tattoos?

Considering that,

  • He is bullet proof
  • Hardened steel can't penetrate his skin
  • That he had his powers at an early age and his tattoos seem to come after he gets them
  • Even though Atlantean steel can cut him, he had not yet been to Atlantis (No way to get Atlantean steel???)

So he may have found or be given some Atlantean steel by Vulko, which they could have used to tattoo him, But, if there was another way or someone has some more information on how he had it done would be great.


  • I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the production added the tattoos "because it looks cool" without thinking much of a backstory. See also "Rule of cool" trope tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RuleOfCool
    – Luciano
    Aug 15, 2019 at 8:18
  • Do Jason Momoa have tattoes? if so, they might left them there while not worring about removing them. because as Luciano said, they looks cool and somewhat badass
    – Vishwa
    Aug 15, 2019 at 9:51
  • @Vishwa yes he does (there are a couple articles out there), but that's​still not an in-universe reason
    – Jenayah
    Aug 15, 2019 at 10:11
  • 2
    What tattoos? Isn't that just the natural pattern of his skin?
    – Chenmunka
    Aug 15, 2019 at 10:31

2 Answers 2


There is no in universe explanation how Aquaman got his tattoos. It was director Zack Snyder's idea of getting the character tattooed.

Regarding Aquaman's skin being bullet proof, he is not completely bulletproof. He has a denser muscle under his skin.

Director James Wan replied to this same question asked on Twitter.

Oh, bullets (or whatever else) will penetrate and break his skin. He's not a man of steel. He just has really dense mass/muscle. At least that's what Geoff Johns and I talked about

Image contains a tweet reading "If Arthur can't be hurt by bullet, how can he get the tattoo? Thinking emoji" followed by posture of Jason Momoa in Aquaman in tattoos and a reply from Creepy Puppet i.e., the director James Wan.

So, he is not completely bullet proof but strong enough that no bullets or steel can do harm to him. That could be a reason why he blocks bullets instead of standing up to them and repelling them.

This may not be a in universe explanation but these tattoos give a stylish look for the character Aquaman and more importantly a symbolism that he is the king of the ocean. The tattoos he has on his body are very close to ocean creatures like fish and shark.

From an analysis on Aquaman's costume from ign.com,

The Tattoos

Momoa is Hawaiian and has said that he wants Aquaman to represent the Polynesian people, who use tattoos as a big part of their culture.

The shoulder/arm tattoo looks like fish scales, which is a nod to Aquaman's orange fish-scale shirt. The scales could actually be spearheads or shark teeth, which could speak to the deadly nature of the character

Though it was an idea of Zack Snyder, Jason Momoa has major influence in deciding what they look like and enjoyed having those faux tattoos on his body. Actor Jason Momoa comes from Polynesia. Tattoos are a part of Polynesian culture. He was so excited to include Polynesian culture in Aquaman because Aquaman is considered an embodiment of their culture. So, you see tattoos in movie version. Originally Aquaman from comics doesn't have tattoos.

There are various depictions of Auqaman in comics. He looked something like this with scaly suit. So, we can say those scaly tattoos were a nod to his costume from comics.

DC Comic cover having Aquaman in green scaly suit holding his trident. He yells "I AM YOUR KING"

DC Comic cover reading "The King of the seas AQUAMAN leads his army to battle". Aquaman has blonde hair and is shown wearing an armour

Or classical orange and green suit which even Jason Momoa is shown wearing in the movie.

In an interview to comicbook.com at Walker Stalker Con in Atlanta, Momoa said

“Yeah, I did go to school for Marine Biology, but the cool thing is…the greatest thing for me is that Polynesians, our gods, Kahoali, Maui, all these water gods, so it’s really cool and a honor to be playing a [water] character. And there’s not too many brown superheroes, so I’m really looking forward to representing the Polynesians, the natives.”

So, tattoos were an addition to the character to represent the oceanic culture and ocean gods.


According to an article on Comicbook.com, director Zack Snyder came up with the idea to have Aquaman sport tattoos.

"Zack [director Zack Snyder] had the idea to put the tattoos everywhere and everyone wanted him to have a little bit of blonde in the hair," Momoa said. "I just wanted him to have the Van Gogh green-colored eyes, where you can kind of get lost in them. You're scared by it, but you're drawn in. We put the contacts in, and I was like, wow. It's kind of scary, but hopefully not too scary."

So, they are, in fact, tattoos. However, apparently Snyder didn't have the foresight to conceive how or why a tattoo could be placed on the body of someone who is impenetrable. It's not explained in the movie, and the comic book Aquaman had no tattoos. Luciano's comment is probably the most accurate; it's the "Rule Of Cool" at work.

  • For what it's worth Aquaman has gotten tattoos recently, well maybe not tattoos but some kind of magic pattern. Since 3/4 issues ago
    – Jenayah
    Aug 15, 2019 at 12:50
  • 1
    Why the downvote? The answer is factually correct, and if they're in the comic book now then they appeared after the film was released. Aug 15, 2019 at 12:54

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