The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Check Out Marvel Tattoo

Allie Tollaksen | Monday, April 15, 2013

I stepped into Marvel Tattoo on Indiana 933 on a Friday afternoon not knowing what to expect. I had never been to a tattoo parlor before besides just stepping in to browse. There was one day last year when I had dropped into a small shop in downtown Denver. There I had looked only at the tattoo books and imagined how funny I would look with inked-on image of a mermaid or an anchor on my arm. I never thought I would find myself in a tattoo shop for any serious transaction. 

Yet, after class last Friday, I took a seat in a booth inside Marvel, holding the hand of a friend as she got a beautiful tattoo. The tattoo artist at Marvel, a large man not surprisingly covered in tattoos of his own, seemed to know what he was doing. As my friend squirmed, shook and yelped, he held the needle firmly and confidently inked a symbol into her side. 

As he worked on her tattoo, we talked about the possibilities for my future ink. 

“You should get a panther,” he told me, “panthers are bitchin’.”

Despite the occasional foul language and maybe some crude humor heard around the place, Marvel is a clean, comfortable space to meet your ink and piercing needs. The year before, when I had giggled at catalogs of tattoos in Denver, I never considered actually getting inked, probably because the Denver store was dim and the employees unfriendly. Tattoos seemed out of the question. But as I held my friend’s hand in Marvel this weekend, my thinking shifted. Though a panther tattoo certainly wasn’t on my plate that afternoon, Marvel seemed like the perfect place to go to make a change. 

That’s why the very next day I walked into Marvel with another friend who planned to get a tattoo. This time, I decided, I wanted to leave Marvel with something of my own as well. After my friend gritted her teeth and went through the pain of her very first tattoo, which turned out exactly how she had hoped, I decided to bite the bullet and finally get my nose pierced – something I had been talking about for months. 

While I won’t go into all of my feelings and worries about getting my nose pierced, I will talk about how pleasant my experience was on that Saturday evening. After a few minutes of anxiously filling out paperwork and waiting for the piercer, I was brought into a back room. I asked questions about the piercing – how long it would take to heal, what exactly what my nose ring was made of and how the process would go. She calmly explained exactly how she would go about putting a hole in my nose, knowledgeably explaining to me the ins and outs of piercings. After a few deep breaths on my part, I opened my eyes to see my very own nose ring in place. 

After a few seconds of pain and some cheers from my friends, the employees at Marvel congratulated me and gave us information about aftercare. The staff was a comforting mix of at-ease and professional. They were clearly knowledgeable but brought a great sense of humor to our experiences. With my friends and I doing some combination of smiling and wincing in pain, I left Marvel on Saturday night immediately reflecting on the eventful weekend. 

I could not be happier with my choice to go to Marvel, and my recently-tattooed friends would say the same. I felt welcomed and comfortable in the shop and couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. I will spend the rest of my time in South Bend encouraging others to stop by, even if only to cheer a friend on as they go through that classic college experience of getting their very first tattoo. It was an experience of a lifetime. And even if my nose ring doesn’t last forever, my memories at Marvel will. 

You can visit Marvel Tattoo at 51976 Indiana 933, South Bend, IN 46637.