When it comes to horror, many of the most famous films and characters have been influenced by literature. For centuries, horror has been one of the most well read genres and one of the most famous authors is H.P. Lovecraft. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Lovecraft grew up surrounded by tragedy—from the death of his grandmother at age 6, father at age 8 and his grandfather at age 14. In 1908, prior to graduating from high school, Lovecraft became severely unwell. His health decline was not defined as physical or psychological and in a later letter, Lovecraft described this time as "hardly bear(ing) to see or speak to anyone, & liked to shut out the world by pulling down dark shades & using artificial light."
Despite his many challenges, Lovecraft was enticed by literature, particularly horror. His letters began appearing in pulp and weird-fiction magazines during his early twenties and flourished in the journalism industry. After publishing his first short story, "The Alchemist" in 1916, Lovecraft became inspired to write more fiction and became heavily inspired by Edgar Allen Poe. In 1926, Lovecraft wrote "The Call of Cthulhu" and the short story was later published by pulp magazine "Weird Tales" in 1928. This short story introduced what would become Lovecraft's greatest legacy—the monster Cthulhu.
Cthulhu is a cosmic entity that Lovecraft described as "a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind." Cthulhu helped to tie together the universe of Lovecraft's lore, which is known today as the Cthulhu Mythos. Since his creation in 1928, Cthulhu has become a figure in popular culture and has appeared in a variety of video games, television shows and films. Metal music has a particularly sentimental bond with Cthulhu and the monster has received shout outs from Metallica, Cradle of Filth and Morbid Angel over the years.
In honor of the nearly 100 legacy of Lovecraft's star character, take a look at 30 tattoos inspired by Cthulhu in the gallery below. These tattoos come from artists around the world and show the profound impact this author has had on our world.