Conskipper may be brand new, but our journalists have been covering the world of pop culture conventions for years. The following story was originally written by Nick Banks as a freelancer on November 12th, 2017.
Ink Fusion Empire and Nightmare on Elm Street star Robert Englund combined forces at this year’s Rhode Island Comic Con to produce a one-of-a-kind tattoo of Freddy Krueger and also raise money for charity by doing so.
The explosion of the convention scene over the last decade has brought a wide variety of vendors not associated with typical comic and horror cons to events across the country. One of the staples of current conventions is the ever present tattoo booth, and if you enjoy getting some ink done while browsing through a variety of collectibles and meeting celebrities, the man you have to thank for it is Ink Fusion Empire’s Marc Draven.
Draven was able to combine two of the loves in his life (tattooing and conventions) when he first came up with the idea over 12 years ago. Draven explained that “Most tattoo businesses are busiest on weekends and I was missing out on attending conventions on weekends, so I thought why not set up a tattoo booth at a con.”
After checking into all of the particulars in terms of permits and licensing, Draven’s company, Ink Fusion Empire, was the first tattoo vendor to ever set-up at a convention.
And of course, after the initial success, many other tattoo vendors followed the trend, which led Draven to think of other ways to stand out from others on the convention scene, and who better to start with than Stan Lee.
Draven recalled setting up the Stan Lee designed tattoo promotion, but some of his employees had to let him on an important detail: Stan was not an artist. Draven considers himself “A toy and cartoon geek, and my initial introduction to Stan was through the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends cartoon where Lee would be the voice at the start of every episode. One of my guys said to me ‘you know he doesn’t draw, right?’, which seemed like a problem at first, but then again, who wouldn’t want anything involving Stan Lee, and we were right. It was a big success.”
Ink Fusion Empire has run similar promotions with people like Marvel Zombie’s artist Arthur Suydam, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe animator Tom King, and star of The Birds Tippy Hedren. Draven recalled Hedren asking him to tattoo the semblance of a broach that Alfred Hitchcock gave her during the filming of The Birds on her shoulder, but unfortunately, while doing so, Draven suffered from heat exhaustion and didn;t complete the tattoo to his satisfaction. Draven would latter come across Hedren at another convention and would ask if he could touch up his previous work, but also “I told her that I gave her her first tattoo, so she would have to give me her first. She ended up putting her signature and some birds on my ankle.”
Ink Fusion Empire’s special guest at this year’s RICC is the aforementioned Englund, who will sketch a Freddy tattoo this weekend, and one lucky fan will have it tattooed on his/her body by one of the many Ink Fusion artists (who Draven told us will also enter a drawing to find out who gets to tattoo the one-of-a-kind piece). Draven said “Most people don’t realize that Robert is also a great artist and he takes his time designing his likeness from the films. He will actually start with an ‘S’, which becomes the brim of his hat; and eventually the classic Freddy face.”
Draven was also clear that the proceeds of the raffle go to the star’s favorite charity, one that treats adolescent burn victims.
If you are interested in seeing how the tattoo design came out, check out Marc Draven’s World of Ink Fusion Facebook page.