Former seaman Abel Tarrant embarked upon a career as a burglar and cracked the safe in a large chemical concern. However, in the process he set off the burglar alarm, bringing the armed watchman. Hastily trying to escape, Tarrant knocked over some chemicals, which ran together. In the ensuing gunfight, Tarrant noticed some of the spilled chemicals seemed to form the shape of a bomb. As he touched it, Tarrant wished that it was real - and suddenly it was! Yet he had to concentrate to explode it and open a breach in the wall through which he could escape.
The following day, Tarrant posed as a reporter and returned to the scene of his crime and used a sponge to take a sample of the mystery compound. He knew enough about chemistry to analyze it and to produce more of it. He found that to make things materialize, he had to draw exact outlines, then concentrate. This gave him complete control over the object in question.
Tarrant then decided that the easiest way to use his powers was to draw tattoos on his arms. Thus with the chemical symbols drawn on is body, he became the Tattooed Man, and began his costumed career by stealing the treasures of wealthy Baron Cranfield, who lived in Coast City.
Major Story Arcs
It wasn't long before he encountered Green Lantern ( Hal Jordan), but Green Lantern discovered that his ring had no effect on the tattoos due to the fact that there was yellow chemicals in the compound from which they were made. Green Lantern then discovered that the Tattooed Man could only use and control one object at a time. When he tried to attack with several at once nothing happened and Green Lantern easily captured him.
Justice League of America
Case of Forbidden Super-powers
After several months in prison, Tarrant was assisted in a jailbreak by a villain calling himself Headmaster Mind, who had invented a machine that picked up power from the hearts of super heroes doing their feats, which could then be used to create disasters. As well as recruiting the Tattooed Man, the Headmaster Mind also enlisted the help of Matter Master and the Top. Because it appeared that the JLA were responsible for creating the disasters, they were banned from using their powers. This appeared to leave the way open for the crooks to steal at will; but the heroes fought them without using their super powers and the Tattooed Man was once again captured by Green Lantern.
Green Lantern- The Road Back
For more information see: The Road Back
Tarrant is working at the Palace of Fine Art, a tattoo parlor in New York City, when Guy Gardner comes in for a tattoo and reconizes him from his fights with Hal Jordan. Guy tries to pick a fight with Tarrant but Tarrant claims to be a changed man. When Tarrant heads home, to his home made from one of his tattoos, Guy is there to taunt him farther. Finally Tarrant can take no more and attacks Guy. Guy takes the fight to the sky and then out to see where Tarrant uses a boat and wind tattoos to chase Guy. Then when Hal Jordan show up he knocks Tarrant into the ocean and Guy is able to defeat the Tattooed Man. When Tarrant wakes up he finds himself washed up on the beach and see a house just like his tattooed home. A man then offers Tarrant a job on his fishing boat and Tarrant assumes he's in paradise.
From time to time the Tattooed Man appeared in the Injustice Gang of the world.
The Tattooed Man participated in the jailbreak engineered by Alex Luthor's Secret Society of Super Villains. He attempted to make a break from prison during Infinite Crisis and was stopped by Arsenal.
Checkmate: A King's Game
The original Tattooed Man died while on a mission with the Suicide Squad. He signed on with Luthor's Society to be a mole for the Suicide Squad. He engineered Punch's death at the beginning of the mission. The Icicle encased Tarrant in ice, Mirror Master turned him into glass, and Jewelee broke him into shards of glass for killing her Punch.
Tarrant can be seen as a Black Lantern in Coast City, attacking various corps memebrs with tattoo dragons, until he was killed by Atrocitus and Sinestro.
In Other Media
The first Tattooed Man appeared in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon. He appears as a member of Gorilla Grodd's enlarged Secret Society . He was one of the villains to attack Gorilla City.
He will appear in the upcoming Green Arrow movie.
He will appear in DC Universe Online.