May 12, 2017

Akim and Jim: Tarzan and Boy of European comics

One of the more popular Tarzan clones was Akim, Son of the Jungle, created by Italian cartoonist Roberto Renzi and artist Augusto Pedrazza.  In Italy Tarzan clones are called Tarzanidi.

During his run in Italy (1950-1967), he was exported to France for 700+ issues, Germany for 500+ issues, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Greece (where he was renamed Tarzan).  Hundreds of issues appeared through the 1960s and 1970s, with ironic "new adventures" in the 1990s. has them for sale for between 5 and 10 euros.

Some of the rarest appeared in this single-strip per page format.  Here Akim fights the Biblical muscleman Samson.

Akim's back story is nearly identical to that of Tarzan:

Count Frederick Rank, the British ambassador to Calcutta, is shipwrecked on the wild coast of Africa along with his wife and infant son, Jim.  The parents soon die, leaving the toddler to be raised by gorillas.

Grown up, he becomes Akim, Son of the Jungle, with various animals at his command.  He marries the British heiress Rita, and they adopt a son, Jim, who turns into buffed blond man-mountain.

In most adventures, they leave Rita back at the tree house and venture out as a pair, leaving all of the gay subtexts of the 1940s Tarzan movies starring Johnny Weissmuller and Johnny Sheffield.

Sometimes Jim goes out adventuring on his own, requiring Akim to rescue him from the usual jungle poachers, cannibals, and lost civilizations, as well as aliens, mad scientists, and dinosaurs.

Whether they're speaking French, German, Italian, or Dutch, the buddy-bonding is easy to spot.

May 11, 2017

Romero Britto's Gay Art and Conservative Politics

Brazilian-born artist Romero Britto brings pop art into the 21st century with his instantly recognizable style of interlocking, brightly-colored patterns.  His work has appeared in over 100 museums and galleries around the world; his public art is on display in New York, Berlin, Paris, and Brazil; he has designed ads for dozens of companies, from Disney to Absolut Vodka.

His work is mostly "cute", puppies and kittens and children.  But there's some of gay interest, like this nude torso and penis.

And this bulging beach boy.

A lot of hetero-romance, but at least one gay couple.

Politically conservative, he designed the art for ultra-homophobic Jeb Bush's presidential bid in 2016.  But paradoxically, he also designed the art for this mass gay wedding in Atlanta in 2015.

Although rather flamboyant in real life, he has been married to a woman since 1988, and has a son, Brendan.

Who worked for Hillary.

May 9, 2017

The Navy Pre-Flight Training School: World War II Beefcake

In February 1942, just at the start of U.S. involvement in World War II, St. Mary's College in California was chosen as one of four sites for a Navy Pre-Flight Training School, where new recruits would get four weeks of basic training.

The Navy took over some of the campus buildings and built others, and in July the camp opened.  It was operational until 1946.

 Recruits received military training and took academic classes (mathematics, physics, military law) and athletics (boxing, swimming, and football).  One of the football instructors was future president Gerald Ford.

Upon entry, they were photographed in their underwear -- front, rear, side.  A number of the photographs have been recovered and posted on the internet.

They only give initials, so it will be virtually impossible to track down these guys and find out what happened to them later in life.

We will have to be content with glimpses into the beefcake and bulges of the past.

Martin, J.D. September 7, 1942

Beckman, F.A. August 24, 1942

DeMaria, M.  Oct 20, 1942

Pizzuto, M.A. Oct 27, 1942

Dow, L. M.,  Nov 4, 1942

Smith,E.S. Dec 29, 1942

Dean, D.A. February 9, 1943

Schultze, R.I., October 13, 1943

Carrell, T. R.  June 6, 1944

McMahon R. October 27, 1942.

Brown, R. R. June 22, 1944

The Closet Professor has an article about the training school

This article with two nude photos is on Tales of West Hollywood

May 8, 2017

How to Survive the Top 10 Problems of Summer

For teachers and college professors, summer begins when you turn in the final grades in May, and ends when you stand in front of that first class in August.

I hate summertime.  Three long, hot, boring, miserable months of nothing.

But I've survived it before.  Here are my solutions to the top 10 problems of summer.

1. There's nothing to do during the daytime.

I envy those people with office jobs that stay the same all year round, so they can keep their same structure and routine through the downtime.  I have no appointments, no obligations, nothing to do, no one to see,.

At least when I was a kid, there were summer enrichment classes, summer camps, Vacation Bible School, and the weekly visit of the bookmobile, but as an adult, it's sitting around the house for three months waiting for fall classes to begin.

Solution: Pursue a new hobby, like BDSM or hooking on Grinder.

2. There's nothing to do in the evening.

TV is all reruns, and the theater, opera, and ballet seasons are over.

Solution: Host a M4M party.  Advertise on Craigslist, and invite 20 gay and bi-curious guys over.  Nudity optional; prizes for the biggest and smallest endowments.

3. There is no night.

The sun doesn't go down until 9:00 pm.  Then it's an eerie twilight until 10:00 pm.

Face it, daylight after dinner is just creepy. I especially hated it when I was a kid, and my parents sent me to bed while the sun was blazing.

Solution: spend 6 pm -10 pm in a bathhouse, where it's always dark.

4. You gain weight.

When classes are in session, you walk from your car to the parking lot, from your office to class, the student union, to the library, to various committee meetings, plus pacing around while teaching, so you cover 5 or more miles a day easily on top of your daily run.  In the summer, your daily run is all the cardio you get.

Solution: Spend more time at the gym, particularly if it's a gay gym where you can do more than work out.

5. You're forced to "enjoy the outdoors."

Come on, "the outdoors" is what you go through to get places.  What is there to "enjoy" there?  It's like enjoying a train station, or standing in line for a movie.  

Yet your friends get upset when you "waste" a day indoors, and drag you off for swimming, boating, canoeing, or just wandering about.

Solution: when you are forced to "enjoy the outdoors," insist that everyone take their shirts off.  Concentrate on the muscles, and it will soon be over.

More after the break.

6. You're even forced to eat outside.

I challenge you to find anyone who actually enjoys eating on hard wooden benches, with the wind blowing napkins and paper plates around, and leaves and twigs and bugs falling all over the food.  We put our dining rooms inside the house for a reason.

Yet summertime is a mess of barbecues, picnics, festivals, and baseball games with food being chomped done on outside, and your friends even want to serve you dinner on the back yard patio.

Solution: Again, shirts off.

7. It's ungodly hot outside.

In the winter you can bundle up, but there's nothing you can do about getting drenched with sweat after walking half a block,

Solution: I had this problem all the time in Los Angeles and Florida.  Hot weather means clothes off, so there lots of opportunities for guy-watching.

8. It's ungodly cold inside.

After getting drenched with sweat, you walk into a building in a tank top and shorts, and face an Artic wind -- air conditioners are blasting away, and it's 60 degrees!

Solution:  Carry a warm sweater with you, and every time you walk into a building, put it on and pretend that it's December.  This will help alleviate your summer depression, too.

9. There are no good holidays.

Fall has Halloween and Thanksgiving, winter has Christmas and Valentine's Day, spring has Easter and St. Patrick's Day.

What does summer have?  In the U.S., Independence Day, the 4th of July, a holiday of jingoistic patriotism, noisy fireworks, and eating outside.

there are Gay Pride Festivals in hundreds of cities, mostly in June, some in July and August.  Go to as many as you can.

10. There's no escape.

If you don't like cold winters, for some crazy reason, you can fly south to balmy Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, or Phoenix.

But there's no place in North America that's cold during the summertime -- even Fairbanks, Alaska can hit 80 degrees.  You'd have to summer in Australia.

Solution: Only 88 more days until fall.

See also: Playing Outside; 34 Reasons to Like Summer

Helmut Riedmeier, German Bodybuilder with Something Extra

Helmut Riedmeier was born in Munich on May 14th, 1944, during World War II, and took up bodybuilding as a teenager.

He won the Junior Mr. Germany award in 1964 and Mr. Germany and Mr. Europe in 1965.

In 1966 he came in second place in Mr. Europe, losing to a young Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He began posing for physique magazines as a teenager.  After he moved to London in 1968, he did some nude porn-style shoots for Basil Clavering of Hussar Studios.  The surviving photos make good use of his "something extra."

No sex scenes have survived, if any existed, but there is some homoerotic buddy-bonding.

Although Helmut never achieved the worldwide fame of Arnold Schwarzeneggar or Franco Columbu, he maintained a strong competitive presence during the 1970s and 1980s, placing in Mr. Europe 5 times and Mr. Universe twice.

Meanwhile, according to one website, he had a nightclub act, performing nude as "White Heat."

I haven't been able to find out much about his later life, but in 2001 he won the International British Master Championship, and in 2006 he competed in the German Master Championships, at the age of 62.

He's retired, living in Munich, and still buffed at age 73.

There are nude photos on Tales of West Hollywood.

May 7, 2017

Beefcake and Bonding in British Boys' Annuals

From the 1930s through the 1980s, British boys spent Christmas day unwrapping and reading "annuals," thick hardback books with stories and pictures derived from weekly story papers: Hotspur, Champion, Knockout, Perfect Book for Boys, Best Book for Boys, dozens of titles.

There were also annuals for girls and children, but the boys' annuals were notable for two reasons.

1. Shirtless and semi-nude covers and interior illustrations.  Hundreds of muscular teenage boys and men on display, many more than in the American adventure boys series.

They were playing sports, camping, fighting monsters. They were alone and in pairs.  Their muscles glistened in the Christmas firelight.

2. The stories inside did not involve the dating, romances, and overall girl-craziness that obsessed American teen stories in the 1950s and 1960s. They were about boys meeting, being rescued by, and establishing permanent relations with other boys and men.

For instance, in a story in Monster Book for Boys ("monster" means "big"), sixteen-year old Keith is living quietly on a farm in Devon, longing for “companionship and fun,” when he stumbles upon Count Max Von Staubnitz, “a pleasant-looking, rather dandified young man" (i.e., he's gay).  

After an acquaintanceship lasting less than five minutes, the Count invites Keith to come along on his quest to retrieve a secret formula from enemy agents, resulting in many last-minute rescues and many opportunities to praise Keith’s “youthful muscles” and “muscles like steel" (i.e., he thinks that Keith is hot).  Then, when the crisis is resolved, the Count, blushing and stammering like a shy schoolboy, invites Keith to live on his estate in Central Europe (i.e., he wants a permanent partner, not just a fling). 

Unfortunately, you couldn't get them in the United States, so I didn't know that they existed until I was grown up and browsing on ebay.

But gay British boys certainly had an advantage.  While their American cousins were making do with comic book advertisements and Jolly Green Giant commercials, they could gaze at the real deal.


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