Aug 19, 2017

Four Color Beefcake and Bonding

When I was a kid, my comic book buying budget was limited, but when I started making my own money in the late 1970s, the extra income allowed a thorough investigation of the back issue bins at the Comics Cave, and I expanded my beefcake and bonding library with Dell's Four Color Comics.

It was a series of one-shots, each issue dedicated to a different movie, cartoon, tv series, or comic strip character, over a thousand between 1942 and 1962.  The range was staggering.  Here's a brief selection: Donald Duck, Tilly the Toiler, Roy Rogers, Flash Gordon, Harold Teen, Tarzan, Fearless Fagan,  I Love Lucy, Gunsmoke, Captain Kangaroo, Johnny Jason Teen Reporter.

I was looking for beefcake or bonding covers, like this Leave it to Beaver (FC 1191, 1961).   It showed Wally and the Beaver (Tony Dow, Jerry Mathers) considerably younger than they would have been in 1961, in a romantic pose, sharing a soda (one soda, two straws) while Beaver rests his hand lightly on Wally's thigh?

Tonka (FC 966, 1958) came out at the same time as the 1958 movie, with gay teen idol Sal Mineo as a bicep-bulging Native American (Tonka was his horse).

But this Spin and Marty comic (FC 1026, 1959), with Marty's hand placed tenderly on Skip's shoulder, was released after the series ended.

Often the characters were completely unrecognizable, relics of the distant past.  Who on Earth was this blond, muscular Curly Kayoe (FC 871, 1957) boxing with a barefoot hunk?  Turns out that boxers were heroes during the 1930s and 1940s, and Curly Kayoe, like Joe Palooka, rated his own comic strip (1945-61) and comic book (1946-50). (Kayoe means "Knock Out.")  He didn't seem to have a girlfriend, but he did have a youthful ward named Davy, Robin to his Batman, who took over the strip in 1961.

Or Clint and Mac (FC 889, 1958)?  Turns out that Kurt Russell didn't play Disney's only American adventurer abroad.  In 1957-58, The Mickey Mouse Club featured a serial about the American Clint (Neil Wolfe), the one in the crew cut and extremely tight jeans, who visits Britain and buddy-bonds with Mac (Jonathan Bailey), the one in the beanie and striped tie.

Their adventure involves catching the thieves who stole an original manuscript of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. They also encounter a street gang, drive a car, and go to a birthday party for Prince Charles.  Both actors vanished from show business soon thereafter, and the serial has never been released on DVD, so without the comic it would have vanished completely.

Or Johnny Yuma, the Rebel (FC 1136, 1960), who shoots one gun and holds another, and wears a Confederate uniform (minus the shirt)?

Turns out that The Rebel (1959-1961) was a Western about Johnny Yuma, an ex-Confederate who wanders around the Old West with his shirt off.  Johnny was played by gay actor Nick Adams, who hung out with a crowd of barely-closeted gay actors, many discovered by gay agent Henry Willson (others included Guy Madison, James Dean,  Lee Patterson, Anthony Perkins, and Van Williams).

Aug 18, 2017

Fill Your Beefcake Quota with "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul"

Fans are upset because the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie, The Long Hall (2017), doesn't star Zachary Gordon or Devon Bostick.

Come on, the guy is 19 years old and buffed.  Do you really want him playing the 11-year old wimp Greg Heffley?

Jason Drucker, seen here with "Rowley" Owen Aztalos, is really 11 years old.  A better choice.

And actor/model Charlie Wright as sarcastic older brother Rodrick has some beefcake potential that Devon Bostick didn't.

Plus there are many other opportunities for physique-watching.  Hot tubs, showers, swimming pools.  Check out Tom Everett Scott, who played Johnny Galecki's boyfriend on stage, as Dad.

It's a road movie, so the usual junior high nightmares take a back seat to hotel and roadside-amusement nightmares and Greg's quest to meet Mac Digby, the creator of his favorite video game, plus an ongoing antagonist, Mr. Beardo (Chris Coppola).  He gets a shower AND a hot tub scene.

No heteronormative "boy meets girl" preteen romance, only minimal homophobic anxiety-jokes -- in that regard, it's far superior to its predecessors.

Unfortunately, it eschews plot development for scatological jokes and seeing how much abuse Greg's body can take -- it takes a lot. I suggest renting the DVD and going through on fast forward.

See also: Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Penis Sighting at a Chinese Restaurant

Rock Island, May 1974

When I was growing up in Rock Island in the 1960s and 1970s, there were no Chinese restaurants  in town.  I knew only a little about Chinese food:

1. On a 1967 episode of The Andy Griffith Show where Andy and his sidekick Barney go to a Chinese restaurant.  Andy orders a steak, a baked potato, and green beans, but Barney is so stupid that he actually orders from the menu, and receives platesful of disgusting horrors.

2. My mother's cookbook, Meals with a Foreign Flair, offered a Chinese meal: chow mein, cucumber salad, asparagus, and fortune cookies.

3. Chinese food was cooked and served by Chinese men.  I had never met anyone of Chinese ancestry before, except for the mysterious boy that Bill and I played with a long time ago.

I hadn't even seen many guys of Chinese ancestry!  But doubtless they were amazingly attractive.

With tree-trunk penises!

When I was in eighth grade at Washington Junior High, a Chinese restaurant, the Mandarin Kitchen, opened in the Quad Cities.

I was anxious to go, but it was across the river in Davenport, Iowa. I wasn't allowed to cross the river by myself.  Besides, no buses went over, and it was too far to walk.

My parents wouldn't take me:

"It's too expensive," Dad said.

"And you wouldn't like it," Mom added.  "I had Chinese food once, in Long Beach.  It was awful!  What's wrong with Harris Pizza?"

 Then I thought of my birthday excursion!

My birthday is in November, when everything fun is closed, so every May I got a "birthday trip": I could invite two or three friends to go anywhere I wanted in the Quad Cities.  We went to Mother Goose Land (it's not as lame as it sounds), the Niabi Zoo, the Putnam Museum, the "Little Bit O' Heaven" at Palmer College.  Why not go out to lunch at the Mandarin Kitchen?

I invited Dan and Darry, my boyfriend and my best friend, plus my brother by default and Peter, the only Asian guy at Washington Junior High.  He was of Japanese ancestry, not Chinese, but I thought he might give us an air of authenticity, so we wouldn't look like tourists.

On a Saturday in May, shortly before the streaking incident, Dad drove us across the Centennial Bridge and into Davenport.  We turned down River Drive and drove through a rather seedy neighborhood, past shabby office buildings, taverns, tattoo parlors, and the Col Ballroom where sinners went dancing, until finally we reached the Mandarin Kitchen.

The uncensored story, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood.