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).

See also: All of the Four-Color Beefcake Ever Printed

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

Aug 16, 2017

Extreme Bodybuilding: When Your Biceps are Bigger than Your Head

There are many theories about why most people find muscular male bodies beautiful.

1. They represent health and vitality.

2. Their strength suggests sexual potency.

3. They are able to protect us from a dangerous world.

4. They suggest the wealth necessary to spend hours at the gym.

The ideal male physique displays symmetry and definition, with every muscle group visible.  The muscles should be big, but not so big that they stand out, calling attention to themselves and ruining the symmetry.

Some guys, however, prefer size to symmetry.  A combination of genetics, over-training, and steroids lead to huge over-development of some muscle groups.

The biceps and triceps are particularly easy to over-train.  When your bicep is bigger than your head and your triceps look like goiters, the symmetry of your physique is ruined.

Where does the tricep end and the chest begin?

If this isn't photoshopped, this guy has over-developed his trapezius, biceps, triceps, and calves.

That's got to be photoshopped.

Why do they do it?  According to extreme bodybuilder Greg Valentino, it's about the challenge, about getting as big as they possibly can.

Who cares about symmetry? Who cares about physical attractiveness?  Who cares about what other bodybuilders think?

Size is all that matters.

Aug 15, 2017

The Bygone Boys of Lake City, Tennessee

I was interested in this photograph from the Bygone Boys tumblr blog, originally from the Tennessee State Library Department of Conservation: two boys with nearly identical faces, one shirtless, facing each other.

The caption says that they are Frank and Bill Burton of Lake City, Tennessee, with their pet deer Bucky, July 1952.

Here's another picture of Bill Burton and Bucky.

There's another picture in the archive of Mrs. William Charles Burton outside her cabin near Norris Dam, with her sons Dan Ray (age 6) and Joe Mack (age 3) and their pet deer "Bucky."  Photo taken in June 1952.

I'm guessing they're Frank and Bill's cousins (not brothers -- Dan Ray's obituary doesn't mention them).

That deer really got around.

Lake City, Tennesee, about 25 miles north of Knoxville, was originally named Coal Creek.  It became Lake City in 1936, after the construction of the Norris Dam created Norris Lake.  In 2014 it changed its name to Rocky Top, to take advantage of the popular country-western song which glamorizes moonshine, wild sex, and shooting outsiders (also used as the University of Tennessee fight song).

William Burton is a very common name, so the only other likely piece of information I could find about him was from the Lakeville Town Crier in 1956: he had been transferred from Fairbanks to Nome, Alaska.

He was about 20 years old.  There was no U.S. military base in Nome in 1956, so what job did he have that got him a transfer?

After that, the leads dry up.

But I did find Joe Mack Burton, Bill's "cousin," living in Moose Pass, Alaska, a town of 200 on the Kenai Peninsula, consisting of a few lodges,  restaurants, and a "Trading Post."

In those days you often moved to where you had relatives to stay with.  So apparently when Joe Mack grew up, after his older brother died, he followed his older cousin Bill to Alaska, where they went camping, hiking, hunting, and fishing, and maybe opened a hunting lodge.

No wives are listed for either of them.  Doubtless they preferred the world of men.

The Kid Named Moosie

How could you not like a kid named Moosie?

Born in 1964, Moosie Drier was a force to be reckoned with during the 1970s and 1980s.

1. He appeared everywhere.  He had recurring roles a kid-regular on the hip variety show Laugh-In (1971-73) and as Howard Borden's son on The Bob Newhart Show (1972-77).   Plus guest shots on The Waltons, Adam-12, Police Story, Chips, the A-Team, and Hunter. Plus movies: American Hot Wax, Homeward Bound, Hollywood Knights.

2. He was well-known to kids, due to his string of after-school specials, weekend specials, school break specials, and special treats (short, "relevant" dramas aimed at a preteen or early teen audience).  Unfortunately, though sometimes his characters are gay-vague, more often they are paired with a girl..

 Runaway (1974): a streetwise boy assists a runaway teenage girl.
Hewitt's Just Different (1977): a teenage boy befriends a mentally retarded peer.
 If I'm Lost, How Come I Found You? (1978): a runaway orphan finds a surrogate Dad.
The House at 12 Rose Avenue (1980), with Chris Petersen: a white boy befriends a black family.
Student Court (1985): a student court tries a shoplifter.

3. He was especially well-known to gay kids, because of cute smile, cool hair, and total inability to keep his shirt on.

4. He was well-known to adults because he worked with nearly every comedy legend in the business, including George Burns, Tim Conway, Cloris Leachman, Jay Leno, and Dean Jones. And those he didn't work with, he played: Mickey Rooney in Rainbow (1978).

5. He remains especially well known to gay adults, because of his frequent voice over and dialogue work on gay-friendly projects such as American Beauty (1999) and 40 Days and 40 Nights (2002).

Some of his recent work includes The Book of Life (which sounds like a fundamentalist Christian tract, but is actually a heroic fantasy), The Comeback Kids (about former child stars), and The Fur is Gone (behind the scenes at the Actors Co-Op in Hollywood).

He's also been doing theater, including Tennessee Williams' gay-subtext Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Here's a 2016 photo.  He's with Erin Murphy of Bewitched at a Christmas tree decorating benefit for A Minor Consideration.

I don't know if Moosie is gay or not, but there's no wife listed on imdb or wikipedia.

Aug 14, 2017

Joe Dempsie: From Gay Skin to Gladiator

The two boys checking out each others' packages are Chris and Max (Joe Dempsie, Mitch Hewer) of the British teen drama Skin (2004-2007), which was controversial for its portrayal of teenage nudity, and sex.  Max is gay, and Chis is straight, but a sexual opportunist, up for anything that will help him accomplish his devious plans.

The actors are friends in real life, both Straight but Not Narrow.  Mitch Hewer has played gay characters several times, and Joe has played a gay teenager in the British radio play Once Upon a Time (2010), and several gay-subtext characters.

1. Clive on an episode of Doctor Who.

2. Will, an old friend of Merlin's

The villain John in The Fades is heterosexual, but at least he gets naked.

From 2010 to 2013 he played Gendry in the heroic fantasy series Game of Thrones.   He didn't expressed any romantic interest in anyone for many episodes, giving gay fans the opportunity to "read" him as gay.  But it was a "tease."  Gendry eventually fell in love with a woman.

Philipp Danne: Teen Horror Hunk

Born in 1985, Philipp Danne is well-known in Germany as a hunk with a chiseled physique who specializes in horror movies: his characters encounter zombies and monsters, a virus that turns you into a zombie, and a few psycho-slashers.

  Hunks in horror movies usually spend so much time falling in love with women before, during, and after the crisis that men are either irrelevant or competitors, but Philipp seems to be surrounded by male friends instead.  And he's had time for a few especially intense gay subtexts in his non-horror related roles:

Klaus, best friend of class bully Diego (Martin Dimant) in The School Trip (2004).

Robert Greinier, the high school swimmer who competes with Rico (Fredrick Lau) and is killed in Freischwimmer (2007).

I haven't seen the Finnish film Black Ice (2007), about a heterosexual romantic triangle, but rumor has it that Philipp plays a gay-vague character (not one of the triangle participants).

Der Mann auf dem Baum (2011): about unmarried father Hans (Jan Josef Liefers) buddy-bonding with the college student Martin (Philipp) after they collide in a skateboarding accident.  They team up to prevent Hans' son from being taken away to Denmark.

And that's not including his tv work.

Aug 13, 2017

Lion Boy's Incredible Changing Age

Not the boy from L'Enfant Lion (1993), a movie directed by  Patrick Grandperret.  This is a weird Tarzan clone from the Golden Age of comic books.  He appeared in 16 issues of Hit Comics between 1940 and 1942, but never got a cover.

Lion Boy has a traditional Tarzan back story: parents killed when their plane crashed in the jungle, raised by lions. Ok, he was raised by lions -- that's why he wears a leopard skin loincloth (sometimes).

How long ago was that plane crash, exactly?  Lion Boy varies tremendously in size.  Sometimes he stands waist-high to the adults, and sometimes he's taller.

And in muscularity: sometimes he's buffed, sometimes not.

And in hair and loincloth-color.

Not just betwen stories: between panels.  Here he seems to have aged from about 6 to about 16 in ten seconds.

Now he is a tall, slim young adult, and his loincloth has changed into yellow shorts.

George Tuska (1916-2009) wrote the script under the pen name Merton Holmes.  He worked on many classic books, including Crime Does Not Pay, Captain Marvel, The Incredible Hulk, Ka-Za, Superboy, The Teen Titans, and Iron Man.

Guess he was too busy to use a model sheet.

Physique-Watching at the County Fair

I've been to three county fairs in the last month.  Not that I'm complaining -- they're a major source of summertime beefcake, as well as a fascinating glimpse into a different world.

Fairs originated in the Middle Ages, when most people engaged in sustenance farming, and brought their excess into town to trade for items they might need.

By the 19th century, most people were buying from professional merchants, and fairs became a place to see the latest agricultural equipment and techniques, and compete over the best produce and livestock.

There were state fairs beginning in the 1830s, and county fairs in the 1870s (international expositions of industry and commerce were called worlds' fairs in the 1880s).

Eventually there were carnival-type rides and games, musical acts, races, and other activities, and fairs became a place for fun rather than business.

Nazarenes weren't allowed to go to fairs -- places of sin and corruption -- and of course in gay neighborhoods you wouldn't be caught dead at the heteronormative nuclear-family gun-toting beer-swilling redneck fest -- so I didn't go to any until I moved to the straight world in 2005.

They are, indeed, full of nuclear families and gun-toting, beer-swilling rednecks, but don't let that dissuade you.  The opportunities for physique watching are endless.

1. Those nuclear family dads are often built, and wearing muscle shirts (it's always a hot day, and fairgrounds offer no shade).

2. The beer-swilling rednecks are often hot, too, in a seedy, rough-trade way.

3. Fair employees and volunteers, always buffed young men.  They don't take their shirts off often, but you can see some tight shirts and tighter jeans.

4. Groups of teenagers and college boys.  They don't take their shirts off, either, but they often wear those shirts with no sides, so you can get a side-glimpse of their chests.

5. Hang around the livestock exhibits to see farmboys who have won awards for their sheep, goats, cows, pigs, and horses (this is how everybody displays their goats, with face against crotch.  I don't know why).

Can you imagine what it's like to live on a farm, taking care of animals every day, taking a bus 5 miles into town to go to high school?  For city folk, it's a completely alien world.

But nowadays have smartphones and wi-fi, so they're as connected to the wide world as the rest of us.

 6. Don't forget that there are other gay guys in the straight world, who come to the county fair for physique watching.

See also: Summertime Beefcake at the County Fair


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