Friday, February 26, 2010

Tom of Finland

From 1987-89

Nearly every gay man I know has encountered the images of Touko Laaksonen, sometimes early in their life, and had a physical reaction. I knew of his images long before I came out as a gay man and combined with Richard Corbin's "Den" stories in Heavy Metal magazine, I can say encountering them was an awakening for me...and I don't just mean physically. Mine is a sketch of a famous Tom of Finland tableau I found in an art history book in the college library. I think I wanted to see how well I could copy the tonal qualities of the original, because I am not usually drawn to leathermen bikers as a rule. Alas, I have very little patience when I am drawing, so this remains a hint of the original.


  1. I love the happiness of his TOF's drawings, it was really inspiring as a young man. Of course Den was amazing on many levels. Its good to see that Corbin is still doing comics, but they are of uneven quality and I think it has to do with the fact that his natural erotic nature is being stifled.

  2. Eh, perhaps. Corbin is not that great a storyteller (cuts too many corners, IMO), but he renders skin with the same smooth quality that ToF has, so they stick together in my mind. Den also had that "natural superman" complex that was so much a part of ToF. I do like that ToF always juxtaposed the hyper-butch with a tenderness that you don't see in many other places. Also, I encountered them about the same time and represent to me that period in the late Seventies (1978-80) when the "party" was getting good, right before it all went south with Reganomics.