To my readers......

This blog only exists because we have Freedom of Expression.
That's why Charlie Hebdo is important to us.

Your comments are always welcome.
Thanks for visiting mitchmen!

(Jan 23 2015)

Monday, 17 August 2015

Ulf Retrospective 2004 (Dangerous Marine)

Ulf's 'Dangerous Marine' series is based on a story by 'Rimpig' about two Marines who hook up in a bar after discovering a mutual interest in sleazy sex. An S&M encounter follows. If you read the story it is all about extending limits and experiences but is entirely consensual. Ulf's images seen in isolation cannot convey all these qualifications of course and can seem rather more edgy.

Ulf takes the trouble to illustrate the initial meeting between the two men in a fairly lengthy, introductory sequence of pictures which gives little clue of what is to come. Both men appear fairly ordinary in their behaviour in these pictures, but in the narrative the man telling the story is struck by the impression of danger and devilishness in his new acquaintance. He is no beginner in these things himself and their negotiation in the bar is very earthy and frank - as you might expect from the author's non-de-plume. The men are still both fully clothed of course but Ulf ensures that their musculature underneath is very much apparent.

The two men adjourn to a motel and the action opens with a less than romantic beer-recycling sequence (above) which establishes the 'Dangerous Marine' as being 'in charge'.

Ulf successfully conveys the eagerness of the new recruit to obey his sleazy orders.
A somewhat Gothic bed lurks in the background 

There's a surprise in store as the Dangerous Marine (deviating somewhat from his supposedly 'dangerous' persona) diligently produces a  waterproof sheet from his bag to protect the mattress. He then ties down his sub, spreadeagled on top of it. We can hardly see the pick-up in this image and that captures the sense that he is no longer an active participant. The upward view portrays him as though spread on a sacrificial altar, completely helpless. He has allowed his freedom to drain away to a complete stranger who has clearly meticulously prepared for this bondage scene. We now focus on him carefully ensuring that all will now accord to his plan.

The sub's trial proceeds with tit-clamping and cock-binding culminating in a session with the mini-flogger. It's designed to sting and thrill rather than cause damage but he soon discovers it is painful enough when applied to vulnerable places! 
His response is defiance and excitement.
Ulf images don't quite capture this battle of wills.

He does capture the subs excitement however as the Marine climbs aboard to enjoy some tenderised meat. Ulf's cock-binding is not exactly as described in the story but it's a visual treat.

The first kiss eventually arrives, but it's under the guise of a tasting session after the sub's face has been liberally odourised with butt skunk. The intimidating weapon and bullets on the side table do not actually feature in the written story and are probably metaphors for the obvious sexual acts in the offing. However, the sudden surfacing of this imagery combined with the sub's seeming discomfort at his predicament gives this picture an unexpected, distinctly sinister flavour. 

If you saw this picture in isolation, it might make you think of a homoerotic 'Home Alone' scenario.

Ulf captures the fleeting, romantic moment of romance. The Marine demonstrates his strength and power as he releases the sub from his ropes and picks him up bodily
 - but it's only to turn him over and the poor man is immediately re-secured, 
face down on the rubber sheet.

The sub's newly exposed buns are an irresistible target for more punishment.
Ulf turns to comic art techniques to focus our attention on the evidence of a severe spanking. 

The Marine soon returns to his flogger, using it freely on the restrained man's back
and leaving him squirming helplessly.

Finally he relieves his excitement in the usual way, but there's a distinctly triumphal feel to the way Ulf portrays this moment, with little sense of mutual enjoyment.

The Dangerous Marine signs off with a general hosing down 
which links back nicely to the opening scenes.

The two men end up the best of friends.


While the 56 images that make up this series are not all necessarily Ulf's best, there are some gems amongst them and sheer act of sustained creation is no mean achievement. Set together they create a coherent and powerful storyline capable of standing on it's own without the accompanying narrative. Indeed Ulf seems to go further than Rimpig's story at times, as though taking to heart that 'Dangerous Marine' title which is not really borne out in the original story.

Ulf's series does not encompass the entire span of Rimpig's story which after the initial episode wades into fairly deep waters about war and it's consequences. Ulf chose to just deal with the initial sexual encounter treating it a bit like a porn video. In that respect this series builds on the 'Buddy System' series of 2002 which depicts a similar brief (but vanilla) episode. His interest in the detailed, gradual progression of sexual sessions between men resurfaces in later years too. It contrasts quite oddly with his ability shown elsewhere to tell stories in a single picture.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Ulf Retrospective - 2004

Ulf - Dangerous Marine (title page)
The highlight of Ulf's work in 2004 has got to be 'Dangerous Marine', a series of 56 illustrations for an S&M pick-up story by 'RimPig'. The sheer size of this project may have impacted the rest of his work in this year which is less exciting than usual. I intend to cover 'Dangerous Marine' in more detail in the second part of this article. 
Ulf - Title Unknown 
Ulf produced a number of works in this fuzzy photographic style in 2004 and although I like the end result it looks like an adapted photograph and it's hard to tell how much artistic input is attributable to him alone. He certainly doesn't credit anyone else. The close-cropped, close-up format is most untypical of his work. 
Ulf - Shall We Begin?
This is probably one of the better known pieces from this year and harks back to earlier years in some ways with the sinuous, almost feminine pose of the broad-hipped Top who displays some rather suspect fashion sense. It makes a striking contrast with the conventional and quite striking masculinity of his captive. In popular fiction, these kinds of coquettish, 'gay' mannerisms are often associated with ruthless cruelty. As is often the case with Ulf, the title enhances the story of the picture (and it's a great shame titles so often get lost in Internet circulation). It's couched in the elegant language of genteel society, seeming to amplify the innate superiority of the Top and suggesting an element of formal ritual with preordained roles. It adds up to a rather intimidating threat and we somehow know that the captive is not an equal partner in this arrangement.

Ulf - You're Next
Ulf's method of artistic creation is particularly amenable to devising multiple character and orgy scenes. There's a long tradition of detailed, moralistic story telling in a single, complex picture (think for example of Bosch, Hogarth).  I wouldn't suggest Ulf's work equals these masters but there's a similar melange of chaos, debauchery and punishment at the centre of this picture (with a hint of greater sadism in the waiting cross).

Notice how no-one here is facing the viewer, we are on the outside looking in. At first sight it seems that the orgy is also being witnessed from the outside by two lovers, one whispering in the ear of the other as though urging him to join in, a very classical temptation scene in other words. However, the title of the picture disabuses us of this misconception, this young man has already sold his soul and will do as he is told from now on. Whether you think there's a 'moral' here is up to you, but it makes you wonder if those old masters were warning against immorality - or celebrating it!
Ulf - Title Unknown 
The bowie knife seen lurking in Ulf's 2001 work returns in this predicament scene with an edge (!)  It's an erotic adaptation of the ancient tale of the 'Sword of Damocles', recounted by Cicero. That story was about the constant fear of attack which goes with power but Ulf's is a parable of obedience and endurance in the face of pain and danger. The sub's powerful arousal in response to his predicament is likely to earn him more of the same. Ultimately though the threat posed by the knife is not entirely convincing, despite the glint on the blade suggesting it's extreme sharpness (and who'd want to damage this hunk?) But it's still a memorable image.

There's another image in this year where the knife is used to coerce an unwilling sexual partner but it's too near the knuckle for this blog.

Ulf - Screw Machine
An even more sophisticated predicament, albeit one that has become quite familiar in the years since this was drawn, via the videos of ButtMachineBoys. Ulf's version comes with the bonus of an operator and bondage for added compulsion. The mechanics of the machine are not entirely convincing but the pose of the tied up 'pokee' is nicely erotic, although it's a disappointment for me that the pressure on his scrotum is entirely self-induced and voluntary.

The overseer leaves him too it, standing to one side and passing up the opportunity for a bit of mischief. In fact he appears to be subconsciously fingering his missing wrist watch, as though bored or late for an appointment. Perhaps he's figuring how long it will take him to go and get the electrical leads he forgot to bring with him for the controller on the side table. Joking aside, there's a sense of incompleteness in the concept here.

Ulf's original title might shed some light on this, I rather doubt mine is correct. It looks too as though someone has adjusted the colouring of this image away from Ulf's customary darkened, orange-y hues. That may have clarified the detail but has also deadened the atmosphere. 
Compare with the picture below.

Ulf - All Mine
 Ulf uses his lighting skills to the full in this romantic, kidnap fantasy, bathing the scene in warm light and conjuring up a sunny, idyllic, tropical paradise outside the window. It's nice to see a hairy torso celebrated for a change and the theme of an older man taken captive would gratify the fantasies of many a yearning boy - and a few older ones too, no doubt. It's not without it's poignant side, reflected in the shabby, neglected location necessarily chosen for the victory ceremony.

I like Ulf's parody of the captive as saintly martyr. It's not clear whether he is horrified by the assault upon his person or by his own reaction too it. The light of heaven is being unhelpful today, falling on both victim and perpetrator and cheerfully illuminating their sinful act.

to be continued
(To read these articles from the beginning start with Ulf Retrospective part 1

Ulf has a blog The Ulfian which is an interesting mix of his art, political comment and selected porn.
There's also an Ulfian fan club on Google Groups which you have to join (but it's free). 
The older Fan Club on Yahoo! Groups seems to be inactive now.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Real Men Ride The Wedge at Bound Gods

I recently stumbled across this early example of the Bound Gods 'mini-wedge'
(previously shown being used on Trey Turner).

This 2008 video "Ring The Bell" (don't ask!) is probably better remembered for a lengthy sequence illustrated above with Park Wiley suspended and roped to a massive wooden block across his shoulders. 

Wiley spends just a few minutes astride the wedge but it produces some excellent imagery as Tober Brandt first flogs him (top image) and then gets romantic (above)

Events take a surprising turn when Tober climbs aboard himself to share the wedge, giving us a cheek splitting view which makes me wonder how I ever forgot this piece! 

These two have got their feet on the ground (for genuine Health and Safety reasons, unlike the memorable Cody Allen Classic in this genre). The implied sharing of both punishment and lust here would be a classic S&M image were it more convincingly executed. I'm happy to make do with Tober's buns though.

 The scene ends with the symbolic removal of Wiley's mask (and I for one am glad to see it go) allowing a nice intimate moment.

Click on the wedge label below for other articles in this series.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

You're Going Down! - 5 final

Blue Blazes - Prison Law

Any prisoner fortunate enough to have a safe cell to himself, or to share it with an undemanding cell-mate, is nevertheless still liable to assault in shared, secluded areas of the prison, like the communal toilets - as shown in the previous post and in the Blue Blazes picture above. This fate is particularly likely if the unfortunate inmate has offended those who rule the roost in these parts. The artist authentically includes an accomplice carrying out the necessary role of keeping a look-out for the guards, although he seems to have quite sensibly posted himself in a position where he can see all the action as well

DgerzeeBoy - Jail Lust

DgerzeeBoy's lookout takes his responsibilities more seriously but still manages to look cool. One would imagine this hunk must be popular with the other inmates, who wants to share his cell? At the other end of the scale, the emotion of the poor convict getting a ragging is depicted in equally impressive manner. This is one of my favourite artists, he does terrific faces.
archive of DgerzeeBoy art 
(he doesn't seem to be on Renderosity or Renderotica anymore)


Rader - Prison Attack

Arguably the most scary prison attack of all the samples featured in this series. The prison bars rule out any chance of escape and the semi-cartoon-y faces do little to dispel the threatened horror. We are left to conjecture about motives but prison etiquette is complex and non-intuitive, easy to breach. The captive's well-coiffured hair and soft facial features might suggest just such naivety. But he's also a rather succulent, unusual tit-bit as jail-bait goes. There's a disguised clue to this more mundane explanation just over the captive's shoulder (see also 'hidden erotica' label).

Rader employs an interesting variety of styles in his work, this has a mid-20th century, boy's comic book look that seems to have rather innocent connections for this subject matter.

I also discuss this picture in my A-Z article on Brad Rader

Ryuji Prison Scene

Ryuji brings out the clandestine nature of these encounters even more powerfully. He shows the tight uniformity which is normally imposed on prisoners but is not very evident in the other images in this series. This element of men under discipline creates an entirely different atmosphere of camaraderie and shared experience. The lookout's hankering for a piece of the action illustrates this, there's no obvious suggestion of coercion here  - unless the Japanese script supplies it.

see My A-Z article on Matsugoroh
Etienne - Jail Cleaner

In sharp contrast to the intense, aggressive encounters depicted by other artists, Etienne's take on prison power is much less physical, more psychological and rather satisfying. This bully is almost aristocratic in his dominance and while the young puppy is humiliated, the other inmates carry on washing as though nothing is happening. It looks like the warden is going to be no help to him either. The natty tiling on the floor is an unexpected 'home from home' luxury for a prison, only a gay man could have drawn this! Etienne's crazy perspectives are down to this being a wall mural.

(My A-Z article on Etienne)

Link - Out of Solitary

And now for something completely different by the late and rather wonderful 'Link'.
There's clearly an established pecking order in this prison but no-one seems to mind as the alpha male is welcomed back from a spell in solitary by his dick-starved cell-mates. He seems entirely unabashed or chastened by his punishment which has probably enhanced his credentials in the eyes of his fellow convicts.

Link's hooped, chain-gang, prison garb and communal cells belong to a completely different age to our other exhibitors. They remind us of Summer Camp dormitories and POW detention centres where an entirely different, more civilised culture prevails among the inmates. Accordingly he populates them with lush muscularity and sensually slim young men ready and able to make the most of their judicial sentences.

My A-Z article on Link

In this series I have focused on the view of jail as an inescapable, dangerous place where fear reigns and sexual predators and dominant bullies do as they please, sometimes for quite inexplicable reasons. Some would see this as a microcosm (albeit exaggerated) of the real world and converting it to sexual fantasy - in all it's violent horror in some cases - is a classic psychological trick for coping with unpleasant reality and fears.
There are whole host of other images where the exploitation and abuse is inflicted not by fellow prisoners but by the Prison Guards themselves, the uniformed figures of state authority. This is a very different psychological scenario and I suspect appeals to a different psyche. It's a topic for a future article perhaps.

The Link example with which I closed above belongs to a third and entirely more optimistic group, where prison is seen as a place of opportunity, where men can pass their time of incarceration enjoying each other as a respite from (and in defiance of) the boredom and inconveniences of enforced discipline and institutional restraint. Some gay men have always lived this way - despite the considerable dangers sometimes.

Three different gay world views but in reality these are 3 slices cut from the same loaf of life, just buttered differently according to taste and situation. 

 Read this series from the start  

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

You're Going Down ! - 4

Kalabro - Sex in Prison

Kalabro's depiction of the intimidation and violence of prison life is very graphic indeed. This is a nightmare in the shower to rival 'Psycho'!. The power of these images owes a lot to the way Kalabro has drawn them, not just the subject matter and the words. He shows typically exaggerated, muscular legs, flailing helplessly in the first frame above and opened out wide in the second, they don't look realistic but they really underline what is going on. Compare the intensity of the interaction here and the sense of struggle with the highly polished but near-static tableau of my last post.

There's a degree of kinship with the drawings of 'The Hun' whose best images generate a similar sense of excitement - although he tends to rely more heavily on the words. The young convict waiting in the wings is very reminiscent of  that artist's long-suffering heroes - a tribute perhaps?

Kalabro is an very under-rated artist for my money
(see also my A-Z articles on Kalbro and 'The Hun')

Saturday, 18 July 2015

You're Going Down! - 3

Just came across this prison sex comic today, it neatly sums up the debate so far, although the philosophical analysis of whether the prisoners are really more free than their guards seems a trifle absurd in the circumstances.

Class Comics don't give much credit to their artists, it looks a bit like Logan

Thursday, 16 July 2015

You're Going Down! - 2

Second in a series on gay fantasies of jail life (see Part 1)


Prison Scene by HandsOn Studio

This picture seems to show an old lag irresistibly drawn to the younger man who is sharing his cell. One can imagine it's early morning and he's woken up feeling randy.  At this thoughtful moment we can't tell if the object of his desire is asleep or seductively surrendering to the investigation. He's younger but obviously old enough or he wouldn't be in the same cell. If you notice how he seems to have shaved his lower regions and how his gel-ruffled head hair is bleached a different colour to his armpits, you get the impression he's not an innocent either! 

I'd be glad of any information on this artist from my readers

 The Amir - Prison Bear

This young man's introduction to prison life is particularly comprehensive at the hands - and feet of a relaxed, hairy mentor. The young tearaway finally learning about discipline and obedience from an older, wiser and not unkindly man.

It's not obvious at first but there's an odd discontinuity between the upper body and legs of the bear in this picture. There's another disjunction between the left and right hand side of his body as well. The left side (as we look) seems to be leaning forward as though to restrain the younger man's hands behind his back. The right side, chin resting casually on fist, seems to be just enjoying his pupil's first attempts at servicing. The probing, groping feet at front and rear belong to two other distinct moments again. 

It's as though all these different actions at different stages of their encounter have been compressed into one image. As though the picture has evolved as it is being drawn, the artist imagining the scene progressing in his mind's eye and capturing it's development on paper. In this way he's succeeded in capturing time (possibly unwittingly). As our eyes travel round the picture we can recreate that changing scene for ourselves as our focus shifts from one element to another around the central kneeling, unchanging figure, which is the 'captive' recipient of all this attention. This multidimensional effect is not a million miles away from the aims of the experimental art of the Cubists and other early 20th century art movements, but it's much more accessible to us. 
Quite an achievement, even if it was unintentional!

Prison Scene by Telamon

It seems you don't have to be young to be propositioned in jail. This sweaty, hairy specimen doesn't look like he's an innocent - or a pushover either - but he's being intimidated here. It looks like he's being invited to do some cleaning up for his dark-skinned cell-mate and refusal is not going to be an option.

Much of Telamon's work is way too dark for this blog, but I like the atmosphere of this simple image. His CGI technique is not ultra-sophisticated but he cleverly uses perspective and the close up view of muscular body parts to enhance the impression of dominance and dangerous latent power in a claustrophobic, confined space. 
(But I can't resist pointing out the mild blooper with the bars, bottom left)

Prison Scene by Aztec Marco

 This artist gets down to the bare essentials, there's no sense of conflict here, in fact the warm colours are cosy and romantic, but if you study the faces it's a determined and raunchy encounter with satisfaction being demanded all round. The sparsely detailed cell creates a sense of quiet isolation but the cold light burning in the passage beyond is a reminder that this is purely temporary. 

This artist's economical and atmospheric CGI style is markedly different to Telamon's (above).

Michael Kirwan - Jail Time

The prison warders are never far away and these two seem to have waited until they were good and ready to interrupt this little amorous scene. Kirwan's depiction of their excitement is less than subtle, however. The restraining actions of the second guard suggests there may be an amicable outcome although the two prisoners can still expect to be given more hard time.

The blue highlights on the naked boys skins are a recognised academic highlighting technique. The blue is the complementary colour to the orangey tone of the flesh. They are visually linked. If you stare hard at a bright blue object and then look away you will see an orange 'after burn' of the image in your vision. You will see a similar technique used in still life paintings where a red apple is typically given green highlighting to accentuate it's colour contrast. I'm not sure the effect works here however!

 Xavier Gicquel - Jail Virgin

The warders are content to be enthusiastic spectators in this case. Few would want to tackle this tattooed and well-endowed hard case without good reason, particularly when his passions have been inflamed by illicit porn on his TV (illicit also?). Pity then the young innocent, whose clean, sporty looking trainers testify to his hitherto virtuous state, but who is about to get his first taste of the seamier side of prison.

Prison Art by Ephorox

Ephorox takes a more benign view of the lustful cellmate suggesting that beneath those scary haircuts and muscular bodies these boys are pussycats really.

 Esposito - Prison Punk 2

Even the bars of prison cannot contain the lust of lonely men, not sharing a cell is no guarantee of safety. Craig Esposito's account of a frustrated opportunist seizing his chance is full of drama but the mechanics of this coupling would be harder to execute than the image suggests!

Broderick Prison Scene

Broderick's version of the same scenario is slightly more realistic. It's a pretty picture with two cute guys in action and I love the underwear details. The pastel colouring is more reminiscent of a kids play area than a House of Correction but perhaps that makes their balancing on the prison grille as though it were a climbing frame entirely appropriate!

The saucy pin-up calendar on the wall tells us these guys are straight really, but suffering from a  lack of female company. It's also a reminder that they are in for a lengthy stretch without getting any. Interestingly, not one of the jail images I have used in this series to date includes lines chalked on the wall, a motif traditionally used in cartoons to mark off the interminable days of isolation. Obviously time flies when you have the right company!