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.
Continued with 2005
Continued with 2005
(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.