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(Feb 18th 2018)

Monday, 29 August 2016

Tom of Finland's Beards - 2

(This is a re-issue of part 2 which Blogger originally managed to post out of sequence, 
part 3 will follow shortly )

Continued from part 1

The next appearance by a bearded man is in the rather bizarre Kake No 8 - The Hijacker, where he actually plays a leading role. It's as a villain again, the rather stylishly-dressed leader of the hijacking gang. Unfortunately he has a weakness for men in leather jackets. He forces Kake to service him at gunpoint but Kake seduces him and gives him his full treatment, thus distracting him long enough to save the passengers. (This was pre-9/11 of course when hijackers generally did not kill their hostages but just carted them off to remote runways). As in the previous incarnation as a thief, this villain has a very hairy body as well as a beard - and seems equally inept.

In Kake No 9 'Coq D'Or' (1971) there's a rather delightful cameo role for the the bearded character as a deliciously muscular, but rough-looking (dock?) worker who makes up a threesome briefly by taking advantage of Kake's unprotected ass whilst he is otherwise engaged with a French (?) Sailor. Unfortunately he is soon whisked off, being ear-tweaked by his indignant wife . I suppose it's a matter of opinion whether you see infidelity as a villainous role (interestingly Tom gives him a hairless torso). He certainly perpetuates the tradition of hapless bearded misadventurers.

This is the last beard appearance in the Kake series. However, the hairy bandit in 'Kake in the Wild West' much later on (1982) is also an inept villain and seems a bit of a throwback to this era, but with a makeover. He sports abundant stubble but not a true beard and his prolific body hair is also much more tidy compared with the bearded characters we've been looking at up until now. I can't work out if it's beards or bodily hairiness (or both) that Tom associates with incompetence and villainy. One of my older articles on Tom Sailors includes examples of a bullying sailor and an inept motorcyclist, both with hairy chests but not beards and it seems to represent a similar sort of ying and yang of masculinity - manly strength and boyish foolishness humiliated.

The bearded stereotype reappears in 1973, in one of the short-lived 'Mike' series of cartoons. He plays a smug-looking man, conspicuously well dressed. In other words an embodiment of conventionality. He allows himself to be seduced and sucked off by Mike while talking to his girlfriend (or wife) in a Public Telephone kiosk and happily allows a passing Sailor to join in, but makes off, narrowly escaping exposure when an indignant woman demands to use the phone.

Up to this time Tom only used bearded characters in his comic formats, not in his more polished and sensual pictures, which suggests he was more interested in them as characters rather than objects of desire to be laboured over in the creation process. This all changes in 1973 when there's a flurry of notable pictures. The beard is being rehabilitated from the role of outright villain, but it's not clear in the image above whether he's shed the role of moonlighting husband. For the first time here, he's simply cruising, seeking to hook up with a Kake-like biker who's fresh from another steamy encounter by the look of it. The beardie is once again notably well groomed and tidy, still somewhat straight-looking and conventional (an irresistible challenge!) but he actually seems to be starting to become a biker himself here, although not yet fully leathered up.

The transformation here is startling. He's even manging to distract 'Kake' from a stunning, black Adonis in this image. This is the first time where Tom fully expresses the beard character's 'beef-cake' credentials and the quality of the drawing tells you how much Tom cares about him. His relatively youthful appearance also signifies a sea-change in the way Tom see beards.

In this image, he fully sheds his recent image of respectability and becomes a fully fledged leather man. He even gets to take the lead in this memorable image of a woodland spanking ritual. If you look at the picture it really is as though the other bikers are standing aside and allowing him to take charge, somewhat to the consternation of the immobilised recipient who is perhaps reflecting anew on the rough, bad and masculine associations of this character which go back to Kake 2. Certainly the way he's flexing that belt promise no easy ride for the initiate.

continued in  part 3

For other Tom of Finland material click on the label below or consult my Index of Tom Articles

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