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Thursday 26 June 2014

A-Z of Fetish Artists - Takeshi Matsu

As a Japanese comic book artist Takeshi Matsu poses similar access problems (language, culture etc) as those I discussed in my first Tagame article, but to a lesser degree because his stories are far simpler and less nuanced and English translations are plentiful. They are considerably less challenging in content than Tagame, but still have some interesting fetish elements.

In 'Prowler' a would-be burglar is surprised and overpowered by the man who lives in the property. This scene setting picture (below, left) is similar to, but rather less sexily imagined than Tom of Finland's treatment of the same subject (below, right).

     Left: Takeshi's Burglar in 'Prowler '                                                Right: Tom of Finland's Burglar

 If you compare the characterisations of the two pairs of men, the balance of power and likely outcome is deliciously ambiguous in Tom's picture, but seems more cut and dried in Takeshi's. His occupant of the house even has a handy piece of binding cord to hand (or to mouth I should say!)

Takeshi Matsu - Scene from 'Prowler'

The burglar gets tied up and in this frame, his trousers are removed on the pretext of searching for ID (yeah, right!). Thereafter one thing leads to another in a pretty conventional manner (with the odd twist). This image depicting the burglar's unexpected (only by him!) de-bagging is nicely composed, note the suggestive positioning of the hand. Clever details like the muscle vest, the burglar's everyday underwear and the trainers tell us a lot about the two men and give just enough erotic flavour to launch the reader's libido.

His characters are depicted using the distinctive style of the genre with spiky hair, small snub noses, highlighted cheeks and crudely drawn (if expressive) mouths. It's all drawn with lines that seem rather thin (and occasionally indistinct). I have tended to think of it as a specifically Japanese style but it's actually not dissimilar to the way Ajay drew 'Harry Chess' back in the 80's. It's not particularly sensuous or masculine in feel and the expressionistic, lean drawing technique means details and faces, like the burglar's here, can be quite hard to 'read' sometimes.

 Takeshi Matsu - Kane from  'Rugby Dormitory 204'

This image shows what Takeshi can do with faces when he wants to (compare with Tagame's portrait of 'Ohashi' from my recent article Tagame Part 4). His treatment of light and shadow is marvellously simple, there's no gradation of the shading, just 4 separate 'colours' in blocks - and look how cleverly the hair is done with essentially just 2 colours. This slightly daft story relates to 'size' rivalry between rugby players in a room share. 'Kane' a handsome and resolutely straight beast discovers to his surprise that he has an admirer keen to help him realise his full potential. (The two main bubbles in the picture are reflective 'thinks' rather than speech).

 Takeshi Matsu - Secret Tape, bondage scene

There are more rugby players fooling around in 'Secret Tape' and the fall guy for their practical joke (shown here beginning to have doubts) is a splendid, erotically-idealised rendering of the fuller figure we often associate with that sport. The economy of line here is impressive but it's quality makes me yearn for a more realistic representation of the face. At least the blindfold (unusually) helps normalise to the image.

  Takeshi Matsu - Secret Tape, self sucking scene

You can pretty much get the gist of the whole plot from this image and understand the 'Secret Tape' of the title. The ability of this chunky man to perform self-fellatio (and with his arms tied behind too) is a less than believable proposition (as the onlooker's expression confirms) and yet it's still convincing visually. Quite an achievement, one that compares favourably with some of Tagame's efforts to show contorted chunky bodies. I like the drawing of the feet in this picture which captures that baby-like cuteness which big men sometimes exhibit. It's a terrific submissive pose and fetish fans would find it easy to visualise this and the previous image forming part of a much darker storyline.

Takeshi Matsu - Courier Spirit, gag loosening

In 'Courier Spirit', an old man on his final delivery job before retirement and his young protégé, are both taken captive by brigands who want to present their leader with a plaything. Their blood-curling threat to cut the captives' arm and leg tendons so they can never, ever, escape, is worthy of Tagame, but in Takeshi's world it remains just a threat. The efforts of the friends to free each other's bonds using only their mouths provides a nice, erotic interlude of awkward, bodily closeness that embarrasses the younger man - and arouses him.

Takeshi Matsu - Courier Spirit, wrist rope loosening

The old man is not as supple as he once was and in order to reach and chew through the ropes tying his comrade's wrists, he needs to assume a rather indelicate position (above). This intimacy and the grave peril they are in eventually provokes a declaration of admiration and love from the younger man. Afterwards they discover the brigands have been poisoned by eating salted roe stolen from their load which is not yet ready for consumption. I had a dig at Tagame for unconvincing representation (agewise) of Ohashi the student in Pride and I must say that in this piece Takeshi's 'old man' looks pretty good for his supposed age. Even allowing for shorter life expectancy in olden times. Must be something to do with the outdoor life – or the salt roe!

Despite their dramatic plot lines, Takeshi's stories have a gentle, romantic flavour and a wry humour which is quite pleasing. Like Tagame, his plots are generously flavoured and spiced by the character's conservative attitudes to sex, and their strong sense of propriety, privacy and embarrassment, but it's all a lot milder. Men trying their best to be 'M-E-N' but not always succeeding. I'm not much enamoured of the generic drawing style he uses, but his technical ability is undoubtedly of a high order even if the requirements of comic book production allow us only glimpses of it.

It's easy to find this artists work via search engines but I've not been able to locate a site I can positively identify as belonging to Takeshi Matsu, if any of you can help me with a link please use the comments facility.

For previous articles in this 'mitchmen' series click on the A-Z label below

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