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Message updated 25th June 2023

Sunday 6 May 2018

Tom of Finland - Quiz Question Answered

A few days back I posed the question, where does this picture come from?
It's instantly recognisable as a Tom of Finland piece, but not very well known.

In fact this picture comes from the first of the Pekka stories - 'Loggers' (1975)

These 3 stories sit in the middle of the Kake series date-wise, but don't have quite the same whimsical, erotic punch as them. Told with text and a mixture of drawing styles ranging from simple line cartoons to coloured artwork, via conventional Tom photo-realism, they are less digestable and at the same time less substantial than Tom's other picture stories. For me, providing the lead character (Pekka) with rather ordinary thoughts and dialogue removes the air of mysterious, almost demonic mischief that attaches to Kake's speechless activities.

Tom - Loggers 10
 'Loggers' is actually a Kake-like story too, at heart, with the 'hero', Pekka, serially seducing a group of four brothers whom he discovers living in a remote, forest cabin (which you might loosely describe, I suppose, as a 'Goldilocks' scenario). There is a particularly good sequence where the wandering hero performs his first seduction on the youngest brother who's asleep in the bed next to him, awakening him to an unexpected intimacy (above).

 This is a quite well-known picture and a number of the more polished pictures from the Pekka series also circulate independently as regular Tom exhibits, but usually without being credited to the original books. Like the one below where Pekka arrives and introduces himself.

Tom - Loggers 07
This is justifiably seen as a classic Tom image capturing something of the erotic excitement that happens when like-minded men first meet. Notice how Tom practices his 'hidden eroticism' craft here with the suggestively-shaded leather insets in the visitor's jodpurs supplementing a modest mound. Also also the juxtaposition of the seated logger's beefy forearm, adjacent to his companion's crotch. In this pose they look as though they have just been caught doing something they shouldn't, the one with crossed arms looks particularly coy. These two brothers seem to be privately nudging legs at the arrival of this striking stranger.

The image I started this article with is not one of these well known pictures, possibly because naked orgies readily lose their identities and this one is not one of Tom's best. The figure in the long boots is not quite right but the couple fellating in the background right are very nicely done and, you will observe, one of them has a beard.

This was a beardie I missed in my survey of Tom's beards in 2016.
In the 'Loggers' story he plays the part of the quietest of the 4 brothers and is the last to succumb to Pekka's charm, but it turns out he requires a lot less seduction than the others who have already broken the ice (below).

This character is the last of a sequence of notable beardies that suddenly popped up in Tom's work in the early 70's, a phenomenon that I discussed in my original article. In this period Tom's occasional beardies were transformed from incompetent rogues into attractive, sexually desirable men. In some ways this picture represents the pinnacle of that transition, for this is really an admiring, erotic portrait of a bearded man, with a degree of maturity befitting his family position. He has a degree of male personality whereas the other characters in the background are just Tom clones, playing a supporting role and devoid  of individuality. If you look back at the first picture the same is true, only the bearded man in this group has a distinctive, eye-catching appearance. 

There's clearly something special behind this development in Tom's work. It's as though some individual has inspired Tom to suddenly take notice of this hirsute 'look'. We'll never know. In my updated article I consider the contemporary, cultural influences that may also have been partly responsible for this.

1 comment:

ChubChuck said...

- Sewer cleaner ???