This handsome devil defiantly, nay, provocatively, facing the firing squad is modelled on a comic book hero called 'The Mighty Foo', who bravely flirted with death in the cause of 'right'. This artist was inspired by the character and adopted the name as his own 'nom de guerre'. His homoerotic, military images gel nicely with my on-going 'War Comics' series.
Foo furnishes his own 'hero in trouble' with sensuous muscularity and erotic appeal.
Clothing is often the bête noire of render artists, but that doesn't matter when it is used as imaginatively as this. The baggy fit actually highlights the sexy, torso 'window' drawing attention to the captive's nudity beneath his uniform.
Little surprise then that his captors are not content to simply detain him......
...... but also feel empowered to use and energetically abuse him.
Even a hero knows fear in such extremity and it's skilfully depicted here.
Fear and it's consolation in sex is the key to understanding Foo's Art.
|The Mighty Foo - A Hero's Fate|
The penetration shown a couple of pictures back is actually a relatively unusual scene in Foo's art. He favours the torment of prisoners by hand and mouth. Like Amalaric, Foo makes much use of the X-restraint but his men are totally suspended not left standing on the
Securing the captive in this frame, one limb at a time, would be an interesting process and the resulting 'flying pose' makes for an extraordinarily sexy coupling. It seems like we can see the captive's mounting, sexual tension in his squirming surrender to the seducer's tongue. At the same time he must be wondering why they are doing this to him.
This is a more recent picture and the hero's muscularity is leaner and more deeply etched than the handsome devil we started with. His shorts seem thick but loose-fitting, allowing easy access.
The Handsome Devil is tied to a post for his dose of the treatment. He's totally naked and blindfolded, utterly defenceless but astonishingly masculine as he's drawn in a intimate and inappropriate act. His flagpole response to being handled is probably more a measure of his humiliating capitulation than his enthusiasm for the process. The glimpse a uniform tells us he's in the grip of a powerful, insensitive organisation but the soldier's youthful appearance gives the impression that this is part of their military training, learning how to handle and degrade once-proud captives.
Foo explores many variations of this sexy, forced milking scenario in his imagery.
This version features a sensitive-looking, bespectacled soldier with a youthful, willowy and deliciously muscular torso. Lacking a blindfold, his eyes are able to engage with those of his tormentor creating a moment of searching intimacy, but you sense his confusion and doubt about all this. Dismayingly, the soldier stares back at him with determined, smug purpose. His expression is utterly devoid of affection or even desire. He has a job to do and his gratification will come from finishing it successfully. For the victim there's little option to resist, he can only endure it and wonder what comes next
Foo identifies this bespectacled character as an avatar of himself and that casts an interesting light on this image. He imagines himself as the captive of an impersonal force, manipulated and abused by it's obedient minions and facing the threat of a terrible, ultimate fate.
Strangely enough, there's little sense of 'different sides' or enemies confronting each other in these images. The victims and perpetrators wear different combinations of military clothing but it's hard to tell if their uniforms are actually different. In fact Foo sometimes specifies that these men are colleagues in the same unit and that is the case in the next picture.
This image shows the punishment of an army Captain and his lover (presumably a man from the lower ranks). Not everyone would see this as a punishment, I suppose, but the humiliation of a public milking by your own colleagues is certainly intended as such. Any buddy punishment scenario conjures up an extra sense of helplessness for the captives, as they are both deprived of a primary avenue of rescue. Their youth and muscularity makes for a masculine beauty that tugs at our heart-strings - and other bits.
Taken out of context, this image makes a damning statement about oppressive attitudes to homosexuality in the military, with more than a hint of the attendant hypocrisy, illustrated by task masters performing their role with bare chests. Just keeping their uniforms clear of flying fluid of course (yeah right)!
The debris strewn around the captives feet in many of these images creates an atmosphere of chaos and insecurity, like a war zone. The damaged wall behind them suggests anything might happen next. Such is the world of the oppressed.
Foo's is a strange world in which men accept or even welcome death as the ultimate heroic sacrifice, whether for love, guilt, duty or patriotic reasons. An image like this is normally the stuff of atrocities, but Foo inverts it to become an expression of fate, of karma.
Foo's avatar is again playing out that fantasy of heroic self-sacrifice, or at least the threat of it. He puts himself at the mercy of a muscular and manly superior. The highly structured and precisely-ordered, all-male world of military service surrounds and imprisons them, invisible but inescapable.
In images like this the victim's words don't simply represent him offering himself up for punishment, he's also urging the Officer to do his duty and giving him permission to do so. Thus, in a way he's equally in control and forges a bond of humanity (and dare I say love?) with his nemesis.
This idea of karma is developed into a formal military code in the story of 'Parabatai'. Urban Dictionary defines Parabatai as warriors who fight together and have a special, unbreakable bond of love that strengthens them in battle. In Foo's story, the Parabatai serves the entire unit as a comforting, sexual slave and a surrogate for any punishments they earn as a group. Like a regimental mascot he is treasured by them, but it's a role which ultimately extends to ritual sacrifice as the Officer explains.....
We've seen that there's a disturbing, homoerotic intimacy in many of these chilling images, but 'The End Of The Patrol' has a coldness all it's own. It echoes the horror of arbitrary POW executions and civilian massacres that we tend to associate with WW2, but they are as old as time and still occur regularly today in every conflict.
These three are regular Foo characters, they all appear (to suffer and be reborn) in other works by him and he even gives them names - Dogface* (left), Blondie (centre) and his own bespectacled avatar whose presence (to my mind) gives the group and their plight an ambiguous association with being gay.
Regardless of that, there's something deeply unsettling in seeing them all assembled together as a group destined for ruthless despatch, the agents of which they can see before them. Strung up and helpless they await their fate and it's as though something in the very soul of their creator is in danger of being extinguished too.
*dogface is also a slang term for a US Infantryman from WW2
The Mighty Foo has been around quite a while and like a Scarlet Pimpernel of extreme, fetish art he pops up in different places from time to time, then disappears again leaving hardy any traces behind him except admirers seeking him everywhere. The reason for this wandering is to be found in his subject matter - a preoccupation with depicting death and in particular the idea that violent demise triggers an involuntary sexual response in the victim.
Spilling blood is not really my cup of tea but Foo's images of his heroes meeting their demise are memorable and almost tasteful. Some are astonishing and spectacular. Not a comfortable view but morbidly fascinating. They are certainly no worse than the bloody killings that gratuitously punctuate many Hollywood films and his of course use imaginary renders, not real people. Unfortunately they are still too graphic and provocative for me to include in this blog. You can seek them out, if you wish, at the link given below.
In more recent imagery shown here the sexual undercurrent is usually sign-posted by the
ritual of (partially) undressing the victims and sometimes their direct stimulation by guards. In some of those storylines, surrendering to ejaculation is the signal for their execution to take place as though it were confirmation of their guilt or weakness - or is the draining cruelly denying them consolation in their final moments? It's easy to dismiss this simply as crude sadism but plainly there are complex motivations going on. The element of self-identification suggests there's much more to this obsession. More than I can unravel.
'Experiment 13' extends the auto-ejaculation fantasy into the world of science fiction. It envisages captured Prisoners of War being systematically harvested in front of a firing squad in the belief that their milk acquires special qualities in these circumstances. The complex milking equipment seen here puts most of my 'Milking Factories' in the shade. You couldn't ask for a more graphic example of perverted science and ruthless zealots abusing and exploiting innocent men.
In 'respectable' circles, violence is OK, sex is OK, but linking them - even in fantasy - is taboo. Consequently artists like Foo, Bondageskin and Greasetank are forced into the margins. Unfortunately their less provocative images tend to go with them. You may not like the violent and morbid extremes of Foo's work but I hope I've shown here that there's plenty of other marvellous 'hero in danger' imagery to enjoy.
Continued in Part 2
You can also see his work in TheMightyFoo at Fetlife
(it's a social media site for sharing fetishes and you have to join but it's free)
He provides a useful commentary for some of the entries
Notice (for search purposes) that he spells his name as one word.