Huang Yulong, Chen Xiaoyun and Liu Xiaodong may not ring a bell straight away, but they are contemporary Chinese artists whose works also caught the attention of the western world. Yue Minjun is even very famous: everyone has at one time seen his creepy smiling self portraits. But Minjun uses a gimmick. One that eventually wears thin. And most of the other Chinese artists have succumbed to the nasty Concept Art virus.
Not Xue, he didn't.
The real beef Fiona MacCarthy had with artist Eric Gill is that he was a very religious man. But.
"A patriarch in the worst sense, he was. Even borrowed the clothes Abraham and Noah wore. Gill imagined himself god on earth."
At the same he gave his biblical subjects sharp edges. Good, in this he showed a quite sane kind of empathy with the 'unfathomable' God in Heaven.
I don't know in what faith Gill was raised, but as of 1913 he converted to Catholicism, and subsequently he took on spiritual assignments almost exclusively.
Eric Gill was a much awarded artist. Highly appreciated by the Roman Catholic church, too. His work decorates the BBC Broadcasting House, the European HQ of the United Nations in Geneva, the Westminster Cathedral and many other dwellings. He designed the famous Gill Sans font, too.
During the years between the two world wars Gill may have been a renowned artist, in our day and age he is considered an absolutely immoral man. 'Burn his linotypes, chip away his bas reliefs from facades!'
But do we really want that?
Suppose the paintings of Mr A. Hitler had been ravishingly beautiful and ground breaking in style and technique. Would we have said, 'he was the most evil, horrendous man of his time, let his art work be condemned and ignored' ?
Gee, what a moral dilemma.
All right, Gill was no Hitler. What was he, then?
welcome to my lair
take a chair and warm your feet
in the unquenchable fire
burn your clothes away you are
what I was forbidden
to create, groom and devour
don't hate this date
and me for loving you
in my cruel way
receive my blessings
down the pit of your throat
up the chimney of your arse
is joyless, from His point of view
a sanctified farce
welcome to my house
build from cooling lava
my bed of glowing coals
my name is what I briefly was
for which I lured you in, an angel
born to fall
So Jorge's figurines - 'Bossy Sculptures' - is basically harmless art. I'm sure the few nipples and bare bums and some suggestions of pubic hair won't send the world into hysterics.
Googling this name usually shows images of Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov, a famous artist from the 19th century whose works mostly feature religious themes. There is also an A. Ivanov who died in 1996 at the age of 46.
Of the third Alexander Ivanov no more is known than that he was born in 1962 in Kharkov, Ukraine. I favor him because he is more fun than the other two; with his scenes from an Ukrainian village life:
"And it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen."
- Exodus 33:20-23
Michelangelo, a vessel of contradictions. He was a partygoer, he was a hermit. An amiable man, a grumbler with a short fuse. His love for beautiful boys was solely platonic, he humped every pupil and assistant in his vicinity. He frequented baths for men and gyms to study male anatomy, he was never seen there because he was a prudent man. He was always poor, he died a rich man. He was very religious and loved pope Julius II like a brother. He absolutely loathed him and was the only one who dared to call him an old pervert.
Michelangelo Buonarroti was in awe for the al-Creator and the Bible, Michelangelo Buonarroti ridiculed in his Sistine Chapel fresco's God, the Church and all of Christianity.
Whatever he was, whatever he did and did not, it's an invitation to boundless speculation.
Perhaps this artist picked the wrong bodystocking coloring, but I want to see unclad legs, so I'm seeing unclad legs. Even if they have boots painted onto them.
Why is this guy so important?
An adult in a romper suit that stops at his crotch looks
1: slightly infantile.
2: his appearance is also confusing: a belt like a medieval Inquisition torture device, shoulder extensions (remember Joan Crawford), muscular and brashly naked legs against primly covered arms. Confusing? Imagine what impression this makes on an adolescent still in search of his own sexual identity.
Unfortunately I don't get to see those shapely legs. and where are the shorts? I think someone tinkered with the original dialogue...
That would be a pity because Wildcat is right on target here. Lots of people, of both gender, hate men in shorts. 'Infantile!'. 'Male legs are an unbecoming sight!'
A couple of years ago I did a series called 'The Lost Legs of Men', which drew 13.674.898 visitors so far. That is, I anticipated it would draw 6.674.898 visitors. (Look it up in category 'Nudity in Sci-Fi' if you want to become nr 6.674.899).
The posts were not all about Nudity, there were also comix guys in shorts, thongs and loin cloths on display. These garments just added to the charm of the male bare legs.
"Bare legs are impractical; looks almost effeminate."
- comic book artist Norm Breyfogle.
The segment in Alpha Men in Comix we, fashion-sensitives, have all been waiting for. The superhero macho wardrobes.
In our real world no man would of course want to be seen walking the streets in fancy boots, skin-tight leggings and what looks like pampers for adults on top. On the other hand, superheroes are usually build like Mr Universe, so there's mucho sturdy aesthetics to be enjoyed.
Male super asses, for instance.
Beast is one of the members of the X-Men group. At first he was a mutant who possessed superhuman physical strength and agility through his oversized hands and feet, though he otherwise appears to be a normal human being with the name Hank McCoy.
Like the other members, he wore a black & yellow uniform with a thight fitting cap and boots. In Beast's case, his pants ends half way his calves, exposes thick lower legs, ankles and feet. Often hairy ones. A detail which, like in the case of the superdwarf Puck, serves no purpose, but is nice to see around in superhero land.
Here's a bit of Beast history in images.
I'm not a foot fetishist myself but admit that there's something about Feet. Feet, with their ten capped semi-penises in rising/descending sizes, look very nude. Wriggling toes; what they offer to the eye is actually non-sexual pornography.
Feet are also our mostly smelly parts.
This is the chapter where we seem to see comic book artists losing their cool. But it will always remain a mystery whether this one was unintentionally kinky, or just kinky.
It's not so much the action. It's the dialogue. Ieww, but okay, everyone's entitled to a different taste.
Underneath this late 1940s, Atlas advertising I found an amusing comment.
"That's right! Slappity-slap-slap-slap! You'll take a bitch-slap from a he-man and you'll like it! Slappo!"Barnett's blog has lots of Superhero illustrations and his accompanying texts and captions are worth checking out. If you don't find me funny.
- Adam Barnett, comicsmakenosense.blogspot.nl
But does anyone notice something in this picture? I did, and it reminds me of the Virgin Mary.
Obviously there are Virgin Marvins too.
I have to admire today's pencillers and inkers. All these tiny stripes, over and over again in every panel that exhibits Hercules. The hold masters, and in particular the sculptors, had it easier.
But Hercules' hairiness does not seem a fixed rule in comics. Some artists are still of opinion that they should approach the character in an academic way, with at the most a few dots on his arms and some scratches on his chest to 'get the gist'.
Herc's biological father; Zeus. Who could appear in any shape but here he chose the human one. And as usual didn't give a shit about human dress codes. He also didn't need a weapon. Gods, and sensibility.
The ancient Greek, Renaissance and Baroque times suggest that Hercules appeared in art naked so often because he was a die-hard nudist of reputation. All he carried around on his frame was the skin of the Nemean Lion he slayed. He was even naked during his own wedding ceremony (if you can believe Pietro Benvenuti. Who included some invitees with an inappropriate casual Friday attitude on the side.)
Alcidus aka Hēraklēs aka Hercules...
I say, he doesn't deserve this. Being used as a comix character.
Unless the Greek mythology is to be seen as a comic too, a graphic novel. Without the graphics. If you don't count the many vase decorations and fresco's and sculptures and engravings and paintings the Greek and the Europeans based on the stories.
Hercules is an absolute He-Man for certain, with his 12 projects which normally would require an army of men to realize. So the title of 'superhero' he cannot be denied.
That leaves the integrity and the quality. Is today's Hercules an update or an upgrade? Disney did an upgrade. Turned the mythical legend into a Broadway musical singer and a kitschy theme park attraction. Comix publishing houses did the same. Is it justified?
Who is this Hercules actually?
Unbelievable perhaps, but this is not the end of Hair Follicles In Multitudes...
After the so-called Golden Years of Comics and their lackluster 1950s, writers and artists realized that men do possess body hair. Resulting in a kind of war between the furry heroes and the smooth ones. But bodybuilding and all the grooming and shaving that comes with it, still rules. Of 21st Century Man is required that he looks like a marble statue with mathematically correct musculature.
However, I don't think the comic fan really cares. A superhero is Manly per definition.
So it was all up to the artists.
A good thing about Alpha Flight is that there is another 'freak' in the team. Roger Bochs, a brilliant engineer and mechanic, he created a remote-controlled fighting robot which he called Box. Initially he infiltrated the AF to sabotage, which cost a member his life. Bochs later atoned for that. Perhaps not by losing his legs, but he is wheelchair bound.
I found lots of illustrations of the robot, but not of Roger. I feel that he, like Puck, could have been put more to the foreground. Because Northstar and Vindicator (Heather) are boring, Marrina creepy and Sasquatch is just a lot big and a bit dumb (and incidentally immeasurably more hairy than Puck).
"The sudden appearance of his costume here is thanks to Talisman’s mystic abilities."
- Chris, adorkification.blogspot.nl
Nudity; oh yes. There are some beefcake shots in Victor's Secret undies and alphagirls in what looks more like 1970s futurist bathing suits than superhero uniforms.
As far as I know (you don't think I actually read these hundreds of thousands of magazines, do you?) Puck was caught starkers only once. I think the artist overdid it with the water. Or whatever it is that douches his groin.
Oh, and one of his enemies did a full streak; Deadly Earnest.
An odd guy; this Ernest. Kills people by merely touching them, but when he left the hospital where he was reborn (he himself cannot die, once chopped to pieces a friend sows everything together again), he didn't want to kill passers-by, he just wanted some clothes. So D.E. is the bashful type. Aren't they all, at Marvel's.
"Generally a straightforward, salt of the earth type who makes no attempt to appear sophisticated. He likes simple, old-fashioned Canadian pastimes such as watching ice hockey and/or having a beer at the pub, and he’s not averse to a good brawl from time to time. Other rough-and-tumble types will find that Judd easily becomes a friend."
- Chris, adorkification.blogspot.nl
A side-step to an alpha underdog:
In 1979, Marvel Comics artist John Byrne created the Alpha Flight Team, Canada's answer to the succesful The Avengers. Three years later he added a member to the team; Eugene Milton Judd, who's profile I gave above.
His nickname is Puck. In the large community of big ego'd Supergeezers - including the supergals there must now be hundreds of them - he is the only one I find interesting and even sympathetic.