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June 2013: This is no longer an active blog. From this point on Mythulinity will be an archive without new posts. Thank You to all followers and readers for your past contributions and loyalty.


That's the goal for our greater good: Sharing the best manimal/mythical and real male images and info online.

WARNING: This blog is devoted to gay adult themes. If you are under the age of consent (18) or are an uptight prude please leave this zone immediately!

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cartoon Masculinity Dept.: Rob Clarke Redux













I don't think there is a more sardonic illustrator of the gay male iconic figure than Rob Clarke. It is obvious that he both admires beautiful men and wants to take them down a few pegs just because they are so well-confirmed. It isn't just that he openly ridicules and abuses his characters, he is more like a sadistic god figure to them. No impossibly handsome, muscular, big-dicked, macho gay-man's man gets a free pass. In Clarke's world being analogs for Superman means being a super buffoon, too. His characters are basically uber-clones who would be the objects of our envy if they weren't portrayed at their worst as idiots, fools, clowns, jackasses, trained monkeys, and pigs. (I suppose politicians should be happy that Mr. Clarke doesn't have a penchant for making them look any worse than they already do. But then one doesn't need to heighten the already blatantly obvious.)













Clarke is definitely an artist who learned well from his influences. His work is simple and clean and there is no mistaking his style for anyone else's. The intention that drives everything he creates is that even the most ideally endowed man is deficient to some degree. Clarke means to make his figures laughable ("We aren't laughing with you, we are laughing at you."). Clarke never shies  away from showing these physically-hot dummies in their least flattering light. There are numerous references to scatology (piles of poop and flies hovering over butts), pools of cum, and even lowly beer is made to look like golden showers.  His cruelty towards these hapless supermen is to seldom give any the chance of even a fleeting moment of happiness. This is most obviously true for his latest creation, Scoot, the pitiful dawgman. 













Scoot is, for all intents and purposes, a dog in a hunk's body. I often wonder just how much of Clarke's personal animus goes into his art. Does he want us to feel superior to this manimal or identify with him on some level, sexually for instance? Have we all become Scoot's SM masters just by viewing his pathetic existence? Just as I am amused and curious what hypertrophic penises say about Tom of Finland or Patrick Fillion (among many artists whose ideal male figures are insanely well endowed), I am truly curious what Clarke's obsession with artistic "castration" of a sort says about him. 













I recently saw a photo of Mr. Clarke pictured at an exhibition he participated in. The juxtaposition between the man and his art is striking. No, I hadn't remotely expected that Rob Clarke would look anything like his subjects, but then I never quite expected him to look as benign as a pharmacist from Des Moines, either. I guess I was thinking that there would be something somewhat sardonic about an artist who's stock and trade is parody of the iconic male. Like picturing Pan with a leer, I was imagining Clarke with a similar facial set. Instead, he has managed to develop a look, granted it is easy to make untoward assumptions from a lone image, that belies how he makes his living. It is much the look I would expect a devil to aspire towards. "Ha-ha, fools, you have no idea what I am up to. So vote for me!"










Fortunately, for his fans (and I am definitely one), his art has always been up front and boldly distinctive even if the image Mr. Clarke projects in his personal countenance is as passive and innocent as a choir boy. I know the real Rob Clarke is the Sadistic God-Master of a pack of unlucky male beauties who are forever doomed to be dupes used for our insecure pleasure.

A series of a images wherein Mr. Clarke approaches the fairy tale, Pinocchio, from a decidedly adult perspective as a donkey-driven fantasy that follows Lampwick into the great equine beyond is, perhaps, the most fully realized art he has ever committed to paper or digital software. Here the unwitting fools find themselves magically fitted with large furry ears and tails. They are now relegated to being circus freaks in the never ending Dog and Pony Show of the wicked ringmaster who unapologetically delights in their horror and confusion.






























































I can't help but surmise that, just as Carlo Collodi, the author of Pinocchio, despised children, Mr. Clarke in many ways despises men he will never be able to emulate physically. He holds a deck of cards that includes the Intelligence Card and he refuses to deal it out to any man brazen enough to behold the Masculine Pulchritude card. This is truly the art that defines the term "Love/Hate Relationship".


Frankly, I might somewhat hate the situations the characters are shown in, but I sure love the way the fellows look.


So, thank you Rob Clarke, for putting your warped sensibilities plainly in sight for all of us to ogle.

2 comments:

  1. This is awesome. I always had a huge fascination with the donkey scene in the movie. Scared the crap out of me.

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  2. This is a great review and would echo my own feelings if I had talent and the ability to put something as illusive as my feelings towards art works that punch all my buttons to the extent Rob's pieces do.

    ReplyDelete