Tom of Finland Military Men
Tom of Finland's Men in Uniform
Iconic drawings of hypermasculine military men, Tom-style
Tom began putting his military fantasies on paper in 1945 to memorialize his thrilling nighttime encounters when the war ended. At first the Hugo Boss uniforms dominated, but as the years and then decades passed he included American naval uniforms as well, and then his own hybridized designs of black leather, jodhpurs, boots, and peaked caps, with military insignia replaced by Tom’s Men patches. As Tom attracted an army of loyal fans, he created, with pencil, pen and gouache, an army of free, proud, masculine fantasy men committed to pleasure and male camaraderie.
The Little Book of Tom: Military Men explores Tom’s fascination with militaria through a mixture of multi-panel comics and single-panel drawings and paintings, all in a compact and affordable 192 pages. Historic film stills and posters, personal photos of Tom, sketches, and Tom’s own reference images explore the cultural context and private inspirations behind the ultimate Tom of Finland hero.
Touko Laaksonen, the boy who would become Tom of Finland (1920-1991), began drawing cartoons at age five. His favorite subjects were the rough manly men of his native Finland. He found success in the Finnish advertising industry but secretly continued creating his increasingly erotic drawings of hyper-masculine men. In 1957 he submitted some drawings to the American magazine Physique Pictorial and the “Tom of Finland” legend was born. By the late 60s Tom’s “dirty drawings” became the standard for gay art, and Tom’s Men a template for a new gay masculinity.
The Little Book of Tom. Military Men
Hardcover, 192 pages