Meatmen #26

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Drawing by Oliver Frey

I have a complicated relationship with and ambiguous feelings about Meatmen.

The ambiguity originates in my sense of debt to Winston Leyland for founding Gay Sunshine Press. Back then most gay publishing was exploitative, even less forgivable mediocre. Leyland was at least a publisher with a sense of outrage and aesthetics.

My real complication is that I always order at least one copy of each new issue for my bookshop. We don't dare display it in Durham, NC making it a bit hard to sell it. But I do get to look at it.

Meatmen Volume 26 lacks two saving graces: Zach (Oliver Frey) and John Blackburn. Aside from those artists saying the draughtsmanship is mediocre is mostly being kind. I'll admit that some men may find power in some artists' rough lines. If I were wealthy I'd hire Eric Shanower and P. Craig Russell to do gay sex comics: de gustibus non disputandum est .

But much of the art in Meatmen is indisputably bad. I have to wonder why. With it comparatively easy to be an out of the closet gay artist now is it that more able pencillers don't submit work or that they editor doesn't accept it?

Meatmen Volume 26 bills itself as a "Special SM Comics Edition." When I opened Word to type this I had planned to bitch that there was very little S&M content. Flipping back through it I see that there's lots of rough stuff. Some of it is just rough sex but there's plenty of power exchange and scenes of men flagellating other men.

S&M isn't the core of my own sexuality but there's a good side chunk of my erotic self that responds to everything from whippings to puppy training. I went through Meatmen No. 26 the first time without noticing most of it.

Some gay men's need for S&M fantasy material may be so strong that the ugly art that I can barely look at excites them. I'm just glad that I'll eventually sell this to someone for $18.95, it isn't a gay comics collection that I'll ever want to look through again.


I’m a huge fan of “Zack” … Last summer I happened upon an issue of MM with Zack’s work and I’ve been looking for more ever since. (I think it was #22? With our blond hero on the cover, quickly getting disrobed by 2 young horndogs.)

Unfortunately I don’t have a great selection of MMs available locally, so I ordered another issue kinda at random and alas! no Zach! Can you tell me what other MM issues have his stuff or if there are other sources of his work? Thanks!

I asked someone I knew would know and he said:

The best source of Frey’s artwork I know of is the Yahoo Group And the five others following it. Lots and lots of his work in the archive.

Thanks - the info was helpful! Now, one more question: Do I read your implication above correctly, that Meatmen #26 has a lot of “ugly art” in it, at least in your opinion? And if so, does that mean bad quality drawing, or depictions of guys you don’t think are attractive? The former I could probly live with, since the main reason I’d be getting it would be to check out the Zack one, and he draws very well… But the latter would be a bummer.

Every thing I write is just my opinion, no claims to be the Voice of Truth.

I’ve been reading comics on and off since I was six and selling them for twenty years so I like to think I’ve a seasoned eye for comics art. I thought much of what I saw in Meatmen #26 was simply bad drawing. Possibly others find it expressive.

I don’t really know if the art that appears in Meatmen is to Leyland’s own taste or is the best he can get. I’m surprised there isn’t more John Blackburn.

A huge chunk of the guys in homoerotic art aren’t to my taste but that never stops me from appreciating the power of an artist like Gengoroh Tagame.

If you get a copy of Meatmen #26 and decide you like it I hope you’ll leave a note here. I was just summing up my own response and don’t want to discourage people from buying something they’d really enjoy.

Thanks, I understand. I’ll let you know what I think if I get ahold of it.

To complete message # 2 by Richard Evans Lee: there are 8 “Freyartwork” groups, containing (almost?) all Zack/Frey art that could be found. Feel free to join those groups… it’s free :-).


I like zack a lot bout how do I ged a member of one off his groups ? rob from amsterdam

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