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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.