Jack in the Jungle, Part One
What do you get when you mate classic Tarzan with classic Tom of Finland? You're about to find out.
VGMH has already celebrated the Tom of Finland erotic art series, and in 2009 we also began a series on vintage Sexy Tarzans in Hollywood Movies. But what many may not know is that in the 1960's these two diverse worlds collided! It seems that Tom was a big fan of the Tarzan films, and in 1965 while he was looking for an ongoing character for his panel stories, he decided to base an uber-masculine sex machine on the Tarzan concept. The result was Jack of the Jungle. Jack would run for three series.
With this jungle hunk, what we're actually witnessing is the early evolution of a gay character icon---Kake. Kake (pronounced “Kah-keh) is Finnish for “butch." It wouldn't be later (until 1968) until Tom decided to morph Jack in the Jungle into the incredibly endowed Kake, switching a loin cloth for a leather-clad motorcyclist, as his "ultimate man." But like Jack, Kake kept the emphasis on an affirmative presentation of gay men: Good looking, well-built guys engaging in gay sex and enjoying what they were doing without fear or shame. One has to remember that this was the 1960's!
In his engaging biography of Tom, Valentine Hooven quotes Tom as saying, “In those days a gay man was made to feel nothing but shame about his feelings and his sexuality I wanted my drawings to counteract that, to show gay men being happy and positive about who they were. Even the men who at first are depicted as surprised and resistant to gay sex end up delighted and wanting more."
Above: Cover art for the first Jack in the Jungle series. As longtime readers of the VGMH series on Hollywood Tarzan series already know, Tarzan and his trusty phallic-looking dagger have a long history in the movies. Here, Tom plays up the symbolism nicely. Hey Jack, is that a dagger in your loin cloth, or are you just happy to see me?
WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT? STAY TUNED!