men_in_full: (opera goers)
A reader sent this link to a graphic novel version of James Joyce's Ulysses. This sprawling, dense, linguistic fruitcake of a novel thwarts most people who try to read it. Some make their way through with Spark or Cliff notes. Robert Berry's' graphic novel adaptation, Ulysses Seen not only clarifies the first chapter, but helps us visualize (and thus keep track of) this complicated story.

The first sentence introduces "stately, plump Buck Mulligan," a golden-tongued medical student who seems to exist mostly as a foil to the introspective, melancholic, and oversensitive protagonist Stephen Dedalus. Below the cut are some of the drawings; one is NSFW.

Ulysses Seen: Buck Mulligan (one NSFW) )

men_in_full: (Default)
"But a man’s rotundity is nothing if he only gets to the right elevation." Absolutely!

Schuetzen Fest, or Shooting Festival - SFW )

From [livejournal.com profile] progbear, here.


men_in_full: (Default)
Daughter Laura sent along this character model sheet art for "Juan Borgia" in the recently-released game Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. While I don't play myself, I have watched the kids play its predecessor Assassin's Creed 2, as well as a little bit of Brotherhood. AC2 impressed me with its incidental crowd character designs, which included both men and women of varying sizes, including fat people (and some pretty attractive fat men.) Laura, who's played ACB all the way through, tells me that there's even more diversity among the men in that game. Am looking into ways to get still shots from the X-Box 360 version of the game(s).




"Juan Borgia" at a carnival celebration, surrounded by courtesans



(Click to enlarge)


men_in_full: (opera goers)


Artist Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931) liked to draw scenes from the late nineteenth century Paris demi-monde.

As individuals mingled in public places of amusement it became more difficult to pigeonhole their places in the social hierarchy. [Forain was] among the first to investigate the beer halls, cabarets, cafe-concerts and dance halls where women and children went out at night, sometimes without being properly escorted by men ...
(link)

I like the sly, half-concealed expression on the woman's face as she glances over to the man on her right. It's as if the artist captured her in the middle of one of those fleeting expressions which reveal underlying feelings.

And who is she, anyway, and what's the significance of that sideways glance? We could assume she's a prostitute or courtesan, but maybe not. As stated above, one of the features of Parisian life at this time was how social categories became increasingly blurred, especially for women. Because a woman sat alone in a restaurant didn't necessarily mean she was a "working woman." Middle-class, "respectable" women in Paris might have assignations at the maisons des rendezvous, or pursue affairs on their own. On the other hand, the man is probably exactly what he seems to be - a prosperous middle-class man hanging out in a Montmartre cafe, most likely open to the attentions of the woman to his side. The difference, though, is the "female gaze" to which she subjects him. And in capturing that brief moment, Forain documents a whole sea-change in cultural history.

men_in_full: (beardsley ali baba)
[livejournal.com profile] brancher pointed out this fat centaur t-shirt. (Thanks!) It goes up to size 3X in "unisex," measuring 28" armpit-to-armpit when laid flat. That's generous enough to fit a 56" chest. The length is a bit over 33", which might lead to a bit of belly-peek in those with long torsos. (Unless you're in one of those situations where you *want* a little bit of peekage!) Kudos to the sellers for *having* measurements; a lot of clothiers don't.





men_in_full: (fat superman)
[livejournal.com profile] epi_lj linked me to these excerpts from a Volstagg comic book. I don't follow comics, so this was quite a treat.





Four more of Volstagg )

men_in_full: (sun couple m/f)
While looking for examples of Richard Taylor's cartoons, I came across this sketch from a short-lived Canadian art and literary magazine called The Goblin. (Click to enlarge.)




men_in_full: (thoughtful sumotori)
Most of these came from the [livejournal.com profile] vintage_ads community. They are also pretty negative in tone, but are worth looking at for a historical perspective.



As if only fat guys get hot in the summertime:


(link)



Four more, click to enlarge )

ETA: Another one, done by the Canadian cartoonist Richard Taylor (with his distinctive bug-eyed style.)


(link)


men_in_full: (swimmer)


(Link, hat tip to Peeka)


men_in_full: (wm howard taft)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] inlaterdays, I've discovered the wonder which is bibliodyssey. Here's a French caricature:





Eh! bien, mon cher Emile, vous en voila donc aussi coiffe!

(Ah, my dear Emile, you wear that hat too!)
Published by Maison Aubert. Undated but it must be at least late 1840s but more likely later [Artist: Charles Vernier]


From Linca, in the comments: "Since you date the pictures as 1840s at least, it probably is linked to Louis Napoléon's election then imperial nomination."

There's an interesting difference here, as opposed to the English caricatures. The fat Frenchman is fat, but not drawn as particularly ugly or grotesque. The artist plays a bit off the "thin/fat" contrast, with the hat of Napoleon as the unifying theme. Also, his fatness is drawn as more natural, less of a caricature.




Here's an English caricature of a French soldier, from the same site:



'The Republican Soldier'
Hand-coloured etched caricature; stout soldier in [French] Revolutionary military uniform, laden with numerous weapons.
Notes: "Inflammetory [sic] harrangues to stir up the people to acts of sedition. Mutiny. Treason. Rebellion" ; "Hedd [sic] quarters. Craven anchor [crossed out]. Crown & anchor. Parole reform. Countersign--anarchy" ; ""Remonstrance from my constituents for non-attendance" ; "Fire is the best weapon you can use" ; "Sinew of rebellion"
Artist and publisher unknown; published in 1798.


Earlier British caricatures with fat men are here and here.

men_in_full: (hi honey im home)

[livejournal.com profile] serenejournal, in first with this quote by English novelist and essayist Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), via Ask the Food Fairy:
“You can look down on a pig from the top of the most unnaturally lofty dogcart. You can examine the pig from the top of an omnibus, from the top of the Monument, from a balloon, or an airship, and as long as he is visible, he will be beautiful… In short he has that fuller, subtler and more universal kind of shapeliness which the unthinking… mistake for a mere absence of shape. For fatness itself is a valuable quality.”

The quote comes from "Rhapsody on a Pig", an exposition on pigs, fatness, and how Chesterton would have rather seen Hampshire hogs crouched around the base of London's Nelson Column, instead of lions.
"The actual lines of a pig (I mean of a really fat pig) are among the loveliest and most luxuriant in nature; the pig has the same great curves, swift and yet heavy, which we see in rushing water or in rolling cloud ... Now, there is no point of view from which a really corpulent pig is not full of sumptuous and satisfying curves."

This compelling, sensuous description applies doubly to the beauty of fat men. And Chesterton was no light-weight himself. From one description:
Chesterton was a giant in every way ... [who] stood at a towering six foot, four inches, and weighed 300 pounds. His weight was the subject of many jokes, most of which he told himself. For instance, he said he was one of the most polite people in England. After all, he could stand up and offer his seat to *three* ladies on a bus. ...

... Dressed in a huge cape and wide-brimmed hat ... the giant made his way down the street, squinting through tiny glasses pinched on his nose, blowing laughter through his moustache and a cloud of smoke from his cigar.


Some G.K. Chesterton images, all SFW )

Hat-tip to [livejournal.com profile] supergee, too, for added incentive.

men_in_full: (fat superman)
[livejournal.com profile] progbear mentioned that he saw a book called Ad Boy, about the myriad characters so common in mid-20th century advertising. It reminded me of how often fat guys used to figure as ad characters: they were used to lure people in, and gave me a good reason to pull out this image from the Fat Boy hamburger chain.




Somebody also made pillows with it. I can think of any number of good uses for these ... :D

There seem to be a few Fat Boys left, although they might have fallen on hard times.

Also, an old Big Boy's restaurant photo ... )

men_in_full: (bowler)
[livejournal.com profile] thornyc was so taken by the fat men bowling from the other day that he went out and found some of his own, including a few by Arthur Thiele which I hadn't seen before. So I highly recommend you go take a look. Thiele is rapidly becoming my new "artist crush" for all sorts of reasons, one of which is the warm Gemütlichkeit infusing his scenes; the other is that his big bowlers all look quite fetching in their vests and trousers.

Some of the vintage bowling postcards also show big men having accidents, usually involving pants-splitting, beer-spilling, etc. At first I was a little reluctant to feature these, because they seem to be on the more typical level of "fat guy pratfalls." But the tone still feels "good" in these old images, because these things *do* happen sometimes, and in the art, nobody seems terribly put out by it.

Also, Thor's LJ-cut text was so clever, I had to steal it.

Ten full frames )

men_in_full: (hi honey im home)
Earlier I posted about fat men in vintage postcards.

I don't know what it is about fat guys and bowling, but the theme comes up often. It's one of the few illustration themes which show fat men in motion, or in different body postures than simply standing or sitting. In other words, fat men bowling are dynamic, not static; active, not passive. In this one below, the man's large rear is prominent and graceful; he balances lightly on slender feet with a motion which almost looks like dance:



More postcards with fat men ...  )

men_in_full: (wm howard taft)
[livejournal.com profile] formynextnovel sent this delightful image and old-time news article about "The Fat Men's Ball:"



Nunda News, April 5, 1879
"The Fat Men’s Ball," which is to be given at Canaseraga, N.Y., on the 17th, under the auspices of the heavy men of the Erie Rail Road, with conductors Chapman and Hatch of Attica, as general managers, will be an interesting event, and is all the talk among the railroad men ... 200 lbs. is the lowest limit, and it is confidently expected that Uncle Ben Wales, of the C.C.&C.R.R., who weighs 413 lbs., will be present with his "best girl" who tips the scales at 372 lbs ...
(link)

men_in_full: (hi honey im home)
Down in the comments of this thread, [livejournal.com profile] jennie_jay mentioned a Carlsberg beer ad she'd seen and then misplaced. However, she later found it - and not through google-fu, but the old-fashioned way, by contacting the archivists of the company in question. They were kind enough to send the ad on, and another one as well. Klass 1, indeed!








men_in_full: (fishbone)
Today The F-Word has a post on vintage weight gain ads. Rachel was also kind enough to send me a few vintage ads from her collection which focus on men. I'm not sure of the dates of the first image; the second is probably 1930s-1950s.




This ad reminds me of how rare it is to see fat men *smiling* in modern illustration or "stock photography." Often they look glum or unhappy (which I suppose is the propaganda point.) This fellow, on the other hand, makes you just want to sit down and share a beer with him (and perhaps a snuggle or more as well.) Fat men drinking beer provide such a warm, inviting image.






Big men don't all come in the same shape or size. That's one reason it's more of a challenge to design clothing for fat people. One style really does fit all of the straight-as-a-board, up-and-down shapes. But fat people have their curves and rolls and protuberances in different places, with differing degrees of size and softness. This ad obviously hails from a time when clothing was manufactured in the USA (and probably designed for American shapes.) It also most likely predates the "just-in-time" inventory practice, where only the items which actively sell are the ones which are carried. However, if you happen to have the body type that *needs* the less-well-sold variety, today you are out of luck. But not so in decades past, apparently.

I also like how the ad frankly uses the word "fat." It's not an insult; it's a descriptor!

men_in_full: (Default)


For Michaelangelo's Leonardo da Vinci's original upon which this illustration is based, click here.

(ETA: Found somewhere on the web; can't remember where.)


We don't usually think of a fat man as a representative of a "universal" type. But idealizations of beauty don't have to be based on preconceived notions of some mathematical proportion, or what supposedly represents some "ideal." Nor does beauty have to be based on functionality, i.e. the man seen as most beautiful is the leanest one who can run the fastest. Finally, beauty isn't only ruled by the eye, but by the senses. It's acceptable to be amorphous rather than defined; broad rather than linear. This is why it is important to sometimes recast masculine archetypes or "memes" with fat men.

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