The Comic Collection is the only compilation of Tom of Finland`s popular panel stories. Each of five 192-page volumes features eight or more complete stories, including all twenty-six episodes of Kake, Tom`s infamous ultimate leatherman. The stories are arranged chronologically in books sized to fit perfectly in one hand, with the whole set appropriately housed in a very handsome display box. For boys who like boys who like art, this attractive package is not to be missed.
Durk Dehner is Tom`s archivist and provided the original art for these volumes. He was born in Alberta, Canada, where he studied art before moving to the United States in the mid-seventies. He modeled for photographers Bruce Weber and Ken Haak, and began working with Tom of Finland in 1978 as his public relations liaison. Dehner was instrumental in bringing Tom out of the underground and focusing public attention on his work. The two co-founded the Tom of Finland Foundation in 1984 as an archive for Tom’s work and life history. He continues as head of the Foundation, headquartered in Los Angeles, California, and has expanded it to provide a refuge for all forms of erotic art.
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, as Touko knew from an early age that men interested him more than women. His talents were further honed by art study in Helsinki. 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. Tom’s art continues to play an important role in promoting self-confidence, positive self-image and openness in the gay community.
Dian Hanson produced a variety of men’s magazines from 1976 to 2001, including Juggs, Outlaw Biker and Leg Show, before becoming TASCHEN’s Sexy Book editor. Her 60+ books for TASCHEN include The Art of Pin-up and Psychedelic Sex. She lives in Los Angeles.