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.
The editor and author:
Dian Hanson was born in Seattle in 1951. For 25 years she produced various men's magazines, including Puritan, Juggs and Leg Show, before becoming TASCHEN's sexy book editor in 2001. Her many books for TASCHEN include The New Erotic Photography Vol. 2 and Robert Crumb: Sketchbooks 1982-2011. She lives in Los Angeles.
"Kake allows Tom to express all his fantasies. Sailors, lifeguards,
cowboys, policemen... -all are invariably handsome, brawny, and
enthusiastically gay when Kake comes along."
"This new volume beautifully reproduces the most famous and arguably the best cartoon series in the history of gay art."
"If you need proof that today's revolutions are tomorrow's institutions, look no further than the Finnish postage stamp recently earned by Touko Laaksonen, aka Tom of Finland... Over several decades, Tom of Finland's drawings, including his Kerouacan wandering alter ego, Kake, who he rendered in a sketchier style than his Cadmus-like signature tableaux, did more to promote gay male hyper-masculinity than James Dean, Brokeback Mountain, and Bob Paris combined. His cum-spurting leathermen are now coffee-table appropriate."