The overwhelming desire to experience being anywhere near massive muscles. Bodybuilding coded as masculine confidence. A peek behind the curtain of that. Changing cultural norms. “Masc 4 Masc memes.” What's next?

Massive Muscles – Superman, Charles Atlas, and a Certain Mr. Bannon

Small town 1960s gay boys like me seemed to go one of two ways: Barbie or Superman. Easy choice for me when there was all of this:

massive muscles

Bis, delts, traps, pecs, lats, quads. (Oh my.) Yep, it's all right there.

And, as if the comic panels didn't provide enough massive muscles, there were the ads:

massive muscles
Sure, “Girls Prefer a He Man!” But so did I.

Of course, Tarzan, Batman (and Robin! Who wouldn't want to be Robin??), and more followed. Oh, and “Race Bannon,” clearly an inspiration:

Massive Muscles – Tom of Finland, Jim French, and COLT Studio

No one stays 10 years old forever. So 10 became 20 (or so) and, thanks to geography, access to massive muscles grew. Before online adventures, a drive to the big city was necessary. I'd drive a couple of hours to buy The Advocate (magazine) back then. Maybe that's how I first learned about Tom of Finland and Jim French:

Early Jim French photo on the cover of The Advocate

No matter how I was introduced to his work, Tom of Finland's men made Superman and Charles Atlas look wimpy:

massive muscles
TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled (Northmen), 1989, Color pencil on paper, © 1989-2020 Tom of Finland Foundation

But the blond one could be Race Bannon's son, right?

Naturally, Tom's men led to THE physique photographer: Jim French. His COLT Studio models seemed like they walked right out of my fantasies. Rick Wolfmier and Mike Betts had a real relationship and real muscles and 100% of my attention. Really. From the first time I ever laid eyes on them and hands on myself. Of course, what I really wanted was to get my hands on those massive muscles:

Old school, for sure. But hot as fuck too. Were these guys massive bodybuilders? Not by today's standard, but for then, they were BUILT.

But Wait. There's More.

Muscle Service grew out of these early urges. But there's much more that led to where we are now. Part 2 coming soon…