23 Apr Sunday Comics: “Dad’s Toys” by Josman
Remember when your dad was super fit and hot and used to let you watch him shower?
Yeah, me neither. But that’s the magical world of Josman, isn’t it.
I decided to do a one-off story this week, instead of another installment of the Hardon Twins and their (as yet still unestablished) cockring mystery, partly because I didn’t want to sit and type out all that dialogue (with one hand, no less!), and partly because I just really love this comic and felt it was worth sharing.
Dad’s Toys is from way back in 2004 (when I was still in school!) and I remember thinking the first time I came across it how fraternal and kind and happy it seemed. Where stories like Josman’s famous Wild and Raunchy Son feature hardcore and emotional capital-S SEX, Dad’s Toys seemed sort of a tame exploration of what might happen if we didn’t explode the idea of nudity and stimulation into a scary world of emotional pain and religious and societal ultra-significance.
My favorite parts of this comic, in no particular order:
• I love the way Josman draws men. I love the way they seem eternally flexed and tense with motion, and I love the way he uses thin highlights and shadows on the edges of muscle and flesh to create heightened depth and opulent skin tone, regardless of its color.
• I love that this father/son combo are black and that it’s not the point. So many of these stories and drawings exist in a strange, all-white/all-the-time world that the choice to make these guys not that seems significant, while at the same time, seems of no real consequence to the story itself. No one mentions it, no one fetishizes blackness or black penis, and there are no other characters to draw any contrasts.
• I love the way the dad talks to and looks at his son. I love that this story isn’t about trickery or dominance or really any kind of power or upper hand at all. It’s just about shared masculinity and what bodies can do, without a lot of hemming and hawing about how cosmically “wrong” any of it is or how “bad” any of the characters are.
• Josman’s use of photo-filter style shading and rounded edges on dream sequence panels (versus the hard, squared off edges of ‘real life’) are restrained narrative tools that illustrate his masterful abilities as a visual storyteller.
• The fact that they are both, in the course of the story, penetrated by the titular Toys, seems to level the playing field amongst father and son and allow this tale to seem safe and loving, instead of violent or confusing. Ultimately, what it comes to is some mutual masturbation, and their climaxes shared, side-by-side with everyone’s eyes shut tight. There’s no consequence to this shared intimacy; it doesn’t devolve into misplaced or alternate universe romance, and they each leave the experience smirking and happy.
Dad’s Toys is a two-parter that was serialized over the January and February issues of Handjobs Magazine. Since it’s only ten pages long, I figured we could go ahead and fit ’em both in here:
Written and illustrated by Josman [Handjobs Magazine | January/February 2004]
Woof. Another magical Josman tale. Happy Sunday!