Physique Pictorial

A historic gay erotic magazine is on its way back into our hands and soon we’ll be feasting our eyes on many photos.

A Kickstarter is currently running (and about to finish) and it’s trying to bring back Physique Pictorial. The Kickstarter has 2 days left (as of the time when this post is published) and is already successful, so you can back it if you want but the future of this new magazine instalment has already been assured.

But what is Physique Pictorial?

In the 1950s, Bob Mizer was a pioneer in the gay community for photographing the male physique for the male gaze.

Mizer formed an organization called the Athletic Model Guild and photographed male models (with the help of his brother) in g-strings (made by his mother). In addition, these models would either be making bodybuilder poses or wrestle each other.

Unfortunately, during the ‘50s, being gay was still a crime in America and distributing pornography (which the photographs were pretty close to) was the same. Thus, Mizer eventually found himself on a nine-month stint at a Saugus, California work camp.

But, persecution did not scare Mizer. In fact, it only fueled him on to keep going, as he then decided to create a new Beefcake magazine called Physique Pictorial.

At first, the magazine was displayed under the guise of a men’s health and fitness magazine. That allowed it to be sold to the public through pharmacies, stores, and newspaper stands.

But, in time anti-pornography laws lessened and Mizer was able to ramp up the risqué factor of the magazine. By then, they were displaying naked men regularly.

Plus, not only was this magazine one of the first homoerotic magazine’s in American history, but it also helped to introduce the gay community to erotic illustrator Tom of Finland.

Sadly though, Physique Pictorial did not last forever and neither did Mizer. He died in 1992 and gave all his art to a friend. That friend then later sold the artwork, but luckily it was to someone who respected and cherished Mizer’s work.

Dennis Bell then not only started the Bob Mizer Foundation to make Mizer’s work accessible to all, but he has also started this Kickstarter to bring back the magazine.

Plus, for those worried about bringing more diversity into gay products and the gay community, like myself, know that Bell is invested in doing so too as he told Unicorn Booty.

“Times have changed, and while we will remain true to Mizer’s ethos in Physique Pictorial, we’ll also show the many men of colour that he photographed. It is a major misconception that Bob didn’t photograph black men, in fact, he even ‘dated’ one for decades. Our modern portfolios will showcase [men of colour] as well.”

So, if you are interested in bringing back a piece of gay history, go and back the Kickstarter while you still can. And if you miss the window, wait to buy issue #42 of Physique Pictorial when it’s sale at a later date.