Thicc of Heart

Some recent reading of Kickstarted goodies got me thinking about muscles. Like I ever stop. What was I reading? Well, since you ask: Comrade Himbo, an anthology by POMEgranate Magazine and Beef Bros by Aubrey Sitterson and Tyrell Cannon. Both books put some beefy physiques front and center (bring it on!) but more than that, we get big heart with our big biceps. The courage, generosity, and compassion of these folks are just as well developed.

Beef Bros, art by Tyrell Cannon
Comrade Himbo, art by Mengmeng Liu

Upon reflection, I started wondering about the various associations we make, nearly automatically, when it comes to physique—especially the carefully cultivated beefy variety. Too often we expect (or experience) some combo of dumb, mean, and vain.

How did we come to a place where physique is the realm of toxic masculinity?

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of bullshit, our should I say broshit, in our society that feeds this. Walk into just about any gym anywhere in the US and you’ll see (or experience) some instance of broshit going on. Social media is a minefield of greed, trolling, and misinformation. Advertising and mass media are exercises in pure exploitation. In the midst of all this insanity, what’s a would-be beefy body to do?

The two books above, and dare I say my own work, show some alternatives. I hope some glimmer of a more enlightened thiccness reaches the denizens of the gym, calisthenics parks, trainers and fitness gurus, the fitness media, and all the purveyors of the toxic broshit. We seriously need it. Let’s grow more than just the biceps and traps, let’s grow our hearts as well! Let’s encourage and support everyone, no matter where they are on their fitness and physique journeys.

If you liked this…

Take a look at Chasing the Flame. Queer (m/m) sci-fi hijinks with lots of sexy beefcake, daring adventure, big heart, and a kitten.

Published by eddy

Writer and artist Edward Ficklin (he/him) focuses on illustration and visual storytelling using traditional media. He loves exploring the many facets of queer identity and representation in his stories and images. His comics have been published by Snowyworks/Indie Comix Dispatch and Outlet Comics. His paintings have appeared in the Doable Guys annual anthology and in their first in-person show in NYC in 2021. His comic sci-fi romp Chasing the Flame hits digital outlets and select indie comix stores in early 2022.

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