Thicc of Heart

Man pulling up gray hoodie to reveal fabulously chiseled abs

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.

In fact, it’s actually happening in Oakland as we speak. Here’s a glimpse of the future I’d like to see.

Cover photo: Charles Gaudreault


The world is too damn straight!

two handsome men kissing

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Got some recommended reads, workouts, or places to move your fabulous body? Drop them in the comments below…

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 gay identity and representation in his stories and images. His comics have been published by Snowyworks/Indie Comix Dispatch, Outlet Comics, and true to his queer indie heart, himself. His paintings have appeared in the Doable Guys annual anthology, Raw Meat Collective's Shower with Affection, vol 2, and and various DIY shows in the NYC area. He lives and works on the unceded Lenape territory now called New York City.

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