In 1953 Marlon Brando donned a black leather Perfecto motorcycle jacket, military cap, denim jeans, and engineer boots to portray Johnny, sneering leader of the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, in The Wild One. In 1954 Tom of Finland abandoned brown leather in his artwork to create his own wild ones: muscular, hyper-masculine, black leather-clad rebels with powerful engines between their legs. The look was adopted by the Satyrs Motorcycle Club, the first gay outlaw club, that same year, making Tom’s fantasy world reality. Of course, being Tom, he soon customized his new gay icons, adding leather jodhpurs, knee high boots and leather caps, and every motorcycle bore the brand name “Tom” on the gas tank.
Tom’s bikers first appeared as two “Motorcycle Boys” in Physique Pictorial, Winter 1958. Another made the cover of the April 1960 issue. Bikers dominated his PP content from then on, as a nod to its American readership as much as his growing obsession. When he sought an ongoing character, a personal avatar, in 1968, he created Kake as the ultimate biker leatherman, and elaborated on his riding adventures – of every kind - through 26-panel stories. Tom adopted Kake’s gear as his own, presenting in black leather jacket, white t-shirt, jeans, and high boots to the end of his life.
The Little Book of Tom: Bikers includes Tom’s earliest images for Physique Pictorial, Kake in motorcycle gear, biker panel stories, and sizzling single drawings, all packed into 192 pages of sexy, masculine men enjoying other masculine men in black leather, blue jeans, and high black boots. On bikes.