Page 82 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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64       Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

               the erotic heart and heritage purpose of Drummer. For fifty bucks,
               thirty-seven years before Tom was honored with an iconic Finnish
               postal stamp, and forty years before the major motion picture Tom of
               Finland (2017), the skinflint Embry missed the “roots” chance to pub-
               lish what would have been a gay history coup: the legendary Tom of
               Finland on the cover of the legendary Drummer. The cavalier Embry,
               always choosing favorites, blew Tom off because he had already con-
               tracted an equally brilliant European artist, the British Bill Ward, who
               over the years, as the artist most published in Drummer, created
               hundreds of Drummer pages with his ongoing graphic-novel, Drum.
                   Tom of Finland wrote on September 12, 1977:

                   Touko Laaksonen, Tehtaankatu 7 D 29, 00140 Helsinki 14,

                   ...Well, I’d make a cover to Drummer with pleasure. I am
                   busy now a couple of months, but in the end of November I
                   should have time. I charge $300 for the original. I have not
                   signed yet the contract with Eons, but if it is fixed by then,
                   the price will be more. If Drummer prefers buying only the
                   reproduction rights, I could also consider it. In that case, I’d
                   like to know how much the magazine pays for that.... —Tom

                   Ninety days later on December 12, 1977, Tom of Finland noted
               Drummer dragging its feet. He also enclosed a photocopy of the
               crayon drawing he  had  specially designed  to  accommodate  the
               Drummer cover logo and headline:

                   Even though I haven’t heard from you since my last letter,
                   I’ve made this drawing thinking of Drummer’s cover. It is
                   drawn with wax crayons (in colors) in size about 17”x22”
                   and in the layout space [around the figure of a leatherman],
                   I have left layout space for the title and usual headlines.
                   Perhaps you’d talk with Drummer people [Code: meaning
                   the intractable, stubborn Embry] of this and let me know
                   if the magazine wants the picture or not. As I mentioned
                   earlier, I am willing to sell the original to Drummer (because
                   it is specially made for the purpose) for $300.00, but if they
                   prefer to buy only the right to use the picture on the maga-
                   zine’s cover, it is also OK. As I said, I don’t know what the
                   prices are at Drummer in that case, so let me know. Anyway
                   I don’t give it under $50.00....I am coming to San Francisco
                   in early February for a week or two. I hope I can meet you
                   then.... —Sincerely, Tom

              ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-16-2017
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