Above is a picture I’ve took at the Capitoline Museum. This statue seemed the embodiment of classical male beauty. It’s one of the reasons I’ve used it as substitute for cover art in any posts relating to ‘Aissa and Polyxena’. Never mind my Work In Progress is about cross driving. Like many a writer and reader in the MM genre, I’ve been captivated by the male torso.
I’ve seen a lot of bare male torsos on your covers. Some are slimmer and more classical. Some are broader. Some have a softness to the ripped abs. Some are unabashedly hard.
This image is becoming a trop in the MM genre. Hardly a Me Me Monday goes by when one doesn’t spot a bare torso on someone’s cover. Many of these torsos are missing a head.
I understand the reasoning behind this. We have very different ideas of beauty. I’ve looked at a male figure on many a cover, who’s supposed to be attractive, only to find myself repelled. I’ve looked at others, instantly compelled to seize the books, drawn by the beauty of the lead character’s face.
Both reactions are extreme. One can make an author’s fortune. The other can break it. How much easier it is to avoid the risk by simply removing the head.
This makes me think of ‘Highlander’, a TV show which played during the 1990s. Its main character, Duncan MacLeod had a torso worthy of a MM cover. He was involved in a game, which involved lopping off heads. We never saw the actual decapitation. Just the electricity striking his body in a simulation of an organism, once he’d delivered the fatal blow.
Each time I see a headless torso on a cover, I think of Duncan. An endless art gallery of Duncans or men like him. Each of them are missing a head. Their power is being taken from them. They’re reduced to being nothing, but husks.
I fear this may be happening right now. The MM market is saturated with torsos. As a result, the torso may be losing its power.
Readers get bored very easily. One may like eating apples, but how many apples can one consume, without wanting to have something else?
If you truly love something, quite a lot. The bare torso is a direct message to the reader. When I see one, I think, “Naked flesh. Erotica. This story is going to be erotic.”
A lot of talented writers use this image. A lot of readers can’t get enough of MM. There’s a solid market for this right now.
How much longer is it going to last? When will the eye tire of this image?
What does the torso mean to you, dear reader? How does it inspire you? Are you getting tired of it? How can one rekindle the erotic enticement of an image which is becoming more and more common? How do you make your torso stand out?