PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE ZINE BY KEGAN McFADDEN
DOUG MELNYK’S PYJAMAS
A sexy, shocking and endearing new zine edited by A.A. Bronson
Doug Melnyk’s new ‘zine, Pyjamas, has been on my desk when it’s not on my dining table and when it’s not in bed with me. Needless to say, I love it!
In his signature playful, process-driven and unabashed style, Melnyk’s high quality scans detail original drawings that show the artist’s decision to move the angle of an ankle in one sketch and the subtle but declared use of color in another, highlighting erogenous zones or the environs in which his characters come to life. The passing of time in a single black and white image lets us watch as the smaller-guy (the protagonist) first clues into his curiosity and then let’s wander get the best of him, only to have the hand that leads him to pleasure become trapped by some midday dalliance — the pay-off being not just the reclined hardening hunk on the couch, but rather the reveal of the small guy’s hairy cheeks just above the lowered pyjama bottoms as he tumbles over and onto a big fellow.
And what to say about those offerings of glorious groups of athletes and college roommates? They’re simultaneously stimulating and cringe-worthy in the visual exploits of sexual fantasies turned everyday nightmare in our world of power imbalance. Like the hotel art included in a two-page spread of hijinks. It features some implausible meeting between a stag and a lion act as precursor to the single black guy, naked and in the mix of five other white guys, pouncing on the immature redhead and pinning him to the floor face-down as his cock is about to breach the exposed ass.
Of course the juxtaposition of memory and fantasy, a trope Melnyk has long explored to successful ends, reoccurs throughout Pyjamas. The play of what was, possibly, lived (first time with oral sex) versus conversations that took place because of his tumblr presence… what is real and what is imagined? Are the online conversations with ONEBIGDADDY1 any different than the suggested romps with the stand-in for familial opportunities involving shared living quarters at the outset of independence? The collapsing of time and space occurs most directly with the single image of the little guy in bed next to the naked giant, both looking at their phones, the superimposed screen to the left shows an impossible LinkedIn profile pic of Doug Melnyk, hairy ass propped skyward, puckered and ready, with the biographical notes confirming location (Winnipeg) and occupation (Artist: drawing, performance, video); a text bubble shows Doug asking, “Do you like the selfie I just took for my new profile pic?”, and the response from his bedmate is the iconic cartoon BOING! effect and related hard-on that echoes the enormity of this character’s feet.
Perhaps the most tender of these drawn scenarios is saved for last, when lust leaves way for something more innocent in “Dreams of a Fem Boy” — where the bespeckled pyjama clad artist is being embraced by a hirsute dreamboat with five o’clock shadow, movie star coif, and biceps that would choke a runt in no time flat. The opaque blankness of the little guy’s eyeglasses offer a stark contrast to the pronounced eyelashes of his object of affection as their carefree clutch happens in an instant surrounded by a clearly defined nowhere of clouds and crosshatches, as a handful of hearts emanate from the little room left between their squished together faces.
Taken together the disparate cells of Pyjamas stitch the narrowing space between the lived and the imagined, or the memorialized and the fantasized. It is, in turn, sexy and shocking and funny and endearing.
Thank you, Doug.
K, no. 73/150