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Ralf König: Body hair everywhere always gonged me out

An interview with Ralf König, the best known German comic illustrator and creator of the kinky hammer noses.

Hello Ralf. It’s nice talking to you. When I asked you for an interview you told me: “Finally something unserious.”. Does success and fame make the world around you serious, boring and tame? I can only hope that it’s not like that, because actually there’s a kinky interview to do 🙂

Well, serious does not necessary need to mean boring and tame. But after 35 years of gay comics I talk with known newspapers too, what’s great, but originally I do come from underground comix. The kinky comics that kicked on me as a pubescent in the catholic village 1971 were called “Fritz the Cat” from Crumb or “The One from Corben”. The underground in my known way sadly doesn’t exist any more, but an online-fetish-magazine maybe does come close to that. So let’s see how kinky this here gets.

Kinky beginnings do not sound like for starters. Being underground and special with that was, in times when gays were either priests or socially non-existent, much easier, since you had to meet hidden. Today, the social acceptance does kind of take the wind out of our sails of coolness. And 50 shades of grey lets our scene becoming mainstream too somehow. I do not complain or anything, but the village people fetish, a pool of clichés where you helped yourself for your characters, does belong in the past. Where do you find your new stereotypes which you can oversubscribe for your comics?

Well, if it’s only about the gay scene, I still see the same stereotypes as in former times, they just don’t inspire me that much any more. I think the times of avant-garde are just as over as those of the underground. Culturally, the gays have been recognized and achieved what there to be achieved.  What during John Waters and Tom of Finland was new and exciting, is now well-known, who cares about drag queens any more? And there isn’t much new coming. On the contrary, they cling to their clichés, I see the gay media of today as self restricted. OK, I probably am not their target group, I just became 55, at that age you’ve seen a lot of what you’ve seen sometimes. My new book is called „Porn story“, the story is mostly centred around heteros. Because I wouldn’t know what to tell about gay porn. Two or more men happily do it in front of the camera. So what? Hetero pornos have way more conflict material, men find it hot, women disturbing, at least if you go with stereotypes. And whoop, you have some action going on.

I read that work and I asked myself if you have been in a churchly re-education camp and got healed 🙂 Because drawing boobs and pussies cannot be easier than drawing hot dicks. 🙂 Where does the conflict material in your eyes lie in hetero pornos?

Porn Story, Rowohlt

I never had anything against heteros, when I was 11 I discovered my father’s wank magazines and super 8 pornos in his drawers, that formed me. Sure I found the guys hot and the women not so much, but that didn’t cut the fascination and I never belonged to the cuntophobic gays that get pimples when they see a naked woman. But I didn’t draw boobs and pussies, not because I’m not able to, but because I had the idea to give my Austrian draftsman colleague Nicolas Mahler a guest appearance and leave this part to him. I wanted the book to be about heterosexual noses that have their problems with porn, but the porn itself should be a foreign part, something that normally does not belong in their life. Maler is a very minimalistic drawer and very strange I find, even when he paints hardcore it can’t be very dirty. So it is about a family story, the males of all ages, from grandpa to his grandson look pornos and the women find that disgusting. There is a gay story in there but it is deliberately put in the background. The conflict potential lies in the different view and phantasies men and women have of sex. There’s this gender war there. Many men are together with women that dislike blowjobs or feel humiliated if things turn a bit harder. Those things are all clichés of course and there are a lot of really dirty women too, but males may feel intimidated of them again. Heterosexuality lives off opposites, whereas gays and lesbians on the contrary agree a lot faster with each other. For comedy respectively comics conflict suits more. And after 35 years, I pretty much told everything there is for gay sex.

I know a few heteros SM-people too. In my eyes for heteros all of that is more playful bling-bling, candles and decorations are more important. We are a lot more animalistic. Maybe a bit like your illustrator comrade Mahler more minimalistic in the field, but in contrast to him, direct, dirty and raunchy. I think you have that inside you too. Do I see that wrong, and are you happy to only draw the gender war instead of living it?

It may be that heteros are more “playful”, like with these Fifty Shades of Grey Thing. But SM has a large spectrum. There are hetero porns where the people don’t take prisoners. This James Deen for example is a real star in America, he looks smart, and the women love him, but in the movies he goes off so heavy like I see rarely see it in gay porn. And afterwards, the girls look totally brain fucked in the camera and say that it was great. Even though there was big whining before. And why shouldn’t women be like that too? It’s a role game. On your page I read a text of a “slave”. That’s a fantasy, if you look in the real world, slavery is something totally different, surely nothing enjoyable. And myself, well, I had my wild sears. The 90s I pretty much enjoyed without limits, I very well knew what I drew. I think you notice that too. There are comic drawers that paint their naked women, but you get the impression they never ever had good sex. Everything a little bit uptight.

Oh, I think I need to google this James Deen afterwards, 🙂 Somehow this happy after porn get together annoys me. This “Oww, he’s so great and such a lovely guy!“ is total crap. I presume that it’s consensual. That cripples the atmosphere and the mental cinema that goes on afterwards! I hope you don’t start to explain at the end of your comics that it was only painted, and your hot guys are in reality are boring housewives:)

Well, in gay porn, in 98% you can assume that is consensual. With heteros that’s not the case, there it can be pretty ugly real. Maybe they chuckle in the camera like that afterwards, to show everything’s ok and don’t make the people worry.

I know you’re more Paul than Konrad. And are it the hairy construction worker guys that make you wild more? 

With getting older, that going wild settles, but yes, it were mostly the hairy guys that made me whine. There I gave off my mind at the wardrobe a few times and came out of a relationship pretty plucked too. So if that’s a fetish, it seems like I got it. There were more than one candidate with who I couldn’t concentrate on talking while meeting again because the hairs looked out of his shirt. We had to fuck first to get to that… for maybe half an hour. But worker and muscled isn’t a must, and I prefer guys that are smaller than me. Those “Paul”-Guys. But hairs everywhere always gonged me out.

You may coquette with your age, but when one sees you, I can imagine that you got calmer but still have wild times. Have you ever thought about what turns you on so much on the body hairs of others? 

Im Chains, 1993 | Foto: Vahlefeld

Probably child imprinting. My sports teacher was hairy, the first porn movie I saw showed a hairy animal in a Hawaiian shirt too. No clue how such preferences evolve but. I like smooth men too, but it mostly really popped with guys like I draw them in the comics. And I don’t coquette with my age. I suffer. I didn’t have any problems until I got 45, but now I approach the 60s. It’s not really funny with the body retro progression! Topic change. Fetish. Let’s get kinky here!

Are there any other triggers for an all-consuming horniness. Other fetishes?

Now it’s getting psychological. Self-awareness to the point of arrogance turns me on. The demanded man who knows what he wants and takes it. I’m not alone with that, many gays search for the real macho. Sexually that’s unbeatable, for human relationships not so much.  And pheromones! I hate it if a man sprays himself with perfumes or rolls a deodorant roller on his shaved armpits! But else, I had been driving to events in tight leather pants or chaps for a long time, ‘lads for pigs“ in Cologne or the annual Leather meet on the Cap San Diego in Hamburg. There I made out without restraints, but the leather clothes didn’t really interest me. That was only the entry card to some harder sex, but mostly I reacted to the harmless looking guy in jeans and sneakers that stood a bit insecure in the corner. If somebody had written „horny pig“on his bald head, I found it rather boring.

In point of fetish clothing, we are quite similar. For me, it’s more a dress code than Joy. I rarely had a gain in horniness with leather until now. And yes, it’s psychological. If it’s about dominance and submission, then most stuff goes on in your head. You were at the end oft he 80s and in the 90s on your big hunt. So a kid of the darkrooms, Leather meets and later Technoparties? How was that with the increasing fame? Did the guys get scared of getting an unflattering guest appearance in the next comic when they recognized you?

I just ignored that. When it started with “maybe… maybe not” the people sometimes recognized me and started to whisper, but I intentionally resolved to not let that fame thing spoil my fun. So no walking around with sunglasses and feel like being followed. I kept on doing what I did before on parties, especially since I believe that the comics show that I think hot sex is a great thing and that nobody should be surprised by that. It was sometimes surprising if somebody grinned at me and I thought he wanted to fuck, but then just had recognized me as the draftsman and didn’t want anything else. Often the boys didn’t know that it was me, they put on their shoes after the quick romp and saw framed comics of colleagues on my kitchen wall, then the coin dropped. They were totally surprised, but liked to come by again, if it was good. Sometimes they stiffed before the house door because they brought together the “Ralf” from Romeo with the “König” and didn’t dare to ring again. But I rarely painted 1:1 what happened on the mattress or anywhere else with somebody. I was always discreet. Especially since I never thought of good sex as funny. I never understood why the Tom of Finland guys always laugh while fucking.

Roy&Al, Männerschwarmverlag

Hot sex is sweaty, intense, hard then tender, degrading but uplifting, but never hilarious. Although as a master I can’t really hide a vicious smile sometimes 🙂 The one thing is whether you changed, the other is whether your counterparts did. Your work was for a longer time probably the most common toilet lecture – besides the Playboy, in hetero households.  That with the toilet lecture is something I don’t say in an insulting way. Do you really want to tell me that during that time your search for sex partners did not change? I got the impression that you got more attractive for young guys, for example.

Yeah, I often hear that my comics liked to lie on the toilet. Today they hang on museum walls, that’s how life can come. I never really watched the connection, only a few times, I must have developed blinkers against that. Best thing is when the other has no interest in what I do or never read a book of me. I still find this being known irritating. On one hand, I like to be the stage lion, but then I like to withdraw myself and don’t want to have anything to do with that.

That with the museums is an honour you definitely earned. But where do you find your comics more appropriate, where did the bigger laughs happen? In the museums or the toilets?

I don’t care, as long as people buy the books. I too often hear that someone liked my old stuff, “Beach Boys”, “Bulls Balls” or so, but doesn’t follow what I do nowadays. That frustrates, I don’t think my newer comics are worse, on the contrary, but the thing with Schwucomix in the 90s was a shot of spirit of time. I was handed house to house for years, since the museums Ludwig in Oberhausen dared the first big exhibition and was very successful. Afterwards I hang in Basel, Frankfurt, Hannover, Berlin, Kassel, Cologne etc. Now the museums that thing of comics and cartoons as art, slowly decrease

Did your comics change or did the artist change, that your work had to move from toilets to museums? And of which art is this change?

I think, my trip in the distortion of religion did contribute greatly to be taken notice of the “respectable” side. That started when I painted the “Prototype” strip for the FAZ, it was about Adam and the bite of the Apple and there were besides large applause angry Abo cancellations too. What wondered me, I thought that with Adam and Eve and the Arch of Noah wasn’t taken that historically beer-serious in our lines of latitude. But then I put myself up with god in my books for five years, a topic everyone has an own opinion to and sadly leads to uproar worldwide. Now I’m done with that, I was never a believer, and it isn’t that important to me again. On the contrary, it puts me off. Always the same hotheaded discussions and arguments about god or no god, and if yes, which one? That underlined the dumbness of humanity to me.

You speak out of my soul in that part. But it’s better if we don’t discuss this fetish any further, the military extreme fetishists in that area did already bring some of your draftsmen colleagues in a pickle. Or what do you think?

Yeah, like I said, I really have developed an aversion to talk about religious topics and it doesn’t matter which god is mentioned.

Let’s have a look ahead before we stop. “ The Porn Story” will be released on the 25th of September. What can we look forward to after the hetero porns?

At the moment I’m doing short stories again, for the quick feeling of success. Always doing those heavy paged comic novels I sit on for months, that does wear out a lot. I sat eight months on “Barry Hoden”, with colour pencils and everything, I don’t do anything with the computer. And I wanted to draw a dirty science fiction. Right now I make new stories for a second „Roy & Al“ album, those two mutts are a lot of fun. And then maybe another long story, about getting older, the tragedy to comedy is a challenge on it’s one. One has to take how it comes, but best is if you take it with humour. That’s just how I say it. Un-humorous, how I am to this topic

I can imagine that such a big comic novel is a huge amount of work. Mutts are always great. A pet play comic:) Thank you very much for your time and I will definitely continue to buy Ralf Königs and to read them on the toilet.

Barry Hoden, Männerschwarmverlag

Ralf König


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