The idea of naked heroes is nothing new. In Ancient Greece, nearly every hero, whether on canvas, pottery or marble, was depicted nude, including Heracles, Perseus, Theseus and Achilles. Even Biblical characters, like King David, is most famously known sans loin cloth, owing to Michelangelo's masterpiece. After the Renaissance age, exposing the genitals fell out of fashion, likely due to religious pressure and an emphasis on the spiritual rather than physical world. But even to this day, we see remnants of the heroic nude in the way comic book artists portray their superheroes. Superman and Batman are nude forms but for their colorized bodies. No matter how tight tights get, you could never see such muscle definition in a human being, which is why Hollywood has such difficult time bringing these costumed characters to the big screen. The closest anyone could get to mirroring the page is with body paint, and in the X-Men series, director Byran Singer did just that, painting Rebecca Romijn blue, with a few strategically added fragments glued to her body, to portray Mystique.
In the literary field, naked heroes are commonly found in the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Both Tarzan and John Carter, despite decades of inaccurate film and TV adaptations, go without a stitch. Mowgli, from Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, never bothers with a loin cloth, as he is raised by wolves. Disney, of course, could never show him as was meant to be. In France, however, Philippe Sternis' writes of a young female Mowgli named Pyrenee, who lives without the burden of clothing, and is befriended by a bear. The nudity in the comic is tasteful and innocent, but don't expect to find an English translation. People in America would only see such images as child porn.
|Laura Zerra is shameless in the show.|
I have been thinking about naked heroes for half of my life. As a teenager, I wrote of the fictional demigod, Dynotus, for whom I wrote four ring-binders of adventures, and only very rarely wore any clothing. As I became more involved in nudism, the naked hero evolved in my mind. With a greater, philosophical understanding of naturism, I was better able to bring Xandr and Thelana to life. When the characters made their debut in 2004 in The Dark Age of Enya, I was still apprehensive about nudism, and the idea of naked heroes. I could not imagine a time when my characters would find acceptance. But this was before Naked and Afraid, before Muslim women went naked in the streets, before the sex/bondage inspired novel Fifty Shades of Grey. So many new nudist/naturist blogs, twitter feeds, and organizations are popping up, I can no longer keep track of them. The world seems ready for Xandr and Thelana, and it became apparent that the same be reflected in the fictional world in which they lived. In Ages of Aenya, naked heroes save the world! How can the people of Aenya not accept them? If I cannot even imagine a world where body taboos become a thing of the past, what good is fantasy?
|Heroic women, every one.|
More than anything else, I've wanted to embrace nudism in my fiction in a way I never have before. Xandr and Thelana are unique in that they are the first heroic nude characters in modern fantasy. If anything, this should be celebrated. Like Superman's and Batman's tights, their skin is their costume, and so the next book to feature them will be called Skyclad Warriors. In it, Xandr and Thelana will go without clothing entirely, in the cities, before kings and queens, for the entirety of the novel. Their time has arrived.
How do the people of Aenya come to accept the naked heroes in their midst? Take a sneak peek below:
|THE SKYCLAD WARRIORS|