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This Artist Has Turned the Sailor Scouts Into the Perfect Femme Himbos
Though we can all rag on Instagram as a place where we get the chance to be vapid or gloat about our accomplishments, the reality is that for different people it serves many different purposes. For creatives, in particular, it has become a place to show and display their work as well as cultivate and consolidate an audience. Gay visual artists have found this in spades, connecting with people the world over -- many times while battling the platform's censorship tools and alogorithm. One of those artists for the past few years has been Zachary Brunner.
This isn't to say Brunner came to prominence on social media like some: after graduating from the School of Visual Arts with a BFA in Film, he has created full-length graphic novels like The High Cost of Living Happily Ever After, collaborated on teams that have produced work for Mercedes Benz, and done freelance projects from Google, Kiehls, and Stella. And while that work spans the gamut, on his Instagram account, known as ZacharyIsWackary, he serves up sexier (and gayer) fare.
Instagram followers have come to know Brunner for his penchant for taking the superheroes and comic book characters from their youth and spinning them into sexy, bulging, and many times femme men. He takes characters that are cannonically women and turns them into men, and gives the male ones skimpier looks.
Brunner isn't just making space for himself though, in June of 2020 he helped to found Queer Emporium. That project is an online store and community that Brunner worked alongside artists like Preston Nelson, Kitsch Harris, Zach Greer, James Falciano, and Justin Dewey to kick off. The platform sells art from a variety of the creatives as mugs, pillows and more. Of Brunner's work featured in the selection is his art reinterpreting the Sailor Scouts of Sailor Moon. Here, we go back through the artist's full series and chat with him about his recreations.
When did you start creating art?
I've been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil. Creating art has always been an essential part of my life.
When did you start this series and was it meant to be a series or did it grow organically?
I started a few years ago. I didn't necessarily plan on doing a series, but I just had such a fun time drawing these hot beefy femme guys in skirts that I couldn't stop.
How long have you been a fan of Sailor Moon?
I remember watching it as a first grader, getting up early before school just to watch. I haven't followed the show recently but I appreciate it's place in pop culture history. Now that it's streaming though, I really have no excuse not to watch it.
Is it the art of Sailor Moon or the storylines that drew you to do this?
It's the art and the aesthetic of Sailor Moon that drew me to this. My aim is to break down gender stereotypes, and I felt this was the perfect opportunity. The art of Sailor Moon comes across as very feminine and kawaii -- lots of muted pastels, pinks, glowing effects, frilly skirts, floating hearts, all of it. I wanted to try and portray men in that light. The media we have been consuming, especially in the comic world I grew up in, always illustrated men as very masculine. Batman was fully clothed, dark, brooding, muscular, confident. I'm portraying people who are diversified, more gender fluid and non-binary.
I'm trying to shift the type of people we idolize from the manly, perfectly sculpted hairless men like Thor or Superman, to subjects who embrace their truest selves regardless of how they look.
Do you have a favorite Sailor Scout and why?
Honestly I remember watching the show as a kid and being obsessed with Queen Beryl and how fierce she was. Especially compared to the Scouts, she was dark, creepy and mysterious which drew me to her. However in terms of the Sailors, I would probably pick Neptune just because I like her color scheme the most.
Would you ever expand this more?
Yeah I'll probably continue to do a few more of the characters. Maybe in a few years I'll look back on this series and redo it with whatever new mindset and worldview I may have.