The Virtuoso Erotica of the Argentinian Comic Art Genius El Tomi
It's a mystery to me that the work of Argentine comics artist Tomas D'Espósito Muller aka. El Tomi (1955), outside his home country (and perhaps Spain) relatively unknown in the rest of the world. Especially after seeing his many impressive erotic drawings and paintings on his old Spanish spoken blogs, it is surprising that there are virtually no English-language articles about him. So it's high time to change this here.
Fig.1. Tomas D'Espósito Muller (El Tomi) (Source: Instagram @eltomimuller)
Superior School of Visual Art
Muller grew up in Rosario, the biggest city of the province Santa Fe in central Argentina. This is also where he studied at the Escuela Superior de Artes Visuales (Superior School of Visual Arts).
Thick Layer of Dust
I came across the following anecdote which gives a nice picture of how Muller came into contact with art. When he was very little he crawled to the closet of his parents' bedroom, opened the doors and found two framed oil paintings. They were covered in a thick layer of dust. One depicted a mountain landscape with a powerful light illuminating the summit. The other was a maritime painting depicting a sailboat caught up in a violent storm, battling against the high foamy blue waves that surround it. His father had painted them before he became a banker and had left his ambitions to become an artist.
The discovery of these two works sparked in him a desire to draw, and from that moment on he cannot remember a single day in his life in which he has not made at least one drawing. Even when he almost lost the index finger of his right hand in a domestic accident (the first and second phalanges only hung from a thin thread of skin) he took the opportunity to draw with his left hand without wasting time.
Fig.2. Cover for Fierro Magazine #56 (June 2011). This issue included a chapter from El Tomi's Freak City (see also Fig. ..)
Polenta With Little Birds
El Tomi's career really started to take shape in the eighties when he became a regular contributor to Fierro. For this Argentinian comics magazine (say the Argentinian version of Heavy Metal), which had two periods of publication (1984-1992 / 2006-2017),.he produced most of his comic strips including his best known “Polenta with Little Birds (Polenta Con Pajaritos)” (Fig.1), that is characterized by its fast dialogues and intense images. Here, the virtuoso comic artist created his own genre, halfway between comic book and illustration. Polenta follows the adventures of 'Conejo (Rabbit)', a boy from the banks of the Paraná. With his torn pants and his sling always in his pocket, Conejo became an unforgettable character.
Fig.3. Page from 'Polenta con pajaritos (Polenta with little birds) ' (1997)
Muller, under his working name 'El Tomi (Tom)', developed a refined style due to his academic training and an aptitude for anatomical representation. The color that, in some way, defines much of El Tomi's work is that of the waters of the Paraná River. He abhors complex backgrounds with skylines of skyscrapers and illuminated windows, street plains with vanishing buildings full of balconies in correct perspective, and despises architecture applied to comic strips to such an extent that he has been leaving the background of the vignettes empty, and stripping the characters as much as possible, so that the landscape can be read in the flesh, in the skin, in sex, in love without shame, in the open air. His love for brownish popsicles led him to papier-mâché, the medium on which he creates most of his works.
Although he produces illustrations for different genres, like caricature and adventure, his preference is clearly for the erotic. As the artist says himself, 'The best pornographic drawings are those that produce an erection in the cartoonist while he is doing them.'
Wrapped Manila Women
His work breathes a melancholic brightness but there is nothing gloomy or dark in the eroticism of El Tomi: his imagery represents a pure celebration of sex. Humor is another great aspect in El Tomi's work; with his sublime use of pencil, chalk and brush and mastery of the entire palette of styles, he creates his illustrations from an original angle, with fascinating characters and often with an unexpected twist. Very entertaining are, for example, the tightly wrapped Manila women (Fig.18), giant nuns belittling little men in three-piece suits (Fig.9 and 15), in this regard, the fiercely debating line of Indians waiting their turn for an intimate rendezvous with a prostitute in a wigwam should not be missed (Fig.19 to 24), and what about the ghosts involved in the act of fellatio (Fig.44) or the copulating hair (Fig.39).
Fig.4. Various sketches (2010)
Also fascinating to see is that the humorous look is sometimes present in the preliminary (sketch) phase but that this is brought back in the final painting. For instance, in The Gift (Fig.27, a and b), the man unpacks.an exuberantly naive pin-up girl, while in the finished painting we discern what looks like a shrewd femme fatale.
El Tomi's regular updates to his Instagram account are proof that he is still quite active in his late sixties and testify to the tireless inspiration in which he gives his unique vision of a world hungry for original fantasies. The following text from an Argentinian newspaper gives a telling description of El Tomi's art, 'Many of his creations become works of art or are simply born as such.'
The coming 4 Illustrations are vignettes coming from the cartoon 'Tangozando ' (2007) published in the Argentinian edition of 'Fierro ' magazine.
Fig.5. The legendary pubic hair dryer invented in an artisanal erotic hairdresser in the 1930s, the undisputed precursor of the current hair dryer.
Fig.9. The Book of the Saints (2020), The Saint of Chueca
Fig.10 'Hombre lobo (Werewolf)' (2010)
Fig.11. 'Bandoneon II ' (2012)
Fig.12. 'Bandoneona arrabalera ' from the series 'Tangolosina Copyright ' (2009)
Fig.13. 'Al Trotecito Lento ('At the Slow Trot ') from the 'Argentinian Yeguas' series (2021)
Fig.14. 'A girlfriend in each port.' (2011) A page from the chapter belonging to the comic strip Freak City published by Fierro magazine (#56)
" Pascual was never heard from again."
"But it is necessary to know that if a sailor has to have a bride in every port, the bride of every port has the right to have a sailor in every ship."
Fig.15. The Saint of High Heels (2020),
Fig.16. Cartoon of 'The Argentine demystifier ' published in Cocktail magazine in the nineties. On the following page you can find an interesting confession concerning this illustration by the artist.
"You seem to be very sure that the guy is unoppressive".
"Now that you mention it!"
Fig.17. 'Beauties and beasts III ' (2008)
Fig.18. Mujeres de Manila (July 2014) with a script by Lautaro Ortíz and drawings by el Tomi / Published by Fierro magazine
"Manila women open slowly, in the light of the siesta, to the mighty silence."
"They are always laid on the board upside down so that they do not tear your eyes out."
The following 6 pages belong to the chapter "Indian Row" of the comic strip Indiosincracia ...
Above left: "Did you do the dishes? Yes."
Above right: "Did you wash your ass? Yes."
Below left: "Did you put the bread in the oven? Yes."
Below right: "Did you clean the cow and put the calf in the pen? Yes.Yes."
Above left: "Did you comb your braid? Yes."
Above right: "Very well, turn around. I loosened my hair and I didn't cut my hair."
Below left: "On all fours like mares."
Below right: "Shall I treat you to a pillow for your knees? Do you want to lubricate your parts? No...No, No."
Further translations can be found in the Premium version of the article
Fig.25. 'El Polvo del Eternauta (The Eternal Dust)' (2010)
Fig.26. Colt 69 peacemaker (Colt 69 pacificadora) (2010) from the series The Weapons of Love l
Fig.27. 'The Gift ' (2010)
Fig.28. 'Oedipus and Electra ' (2009)
The following 3 vignettes (Fig.29 to 31) were used for Chapter Two of Ciencia fricción (Science Friction) that was both published in the Argentinian magazine Fierro (80s) and in the Spanish magazine El Víbora (90s).
The script is not applied deliberately to be able to appreciate the complete drawing but, in broad strokes, it narrates a scene from the intersexual war already declared back in the year 3000
The invention of a revolutionary weapon, the transsexualizing pistol, hastens the end of the conflict, since its firing produces an immediate change of sex. The male army, possessor of said weapon, takes advantage of it to, through threats, rape his enemy before transforming him and adding him to their ranks. In this chapter, the female individual manages to disarm his adversary, shoot him and discover to his surprise that the transsexualizing gun works in reverse with the opposite sex.
Fig.29. 'The transsexualizing pistol I ', oil pastel on cardboard
Fig.30. 'The transsexualizing pistol II '
Fig.31. 'The transsexualizing pistol III '
Fig.32. Illustration for cover belonging to the comic Little Drawings Avivados published by Fierro magazine (80s) and compiled by Doedytores publishing house.
Fig.33. 'Miss Chasman and Chirolito' from the series 'Puppets and Puppeteers'. Graphite on paper.(2009)
Fig.34. 'The Stick' (2008)
Fig.35. 'Devours men ' (2007)
Fig.36. 'Devours men ' (2007)
Fig.37. Picture (detail) belonging to the comic strip 'El demystifier argentina' (detail) published by the magazine Cóctel Molotov
Translation:: "You don't look like a lapdog."
Fig.38. 'No perdamos los papeles (de diario) - Loosely transl. Let's not lose the papers (of newspaper)' (2007)
Fig.39. 'With hair and signs' (2007)
Fig.40. 'At the Bar '
Fig.41. A page belonging to the comic Al pie de la carta, by Lautaro Ortíz and Tomi, published by the magazine Fierro in May 2013 (Click here for 5 additional pages)
"Minnie the moocher is the song, the central bank the place of the robbery, the stolen dollars in front of him, a crossed bag and a cigar. She, a short skirt and blue eyes, but what am I doing looking at her in the rear-view mirror?"
"I am leaving targets on purpose to favor me in the tumult"
"It seems that light falls on her back and her neck, and so I discover a little blue boat on her ass, she looks at me as if she were reproaching me."
Fig.42. 'Found Love' (2007)
Fig.43. 'The conquest (and rape) of America' (2007)
Fig.44. Page from the first chapter of the comic A ghost that watches TV published by Fierro magazine in December 2012
" A ghost watching TV received an unexpected visitor. He seduces his mate by hanging out as a tablecloth and pretending to be his lover." .
"I can't take it anymore - at least give me the pillowcase."
"ooo this one I'm going to starch his sheets."
"Love passed through the walls after having levitated on the bed and the ghost went back to watch TV, which had already changed the program."
"Noo! For fuck's sake! Was it a dream?".
"I want to die."
"Bah... I want to die again."
Fig.45. 'Don Quixote in front of the windmill ' (2008)
Fig.45a Preliminary sketch
Fig.46. Sketch are from the cartoon “La pelusita floja”, based on the story “Little Red Riding Hood” (2010) from the series 'New psychological rereading of the classic tale'
Fig.47. Thagson web portal illustration (2007)
Fig.48. A page from the album "JD Just Draw! Bilingual Edition
Fig.49. Page panel from 'Serapio, dog son of a bitch', eleventh chapter of Polenta con pajaritos!, published by the magazine Fierro (eighties) from Buenos Aires.
Fig.50. Vignette (detail) belonging to the comic strip 'Tales of the Lower Abdomen ' (2007), (Chapter where Don Juan's meeting with Mrs. Garbage is described), published by Cocktail magazine
"Smell my ass..."
"The first act of garbage love is to give us its most sincere fragrance."
Fig.51. 'Selfie Clown II ' (2019)
Fig.52. 'Sexillant ' (2008)
Fig.53. 'With hair and signs' (2007)
Annotations on erotic drawings by the artist:
"The best pornographic drawings are those that produce an erection in the cartoonist while he is doing them."
"...personally I think that sketching an erotic cartoon is usually more exciting than making it."
"When someone surreptitiously enters the room where you are drawing and you, startled, modestly hide the drawing, it is an irreversible indication that this drawing is the one to be published "
"An erotic illustration must be moisturizing."
If you were already planning to become a Premium member, now is an excellent time because we've added a (Very) extended version of the above article with a lot of extras, like 145 additional enticing pics, many more translations of the amusing dialogue in the text balloons, more of El Tomi's great insights for the aspiring erotic artists, an overview of his publications, and much more...
Sources: eldesmitificadorargentino.blogspot.com (on this extensive, older, blog the artist shares many of his thoughts, inspiration, insights, poems and visual art), twitter.com, eltomierotic.blogspot.com (here more of El Tomi's erotic art), tomimuller.blogspot.com, Instagram (@eltomimuller),,howtoarsenio.blogspot.com, revistafierro.com.ar
* The translations of some of the comic pages are tricky and sometimes almost impossible to decipher for a non-insider as there's a lot of Argentinian dialect (a Tupi-guarani Spanish dialect) and (often sexual) slang in the dialogues. Sometimes even 3 to 4 times in one sentence.
What do you think about El Tomi's comic art? What is your favorite piece? Leave your reaction in the comment box below...!!