THOUGHTS FROM SEAN SCOTT
The first image of David I saw was ManOfSteel’s black-and-white render, David 130. I'd come across it by chance—some random find while I'd perused the Internet for images of muscular men. The image shows David standing on a bodybuilding stage next to a large trophy; he looks majestic—even stately—as he holds still for an unseen, adoring audience. It wasn’t until years later that I realized the setting for this image was a 2004 “Mr. California” contest. At least, that’s according to the big banner that hung behind David (along with the requisite sponsor logos). But seriously, who looks at the background when HE is in the foreground?
I was immediately smitten—head-over-heels in love with this mega-man. I didn’t even know his name, but I simply HAD to see more of him. And by more, I meant more pictures. I really doubted the possibility that someone so gorgeously muscular and handsome, could appear naked. I held out no hope of that. And for all I knew, this was a one-off... a picture (I later learned these 3-D images are technically called “renders”) of a subject that I’d never see again, save for that single image of this incomparable man at a bodybuilding competition. That thought actually depressed me. I’d become obsessed. Surely, there had to be more of him!
Imagine my rapture when I finally found renderotica.com, and the wonderful library of “David”! Suffice it to say, I immediately forked over the fee to have access to the "Premiere" section, so I could see all of ManOfSteel’s renders of David. It was like throwing gasoline on the fire of my lust. I shan’t go into TMI detail about what I did with those pictures, but I’m sure it doesn’t take much imagination.
From the outset of my exposure to ManOfSteel’s work, I was taken by the fact that not only did he present such exquisite 3-D artwork, but… his stories! His writing was amazing! The way he used pictures and words to create scenes and stories was just incredible! Nowhere before or since have I come across an artist who is so gifted with both images and words. His writing brought David to life; we were able to fantasize about not only a picture (as easy as that is to do, no?) but MOS took it a step further and helped us fantasize an entire scenario—a whole, wonderful story in many cases.
After I’d bookmarked MOS’ Renderotica page, I think I may have worn a hole on my computer screen by constantly clicking on it—usually numerous times a day—to catch the latest image. (Never mind that one didn’t actually touch the screen to do that back then.)
This was a few years after I had begun my own avocation of writing muscle stories to post on the Internet. Of course, the logical progression was that David began to really influence my stories. I used David as grist for many, many of my short stories. If you would have told me that in a number of years, I’d be actually collaborating with MOS on a story that featured custom-rendered images of David for my writing, I’d have laughed you out of the room. But before it got to that point, I just continued to write more of my own stories, often (but not always) using David as the “actor” for my main characters. Having a body like that to inspire my characters was definitely motivating!
Eventually, a David Fan Club was formed on Yahoo!, and of course I was right there. It was a great opportunity to get to know ManOfSteel, since he often posted comments and generally caroused there with fans of his work. Also, there was a section where people could post stories that featured David as a character, just like MOS wrote. (I say “just like” with tongue firmly planted in cheek. No one could come close to how MOS spun his David tales.) I figured, what the heck, I’ve been writing stuff about David (or using him as my model) for years. Might as well post some stuff too! If only to give homage to MOS’ great character David, right?
So I started posting my series, “David & Goliath” (catchy title, huh?) on the Fan site.
A number of days (weeks? I can’t remember…) later, one day I dutifully powered up my computer (I think you had to let the tubes warm up back then) to see if a new David was “up” (so to speak). I clicked on the bookmark for David’s Renderotica web page. My heart skipped a beat, as it always did when I saw that MOS had posted a new image of David! Yay! I clicked on the thumbnail and just loved the render. It was David 354: David is standing center, one step down inside a hot-tub, his magnificent, naked body relaxed and stupendous as usual. He’s looking down at a man who is mostly submerged in the hot-tub.
I thought the render was simply stupendous. All the attention to detail that one came to expect from MOS: the candles, the flowers, bubbling water in the tub, even the musculature of the other man… so good. And David. I mean, what can I say?
Yet, before I even began to read the description that MOS included with said render (as he always did with his Renderotica posts), in the back of my mind (and very quickly, this background thought came to the fore with a thunderous crack!) I had a feeling I’d seen something like this before.
I had. In my own mind. I had written this scene in the story I’d started posting on the David Fan Club site.
What? Then, as I read the picture’s caption, I literally froze in place:
It's funny how sometimes I just have to wait until the mood strikes and then I'm suddenly compelled to bring an image to life. This image was inspired by the beginning of what promises to be a very hot story written for the David Fan Club by Heartman ["Heartman" is a pseudonym I used back in the day. —SrS], who is also a member here at Renderotica.
David is hired by a billionaire tycoon for an advertising photo shoot, but things may not be as simple as they seem. In the first installment, the rich man literally can't keep his hands off David, and his assistant assigns himself the noble task of keeping David company for the evening. Back in David's hotel suite, David invites the assistant to try out the luxurious bath and one thing leads to another.
Read the first chapter: [HERE]
And finally, Happy New Year to all!
I could not believe it. My idol, David—erm, ManOfSteel—had read my work! And he saw fit to render a picture just for ME!
As soon as the paramedics were satisfied I’d be okay, I collected my thoughts and wrote a hastily-crafted email to MOS. And that’s when our years-long friendship began. ManOfSteel created more renders for my David & Goliath story (Davids 356, 357, and 359) and even did other pictures of David that were ostensibly inspired by something I’d sent him (see David 671).
And then there’s the book we did together. MOS was a great collaborator… so fun—and such a pleasure—to work with. It was just a year ago, in 2019. I wrote the storyline, and MOS created David images for Mediterranean Muscle. (See David 685) It was formatted for Kindle; no paperback version exists. I did make it available as a pdf though. MORE INFO TO COME. To be brutally honest, this book (the story) was absolutely horrible. The plot was thin, the characters were thinner (well, except for the ultra-built David, of course,) and it was generally… really bad. Basically, it was meant to be jerk-off fodder, if you take my meaning. It’s certainly not destined for the NYT Best Sellers list, nor will it ever be considered for any kind of literary award (unless… do they give out Razzies for books?).
Anyway, ManOfSteel and I corresponded occasionally throughout the years. I wouldn’t say it was a close relationship, but he and I were definitely good friends. We obviously had common interests. (Ya think?) I even asked him for advice one or two times on how to create my own 3-D muscle man. It was a fruitless venture on my part. I just didn’t have the patience to whittle down every little minute detail in order to make a man look good—not to mention big and strong, like I like ‘em. For those of you who have no idea what it takes to make a good (not to mention great) 3-D image, it’s a painstaking, laborious process—one that I just couldn’t bring myself to tackle after I realized what was involved. David’s hairy chest? That in itself takes hours of meticulous adjustments. Facial expressions? Really intricate. And don’t even get me started about how much it takes to make muscles look big, and real. After a few weeks of contorting my figures into hopelessly misshapen and grotesque beings, I enthusiastically threw in that towel, content to let MOS do the artistic heavy-lifting.
Early on, I realized that ManOfSteel simply had to be a well-educated man. His knowledge of Antiquity was a dead give-away. (See DAVID IN ROME for an example) He wrote various scenes and stories from many varied eras. Ptolemy, leather, modern-day Europe, Rockwell, Harry WHATS HIS NAME, fashion… even David’s twin background areas (London and Texas) showed brilliant inspiration. I actually thought, before I met him in person, that MOS simply had to be older than me. Not only was he obviously well-rounded and informed, he had an obvious interested in movies and TV shows that were admittedly a tad before my time. (Not much, but a tad.) When I learned he was actually three or so years younger than me, I was surprised. The guy was amazing. Certainly not what you’d expect. But then, even a cursory examination of his work bears that out.
In 2019, I flew down from Portland to visit family in the Bay Area. Since I knew MOS lived on the San Francisco Peninsula, I asked if he’d be willing to met up for a coffee some afternoon while I was there. He agreed, but he suggested we change it into an evening.
I met him at his house and he gave me the tour of his bungalow. I don’t remember many details, but he did say he’d lived in this house much of his childhood (if I’m not mistaken). He’d moved out on his own, but when his dad died a few years ago, he moved back in and now lived there alone. His mom had died years earlier. It’s my understanding he had but one brother, and I don’t know much about what his family knew, or didn’t know, about his orientation. Regardless about their knowledge of his sexuality, I seriously doubt they knew anything about “David.”
ManOfSteel’s real name was indeed David. For reasons mentioned in the above paragraph I won’t mention his last name.
On June 3 of last year (2020) I received the following from MOS’ email address:
If If you are reading this I I have died I of pancreatic cancer .
[Sean],, please send a message yo forums sm at RE so the know I just
didnt just disappper.. By By the way youcan te ll rhem mem my reall
name was David and a one my greatest joys was sharing my work.
Thank you for you for being such good friends.
I was too shocked to move. I immediately replied to the email with: “Please tell me this got sent out by mistake.”
I received no response.
I had known MOS suffered from health problems, but he never complained to me about anything. Nor did he give me any specifics. Nor did he reveal to me that he had anything terminal. Yet I knew he’d never, ever have something like that in jest. His sense of humor was exquisite, but it certainly wasn’t morbid.
So, yes, I was stunned into a depressed silence.
And then, I sobbed.
I’ve lost a brother and my mother, and don’t take this wrong but the loss of David was singular in its impact. I felt his loss not merely because of his art and writing, but because of the man he was. And because I immediately regretted not getting to know him better. It was now too late.
Side note: If you have someone you enjoy, don’t wait to get to know them better, okay?
Had I known, when I visited David that evening, that I would have the sad honor of memorializing “David” only a few years later, I would have taken copious notes, asked for many, many samples of “David” renders that hadn’t been published, asked for anecdotes about how “David” came to be, asked more about David’s life, youth, family, other interests. Alas, it seems all of "David" was lost on David's computer when he passed. Perhaps fortunately though, I wasn’t distracted by all that. It was simply a fun evening of getting to know a new friend. David’s creation, “David”, only took up a part of that evening. That’s a good thing. I will cherish it forever.
The email I received in June was cc’d to another person, and since we’d both been addressed in that email, the two of us have corresponded a few times since. This person eventually sent me a link to MOS’ obituary. Disturbingly, MOS/David hadn’t actually died until a week after we’d gotten that email. I assume that David had set up the email to be automatically sent at a specific time in the future (not difficult to do) so that if, say, he didn’t return from a hospital procedure by a certain time, the email would be sent automatically. I suspect that’s what happened, even though the email was sent while he was still in the hospital, and had not yet passed. It’s a bit unsettling to contemplate, but I believe that’s what happened.
I hope you enjoy this site, it contains all of the published works of David, by ManOfSteel—at least all of the works he posted on Renderotica. Your contributions and input is encouraged. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.