Jeff has had such an influence on so many of us in this group. Not only his great storytelling and illustrating, but in the way he encouraged others to be creative. I personally would never have started putting out any of this work had it not been for his gentle urging and on-going friendship. And I found him to have an almost childlike enthusiasm for things. I will miss a real friend.
Jeff was in his late eighties and had been having serious health issues. So, his death was not unexpected. He did take the time to write his own obituary for our community… which follows.
Jeffrey M. Brennan (the pseudonym he used professionally), died on November 7, 2020 in Florida. He was just three days short of his 88th birthday.
Born in a small town in New England in the waning years of the Hoover Administration, he grew up in the Great Depression and World War II. His father having died in an accident before he was two years old, he was raised by grandmothers and aunts for role models. He was separated from his two older brothers during his formative years, as they, too, were “farmed out” to other relatives.
As a pre-teen he developed an identification with “he-man heroes” in the comics, the movies and on radio. Pulp magazines of the era fueled his fascination with heroes held prisoner and tortured. He had fantasy friends with whom he imagined being captured by Indians, aliens from Mars, sadistic gangsters, and later by the enemies of World War II. He and his fantasy friends never gave in, never “talked,” but always managed to “take it like a man” and emerge victorious.
Jeff’s passion for “he-men” never became an obsession, never interfered with his highly successful life, nor was it followed as a life style. He balanced his fantasy world and the real world with intelligence and confidence. Educated in a service academy and subsequent graduate courses, he rose to high rank and retired in his 50’s as a senior military officer, having held significant command and staff positions. He was a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars, earning awards for combat action in the latter. He was well known in the military academic world as a historian and analyst, and had been published in professional journals and as a contributor to service academy textbooks.
Although limited in the fulfillment of his desires by both the constraints of the times and the entrenched regulations of the armed forces, he did enjoy many satisfying scenes, acting out [sometimes very realistically] the “he-man who won’t talk.”
With the advent of the Internet, Jeff became well known to the BDSM community as “Topsail.” He founded several Yahoo and MSN groups and contributed to many others. He was asked by its owner to take over the “Muscles-n-Manacles” site on Yahoo, and with three friends made it a popular Yahoo group. It was expanded as the website musclesnmanacles.com, but later was changed into a pay site by its hired webmaster. In recent years Jeff had continued to moderate several sites, and was a major contributor to the excellent site established by “Aquadude.”
Jeff was successful in living this “double life,” and worked tirelessly for civic and charitable organizations in his retirement. He remained until his death a highly respected military career man, with many wonderful friends; he was personally acquainted with many of the “names” in both his worlds. He was loved by the succeeding generations of his extended family, who knew him only as the generous uncle, grand-uncle and great-grand-uncle.
He was married late in life to a woman who had been a “best friend” for nearly forty years, but with whom he had never shared his secret alter ego.
For stories by Jeff Brennan/Topsail, go to: Bunker Content/ Literature/ Authors/ Topsail
For his illustrative work, Go To: Bunker Content/ Special Features/ Topsail Captions