It's the 'Geralt in the bathtub' photograph that sells it for me. Our muscled hero, butt naked, legs akimbo and dangling over the tub towards us, dignity hidden by a fortunate obstruction. It's a scene every bit as subversive in this impressive Witcher cosplay calendar as in the opening moments of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. You expected naked ladies but instead you can have naked Geralt. The literal cheek.
This is The Witcher Cosplay Calendar starring Maul Cosplay, a German chap called Ben who was the official promotional model for CD Projekt Red this year - and you can see why. He's not only got the scarred, grizzled look to a tee, he's got the muscular power to go with it. He did a lot of training this year to get there.
He also looks like he's up for a laugh - like he understands the humour of The Witcher, both in the games and the books. It can be camp, it can be silly, and this Witcher Cosplay Calendar sends that up. There's a picture of Geralt pushing a member of the Wild Hunt on a swing for goodness sake.
The scenes included in the calendar are: Geralt and Yennefer and the unicorn; Geralt in the bathtub; Geralt and Dandelion on a night out; Geralt's famous painting; Geralt and Eredin deathmatch; Geralt and Triss and the lighthouse; Geralt and Imlerith fanfiction (the swing); Geralt's bad ending; Geralt's first monster hunt; Geralt's workout; Geralt and Roach; and a "surprise".
I am thoroughly impressed. But be warned: "If you want to buy this calendar, you should be able to stand nipples. Male and female alike," the store page for The Witcher Cosplay Calendar said. It's hardly the 2017 planner to pin on your family kitchen notice board, although you could, and, you know, serious respect if you do. It also isn't cheap at $29, with $9 shipping, but then it doesn't look cheap either.
Maul Cosplay has also recreated Corvo for Dishonored 2, Snake from Metal Gear Solid, and Khal Drogo from A Game of Thrones. Follow the Maul Cosplay Facebook page to look cool like me.