Darger’s human figures were rendered largely by tracing, collage, or photo enlargement from popular magazines and children’s books. (Much of the “trash” he collected was old magazines and newspapers, which he clipped for source material.) Some of his favorite figures were the Coppertone Girl and Little Annie Rooney. He is praised for his natural gift for composition and the brilliant use of color in his watercolors. The images of daring escapes, mighty battles, and painful torture are reminiscent of events in Catholic history; the text makes it clear that the child victims are heroic martyrs like the early saints. One idiosyncratic feature of Darger’s artwork is an apparent transgenderism: Characters are often portrayed unclothed or partially clothed, and regardless of ostensible gender, some females have penises. Some feel Darger was unfamiliar with female anatomy, that he meant it as a symbol of power (a chapter of In the Realms of the Unreal includes an articulate rant on the ability of girls to accomplish as much as boys), or that he modeled the girls after images of the infant Jesus.
(ml) excerpt from http://www.henrydarger.info/25.html