Jun 212012
 

According to a post on Vintage Sleaze, “Justin Kent” is a name that appeared on many American digests published in the 1950s, short novels with racy covers that promised more than they could deliver in terms of sex, bondage and sadomasochism. It was actually a pen name for an unsuccessful writer living in Harlem named Kenneth Johnson (possibly African American, but the record isn’t clear.) Johnson wrote at least ten digest novels, many with illustrations by Gene Bilbrew.

1950s pulp cover, shirtless man begging woman in dominatrix outfit

The Strange Empress by Justin Kent Collection Jim Linderman

Tracked down and rounded up by investigators working for the Senate who wanted to grill Eddie Mishkin, publisher of overpriced soft-core bondage fiction with sexy covers.  Kent’s story, and his real name, come to us courtesy the U.S. Government.

[…]

Justin could follow orders.  As the transcript to a Supreme Court ruling five years later reveals, Eddie Mishkin had specific instructions for his writers.  Mishkin “insisted that the books be full of sex scenes and lesbian scenes… the sex had to be very strong, it had to be rough, it had to be clearly spelled out.  I had to write sex very bluntly, make the sex scenes very strong. The sex scenes had to be unusual sex scenes between men and women, and women and women, and men and men.  He wanted scenes in which women were making love with women.  He wanted sex scenes in which there were lesbian scenes. He didn’t call it lesbian, but he described women making love to women and men making love to men, and there were spankings and scenes—sex in an abnormal and irregular fashion.”  Another unnamed author testified that Mishkin instructed him ‘to deal very graphically with the darkening of the flesh under flagellation.”

These books were made in limited print runs and frequently confiscated and burned, making them pretty rare today.

1950s paperback cover, man in suit hold woman in bondage dress

Woman Impelled by Justin Kent Collection Jim Linderman

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