We’ve seen a lot of anti-slavery and abolitionist art and other media, but there’s pro-slavery art and media out there too.
Jay A. Gertzman’s article “1950s Sleaze and the Larger Literary Scene: The Case of Times Square Porn King Eddie Mishkin”, in eI15 fanzine, provides an intriguing glimpse into the proto-BDSM scene of 1950s America, particularly the previously mentioned publishing empire of Eddie Mishkin.
Mishkin employed fetish artists like Eric Stanton and Gene Bilbrew, as well as writers, some of whom wrote pornography under pseudonyms or house names to pay the bills while working on above-ground books or television.
The Seduction of Venus has a post on French illustrator Chéri Hérouard, aka Herric.
A quick sampling of the other posts on the A Carrefour Etrange blog:
L’Étrange aventure de Miss Alice Simpson by Jean Bustarès, from 1922. No word on the story, but the pictures seem strongly on femsub and whipping. Illustrations by Gaston Smit alias Georges Topfer.
La Comtesse au Fouet (The Countess of Whips) is more of a mixed bag, with both femsub and malesub. Illustrations by Martin van Maele. Originally published 1906.
Les Malheurs de Colette by Aimé van Rod, published in 1914 (reissued 1928) and illustrated by Georges Topfer.
The Au carrefour étrange blog has several scans of vintage bondage and flagellation erotica from France. One of them is Les Confidences de Chérubin by G. Donville, originally published in 1939 and featuring beautiful spanking, lingerie and maid illustrations by Cheri Horouard, aka Herric.
This is a great reissue the less fortunate will be able to buy, for lack of the original edition that not only is rare but does not approach within 100 euros you.
In addition to this text very pleasant, originally published by the great Jean Fort (Nettles White etc..), Whose narrator, Peter Thiverny tells, from initiation to sensual pleasure in voyeurism (parents) and the discovery of female buttocks (the young Monique and her swing) to various sexual practices including spanking with many companions of passage, and more so, this beautiful edition reproduces illustrations from the original edition (1939) Cheri Herouard (signed Herric).
[via Google Translate]
While most of the illustrations are set in the present day, the one above indulges in Orientalist fantasy with the appropriate props.
Retrospace has a selection of scans, and not just the covers but the interiors, of old mens adventure magazines, variously known as pulps or sweats.
You can see earlier pornographic genres embedded in here: the same combination of xenophobia mixed with wish-fulfillment in The Lustful Turk, Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk and so forth.
Well, sooner or later, somebody had to make an image like the one above.
It’s not the only Hellman that satirizes the Iraq and Afghanistan war, viewing those conflicts through the lenses of comic books and exploitation magazines (e.g. 1). This is an obvious take on the previously discussed Israeli stalag novels and the later men’s adventure magazines, referencing the notorious Abu Ghraib pictures. The brunette woman in the background represents Lynndie England, for instance.
The Abu Ghraib pictures put Americans in a quandary. The scenario was familiar, but the ones inflicting the suffering were “us”, not “them”. How could this be? This is what Other people do. It’s telling that England, a female soldier, became the most recognizable name and face associated with this scandal, linking political deviance with female sexual deviance.
I feel somewhat disappointed that this image is too knowing, too ironic to be a genuine expression of fantasy. Maybe we need to wait a few years before the psychosocial impact of the War on Terrorism percolates up from the collective subconscious. Or perhaps the torture porn film genre previously discussed is part of that response. Maybe in North America the feared Other is not the Muslim terrorist, but the out-of-control, paranoid police state. That at any second, for no apparent reason, we can find ourselves strapped to something in a windowless room where we are utterly helpless before an unknown person. Network television is already crawling with surveillance and confinement and competition. Somewhere out there, Room 101 is ready for you.
The promotional website for the book Permanent Obscurity has a brief history of fetish and bondage artist Eric Stanton and his business relationship with Irvine Klaw.
Biographical facts about his life are often contradictory and murky; and sometimes he would contribute to this misinformation personally. There’s even some question of his real name: was he born “Ernest Stanzoni” as claimed in the huge Eric Kroll coffee table book? Or is his birth name “Ernest Stanten,” as claimed by Belier publisher and personal friend and associate, J.B. Rund?
Most of what I know about the sexploitation era and the subgenre of what was then labeled “bizarre,” which today would be assigned fetish culture or kink, I’ve learned through tracking Stanton. He remains, in some strange way, a central figure for me (my own personal Dante) whose life intersected with other curious characters of the day, artists and business people, gangsters and hacks … shadowy and mythologized figures I’ve come to admire and who I never grow tired of hearing about: Irving Klaw, Bettie Page, Gene Bilbrew, Lenny Burtman, Eddie Mishkin, Stanley Malkin…. And then, of course, there’s Steve Ditko, Spider-Man co-creator and Stanton’s friend-as well as his studio mate of 10 years.
(ellipsis in original)
According to this, Stanton would self-publish and self-print his own works with his own photocopier. I’ve always been interesting in the means of production and distribution for works that had such a huge influence on the history of kink, and it seems fitting that so much of it was produced on a shoestring, in a confluence between people who were seeking a market niche and people who were seeking their kink.
PS: I’d be interested to know what Ditko, known for espousing a harsh Objectivist philosophy in his work, would have made of Stanton’s fetish art. Then again, there’s something a bit kinky in Ditko’s Objectivist characters. The Question wore a rubber mask that made him look like he had no facial features at all, just smooth skin. Mr. A, an even harsher character, wore a steel helmet that gave him unmoving, impassive features, as well as steel gloves that locked on. It struck me as fitting that a character so committed to an ideology would go to such extremes in concealing his own humanity and in not having to touch the messy, complicated human world. (Both characters were the inspiration for Rorshach in Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen.)
Strange Sisters has a gallery of vintage lesbian pulp novel covers with BDSM themes from decades past.
Most of them seem to depict lesbianism as a form of sadistic predation of the dominant, often masculinized woman upon the “confused” woman. Others create a triangular composition of helpless male observer, aggressive female and victim female. The male observer seems to vacillate between delighted voyeur and underdog hero. Some of the images also incorporate elements of the occult, too, with burning braziers or strange idols, and cover blurbs that mention “cults”.