December 27, 2004

Pulp Bondage Illustrations

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Feral House is probably best known for The Lords of Chaos, which remains the definitive history of Norwegian-brand black metal. American Hardcore, a pretty thorough account of the intense, short-lived movement, and Lexicon Devil, the story of Darby Crash and the Germs, followed. Over the last couple of years the publisher has put out a lot of really relevant sensational and offbeat titles. In the process they have sometimes republished some fantastic lost art. Itís A Manís World, for example, has over 200 pages of bizarre cover illustrations for postwar menís adventure pulps by such forgotten greats as Mort KŁnstler, Norman Saunders, and Norman Eastman. These magazines were first published for the WWII veteran market so they pretty much invented our iconography of Nazi bondage sadism. Menís adventure magazines, however, lasted into the 70s, so over time those original images of shackled woman in German torture chambers went through a number of metamorphoses. By the mid-60s, for example, helpless woman reappear as the victims of murderous outlaw rebel swastika wearing bikers. Ultimately, menís pulps were outmoded by pornographic magazines like Playboy (Swank was, in fact, originally a pulp). The illustrations in Itís A Manís World reveal the incredibly overt extent to which sadistic misogynist fantasy, castration anxiety, and homoeroticism under lied popular representations of rugged male virility.

Posted by dmb at December 27, 2004 11:50 PM
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