From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
These were the earliest examples of bondage cover art images, and ran from about 1910 (when the pulps became more common) until roughly 1975 (when the "Men's adventure" type of magazines started to disappear).
Perhaps the earliest detective magazine to employ photographic covers was "Actual Detective Magazine," whose first issue appeared in November, 1937. The earliest use of a color photo on a cover is the February 1939 issue of True magazine, with the February 1940 edition apparently the first to feature a gag worn by a damsel in distress.
The peak era for these was the era from roughly 1959 until 1986, when, due to the Meese Commission (a contribution by Park Dietz), and the end of a few of the publishers of Detective (or "True Crime") magazines, the main era of the bondage cover ended, though there were a few issues of Detective Dragnet in the late 1980's and early 1990's, and a brief revival from about 1994 until 2000, though even then few and far between (unlike the late 1960's, when at least 2 such covers could be seen monthly. Also, the use of over-the-mouth gags was common enough that the slang term "Detective gag" is used for it.
In the Meese report
An essay "Detective magazines: pornography for the sexual sadist?" by Park Dietz and Harry Hazelwood, first published in Excerpta medica and also published in Final report of the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography commented:
- Abstract: The origins of detective magazines can be traced to 17th and 18th century crime pamphlets and to 19th century periodicals that Lombroso called “really criminal newspapers.” Content analysis of current detective magazines shows that their covers juxtapose erotic images with images of violence, bondage, and domination; that their articles provide lurid descriptions of murder, rape, and torture; and that they publish advertisements for weapons, burglary and car theft tools, false identification, and sexual aids. Six case histories of sexual sadists illustrate the use of these magazines as a source of fantasy material. We postulate that detective magazines may contribute to the development of sexual sadism, facilitate sadistic fantasies, and serve as training manuals and equipment catalogs for criminals. We recommend that detective magazines be considered during policy debates about media violence and pornography --Detective Magazines: Pornography for the Sexual Sadist?. Dietz PE, Harry B, Hazelwood RR . 1986;31(1): 197-211.
- Bondage pornography
- Pulp magazine
- Detective Story Magazine
- Detective Magazines (2004), by Eric Godtland and Dian Hanson