Corporal is one of the first (if not the first) ongoing magazines entirely devoted to spanking erotica. Before Corporal there were numerous single-issue photo-anthologies published in digest-size booklets dating back to the 1930s. The magazine was created in New York by prolific fetish magazine publisher Leonard Burtman (1921-1994) around 1967 and continued into the mid-'70s.
Prior to Corporal, Burmel Publishing Company (formed by Burtman and partner Ben Himmel) launched many ground-breaking fetish publications starting with Exotique (1955-1959). Inspired by Irving Klaw and John Willie's Bizarre (1946-1959), Exotique was a showcase for fetish fashions (leather, rubber, high heels, stockings, etc.). Many of the costumes were provided by Charles Guyette, a maker of fetish products, including photographs. The magazine's photo-layouts and illustrations presented women (including fetish icon Bettie Page) as all-powerful fantasy figures who dominate (mostly) male slaves. Nearly all of his subsequent magazines would continue this theme. The artwork of notable artists Eric Stanton, Gene Bilbrew (aka "Eneg"), and Bill Ward is also featured in scores of Burton publications.
By 1958 Exotique, and its many single-issue spin-offs, came under the scrutiny of local New York authorities, the FBI, and the Postal Inspection Service. Despite the lack of nudity or sexual situations, in 1959 Burmel Publishing was convicted on obscenity charges (later reversed) and subsequently closed its doors. Ownership of Exotique was transferred to Kaysey Sales, a holding company covertly created by Burtman. Two more issues came out under the title New Exotique.
In 1960, an undaunted Burtman continued as before under a new imprint, Selbee Associates. The short-lived Masque and Connoisseur (1960-1961) were nearly identical to Exotique. He also launched a string of conventional girlie magazines (many with nude photos) and other fetish periodicals. Titles include: Exotica (1960), Orbit (1961), High Heels (1962), Black Stocking Parade (1963), Leg Show, Satana (1962), Pepper, Striparama, Fashion Fantasy, Lynda in Leather, Midnight Nurse, et al. A few of these, printed at irregular intervals, would continue into the next decade.
Burtman and Himmel also produced the first fetish-oriented exploitation film, Satan in High Heels (1962), partly filmed in Burtman's apartment. This story of an amoral vixen features Meg Myles in several all-leather outfits. She even performs a song dressed as a dominatrix holding a riding crop. Burtman put photos of Myles in many of his magazines.
By mid-decade Selbee Associates was putting out one-shot photo-fiction magazines such as Spanking Nurse and Spanked into Submission (both in 1965). These modest booklets usually contained random photos that had little to do with the text.
Corporal and Consolidated Publishing
With the collapse of a major distributor, "anti-smut" arrests, and renewed court battles, Burtman would suffer major financial setbacks. He was forced to form a business arrangement with Rueben Sturman, a mob-connected porn kingpin. Sturman would become his financial backer and his Toronto-based Consolidated Publishing company would be Burtman's sole distributor.
In 1966, Burtman's influential Bizarre Life was published by Consolidated. This slickly produced lifestyle magazine concentrated on the thriving New York/London underground leather scene. This was the first known fetish publication printed in an 8.5 x 11-inch format, which replaced digest size as the standard in the pornography industry.
Corporal made its debut around 1967. This all-spanking magazine featured original stories, pictorials, art, and letters. The early issues were digest-size booklets; some were all text, others had illustrations. By 1969 the magazine had expanded into a full-size, 102-page bi-monthly with glossy color photos on the covers.
Corporal had a female-submissive theme (unusual for a Burtman production), with just a touch of femdom content. The photo-features had an even mix of M/F and F/F pairings. Cavorting sorority girls, leather-clad vixens, and lesbians in lingerie punish each other or get punished by men.
For example, issue #47 (Winter 1969-70) is packed with over 100 black & white photos, with two pages in color. The photo-stories, mostly shot in Burtman's Manhattan apartment, include a bit of text to describe the action. There is spanking fiction (with illustrations by Stanton and others), letters to the editor, a quasi-sociological essay, and "Ask Dr. Klow", an advice column. (Later, Burtman's Eros-Goldstripe company would publish a series of sex books by the fictional Dr. Klow.) At this time the magazine had no frontal nudity or pornographic content.
Books and stag films
Corporal was also used to promote other spanking-related product lines. Issue #47 contains a two-page spread for Times Square Books featuring "carefully selected editions" of pseudo-scientific works on sex, spanking (Spanking Encyclopedia), and S&M from Gargoyle Press. The Toronto ordering address is the same as Consolidated's.
Burtman also made color 8mm spanking movies in his apartment. Issue 47 has a 26-page section packed with 44 stills (including the issue's only two color pages) promoting three of his exclusive stag reels (each are 200 feet in length). An ordering form for Punishment Spanking, Teenage Discipline, and Modeling School Discipline offers these for $20 each. The films have a mix of pairings (M/F, F/F, F/M). The first two have men and women being dominated. The third, Modeling School Discipline, features a leather-clad mistress and a man in a leather hood who paddle a white girl and a black girl.
Inside the back cover is a full-page photo from a "Sorority Party" photo-layout with an ad for Bizarre Life, Three (a lesbian publication), and High Heels. This photograph also appears (uncredited) in the September 1975 issue of National Lampoon, an issue notorious for its spanking parody cover painting.
Burtman also promoted his spanking stag films in a Bizarre Life spinoff magazine called Bizarre Films.
The 1970s to the present
Around 1973 Consolidated was absorbed into a new Sturman/Burtman company, Eros Goldstripe Publishing. Corporal and all other Eros products (magazines plus a large book division of fetish pulp novels) now had a diagonal gold stripe on their covers that read "An Eros Goldstripe Publication."
In 1974 the name of the magazine was changed to Corporal Punishment. It is not known when this new incarnation ceased publication.
The magazine may have been sold to Esoteric Press which put out Corporal Newspaper (1977), followed by Corporal Quarterly and, in the '80s, Corporal Digest. World Media Group published a magazine called Corporal (with Leg Tease presents on the masthead) from the '80s to as recently as 2004. Their connection to the original publication is still a mystery.
The prolific Eros Goldstripe continued to put out a variety of spanking/fetish magazines. After Bizarre Life ended in 1971, Burtman created the similar Unique World. Other periodicals from the '70s include Aching Asses, Burning Asses, Discipline and Desire, Mistress of Pain, Whip, The Bitch Goddesses, Whip 'n Rod, Laces & Leather, Erotic Flagellation (vintage photos and art), The Mistress, The Bizarre Art of Bill Ward and World of Bizarre.
The 1980s saw the introduction of Blazing Bottoms, Spanked and Subdued, Spanking Deviations, Lashes, Torment, Women in Command and Whackers.
Burtman remained hard at work producing new fetish-related products until his death in 1994 at the age of 74.