Batman’s Greatest Boner

image A series of scans has appeared on the scans_daily LiveJournal blog, apparently from an early Batman comic (Batman #66). It details a 'boner' made by the Joker, and his subsequent efforts to force Batman 'into a boner'. The word boner is repeated so often that it seems like it has to be a joke, especially when you read lines such as "Gotham City will rue the day it mentioned the word Boner!" Perhaps someone photoshopped the word 'boner' into an issue of Batman. But I don't think so. I think it's real, although I can't be sure since I don't have a copy of that particular Batman comic (in fact, I don't have any Batman comics). The cover of that issue can be seen here. It's titled 'The Joker's Comedy of Errors!' So the issue itself is real, and 'boner' can mean an error. I think that it's only in recent decades that boner has come to predominantly refer to something else.

Another thing... in one of the panels a newspaper headline reads "Wrong-Way Batman! Lawman Aims For California, Winds Up In England!" This is a reference to Wrong-Way Corrigan, an aviator who wanted to fly solo from New York to Dublin but wasn't given permission to do so. So on July 17, 1938 he took off for California and 'accidentally' went the wrong-way and ended up in Ireland.

Art Literature/Language

Posted on Sat Mar 05, 2005


Last frame: "Let's hope we've the last of things like boners -- and jokers!"

This actually a really bad typo, especially given that older publications tend to have fewer typos.

It looks like a classic typing typo, where you just totally forget to type word because you've already thought it.

It definitely doesn't look like the kind of typo you commit when inking.
Posted by Typo might hold a clue  in  here  on  Sat Mar 05, 2005  at  08:05 PM
The really scary part is, the art is by a guy named Dick Sprang. I pull you not. Look it up.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sat Mar 05, 2005  at  08:15 PM
That's not ungrammatical if "we've" is a contraction of "we have," and therefore not necessarily a typo.
Posted by John  in  Seattle  on  Sat Mar 05, 2005  at  08:16 PM
Doubt me not. I'm an expert on Bat-Trivia, and Boner is my middle name.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sat Mar 05, 2005  at  08:19 PM
Just to confirm the etymology, from c.1912 "boner" referred to a blunder. From the 1950's it took on the meaning of an erect penis.
Posted by Pixie  in  Germany  on  Sat Mar 05, 2005  at  08:21 PM
Actually, my middle name is Heinrich, but my confirmation name is Boner, after Saint Bonerface.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sat Mar 05, 2005  at  08:23 PM
I remember at school giggling over Jane Austin's heroines when we found out that they loved "balls", or when we discovered that the main hero and lover was infact "gay".
Posted by Pixie  in  Germany  on  Sat Mar 05, 2005  at  08:25 PM
I recall an urban legend regarding Johnny Carson, who asked Mrs. Arnold Palmer how she helps Arnie prepare for golf. "I kiss his balls", she said. "Bet that makes his putter stand up", said JC.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sat Mar 05, 2005  at  08:37 PM

Two other sites reference the "scans".

I'm bothered by this one. It looks like a hoax. Three separate sites, with no attribution, start showing the same thing at the same time?

I don't buy it.

Anyone know where I can find a Batman 66?
Posted by Typo might hold a clue  in  here  on  Sat Mar 05, 2005  at  08:40 PM
I'm pretty sure that the scans are real. Expect more BatMan-ia as the Batman Begins film aproaches. It makes all my old Batman comics worth more, thanks.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sat Mar 05, 2005  at  08:47 PM
ha, ha, ha, I just can't stop laughing at this. I suspect that this piece has been Photoshopped with a superflous amount of boners, though. I mean it reads like the way the Smurfs used to talk, when some form of 'smurf' was used every few words.
"Holy Boner, Batman that boner Joker's up to no good! He's making boners all over Gotham & soon we'll all be bonered!"
Even though they've only posted the parts containing 'boner' it's still awfully repetive for one comic book. But so funny, I lovesit!
Posted by Electra  on  Sat Mar 05, 2005  at  08:50 PM
The other possibility is that this is some retarded "All Your Base Are Belong to Us" joke.

The joke is essentially real, but just some jackass found more humor in the slush pile of things forgeotten than he should have.
Posted by All your base are belong to us  on  Sat Mar 05, 2005  at  09:07 PM
Here's a link to a seller of Batman #66, Typo. Hope you've got $1850.00 Amurrican.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sat Mar 05, 2005  at  09:15 PM
I can't believe nobody's said "Bat-Boner" yet. Quick, Dick, to the Bat-Pole. Grab hard, and slide on down. Seduction of The Innocents, indeed. (look it up, you ignorant fools)
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sat Mar 05, 2005  at  09:21 PM
It's real. I don't have the issue, but a few people who did talked about it on a Comics bbs some time back. (Pulling a boner being a perfectly valid, if rather clunkily used, slang term to make this issue seem 'with it')
YES, it's used in all those shots. It's not a mistake. I don't know who is the progenitor of these scans, tho.
Posted by M. Smith  on  Sat Mar 05, 2005  at  09:48 PM
Hairy Houdini said:

"Seduction of The Innocents, indeed. (look it up, you ignorant fools)"

Great reference, Hairy. Yes, comic books were the Internet of the 1950's, at least in terms of how they were going to ruin the youth of America. Gee, we're a fragile little nation, aren't we?
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Sun Mar 06, 2005  at  02:14 AM
this boner thing reminds me of a simpsons episode that I was confused by until now, Homer was telling Bart how he had 'pulled a few boners' in his time. Now it all makes sense...

the only site I could find with this quote in was -
it's at the begginning of the script underneath all the 'didja notices etc or very near to the bottom (that one is quicker to find)
Posted by thunder  in  England  on  Sun Mar 06, 2005  at  07:27 AM
...I checked my comics...not a single one from '66. I have a "best of" type novella, but it was written in '65...before this would have come out.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Sun Mar 06, 2005  at  09:13 AM
It's not 1966. It's issue #66. I don't know what year that would make it, but almost definitely earlier than 1966.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Sun Mar 06, 2005  at  09:27 AM
Well, Batman first appeared in Detective Comics in 38 or 39, I think. The Batman Mag began in 1940 or so. At 12 issues a year, my guess is that BM #66 was printed in 1945-46. You're welcome.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sun Mar 06, 2005  at  09:52 AM
A Dr. Wertham, I think, wrote a book called Seduction of The Innocents in the early fifties. He claimed that comics of the day were violent and prurient (some were), and that BM and Robin were gay.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sun Mar 06, 2005  at  09:55 AM
Wertham(sic) testified at Government hearings on the Evil of comics. This led to the demise of EC comics (Tales of the Crypt,etc), and creation of the Comics Code Authority
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sun Mar 06, 2005  at  10:00 AM
Horror, Crime, and Mystery comics then disappeared in favor of Super heroes. That started the Silver Age of comics in 1956 with Showcase #4 featuring The Flash.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sun Mar 06, 2005  at  10:03 AM
By the way, Alex... Since last night, the term "Joker Boner" has stuck itself in my head. Thanks...thanks a lot. Beats "Bat-Boner", I guess.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sun Mar 06, 2005  at  10:06 AM
Now we know why The Joker can't stop smiling.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sun Mar 06, 2005  at  10:07 AM
Anybody who's read any old Hardy Boys or Tom Swift books (circa WWII or so), or Damon Runyan stories for the more literary among you, knows that "boner" is old slang meaning a foolish blunder. To "pull a boner" means to goof or mess up. I don't know if this usage is older or newer than "boner" meaning an erection, but the meaning of "a careless or foolish mistake" was certainly much more common in print, and probably in everyday conversation, until recent years.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Sun Mar 06, 2005  at  03:01 PM
BONER has only been commonly used to mean ONE thing in my lifetime. But I've been familar w/'pulled a boner' for awhile just because I heard it used by older people when I was a child and was like...'What the..?
Once, in Math Class, Mrs. Coakley SPRUNG 'boner' upon an unsuspecting 7th grade classroom. Bridget had done an equation at the blackboard which was being checked by Mrs. Coakley. (A genuine character in her own right- an eccentric who was always looking for the eyeglasses that were atop her head & stuff like that.) As she checked the problem she leaped from her desk and shreiked triumphantly: "Ah-ha, Bridget's really pulled a boner this time!" Nearly the whole class was stunned into silent disbelief. Imagine the looks on the faces of 27 twelve year olds in a Catholic all girls high school. I of course fell out of my chair laughing even though I knew about the dual meaning. It was priceless.
'Ha, ha, ha. I'm still laughing @ the Batman comic.. Me always amused by such assisine things.
Posted by Electra  on  Sun Mar 06, 2005  at  03:31 PM
I wonder where the term "PULLing a boner" came from... The poultry industry? Debonered chicken? I'd expect Pushing a boner works just as well...
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sun Mar 06, 2005  at  05:27 PM
Another case of words changing their meaning with the passage of time. I could never understand "its the exception that proves the rule" - until I discovered that, when the phrase was first popularised, "to prove" meant the same as "to test".
Posted by midlandsea  on  Sun Mar 06, 2005  at  05:31 PM
I must not have read the article well enough. But since I'm overlooking things, I probably should have realized the story itself was from the 40s...(artist/writer...) rolleyes
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Mon Mar 07, 2005  at  07:26 AM
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