That Time Batman and Robin Communicated With Their Crotches
Its no big surprise that as things age, they can take on a level of unintentional humor thanks to outdated phrases and slang. This is especially true for comics, which can often reflect their era in ways that can be especially embarrassing in the present day. While a lot of the time this can be in the form of gross stereotypes, they can also just be quirks of the vernacular.
The golden age of comics is full of these moments, as a lot of the language of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s take on a whole new level of entertainment when read now. Some of these moments have become legendary in their badness, most notably in books like Batman.
One of the most famous is from Batman #66, which is all about The Joker and the Batman trying to force each other into boners. There’s even websites dedicated to how Superman’s old stories can be reread as the continuing stories of the world’s greatest jerk.
One of the pleasures of going through comics of the Golden Age is finding moments that haven’t been mined to death for memes. Oftentimes, they can be subtle or juvenile but still have their own special charm.
Wait, WHERE is the communicator located?!
Take, for example, this moment in Detective Comics #41, from 1940. Robin is going undercover to help solve the mystery involving the murder of employees at a boy’s private school. The story itself is hopelessly convoluted in the same way the best stories of the age are; as it involves escaped mental patients, jilted Art teachers, and masked men just hanging out in dormitories. The best moment comes when Robin is shown secretly reporting his investigations to Batman.
This being a superhero story, we can’t just have them talking on the phone or meeting in secret. Instead, we get what is supposed to be some cool gadget stuff, where the Dynamic Duo have their own special wireless devices to talk long distance. The primitive walkie-talkies are hidden in their utility belts, and the sight of the two of them talking to each other is…um…
Look, in context it makes sense to have the devices be where they are. This being the early days of the telephone, the idea of a handheld receiver is not common. The whole point is that they have to keep devices small enough to be hidden away. However, it is pretty undeniable that the idea of Batman having to flick up a little device and talk into his crotch in order to talk to his ward can give one pause.
This made all the more funny in the panel itself, where Batman is shown jutting himself in a pose to talk into the microphone. Especially since we see that Robin has headphones, and doesn’t have to be as flagrant in talking to himself in such a weird way. The implication here is that Batman is *choosing* to talk to the Boy Wonder through his crotch rather than just using headphones, which is probably way easier and more convenient.
At the end of the day, its a pretty harmless moment in the grand scheme of things. The early days of comics are full of stuff like this. However, in stories that can often be basic and repetitive- these were disposable children’s entertainment after all- they can offer an oasis of extra enjoyment.