Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Batman's Marriage Trap!

From BATMAN #214, comes Batman's Marriage Trap! a story that reminds us that for all their talk of equal rights and dignity, all women really want from life is a big, strong husband to tell them what to do. Yes sir, there's no such thing as a chick who's too "liberated" to fall for the manly charms of hairy-chested, Aqua-Velva scented Batman '69!

Don't believe me? Back in 1969 , Batman was a real far-out swinger, baby. He spent his time hanging out at discos, handing out Lifetime Bikini Achievement Awards at public ceremonies, and high-fiving citizens as he walked jauntily down the sidewalk with his Key to the City. At noon. Day or night, Batman was Gotham's public face of feel-good friendliness. Today he's uptight, but back then, Batman was outta sight.

So it's no wonder the ladies went ga-ga for the big dumb lug. In Batman's Marriage Trap, the affable, camera friendly Dark Knight is putting in one of his many public appearances at the Queen of Gotham Beauty Pageant:

That's right, Strack, try to cover your clumsily revealed Batman lust with a hastily contrived "heist scheme" - you're can't fool your own heart.

Meanwhile, will you be patrolling the rooftops on the big date night, Robin?

Back in 1969, that line was completely harmless, but now, of course, this panel is 100% filthy.

So yeah, Batman inadvertently leads the crooks on a go-go evening of romance, enchantment, and plunder!

The jet-setting super-stud comes home from a hard night of public partying to find that he fucked up big-time. As his freaky little partner sleeps nearby, all wanked out, he moans internally about never getting a night off. Motherfucker! You! Are! Batman!! No, you don't get a night off! That's not how obsession works, fool!

Christ. Maybe Frank Miller was right.

Back at the hideout, Strack and the boys realize that if Batman were married, he'd be too busy cleaning rain-gutters, picking out china patterns and being chased with a rolling-pin to fight crime. A frank and sensitive discussion of women's issues and marriage ensues:

After arguing with himself a bit, Strack calls in his secret weapon. Like any self-respecting crime lord, Strack comes complete with a drop-dead gorgeous Disposable Moll. Meet Cleo Starr, the bait in the wedding trap:

The only thing that sequence is missing is a comical "SPROI-OI-OIINNGGG!" sound effect in the last panel. Cleo heads to a posh Madison Avenue Ad Agency, to launch WEB: Women to End Bat-chelorhood. She brings a Million dollars and anonymous sponsorship to a massive campaign to harass Batman into wedded torment. Bliss! I...I meant bliss!

Predictably, the ladies of Gotham are driven into a matrimonial frenzy at the thought of marrying a man who wears a full-body stocking and lives in a cave with a teenage boy, much as sharks are driven to madness at the smell of the single drop of blood! In short order, a literal army of shotgun-screwy, dizzy dames led by Batgirl are staging a far-out, groovy BAT-IN:

When the Batmobile is bottle-necked by throngs of wedlock-wacky women, Cleo comes to the rescue, and her cool, dismissive manner immediately captures Batman's attention:

Oh, snap! I'm gonna have to add "Piston Ring-Job" and "Smoke-screen" to my stock list of filthy double-entendres. Over the next few days, Batman continues to be hindered by mobs of crazed females, until Cleo shows up again and tears into the ladies, sending them running.

Of course, by "weaken" Robin means "turn heterosexual."

Strack's profits are up due to the operation, leading him to declare the plan a success even if Cleo can't lead Batman to the alter. Meanwhile, Batman's cool points are out the window, and he's all twisted up in the game:

That night, Batman sees his lady's ride getting jacked, and rushes to the rescue. Uncool, Batman, baby - it's a trap! When Batman and Robin are overpowered by thugs, Cleo comes to the rescue again, introducing herself by name this time. Of course, being an emotional female in a silver-age comic, she's now fallen for Batman for real, and fumbles the rescue:

The mush is broken up by Batgirl, delivering a kick to the head that would make Chris Sims weep with joy:

Since this is the Internet, be aware that someone somewhere is masturbating to that image as we speak.

More mawkish drama follows:

Finally, Batman and Batgirl return to Strack's hideout for more face kicking and loose-end tying. Gotham's women give up their quest to lasso the elusive bat-chelor, and return to their kitchens, just as God intended.

The second wave of feminism was in full swing by the time this story was published , so if one reads between the lines this story could almost be seen as a veiled swipe at that movement, especially in that last panel. Wishful thinking on the Writer's part? Or maybe it was just another goofy-ass Batman story guided by the general out of touch cluelessness of that era.

Here are a few lessons readers of 1969 may have learned from Batman's Marriage Trap!:

Little Boys: Girls are marriage-crazy, marriage is slavery, and don't worry, Batman will never marry a yucky girl.

Little Girls: Batman will never marry you, but you'd better marry someone. Even marrying a boy you don't like is better than being an old maid. Be a WINSTER, not a SPINSTER.

Little crime-bosses: DON'T HIRE GIRLS. They will fall in love with the hero and betray you!!



sir jorge said...

this is seriously the best comics blog i've seen in a long time.

keep up the good work!

"Starman" Matt Morrison said...

Oh, that is the biggest laugh I've had in a long time.

What a shame for my neighbors it comes at 6:53 AM. ;)

SallyP said...


Brian Hughes said...

Thanks, all. Always glad to wring some comedic diamonds from the anthracite of crappy old funnybooks.

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