Comic Book Review: Batman #66 “The Joker’s Comedy of Errors” (AKA the boner issue)

I recently read the entirety of DC’s “Joker: Greatest Stories Ever Told” and found it to be a fun read.  The Joker is definitely one of the great villains in the comic world, and the stories in this book do a great deal to document his evolution from a petty crook to a truly maniacal figure.  That said, one story, and possibly the weakest story in the bunch, stood out for being really weird.  I speak of course about 1951’s “The Joker’s Comedy of Errors”.

In this tale the Joker has a heist derailed to due to his own planning mistake.  The local press, is amused by this and declares it to be a “boner” (meaning a goofy error in mid 2oth century slang, though I have little doubt the sexual connotation was already in existence at this time).  This leads the Joker to plan a series of crimes recreating some of history’s “greatest boners”, as well as a plan to trap Batman into a “boner of his own”.

Joker

The story reads like an attempt to see how many times the word boner can be used in one comic book, and I have to suspect the implied sexual meaning was intentional.  My favorite parts included Batman and Robin going to the library to “read up on history’s great boners” as well as a bizarre exchange to the effect of “I’m just worried about the boner he’s preparing for you”.  The more immature side of me cannot help but be amused, and the historian in me recognizes what a strange little oddity this story is.  That said, it was kind of an odd choice for inclusion in this “Greatest Stories Ever Told” collection, because it is not particularly compelling (aside, from the odd word choices) and does not show much character development on the part of the joker.  The other offerings in the book are much stronger treatments of this dark character.

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