There's been no shortage of shoddy, ill-conceived Batman ephemera churned out throughout history, but Leonard Goldstein's 1966 blue gag book It's Fun To Be A Batman trumps all the other Bat-crap out there.
This novelty tome consists of two things: 1.) photos of people with hastily doodled Batman cowls superimposed over them; and 2.) jokes so confusing and backwards they make that 1979 "Ghetto Man" Justice League comedy roast look like the watershed moment in American race relations since Brown v. Board of Education.
Let's start with the cover. Batman's pie-hole is locked in an oxygen-starved rictus grin. This is a vague promise of jollity, as the reader will soon be mortally winded with laughter.
This is a photograph of a real murder scene. This is also the second joke of the book.
In It's Fun To Be A Batman, there are multiple scenes of Batman and Robin on the verge of coitus. In case the subtext is lost on you, here's a decoded translation:
BATMAN: I cannot stop criminals because I am going to engage in sexual intercourse with this woman. Once I have climaxed expeditiously, I will resume my duties as an honorary Gotham City magistrate forthwith.
ROBIN: IIIIIII'M OOOOOOLD.
Batman's car runs on shit. This is not framed as a joke, just an impassive statement of fact.
WOMAN: This unintended simulacrum of sexual intercourse tires me, Batman. Please cease this innuendo so we can continue miming an improperly attired bout of pigskin in this abandoned factory.
For It's Fun To Be A Batman, the publisher allotted Leonard Goldstein a box of markers and a stack of old newspapers. (Those newspapers that were left over were his payment.)
BATMAN: Apologies. I was unaware that Robin's sexual appetites were as rich as they were sadomasochistically depraved.
It's getting hard to tell if some of these punch lines are bottom-rung Borscht Belt humor or unacknowledged comic book canon.
Before the internet, lonely horndogs everywhere were forced to pleasure themselves to Batman novelty books. There's your daily sociological nugget o' wisdom.
BATMAN: Thank you for allowing me to visually inspect your genitals, madam. Sadly, my vow of superhero celibacy keeps me 100% unfamiliar with all aspects of human anatomy. I shower with my eyes closed.
This is barely a joke, so I'm just going to assume people of the Sixties regularly masturbated to playing cards as well.
Is this an officially licensed Bat-product? If so, DC Comics has some 'splaining to do.