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If you've been on the Internet, you've probably seen the following comic panel, shown devoid of context:

Batman's leather thong with teethmarks

Was the context ever provided, and if so, what is the story?

Theories I've heard:

  • Biting down on a leather strap to endure pain
  • Some escapade involving an Iron Jaw acrobatics routine (hanging off of something gripped in your teeth)
  • Actual underwear...
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    It's from Batman #83 (April 1954), in case it helps Feb 6, 2017 at 18:27
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    You people should try going to Thong sometime.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Feb 6, 2017 at 22:27
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    @Randal'Thor Was not sure what that link was going to contain for a second. Feb 7, 2017 at 10:22
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    Ah, that ineffable moment when you see a question like this pop up on the hot list and you know it's going to be one of those perfectly reasonable, interesting questions that actually teaches you something, all appearances to the contrary. Feb 7, 2017 at 10:41

1 Answer 1

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The second theory seems to be the case. In the complete page (provided in this reddit post), you can see that he used it to swing down on a clown when his hands were tied, also referenced in this chronology as "Batman defeats Mad Clown, keeps thong as trophy (fb from Batman #83, Part 1)".

B&W reprint of Batman #83

It appears in Batman #83, from April 1954 (although this picture seems to come from a black and white reprint). In the original panel, the man Robin is talking to is not actually Batman at all, but rather someone who was first impersonating Batman and later got hit on the head, suffering amnesia, and thinking he actually was Batman... Robin was also fooled into thinking it was Batman who had amnesia. It is Batman in the flashback, and as the last part of the page suggests, the teeth marks have a purpose in the story beyond simply making a panel for us to snicker over decades later.

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    The guy Robin's talking to about the thong isn't Batman. I'll reword to try and make it clearer. But yeah, it's actually remotely possible that the guy listening to Robin, for a second, thought the exact same thing as modern readers. Feb 6, 2017 at 18:38
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    HAH! Could you imagine... OMG I'm the Batman AND kinky?
    – Skooba
    Feb 6, 2017 at 18:40
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    Did they even have underwear smaller than board-shorts in the '50s? I don't recall ever heard the word thong applied to an article of clothing until the '80s or so.
    – Seeds
    Feb 6, 2017 at 19:14
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    The primary definition of thong (even today) is a narrow strip of leather. True, the modern colloquial definition is practically non-existent underwear, but in the original context that wasn't the intent.
    – kettch
    Feb 6, 2017 at 19:43
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    The earliest attestation the OED has for thong as a skimpy garment is 1975: "Rudi Gernreich['s]..new bathing suit, also available as an item of lingerie..is called the Thong." — The Times (London) 22 Apr. 9/1. Possibly some folks were using it for g-strings a little earlier, but in 1954 it seems unlikely that very many folks would have seen any double entendre.
    – 1006a
    Feb 6, 2017 at 23:26

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