21 Rather Unsettling Examples of Adult-on-Adult Spankings (Actual and Threatened) in the Comics
What? Seriously, Professor Lang? You’re going to let a little thing like Lana’s age prevent you from meting out the punishment she deserves for “being so stupid”? You get in there, man! You get in there and spank her good! Spank her! Spank her, I say!
Ahem. That is… um… what I meant to say was — gosh, is it getting warm in here?
There are hundreds — nay, thousands — of examples of children in the funny books getting spanked, like Little Audrey here, who’s getting the business side of her mother’s hairbrush for some recent transgression of household rules (the radiating butt-stars being the universal comic symbol for pain). Most of them are kids paying the price for their naughty antics, which only makes sense. Kids were the main audience for comics back in the early days, and they lived in a world where the chances of them getting spanked for bad behaviour were a whole lot higher than they might be in our modern, less-prone-to-corporal-punishment times.
And while the whole “kids were our audience” may help to explain the large number of adults who ended up getting spanked by other adults in the comics… you could only buy that rationale for so long before you start to think, man, some of these artists must have had some serious issues, you know?
1. “And, believe me, it will hurt you more than it will me!”
Yes, that’s Alfred dressed as Batman in the first panel, about to deliver a punishment upon a woman dressed up as Catwoman (but not the Catwoman, who as far as I know never got a proper spanking from any resident of Wayne Manor). This 1944 story appeared at a time when Alfred’s solo adventures, usually as an amateur detective, were the “comedy relief” portion of Batman comics. Because beating a woman’s posterior to the point where she can’t sit down without writhing in pain? Hi-larious!
2. “Here’s something you should have had a long time ago–!”
Not that Batman let Alfred have all the fun. This scene is from a 1966 issue of The Brave and the Bold; Marcia Monroe is a spoiled socialite who earns Batman’s swift hand of justice for endangering innocent lives with her death-defying shenanigans. Of course, this bit of discipline sends her running right into his arms (dames, right?), and they share a few crime-fighting adventures together before she runs off to Europe after breaking off their engagement(!). “Who has a cure for Batman’s broken heart?” our hero muses in the third person. Who indeed, Dark Knight. Who indeed…
3. “You little wild-cat! You need a spanking!”
Would it help if I reminded you that Captain Marvel was actually a young boy transformed into a grown superhero when he said his magic word… and so it’s perfectly logical that he would resort to this kind of punishment, right? Right? Well, I tried. The rest of the story is just as messed up as this panel is, with the woman over Cap’s knee and the dork in the bow tie embroiled in a domestic dispute when Cap intervenes. Cap makes with the “WAP!” after she breaks a vase and a lamp over his head and… yeah, that’s still messed up, Billy.
4. “Now, will you be good?”
Then again, maybe this “tough love” thing runs in the Marvel family.
5. “Well, there’s one way to make my point clear!”
Jeeeee-zus, people. It’s bad enough when the World’s Mightiest Mortal takes a hand to someone’s ass, given the whole, you know, “World’s Mightiest Mortal” thing. But this ganging up on a guy who clearly can’t even afford a decent pair of socks is just plain cruel.
6. “Ya had this comin’ to ya for some time now!”
“Okay, wait a second,” you’re probably thinking to yourself. “Fine, I can buy the whole ‘superheroes spanking grown women’ thing happening in the 1940s, and maybe I can see how it might have gotten past the editors in the 1960s, but there’s no way any mainstream comic publisher would have even dared to pull that kind of crap — even for a laugh — in a comic published after, say, the founding of Ms. magazine.” To which I say: allow me to introduce 1980’s Marvel Two-In-One #62. Yes, 1980. In this issue, the Thing takes the holier-than-thou Moondragon across his knee to, as the editors put it in a letters column, “deflate Moondragon’s delusions of godhood in one simple undignifying (to both of them) act.” Of course! She was asking for it by acting all hoity-toity! Ben had no choice but to throw her across his knee for a paddlin’! See? Perfectly understandable.
7. “Hey, Rubber Head! Ya want I should catch her for ya?”
Then again, maybe Ben took a whack at Moondragon because he could never give Susan Storm that spanking he felt she deserved. Oh, sure, it says “catch her for ya” in the caption, but the way that word looks compared to the rest of the sentence — coupled with the obvious positioning of both the spanker and the spankee in the first panel — makes it pretty obvious someone at Marvel was ordered to make a hasty last-minute substitution in the text.
8. “What should have been done a few hundred years back!”
You know, I loves me some classic Stan Goldberg as much as the next Archie fan, but I can only hope that when he saw scripts like this one, he gulped down some liquid courage and thought of queen and country just to get through the assignment. What’s really weird about the story these panels came from — aside from the fact that one grown-ass woman is getting smacked by another — is that both Betty and the older woman aren’t really themselves here; they’re possessed by the spirits of a mother and a daughter, which helps explain the whole “hundred years back” thing.
9. “My daughter seems in need of a little parental discipline!”
Maybe the thing that’s unsettling about seeing Betty getting spanked is how it’s hard to imagine anyone less deserving of a spanking than her. Veronica, on the other hand… well, let’s just say if I approved of spanking a misbehaving child (which I don’t), then she would be at the head of the line. But even though she can act a bit spoiled at times, it’s still surprising to see her father do this to her in public — in a story from 1972, no less — and not expect a friendly visit from the Riverdale Child Services people. Probably more surprising than Mr. Lodge’s actions are the reactions of everyone else at this gathering; while a young woman and an older man seem surprised by what they’re witnessing, the rest of them are hootin’ and hollerin’ at the amusing scene: “Ha ha! That nearly fully adult woman is being physically assaulted by her father! What fun! This was totally worth putting on a suit and going out, dear.”
10. “You male chauvinist–OW!”
Matt, I don’t care how much you bench press, there is no way any man comes back from that move with all his limbs fully attached. Especially when it’s the Black freakin’ Widow. Fun fact: they broke up four issues after this panel appeared. Coincidence…?
11. “You said I could choose any weapon…”
A lot of people like to point to Will Eisner’s The Spirit as a strip ahead of its time, and in many respects it was, especially in the way Eisner experimented with layouts, juxtaposing texts and pictures in ways no one had ever considered before. On the other hand… there was stuff like this. Sure, it was the 1940s and this isn’t even the most egregious example of the strip’s old-timey attitudes (cough*Ebony White*cough), but it was more than a little unsettling to see how often our hero resorted to spanking the naughty, naughty ladies that crossed his path. This particular lady is Diana the Huntress, and while she was trying to kill the guy shortly before receiving her punishment… geez, Spirit, as least try not to look like you’re enjoying it so much.
12. “Punish me, Daddy! I deserve it!”
So by now you’re probably wondering where all the kinky Superman stuff is. I mean, it’s almost impossible to talk about weird fetish stuff from the Silver Age and not mention the Man of Steel. You have but to ask. This image from a 1971 issue of World’s Finest Comics (and where were the truth-in-advertising people when this story came out?) features a dream sequence in which we learn that Superman’s greatest fear is his dead father’s disapproval, which manifests as a giant version of Jor-El spanking his adult son. Funny, I would have thought Superman’s biggest fear back then was every two-bit crook in Metropolis carrying a chunk of kryptonite in their pocket. (Seriously, what was up with that? The stuff was easier to come across than pocket lint back in the day.)
13. “It’s almost as if Superman is punishing me for being a ‘bad girl’! Owww!”
Now, this is just getting weird. The Silver Age Superman, mostly thanks to editor Mort Weisinger, was a bit of a cad, constantly stringing along Lois and Lana, and never passing up an opportunity to make either of them look foolish for pretty much any reason that tickled his fancy. One thing Weisinger never allowed, though, was Superman spanking Lois Lane (though to be fair, it’s hard to imagine the Comics Code Authority being cool with that sort of thing even if Weisinger wanted it). But this 1960 issue of Lois Lane offers up almost the same thing, with a Superman robot dishing out the punishment when Lois wanders around the Fortress of Solitude. Why would the robot be programmed to do that in the first place? Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out what kind of narcissistic freak builds robots in his image in the first place. Maybe Lois should be grateful all she got here was a spanking.
14. “That’s for Bob… That’s for Mary… That’s for me…”
“It was the war, honey. Things were different back then. The world was easier to understand; there were good guys and bad guys, and you never doubted which side you were on. We also spanked the bad guys when they happened to be bad girls. Don’t ask me why, it’s just what we did.” Hmm, come to think of it, Superman did a lot of spanking back in his early days. Guess we’ll never know why…
15-16. “Ouch! My hand!”
Okay, I get it. It’s the 1950s, they live in Kansas, the Kents are obviously from an older generation of parenting — of course they’re going to break out the belt or brush on occasion to discipline their child. Spare the rod and all that. But… was it really necessary for Clark to wear his Superboy costume during these father-son bonding moments? Especially when they occurred at his high school… in an office with an open French door… and amused onlookers looking on as Mr. Kent hurts himself trying to beat Superboy’s invulnerable ass? And how many hairbrushes do you think poor Martha went through before her husband wised up?
17. “I’m going to teach you a lesson in a good, old-fashioned way!”
Sigh. So in this 1968 story, Supergirl notices some aliens stealing a bunch of Earth buildings and so she flies up to their UFO to investigate. Turns out the aliens are a couple of kids playing a board game similar to Monopoly, and instead of appealing to their better nature or asking them to return the stolen buildings, she hauls off and wallops one of them for… I don’t know, landing on Luxury Tax and refusing to pay it. Joke’s on her, though, because they can’t feel her (groan) “super-spanking” on account they’re just as invulnerable as she is. Sure, why the hell not?
19. “Your mother should have done it long ago!”
When I set out to find some examples of superhero spanking on the web, I knew I’d probably find some… interesting places with images of, say, the Phantom administering punishment to a woman in high heels. Let’s just say my expectations were exceeded and then some. According to one… comprehensive site on comic-book spankings, this could be the earliest known example of a costumed hero giving someone a spanking in an American comic strip — which makes sense, considering the Phantom (who debuted in 1936) is generally considered the first costumed superhero. So… yay for firsties, I guess?
20-21. “Ow — ow! I’m cured! I’ll obey you!”
I’m just going to leave these two final images here for no particular reason, and add only that I could have populated this entire list with examples from the early Wonder Woman comics if I had wanted to. Girl was kinky back in the day, is what I’m saying. Especially when she and the Holliday Girls got together. “Paddles up, sisters!”