Sometimes, in order to get closer to those you hunt, you have to start to share a few traits with them. This is certainly true of Batman in his long history of chasing criminals. One of the main characteristics of serial killers is that they keep “trophies” from their victims in order to relive the experience of the kill later. Batman has a veritable Smithsonian Institute from all of his captures in the Batcave, and these are his most notable trophies.
10. A Kryptonite Ring
There are actually a number of stories, both canonical and non-canonical, which emphasize that Batman does indeed have access to Kryptonite in order to defeat Superman. In modern chronology, Batman’s possession of a Kryptonite Ring came about in Action Comics #654. The ring originally belonged to Lex Luthor, but its constant use gave Luthor cancer. Technically, the Kryptonite killed Luthor in an ironic twist, but Luthor survived in another body. What can we say? It’s good to have a lot of money, especially if you’re going to have a megalomaniacal obsession. Superman gave the ring to Batman as an ultimate kill switch in case an enemy made Superman lose control of his power.
9. A Letter From Thomas Wayne
In the 2011 storyline Flashpoint, the Flash wakes up in an alternate timeline, as one does from time to time. One of the main characters in this alternate timeline is Batman. However, Batman is actually Thomas Wayne. The Joker is Wayne’s wife, Martha. In this timeline, Bruce Wayne was killed by the robber and the after effects created Batman and the Joker from the husband and wife. Eventually, Thomas Wayne realizes that he must sacrifice himself to save both his son and his son’s world. Before he does, he pens an emotional letter to his son in the hopes that the Flash can deliver it. When the timeline is restored, the letter still exists. The Flash gives the letter to Bruce Wayne, and it now has a place of honor in the Batcave.
8. Mr. Freeze’s First Freeze Gun
The character who we came to know as Victor Fries made his first appearance in Batman #121 in a story called The Ice Crimes of Mr. Zero. Mr. Zero was essentially Mr. Freeze — he stole diamonds and needed cold in order to survive. After defeating Mr. Zero, the Freeze Gun becomes a piece of memorabilia in the Batcave. This thread is repeated in later storylines, and the Freeze Gun as well as the character of Freeze himself were updated. In nearly every iteration, Batman ends up possessing the first gun that froze him. Later versions are probably either in police custody or Arkham Asylum.
7. The Shroud of the Vampiric Monk
There’s an off chance that you haven’t heard of Batman’s struggle with an insane vampire monk. The story occurred in Detective Comics #31, only four issues after Batman’s first appearance. The Monk is actually one of Batman’s first significant villains, and lures Batman’s fiancee to his unholy tower. The Monk wears a hood with a skull and crossbones on it, and while he’s killed by a lightning bolt he would make his return decades later. Batman was obviously a fan of the headgear and kept the shroud as a trophy. Looking back, it’s kind of a shame that he never replaced his own cowl with it at least once.
6. Thomas Wayne’s Batman Costume
The title of Detective Comics #235 was “The First Batman.” In that story, Bruce’s father Thomas dresses up in a Batman-like costume for a party. Wayne is abducted by henchmen working for a local mobster, and Thomas Wayne defeats the goons. This event may have led to Wayne being a marked man when he was killed. In the recent Batman R.I.P. storyline, an imposter claiming to be Thomas Wayne (having faked his own death) is shown to be wearing the costume. In the Batcave, the outfit of the “First Batman” still occupies a space of honor as a reminder of the “family business.”
5. Dana Drye’s Diary
Have you ever watched the Joel Schumacher film The Lost Boys and wondered what Batman #14 was all about? Have you ever watched Batman and Robin by Joel Schumacher and wondered what that was all about? Well, we can at least answer one of those questions. Batman #14 was titled “The Case Batman Failed To Solve!!!” The plot concerns an aging detective named Dana Drye whom Batman considers to be the “Dean of All Detectives.” Drye is shot and killed in front of the foremost Detectives in the world. They scramble for answers and Batman ultimately learns that Drye rigged the gun to shoot himself, leaving a nearly unsolvable mystery. Batman never tells of the suicide. Why is the diary so important? Drye had figured out that Bruce Wayne was Batman but didn’t reveal the secret to the world out of respect.
4. Judge Clay’s Gavel
The title of the first story in Detective Comics #441 was “Judgment Day.” A mysterious person who calls himself The Judge is slowly drowning Robin. The Judge, who is only given the first name of Clay, blames Batman for his daughter’s blindness. Batman had saved his daughter but the bullet intended to kill her left her blind. The blind daughter saves Robin and helps defeat her own father. Batman keeps the Judge’s gavel, presumably as a reminder of the fact that even the best of intentions can result in bad consequences (even if those consequences are not as bad as they could have been).
3. The Tyrannosaurus Rex
In the original Batman #35, a big game hunter named Stephen Chase invites Batman and Robin to a hunt, promising to donate 5000 dollars to charity in return for their appearance. While this might sound like a tax return today, remember that the comic was written in the early 1940s. Batman and Robin don’t know that they are the object of the hunt, which takes place on the mysterious Dinosaur Island, the home of animatronic dinosaurs. After the victory of Chase and his hunt (as well as a presumed donation to charity), Batman takes an animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex as a trophy for the Batcave. All in all, you could do worse for a fun way to spend a weekend. These days, people would pay 5000 dollars just for the right to do this. What’s even better is that Batman Versus Jurassic Park took place about four decades before Michael Crichton wrote his book.
2. The Giant Penny
One of the most iconic symbols in the Batcave is the gigantic penny. It’s enough of a staple that you’re likely to see it in both comics and animated versions of the Batcave. But where, exactly, did it come from? As a trophy, the Giant Penny has a rather unusual origin. It made its first appearance in the comic World’s Finest #30 way back in 1947. The story is that of Joe Coyne (get it?) who is known as the Penny Plunderer. Coyne was selling newspapers for pennies, and got busted stealing pennies. He became a villain and decided to steal a whole cache of pennies from a penny arcade. Since there were no stoned kids and Great Dane to stop this outlandish thievery, they had to send out freakin’ Batman to foil him. Batman stopped him, but only after dealing with the onslaught of a giant wooden penny. Batman kept the giant penny for all time because, well, wouldn’t you?
1. Jason Todd’s Robin Costume
Jason Todd was the second Robin after Dick Grayson. Todd’s death was actually predicted in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns in 1986, although the actual death occurred in Batman 426-429 in 1988-1989. Over the years, the costume of the fallen Robin has become something of a symbol in the Batman universe. Todd’s death at the hands of the Joker was a watershed moment that Batman saw as a very personal failure. Even after Todd returned as the anti-hero the Red Hood, Batman left the costume up in the glass case.