Superheroes don't just wear costumes to disguise themselves — they take on a whole heroic identity by slapping on the spandex. So it's no wonder that supers like to keep their suits in elaborate glass cases, so they can stare at them and brood. Here are our favorite scenes of superheroes staring at costumes in cases.
Top image: Watchmen.
For my money, the first ever "costume in a display case" moment is this one, from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns in 1986. It's our first hint that something bad happened to Jason Todd...
...and it becomes emblematic over the years.
Newer versions of Jason Todd's origin have him stealing a costume from a similar case, thus showing that his career as Robin goes full circle.
In Batman Beyond (1999), Terry stumbles into the Batcave and finds...
...a row of suits for the Bat-family, all on display.
In The Incredibles, Helen finds the old suit that her husband has been keeping in his secret office.
And then she goes to see Edna Mode, who has tons of suits in cases.
And shows her a demonstration of the new suits, hanging in a kind of testing area, taking lots of damage.
In Smallville, Jor-El freezes Clark's Superman costume inside an ice crystal in the Fortress of Solitude until Clark is ready, or the viewers drop dead of old age. One of those. But it looks like a nice display case, anyway.
In all of the Nolan films, Bruce Wayne spends a lot of time staring at his Batsuit, trying to figure out if it's him or if he's it.
From Batman Begins
And here's the Batsuit on display in Arkham City.
In Captain America: The First Avenger, the original Human Torch from World War II is randomly on display. (Thanks to everybody who pointed out it's not the costume, it's the actual Human Torch.)
In a more recent Batman comic, he keeps a ton of his specialized Batsuits on display.
Not only does he have Batsuits on display, he also has Matches Malone, his shady criminal alter ego. Awww Matches...
In The Avengers, Steve Rogers finds his new suit in a nice case, ready for him. And it looks like he might be taking a costume from a display case in the new Captain America movie, too, judging from the trailer.
In Action Comics #13, we learn that Superman has his "Electric Blue" costume from that short-lived weird stunt on display in the Fortress of Solitude. (See right of panel.)
Spidey has a whole bunch of suits hanging up in the Amazing Spider-Man video game, where you can unlock the "Big Time" suit. Not really a display case, though.
Tony Stark keeps all his spare armors on display in the Iron Man films, culminating in a pretty spectcular lineup (which goes boom) in Iron Man 3.
Here's some lovely concept art for Tony Stark's Hall of Armors.
In Man of Steel, Superman gets his suit from a nice display case, which he and Jor-El spend a lot of time oohing and ahhing over.
Big Daddy's suit is on display in Kick-Ass 2.
An alternate ending to The Wolverine would have seen him being given his classic yellow costume, inside a ceremonial case — although not a display case.
And finally, in the season opener of Arrow, Ollie spends a LOT of time staring at his costume, lovingly displayed in a ceremonial case.
...So, what did we miss?
Additional reporting by Jason Krell. Thanks also to Emily, Annalee Meredith, Rob and everyone else who helped!