- "When I started as Batman, the various "rogues" committed grandoise yet harmless crimes just to see if I'd notice. They weren't criminals so much as egocentric personalities in need of attention. A nuisance, at worst. The media made stars of these headcases. The dailies pulped whole forests just to supply the volume of paper needed to track their exploits. They were painted as outsiders and dreamers who dared to be fabulous against the urban criminal landscape. And everyone thought they were "a real hoot"."
- ―Bruce Wayne
Batman's Bureau of Missing Villains was a series of case files maintained by Batman on so-called "missing villains", minor criminals whom he'd fought and defeated early in his career but had since vanished into obscurity. The files were first published as part of the short-lived Batman Family mini-series which ran from 1975 to 1978.
Many of the missing villains had either retired, died, or were simply incarcerated for an extended period; however, a few such as Matthew Hagen and Basil Karlo, the first and second Clayfaces, did return to Gotham City at a later point and face Batman again.
It is unclear if Batman still maintains a "Bureau of Missing Villains" dossier, as several of the original villains mentioned in the original case files have since made a resurgence. However, occasionally he does make specific reference to a "bygone era" of largely inactive Golden and Silver Age costumed criminals. These rogues were characterised by harmless petty crimes in the main and the colorful sensationalism surrounding their exploits. According to Batman, most of them became minor celebrities as a result of their bizarre and impractical crime sprees. Their fame quickly diminished with the onset of major crimes being committed by the Joker, the Penguin, and a new generation of darker, more lethal supervillains.
Ambush Bug: Year None
The phenomenon of missing Batman villains was parodied in Ambush Bug: Year None, which depicts most minor rogues from Gotham City being banished to an extraterrestrial prison where Batman hides "embarrassments" from his past. Inmates of this facility included the Polka-Dot Man and Composite Superman.