Created By: DragonQuestZ on September 26, 2009
Troped

Superheroes Wear Capes

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Trope

If you are a superhero (whether main hero, Sidekick, or even just part of a heroic army), odds are you wear a cape.

Okay, not really that likely anymore, especially since the Silver Age, but capes are a typical thing for superheroes.

The reason for the cape goes back to the first Comic Book Super Heroes. Most prominently, Superman's outfit specifically mimics that of early turn of the century circus strongmen who often wore a similar cape/singlet design as a costume. Their simple bold colors were also conveniently easy to reproduce in early print comics.

Not to be confused with The Cape, which is a character type.

Compare Heroes Want Redheads, Heroes Prefer Swords, Badass Cape (a cape used to signify a Badass character), Badass Longcoat, Caped Mecha, Requisite Royal Regalia.
  • Superman
  • Batman
    • Robin, although when the original became Nightwing, he dropped the cape.
  • Defied in The Incredibles, when Edna Mode specifically states the hazards of them, which turns out to be a Chekhov's Gun.
  • Ozymandias and the Nite Owl in Watchmen, although the latter had a rather odd feathery one.
Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • September 24, 2009
    melloncollie
    Similarly to the Edna Mode example, Dollar Bill's cape turned out to be responsible for his demise.
  • September 24, 2009
    Iron Salticus
  • September 24, 2009
    Amazingly Enough
    Is this really all that different from Badass Cape?
  • September 24, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
    (Nevermind this. There was a glitch with another ykttw.)
  • September 24, 2009
    Clarste
    You mean superheroes, right? Hero itself is much more generic, and most of them probably don't wear capes (with the exception of the fantasy cape/cloak thing which is sometimes popular, but in those kinds of settings everyone wears capes anyway). Fundamentally it seems like there's little overlap between this trope and, say, Heroes Prefer Swords, which makes the first paragraph kind of odd.
  • September 24, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
    That better?
  • September 24, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    In Love And Capes, it is said that the reason superheroes favour capes is because they cover your butt (an important consideration when you're running around in spandex).
  • September 25, 2009
    Shellsh0cker
    You know, for the most part, I don't see many superheroes wearing capes either; Superman and Batman (and their various Distaff Counterparts, etc.) are the only ones I can think of, and you already mentioned them. I'm going through every superhero I can think of, and none of them wear capes. Spider-Man, The Green Lantern, The Flash, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, Aquaman, The Fantastic Four, Captain America, Iron Man, pretty much all of the X-Men . . . none of these guys wore capes. Oh wait, actually, I thought of a few; Power Girl, Thor, and Storm. Still, compared to everyone I just rattled off, I'd say that there isn't really much reason we can't just add those examples to Badass Cape, even though I can see the direction you're going with this.
  • September 25, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ Badass Cape is using the cape to show a character is badass. This is simply a superhero, sidekick, or supporting hero, wearing a cape. Many are not badass.

    EDIT: As a matter of fact, some of those examples belong here more than that trope.
  • September 25, 2009
    Iron Salticus
    I agree that some belong here more than under Badass Cape. Superman fits this far better.

    The Code Geass example might be invoking this trope; after all, Lelouch's goal is to set himself up as a comic book hero of justice, so it would make sense for him to draw on every trope that will make people associate him with fictional heroes.
  • September 25, 2009
    random surfer
    Golden Age Earth-2 Green Lantern wears a cape (or at least used to).
  • September 25, 2009
    Arilou
  • September 25, 2009
    Tomtitan
    Worth adding to the Incredibles example that Syndrome did, in fact, wear a cape. And was killed by it getting caught in a jet turbine.
  • September 25, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ Which I did allude to with the Chekhovs Gun line.
  • September 25, 2009
    foxley
  • September 25, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Storm's cape is actually justifed. She uses it to catch the air currents she creates and flies.
  • September 25, 2009
    rjung
    Astro City examples: Samaritan, Beautie, The Confessor and Altar Boy, El Hombre and Bravo, Mermaid, Starwoman.
  • September 25, 2009
    Yin
    Averted with Empowered; she would like to wear a cape but it interferes with her hypermembrane's powers.
  • September 25, 2009
    random surfer
    The Spectre.

    Worth mentioning that in Civil War heroes were referred to as "Capes," een though in the Marvel Universe there's only a small contingent of cape-wearing heroes? Or should that go on The Cape?
  • September 25, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ Yeah, it should.
  • September 26, 2009
    triassicranger
    An episode of Lazytown has Robbie Rotten dress up as a superhero named "Lazycus" and wear a table cloth...I mean cape. The reason he wore it was to convince the mayor he was a superhero, along with the huge letter "L" on his chest.
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