A masked adventurer's costume is one of those things nobody really thinks about. Should it have a cape, or no cape? Should it be thick and armored to protect you from harm, or flexible and lightweight to allow maneuverability? What sort of mask should it have? Do bright colors make you more of a target than dark ones? All of these were things I had to consider.
We all know this type of guy. He wears an unusual outfit and shows up to fight villains or monsters. He's probably got a Secret Identity
and a mild-mannered alter ego to keep his private and crimefighting life separate.
Sounds like a Superhero
, right? He probably will get called that, too. But in this case he hasn't got any superpowers. He's probably an expert fighter, sure, and he may have all sorts of gadgets or other unusual advantages, but there's nothing more superhuman about him than perhaps unrealistically good human skills or abilities. (Being good at it isn't a requirement, though... just highly preferable for survival.) So he's a Costumed Non-Super Hero.
If the setting has proper superheroes
or other individuals with powers and the non-super can keep up with them, then the character is a Badass Normal
as well. Don't confuse the two tropes, though; Badass Normal
is about having no powers but matching those who do, this is about having no powers and wearing a costume. So, for example:
- The Phantom is a Costumed Non-Super Hero but not Badass Normal, because while there is some magic in his world, there are no powered superheroes in his stories to compare to.
- Ajax does without powers in a setting filled with divine influences, but obviously isn't a costumed crimefighter, so he's Badass Normal but not Costumed Non-Super Hero.
- Batman is both, working alongside Superheroes and fighting Supervillains.
The character is probably Super Weight
Class 1 (unpowered but formidable), although they could be lower if they're just, you know, bad at what they do. They tend towards being The Cowl
The actual type of costume varies, but may involve Cool Mask
, Coat, Hat, Mask
, Badass Longcoat
, Superheroes Wear Tights
and/or Superheroes Wear Capes
. Due to the nature of the trope, tropes about superheroes wearing stuff usually apply here too.
The trope is not about villains, at least not traditional ones (no Joker
), but the character doesn't need to be "genuinely" heroic. As long as someone, even if just the character themselves, sees them as fulfilling the "costumed hero" role, that suffices. An Anti-Hero
or Knight Templar
Contrast with Clothes Make the Superman
, where the character becomes
powered when wearing the costume.