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Cape Wings

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Some characters — often of the badass variety — have a mysterious way of controlling even the very fabric of their clothing. They can turn their cape (generally a single piece of cloth) into a pair of fully functional wings (generally not a single piece of cloth), and then back again without any damage.

Probably because they look cooler, these wings often appear demonic or bat-like.

It might not always be clear if the wings turn into a cape or the cape turns into wings. It's best not to think about it.

Some examples take this even further, making the cape a form of Morph Weapon, capable of turning into many different things. They may also function as a type of Wing Shield as a means to protect oneself or others.

Compare Prehensile Hair.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Batman's cape, in his many incarnations, usually operates along these lines for gliding and roof-hopping. Tim's later Robin costume in Robin (1993) and his Red Robin suit have taken inspiration from this example.
  • After a trans-dimensional jaunt, Cecil from PS238 has his trenchcoat altered into this by the forces of Chaos a.k.a. his classmate's mother. It becomes permanent.
  • Linda Danvers/Matrix version of Supergirl. She becomes an earth-born angel, and her cape can turn into flaming wings.
  • The cover art to Superman #659 (link) depicts Superman floating above a crowd, with a pair of red angelic (though still vaguely cloth-like) wings instead of a cape. The story is about an old woman who is convinced Superman is an angel.
  • In Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons, Ares wears a cape he turn into a pair of vulture-looking wings.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman Begins and The Dark Knight did this with Batman's cape. Justified in that the wings were only for gliding, with "memory cloth" in the cape going rigid when you apply an electrical current. And before that, it was done in Batman (1989) and Batman Returns.
  • The Eagle King from the martial arts fantasy film, Demon of the Lute, packs hidden, unfoldable wings in his cape that allows him to glide around.
  • From the Shaw Brothers wuxia movie, The Winged Tiger: ever wonder where the titular hero earn his nickname? From his badass golden cape, who allows him to glide with a single leap, of course; he effortlessly takes out a valley filled with enemies using said cape, scaling one corner to another in mere seconds.

  • Discworld:
    • Some vampires (particularly Arthur Winkins, the Count Notfaroutoe, and a full-time vegetable merchant) need to be wearing a cape to transform into a bat.
    • Going Postal features an interesting variant with Mr. Gryle, a banshee who appears at first glance to be wearing a leather cape or overcoat, but those are actually his wings neatly folded around him.
  • In Journey to the Morning Star, a Russian children's novel, the Sinots have these. Two of the protagonists and their Etherian guide are captured by a Sinot commander and his robot who swoop down from their just-landed rocket using their capes, which then fold into their suits.
  • X-Wing Series: In The Krytos Trap, part of the outfit Wedge Antilles wears while trying to talk some Twi'leks around, along with fingerless gloves and a Loincloth, is a cape cut in such a way that it fell in two red wings.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Mr Terrific is a CBS sitcom from the summer of 1967 about Stanley Beamish, a mere auto mechanic who is recruited by the government to become the title superhero with the aid of power pills. He takes flight by flapping his cape like birds' wings.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons has several versions of magic cloaks that can turn into wings. Usually these are of limited usage, about an hour a day, useless for long distance flight.
  • Pathfinder: While most people assume the empyreal lord Andoletta to be wearing a black feathered cape this is in fact her wings, which she keeps furled against her back most of the time.
  • Warhammer has a non-batlike version in the Lizardman item Cloak of Feathers.

    Video Games 
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City use the same "memory cloth" justification as in Batman Begins to enable Batman to glide like his namesake.
  • In Boktai 2: Solar Boy Django, while in Vampire mode, Django's scarf turns into (or at least takes the shape of) a pair of wings. It's unclear if he uses them to fly or if he just uses generic "vampire levitation" powers during his attack when he flies across the screen.
  • In Bug Fables, Leif the moth folds his wings around his body, making it appear like an All-Encompassing Mantle. When asked about it, he answers that he took this habit from his father. An old moth living in the Ant Village, who is Leif's descendant, also has this trait.
  • Castlevania:
    • In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Alucard's cape momentarily turns into a pair of bat wings when he double-jumps, and his wings in bat form are the same color as his cape.
    • Soma Cruz of the Aria subseries also appears to turn his pimp coat into the wings of his bat form.
    • Dracula also sometimes turn his cloak to wings, in Curse of Darkness and Dracula X Chronicle.
  • In the Dark Souls III DLC The Ringed City, Slave Knight Gael is revealed to be the final boss of the game after he consumes The Dark Soul of Man, and once he transitions to his second phase, his red cape — which is now on fire — becomes animated and tattered in just the right way to resemble a pair of wings. He can both swing these at you to attack you, or pull off some impressive aerial acrobatics with them.
  • Morrigan's wings in Darkstalkers can transform into a swarm of bats, become blades, spikes, or tentacles, or clothes in her win poses.
  • Dante in Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening does this with his coat while in Devil Trigger.
  • Disgaea 4: Valvatorez, while he's never shown to fly, definitely has this aesthetic going for him.
  • The trope image is provided by Narmer from Dislyte, who is imbued with the divine powers of the Egyptian sun god Ra, and his cape wings are an obvious nod to how Ra is frequently depicted as a bird.
  • The Gladiator has a boss clad in a golden cape, which unfurls into a set of wings periodically allowing him to glide in and out the screen while fighting you.
  • Meta Knight in the Kirby games and Super Smash Bros., but not in the anime, where he only had wings in the pilot.
    • Averted in Return to Dream Land. In the opening cutscene, Meta Knight removes his cape, revealing a small pair of wings under it.
    • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl's The Subspace Emissary mode, he gets shot with a laser in the wing, which starts to burn off that wing. He lands and transforms it into a cape, which stops the burning and heals the damage somehow.
    • This varies from game to game. In Kirby Super Star, he throws his cape away to the side, and he does it in the remake, but in the cutscenes and his own game in Ultra, his cape is established as wings, even if they don't appear in normal gameplay (outside of the cart-riding sprite).
  • Legacy of Kain plays with this; Raziel's actual bat-like wings are broken and the tattered shreds hang behind him like a cape, but he can still use them to glide for short distances.
  • In Ōkami, Waka's hat has long wing-like extensions which are apparently functional.
  • Spelunky 2 has Vlad's Cape, which can briefly turn into wings for a Double Jump in addition to the normal cape power of slowing falls.
  • Sundered: If Eshe corrupts her Leaping Device, she’ll be able to glide over long distances by merging her arms and cape together to form a pair of giant bat wings.
  • Touhou Project:
    • Wriggle Nightbug's operatic cape gives her this look (since she's a firefly youkai).
    • Okuu has both wings and a cape, but some fanart depicts them as being one and the same.
  • While it doesn't see any practical use, one of Zero's (the original from The King of Fighters 2001) win poses has him lifting his cape over his shoulders, with an effect that gives it the illusion of wings.

  • Mink from Darken can do this.
  • Ariel from Drowtales explicitly does it with magic (her shapeshifting powers allowing Appendage Assimilation) for a one-time stunt. Hilarity Ensues when said stunt gets derailed by Liriel.
  • Shadow!James' "Fae Animal Superhero" outfit in the "Such Stuff..." arc of Roommates had a feathered cape that could act as wings or the other way around and he had wings in this form that could look like a feathered cape. So wings or cape?
  • In Sluggy Freelance, Aylee — an alien that occasionally grows a new kind of body as an adaptation to circumstances — eventually adopts a rather human-like form with a built-in dress. Amusing embarrassment ensues when it turns out the dress is actually her wings and she's even more human underneath. The trope is justified in the sense that, unlike in some cases, the wings actually fold to make the dress in a perfectly logical way.

    Web Original 
  • The dating website Soul Geek has different pieces of mini-fiction, along with iconic characters, used in the advertising. One of the pair of vampires is showing with a cloak that rises up on one side in a huge wing.
  • Oblivion from Shadowhunter Peril is shown to do this when he gets pissed. It generally preludes his transformation into an Eldritch Abomination. Once he completes his transformation, he keeps the wings, but now they're FLAMING.

    Western Animation 
  • In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batman's cape transforms into a fully-functional jet-powered glider.
  • Megatron in Beast Machines, via transformation. The red dragon wings invert and become his blue cloak, which he uses to hide the fact that he still hasn't purged himself of his dragon form.
    • The Coneheads from Generation 1 invert this somewhat: in robot mode their jet mode wings hang down by their legs much like a cloak.
  • Ben 10: Alien Force: Big Chill has a pair of wings that form a makeshift cloak when out of use.
  • Falkenar from Conan the Adventurer has a magic cape that can turn into wings at will.
  • The Gargoyles can fold their wings up into capes when not using them. Greg Weisman at least admitted this was physically impossible by any stretch of the imagination.
  • Warlord Slasher from King Arthur & the Knights of Justice has a cape starting season 1 and gets to use it as wings starting season 2.
  • The "Level Two" Jewel Armor in Season Two of Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders, with Gwenevere's and Fallon’s capes converting into wings (Gwen's into a hang-glider and Fallon's into bat wings) at any given time.
  • The Venture Bros.: Unlike his henchmen of The Fluttering Horde, The Monarch keeps the wings on his costume folded down when not in use, giving the appearance of a stiff cape. Presumably he went with the setup as a "best of both worlds" compromise, since his first costume had a regular cape until the future Dr. Girlfriend pointed out that wings would better fit the butterfly theme and she could make some that would enable him to fly. Season 7 eventually reveals that he that he usually wears a more comfortable, flowing set that functions solely as a cape, and only uses the sturdy ones when he thinks he'll need them ("One's for showin' and one's for goin.'").