The superhero as an ideally good person. Generally associated with older protagonists and often invokes elements of the Messianic Archetype. Has now become nigh-synonymous with the "classic" Super Hero. This trope is used to evoke admiration amongst other good guys in certain ways.
Capes don't need to actually wear capes, although a distinct outfit and some kind of special ability is part of the image. The most important feature is these heroes adhere to a strict code of honor and sense of authority; capes can be notoriously inflexible and perceive things in black and white, and even be painfully straightforward and selfless. They often downplay their own heroism and will act heroically even when no one will know. They almost universally subscribe to Thou Shalt Not Kill. Capes usually have secret identities, but make public appearances in costume and actively try to keep a good public image.
One major reason for this is it serves as self-imposed safety to keep them from abusing their powers. Most Capes have Evil Counterparts who do whatever they want and eventually devolve into villains. A second is to set an example for others to follow, as in the page quote and image quote.
Capes are usually born with their powers, or get them in a unique fashion (or are given them to act as champions of Good). Though this is not absolutely necessary; it's the mindset (or self-preception) that's critical.
Capes are contrasted with the The Dark Age of Comic Books which saw the emergence of vigilantes and Anti-Heroes who have become more extreme (sometimes to ludicrous effect), mainly as a response to the perception of comic books as "kid stuff." Nearly all Super Hero series eventually address the idea that Capes and Badass Normals have unspoken issues: Capes can impose their morality because they have the power to back them up. In a setting where Capes and Anti-Heroes coexist, the former usually consider the latter to be unstable, amoral Smug Supers. In more cynical universes, the Smug Super might consider himself to be a Cape, but very much isn't.
If they do have powers, expect a Flying Brick.
See Superheroes Wear Capes for the actual wearing of capes.
Contrast '90s Anti-Hero.
Compare and contrast with The Cowl.
- Son Goku of Dragon Ball, especially in later stories. He flies on a cloud that only supports the pure of heart; he is a firm believer that Rousseau Was Right, always sparing his enemies and often turning them into friends. He respects the pride of an individual, yet draws the line when that pride would hurt others; he always keeps his promise, no matter how little he understood when making it; and, above all, he never demands recognition or fame, instead preferring to live quietly and discreetly with his wife and sons, and then emerge from nothingness when the world—or even the universe—needs saving once more.
- Oddly, in Dragon Ball Z, Goku's heroic traits were exaggerated in the anime, especially in the Non Serial Movies, though he was a more ambiguous hero in the manga who fought to get stronger for the sake of winning fights because that was his favorite pass time. In Dragon Ball Super, which had direct input from Goku's creator Akira Toriyama, shows a Goku that can be jarringly different from the one people are used to from the Z dub.
- In Dragon Ball Super, we are introduced to Jiren, the strongest fighter of Universe 11. Jiren's personality (in the Manga at least) is closer to that of a classic superhero. He's more concerned with saving civilians than learning about Goku, and initially refused to the enter the tournament of power because it would mean the death of seven other universes.
- Fate Testarossa of Lyrical Nanoha spends one or two seasons as a Dark Magical Girl. Flash forward 10 years in StrikerS and she's a Lawful Good law enforcer donning a white cape instead of her old completely black attire. Out of the main trio, she is the most classically heroic and focused on enforcing justice and has neither Hayate's trickster attitude nor Nanoha's Blood Knight characteristic. This is also evident in the climax of StrikerS, where she gets the honor of punching out and arresting the Big Bad.
- All Might of My Hero Academia is an Affectionate Parody of this trope while also managing to play it straight. He is a typical Silver Age Super Hero who also happens to be the world's most powerful hero as well as being considered the "symbol of peace" and the main source of inspiration not only for the main character, but also several other ones. Also somewhat of a Deconstructed Character Archetype since a critical wound has left him unable to maintain his powers or appearance for more than a short time, which is a secret to the general populace so he has to limit his power usage for the sake of keeping up his image. Adding to the Deconstruction is the fact that In-Universe he is set the bar for being a hero so outrageously high that numerous characters develop inferiority complexes from not being able to measure up. And then he retires, prompting all sort of villains who were previously too afraid to act to come out of the woodwork.
- Saitama in One-Punch Man is an odd example. Initially he comes off as an aversion since he just wants fame, fortune, and a good fight to alleviate the soul-crushing ennui that's affected him since he became the World's Strongest Man. However, as the story progresses, we get glimpses of a more idealistic side of his character, tying into the fact that unlike many heroes who really are just in it for money or acclaim, he's wanted to be a hero since he was a kid and thus has a good idea of what a hero should be like. Thus, he starts making himself into a Silent Scapegoat, willingly painting himself as a scam artist who mooches off of other heroes' hard work, in order to maintain the public's trust in other heroes—not just the noble ones, but the selfish Jerkasses too. Over time this hurts his image with the public, but he accrues a small circle of True Companions who know him for the good person he really is, and this seems to make him happy. Probably reaches its peak in the climax of the Hero Hunter arc, where Saitama talks Garou down by correctly surmising that rather than hating heroes, he loved them and simply got disillusioned by the dark side that came from making heroics a profession.
- One can't talk about OPM without giving a nod to Mumen Rider. He might just be an ordinary man on a bicycle, but he's noble, kind-hearted, and above all else brave. When a giant monster who had defeated a dozen other heroes threatened innocent civilians, Mumen fought him despite knowing that he stood no chance, all while delivering an epic "World of Cardboard" Speech. There's a reason he's one of the most beloved heroes, both in-universe and out; if his body were as strong as his heart, Mumen would give Superman a run for his money.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Sayaka Miki declares herself an ally of justice who will keep the city 'super safe'. She is one of the few magical girls who fights familiars in addition to witches to reduce the number of muggles that are killed by them, and of the five main characters her Magical Girl outfit is the only one with an actual cape. Homura explains why these magical girls are always the first to die or corrupt. Because they fight familiars (who don't drop grief seeds) they engage many more battles which means more chances to die in battle. Also, it taxes their magic supply which accelerates the rate at which their soul gem darkens. Because they run on lofty ideals like selflessness and heroism and justice, they are more vulnerable to despair, which turns them into witches.
- Lazenby, from Rave Master was made as a parody of this.
- Mr. Legend and Sky High from Tiger & Bunny. Kotetsu wants to be this but his destructive approach to justice usually gets in the way.
- In an interesting turn of events Mr. Legend turns out to be a Subversion of this trope, and while well-intentioned, Sky High is a bit of a ditz.
- Atem from Yu-Gi-Oh! zigzags this trope. While far more of an anti-hero than other examples, he nevertheless has a strict honour code and is initially very black and white in his views about justice and punishment. He plays the rest of the trope straight as he is incredibly selfless and downplays his own heroism to the extent of writing himself out of history to save his people. He plays the example straight the most in his life as Pharaoh Atem (revisited in the last season of the manga) when he literally wears a cape and has to be the upholder of Ma'at i.e. law and justice.
- Superman is usually considered the most famous modern example of a Cape. He could just about be considered the Trope Codifier; the fact that he wears a cape is one of the main reasons why capes are associated with costumed superheroes.
- In the Novelization of Kingdom Come, Wonder Woman probes his reasons for being so visible. He easily could have done all of his superhero work anonymously instead of "showing off like Apollo". Superman replied that he felt that "an ounce of prevention" would do more good preventing crime. She counters that that was the source of all of the other metahumans' desire to do good—through his example.
- In Superman: Brainiac, Jonathan Kent explains that his son's real and greatest power is not being mightier than a locomotive or faster than a speeding bullet.
Jonathan: Your greatest power isn't being able to fly or see through walls. It's knowing what the right thing to do is.
- Supergirl is traditionally very much a Cape.
- During the Silver Age in particular she was one of the most caring and humble superheroes, perhaps more so than her cousin himself since for her first few years she had to do her heroism in secret.
- Kara died a hero in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. When the Anti-Monitor attempted to destroy The Multiverse, she sacrificed her own life so that her cousin might live. In so doing, however, she severely set back the Anti-Monitor's plans, making victory possible for the heroes of the surviving Earths. The greatest tragedy of all, however, was that with the destruction of the Multiverse and changes to the timestream, Kara was erased from history, and no one at all remembered her heroic life and death. And still she accepted this, though, because she accomplished her goal: save them all.
- Post-Crisis Supergirl acted like a selfish emo teen for a while when she showed up on Earth because she suffered from Kryptonite poisoning and it was messing her head up and altering her behavior. For all her problems, though, Kara was headed strongly in this direction by the time of the New 52 reboot. She'd put the past behind her, adopted Superman's attitude towards dealing with issues, built strong friendships with other heroes, and was well on her way to being the same sort of paragon as her cousin.
- New 52 Supergirl didn't want to hurt anyone and was willing to help people, but her obsession with bringing Krypton back and her anger and loneliness issues were holding her back. During the Red Daughter of Krypton arc she finally faced her inner demons and outgrew her angst and anger. When Supergirl (Rebirth) starts out, she has become the kind of hero who will punch criminals and monsters but also try to reach them out.
- In Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl, Kara is nice, good-natured, selfless and trusting. And she always tries to make the right thing. Unfortunately, Lex Luthor used her innocence against her, earning her trust so he could manipulate her.
- Argued in Demon Spawn: Kara is a real hero, not because she is perfect—she is not—but because of her powers allowed her to do anything, and she chose to be a good person.
"And part of her goodness is being torn away with it... for it was her heritage, her superiority over ordinary mortals, that forged her to make the ultimate decision to use her powers for good rather than for evil..."
- Oddly enough, the classic Cape on Justice League Unlimited is not Superman, but Golden-Age boy scout Captain Marvel. The series also frequently has subplots involving Superman's motivations and temptations despite being The Cape everyone looks up to.
- To some extent it depends on the writer exactly how different The Big Red Cheese and Billy Batson actually are (they talk about each other in the third person, but there's substantial overlap). Given that Billy, even if he is not literally a Boy Scout, certainly tries to be Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent, it makes a certain amount of sense that his super-powered alter ego is usually shown to be pretty much pegged at one edge of the sliding scale from idealism to cynicism. For that matter, one assumes this is exactly why the wizard Shazam picked Billy for the job.
- Kyle Rayner once observed that Captain Marvel is essentially 10-year-old Billy Batson's concept of the perfect adult, made real.
- The Flash Barry Allen. A CSI with Super Speed powers, a trained police officer, and founding member of the Justice League of America, he sacrificed himself to save the multiverse in a last ditch attempt to defeat the Anti-Monitor, this was one of the longest lasting comicbook hero deaths until he came back in Final Crisis.
- Batman holds himself to enough standards that he is often closer to this than an Anti-Hero, just more on the pragmatic side. But regardless, there's a reason his comics are the Trope Namer for Joker Immunity.
- When Superman was dead, Steel took up the role of The Cape and fought "to keep the spirit of Superman alive."
- The Martian Manhunter is an example of this trope, as (in his 90s ongoing) he is the most well-loved superhero in the entire southern hemisphere of Earth, and he is (Depending on the Writer, of course), more powerful than Supes.
- Nightwing is considered one of the greatest capes in the entire DC universe (right up there with Superman himself) as he's one of the most experienced superheroes who ever operated (having started around age twelve). Even Superman and Batman are willing to defer to him on occasion. Ironic, because he hates wearing capes.
- Batgirl II Cassandra Cain is a very surprising example of a Cape. If you only read her very troubled backstory, you'd think she'd be an Anti-Hero Substitute for Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. But her experiences shaped her into being a very idealistic character instead of an anti-hero.
- A number of the early DC heroes from the Justice Society of America era were and often still are this trope, most notably Green Lantern/Sentinel and the original Flash.
- Captain America is probably Marvel's best capeless Cape. As a youth, he tried out for World War II, but was rejected on physical grounds, so he volunteered to be a guinea pig in a military experiment. He did not know there had already been successful trials, and the risk was much less than is commonly advertised; the experiment turned him into a soldier with physical and mental capabilities very slightly above peak human. In the modern era (how he survived is another story), he is such a tactical and moral exemplar that while powerless and wielding nothing more than an indestructible shield that doesn't obey the laws of physics, he leads a team consisting of powerhouses like Thor, Iron Man, Wonder Man, Ms. Marvel, and the rest of "Earth's Mightiest Heroes".
- Further punctuating his status as The Cape, Cap makes it clear on numerous occasions that he does not stand for America as a nation specifically, but for "the Dream", to the point where he is willing to fight and die for his beliefs against his own government.
- Spider-Man is Marvel's second greatest Capeless Cape after Captain America; he radiates the ideals of responsibility and hope for others. He once was originally a young man whose goal was just to get into university and study science, but while on an excursion to a museum he was bitten by a radioactive spider, giving him super-powers. After he discovers the responsibility that comes with the power he now possesses, he protects his city and loved ones from whatever may threaten them. Like Cap, Spidey is one of the most trusted and beloved heroes in the franchise, and one of the friendliest and most selfless of the entire heroic roster. Many heroes, including Cap, enjoy his presence, along with his heroism, determination and lightheartedness, due to the fact he is the heart of the Marvel Universe.
- Justice of the New Warriors.
- Samaritan in Astro City.
- Hyperion of the Squadron Supreme.
- In Irredeemable, the Plutonian was seen as one of these until his Face–Heel Turn. The comic book series is essentially exploring what would happen both if Superman went bad and, by extension, what would happen if someone who ultimately did not have the moral fibre to be The Cape was given this role.
- Bright, Cheery, Mentally-Sound Man from Dark Brooding Mentally Disturbed Man. An "evil" counterpart to DBMD Man (even though they are both vaguely good-ish), BCMS Man is trusting and gentle to a fault. In that he believes violence is not the answer when dealing with armed lunatics and gives mad scientists a stern talking to before escorting them back to their hidden volcano bases to think about what they have done.
- The eponymous Empowered might well qualify. For all her faults and frailties, she knows what is right, and will go to tremendous lengths to do just that. In the last story in volume 5, she is willing to very probably die to save Mindf*** , and she only slightly knows the other woman. Mindf*** had to resort to using mind control to force Empowered to save herself instead.
- She later literally went with Sista Spooky to Hell in an attempt to rescue Mindf***. Spooky simply cannot understand why the woman she has belittled, embarrassed, and humiliated time and again would do that. Emp did it because it was the right thing to do.
- In Johnny Saturn, Johnny Saturn wouldn't call himself a cape, due primarily to his reputation for brutality and his unwillingness to compromise. The Utopian, especially later in the series, is a Cape, and his father Elect is the archetypal Cape (in-setting, he was the first caped superhero). However, the series deconstructs the idea slightly with Elect, who has been shown to possess absolutely terrible judgment and political blindness. Yes, he is a tremendously successful superhero and a loving husband, but he is also unable to adapt to the times or pick the right horse with political policy. He is seen cavalierly endorsing pointlessly discriminatory party platforms and disrespecting his gay son, among other slights.
- The title of Thom Zahler's independent comic-book sitcom Love and Capes says it all. Issue 10 reveals some practical reasons for superheroes to wear capes.
- Thundermind of DC's Great Ten fulfills this archetype despite lacking a cape. As a result, he's the only member of the Great Ten deemed capable of being a media darling.
- Atlas in PS238 seems to be a mild deconstruction. His chronic heroism destroys his marriage since he's never there for his wife, and he ultimately abandons Earth and his depowered son in order to take control of his homeworld in order to try and fix it. Julie 84 is a much straighter example.
- Cyclops in X-Men, though Depending on the Writer. Some play up his "boy scout" image, others play up his "emotionally conflicted and badass leader" image, so he varies on either a Cape in charge of the group, or a somewhat reckless, Crazy-Prepared Four Star Bad Ass that often makes him look like a Jerk Ass. In general, the most consistent thing about Cyclops is that he is a skilled field leader who lacks the natural charisma of a true "Cape".
- The Mighty Thor is another Marvel Comics Cape.
- Another Marvel one is The Sentry. When he is sane. In theory.
- He wants to be one, and his Sentry persona is essentially the expression of his desire to be Marvel's answer to Superman. Unfortunately, his Superpowered Evil Side is having none of it.
- All Fall Down has the superhero veteran, Paradigm. Of all the victims of the Fall, he handles it best.
- Deconstructed in Power & Glory: while A-Pex may appear to be an all-American blonde, blue-eyed, virtuous superhero, in reality he is nothing of the sort—the guy is actually a government-created nationalist fantasy whose fear of germs leaves him incapable of fighting anyone, and it is his handler who has to take care of things from behind the scenes.
- X-23 is increasingly showing aspects of this, as opposed to her genetic father's cowl. This has become especially noticeable in the aftermath of The Death of Wolverine, first in her issue of self-reflection of The Logan Legacy, and particularly during Wolverines; Laura rescues Fantomelle from Siphon because it is the right thing to do, not just because the group needs her. And when she later realizes that Siphon is as much a victim as the rest of the Paradise experiments, she manages to talk both Blade and Daken out of killing him in order to try and help him, even though she would be fully justified putting him down due to the immense threat he presents. Notably, when Laura visits the Ultimate Universe and learns the origin of mutants in that reality, she actually starts to break down in frustration that no matter where she goes because she cannot find something noble to aspire to.
- Jerom from Suske en Wiske has pretty much all of the attributes described here, even with his eventual flaws such as badly speaking Dutch and being very impulsive. Willy Vandersteen eventually noticed this and created the Jerom franchise, in which he is a hero fighting crime.
- Parodied in Calvin and Hobbes with Stupendous Man, whose powers (not counting his costume) exist only in Mild-Mannered Calvin's imagination, and whose actual motives are purely selfish.
Stupendous Man: I was just about to use my stupendous powers to liberate some cookies being held hostage on the top shelf of the pantry! Now if you'll excuse me, duty calls!
- Cassandra Cain, the lead of Angel Of The Bat, was already the Cape during her time as Batgirl, but becomes even more hopeful and and strong after her religious conversion to Catholicism and changing her title to Angel of the Bat.
- Last Child of Krypton: Jor-El sends the rocket to Earth hoping helping them and guiding them this way. As he grows up Shinji aspires to be a good person and help people as much as he can. This mindset helps him to overcome some of his childhood traumas and become Superman. When someone says he can not fight fate, he replies "You watch me".
- Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: The real point of this story is Asuka donning the Supergirl identity and growing out of being an immature kid and into this trope and as well as an Ideal Hero.
- In The Secret Return of Alex Mack, the titular character is this. Being the first superhero to go public, she is also the most well-known and is always at the forefront in every disaster. Serving as an inspiration for later heroes. Half of the team she gathers only becomes heroes due to her influence.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- The titular character in Captain America: The First Avenger. The movie is able to play this trope straight, and beautifully so, by giving him a deep need to prove himself and making him adorkable.
- The trope is also played straight in The Avengers where Cap gives Tony Stark a lecture about his selfishness and lone wolf behavior. Which gets turned around at the end, when Tony is actively working with the other Avengers while battling all over New York and ends up nearly performing a Heroic Sacrifice, only being saved at the last moment by the Hulk.
- The Vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron. He has a great respect for humanity and even has some sympathy for Ultron. Notably, he's the only Avenger besides Thor who is worthy enough to wield Mjölnir.
- Superman: The Movie: As should be expected, Christopher Reeve as Superman plays this straight as well.
- While Henry Cavill's Superman is not quite there yet in Man of Steel, due to being a version of the Man of Steel going through a Decon-Recon Switch, he shows shades of this, Humble Hero, and The Paragon, and has come to fit the three roles much better two years later (in universe) in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
- The titular hero Tenório Cavalcanti, from the O Homem da Capa Preta presented himself this way for promoting his image. The titular cape also served the purpose of concealing his MG-34 at indoor environments, like in the famous I-just-shoot-at-men scene.
- While it is possible that all of the superheroes displayed in The Incredibles can qualify as this, Mr. Incredible and Syndrome's dynamic can qualify as a deconstruction of this trope. Mr. Incredible is shown to be a popular and inspiring hero, having many flattering articles of his super heroics, a fan club and even a key to the city of Metroville given to him by the mayor. This leads to him inspiring his "number one fan" Buddy to want to become a superhero just like him and trying to be his sidekick "Incrediboy." Because Mr. Incredible only wants to work alone, he inadvertently crushes the boy's dreams in an attempt to keep him safe, leading to him to becoming a sociopathic supervillain who's plot is to become a superhero in the eyes of the public involves killing off various veteran heroes, unleashing a giant robot into populated areas and then "stopping it", become a bastardization of The Cape.
- Captain Carrot of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. He has no overtly superhuman abilities, but he combines a strong sense of justice, a solid punch and a fountain of charisma — he assumes that everyone else is basically a decent person, and somehow, they can't help but live up to his expectations.
- Sarah, the titular character in Tales of an Mazing Girl. But that's just the character she plays. On the inside she's snarky, and egotistically self-satisfed. But she hides it as the Big Good. Or maybe that's who she really is.
- X-Wing Series:
- Tycho Celchu. He's a brilliant pilot but not superhuman. What makes him a Cape — well, there's an exchange in Wedge's Gamble that illustrates it.
Horn: So, you don't even know, really, if you are an Imperial agent waiting to happen or not?
Celchu: I know I'm not. Being able to prove it is something else again.
Horn: But being constantly under suspicion, that's got to wear on you. Why put up with it? How can you put up with it?
Celchu: I put up with it because I must. Enduring it is the only way I can be allowed to fight back against the Empire. If I were to walk away from the Rebellion, if I were to sit the war out, I would have surrendered to the fear of what Ysanne Isard might, might, have done to me. Without firing a shot she would have made me as dead as Alderaan, and I won't allow that. There's nothing in what I have to live with on a daily basis that isn't a thousand times easier than what I survived at the hands of the Empire. Until the Empire is dead, I can never truly be free because I'll always be under suspicion. Living with minor restrictions now means someday no one has to fear me.
- Wedge, his CO, probably qualifies too. One example: during the Borleias evacuation, the shuttle he's supposed to ride out is destroyed, so he grabs a damaged X-Wing from the vehicle bay. A freighter warns him of nearby Vong ground troops, so he goes and destroys them. Then, while escorting the transport up, they're jumped by a squadron (12, for those of you keeping score at home) of Vong fighters. Wedge proceeds to pull them off the freighter and annihilate the squad, losing his shields in the process. Another squadron catches up to the freighter in this time, and Wedge pulls them away too, despite knowing that there's no possible way he can win...except the Rogues showing up.
Gavin Darklighter: Blackmoon Eleven, what did you think you were doing going after an entire squadron?
Wedge: My job.
- Tycho Celchu. He's a brilliant pilot but not superhuman. What makes him a Cape — well, there's an exchange in Wedge's Gamble that illustrates it.
- Luke Skywalker is almost always shown as this, especially in works such as Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor. He's a perfect example of Beware the Nice Ones-yes, he is a Living Legend and Big Good, but he's also kind, gentle, compassionate, and willing to give a second chance to everyone, unless they're absolutely steeped in the Dark Side-and even then, he'll still defeat them as quickly and painlessly as possible. It's telling that even when there's anti-Jedi sentiment, it's almost never directed at him personally. Even after going through enough to make anyone into a Woobie, he always remains a good guy.
- Subverted viciously in Minister Faust's Journal of Dr. Brain. Omnipotent Man is a semi-literate idiot, The Flying Squirrel is a racist, Iron Maiden is a self-loathing depressive etc.
- Played straight in the Nightside novels with Julian Advent, who could've been another Dr. Jekyll, but chose to drink a formula that brought his Good side to the fore instead.
- In Aaron Allston's Galatea in 2-D, Captain Steele, a full blown superhero. Roger drew him in order to have a really powerful ally but discovered it took too much to get him out of the painting. Uses him in the end, though whereupon Kevin kills him with an Evil Weapon. Roger reveals that he didn't bring him out, he brought Kevin into his painting.
- Gently subverted in Wearing the Cape. The more powerful and photogenic superheroes are major media celebrities, who often publicly play to the Golden Age Hero stereotype and have whole marketing campaigns and PR departments to back them up.
- Of course, Atlas did start out as, and remained, pretty much the closest thing they had to The Cape. This was even lampshaded when Astra comments you could have put a big S on his chest and dared someone to claim it wasn't appropriate. However, it's subtly deconstructed by implying that Atlas feels a great amount of pressure to live up to people's expectations of the Cape and would have become rather burnt-out if not for Astra.
- Trapped on Draconica: Daniar is a Flying Brick who enforces her father the king's justice. More than simple fighting she tries to set a moral example with her insistence of showing mercy to her enemies instead of killing them.
- Michael Carpenter from The Dresden Files, although he'd never trivialize his work as a Knight of the Cross by comparing it to comic-book superheroism, fits this trope. Knights have all the virtues, including humility. When Harry has repeatedly compared him to everything from Superman to Dudley Do-Right, Michael has usually seemed to actually find it moderately funny, somewhat complimentary, and not in the least embarrassing. Which pretty much doubles down on the trope.
- Stannis Baratheon of A Song of Ice and Fire is what would happen if a non-superhero Cape existed in real life. He stands for truth and justice, but comes off a vengeful Jerk Ass. He always does his duty but has little to show for it which fuels his quest for the throne. He wants to bring peace to the realm and the people in it, but has no problem sacrificing a few to save all.
- American Eagle, of Legacy: The Tale of the American Eagle. His idealism and code of "No One Dies", (even when running through Vietnamese jungle after a drug cartel and getting repeadtedly ambushed), annoys the team of mercenaries accompanying him to no end.
- Archvillain: Mighty Mike, a Flying Brick who spends his time saving kittens from trees and stopping forest fires.
- In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, Lone Star.
- In The Rules of Supervillainy, Ultragod is this to the entirety of the superhero world. His daughter Gabrielle is viewed as this but is actually more of a Pragmatic Hero.
- Angel: The Groosalugg. Angel grumps about how he's better at being one than Angel himself.
- Benton Fraser of Due South, a Mountie who came to Chicago on the trail of the killers of his father, exemplifies this trope, being genuinely polite, noble, selfless and heroic to everyone he meets. In something of a subversion, everyone consequently assumes he's unhinged.
- For bonus points, genre television show The Cape. Ironically the title character is actually The Cowl.
- Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: Hercules, as portrayed by Kevin Sorbo. He doesn't have a literal cape or secret identity, but in all other aspects he pretty much fits the bill.
Opening Narration But wherever there was evil, whenever an innocent would suffer, there would be Hercules!
- Kamen Rider often has protagonists like these for the Heisei lineup, and with some shows this is done to contrast from the rest of the morally ambiguous cast. While having just motives, the older Showa Riders often fought Shocker out of revenge.
- Yuusuke Godai from Kamen Rider Kuuga, Shinji Kido from Kamen Rider Ryuki, Kazuma Kenzaki from Kamen Rider Blade and Eiji Hino from Kamen Rider OOO are the straightest examples, using their powers to protect the people due to feeling that they have a duty to do so, and simply because they believe that it's the right thing to do.
- In crossover movies, the Showa Riders' (especially #1) For Great Justice schtick tend to be flanderized into this.
- Raymond from The Thin Blue Line, or at least Raymond's self-image.
- Barry Allen, the main character of The Flash (2014). Many critics and fans have pointed out that Barry is a sort of anti-anti-hero. It also gets pointed out in the series itself, since he's sharply contrasted with the Arrow, who is very much The Cowl.
Oliver Queen: You come from Central City, where it's always sunny and you give your enemies cutesy codenames.
- Supergirl. In the television series, Supergirl straddles between being The Cape and The Heart.
- A Doctor Who Christmas special introduces one to the show. The Ghost is clearly a Superman Expy (justified, since Grant was a huge fan of Superman as a kid), protecting New York, while also working as a babysitter for his crush (who, as befits a Lois Lane Expy, has no idea that her babysitter and the Ghost are one and the same).
The Ghost: (to the Monster of the Week) Please understand it is against my personal code to cause lasting harm to any individual. (Throws him against a wall) However, light to moderate injury is fine.
- Many Ultra Series heroes and their human hosts fall under this category, especially during the Showa era. Heisei era Ultras and humans tended to be more fallible, but still remain equally admirable characters.
- Captain Courageous from Johnny Mnemonic.
- WWE wrestler The Hurricane is, essentially, Superman meets the Green Lantern by way of Adam West.
- More recently, John Cena doesn't actually have a Super Hero gimmick, but nonetheless has earned the Fan Nickname "Super Cena" both from his resemblance to this trope and his tendency to never lose cleanly.
- Optimus Prime, from any incarnation of the Transformers franchise, is a non-superhero example, somewhat like Carrot above but played a great deal straighter. To be fair, Optimus and the rest of his race do fall under the Super Robot category, so to us Puny Earthlings, he seems pretty strong... But his respect for sentient life, his inspiring oratory, his dedication to justice, his courage in the face of impossible odds, as well as being one of the finest warriors and most well-constructed Transformers in history... He's a shining example of this trope, and a beacon of light in a war without end.
- A much less publicized character called Countdown is, if possible, even more so. He's no more powerful than Optimus (though his recent Ultra-class figure gives ridiculous statistics for him), but in attitude, morality, determination, intelligence, and so on, he's sort of a cross between Captain Picard, Superman, Thor (from Stargate SG-1), and Carl Sagan.
- The central figure of the "mythology" behind City of Heroes, Statesman, is a classic Cape. Strict moral code, no-kills rule, monochrome vision, enforces his code upon others and backs it up with literally demigod-like powers. Naturally, he comes complete with an Evil Counterpart, Lord Recluse.
- He is also canonically over 100 years old and has been in the superhero business since the 1920s. So being a little jaded and tired of it all is somewhat understandable.
- Ky Kiske from the Guilty Gear series exemplifies this, minus the actual cape. Always standing up for peace and justice, his flaw is his primarily black-and-white view that leads him to be at odds with the lawless-yet-positive Sol Badguy.
- In many RPGs the player can become The Cape, examples include the Fallout series, Mass Effect and Knights of the Old Republic.
- Haran Banjo and Rom Stol get turned into these in Super Robot Wars. When all seems lost, Haran Banjo will arrive on the scene (sometimes with a distinct yell of "DAIITAAAARN...COME HERE!!!") and will deliver his Bad Ass Creed and Boast of how Daitarn 3 is here to smash evil ambitions (along with fixing whatever the problem was). Rom Stol one ups this by always interrupting the villain with a yell of "MATE!" (HALT!) before going into a speech about justice, love, punishment et al., sometimes in improbable places (like on top of the stage boss' cockpit). Inevitably, he will be asked who he is, whereupon he declares that they "do not deserve to know [his] name."
- The Warrior of Light was made out to be a MASSIVE cape in Dissidia: Final Fantasy. He's unwaveringly loyal to Cosmos, flatly shoots down Ultimecia's Hannibal Lecture, and even vows to save his Evil Counterpart Garland from his fate. No wonder Cosmos' Batman Gambit worked so well.
- Mario. He may be something of a Flat Character, but his defining quality is his unrelenting altruism. He is an incorruptible do-gooder. He even gets a cape in Super Mario World.
- While the "No kill" rule is obviously not in effect, even before the final battle and possible Heroic Sacrifice to save all the advanced species in the entire galaxy, now and in the future of Mass Effect 3, a completely (or close to it) paragon Commander Shepard is damn near worshiped as a deity by multiple species and civilizations across the galaxy for his/her altruism, courage, and decency.
- And in the Extended Cut DLC, The Control Ending shows that Shepard's personality can live on as an actual cybernetic deity that is dedicated to protecting and helping all life, real and synthetic, in the galaxy.
- Like Superman, Paragon Shepard's best friend is the Mass Effect universe's equivalent of Batman, Garrus Vakarian. It's lampshaded in the third game that when they work together they make an unstoppable team.
- Bob and George. George, though, sometimes has to be reminded
- In The Adventures of Gyno-Star, Gyno-Star embodies a feminist version of the trope, attempting to abide by a strict feminist code (although often failing).
- Several characters in the Johnny Saturn series could qualify, but the most blatant is The Utopian, the local Superman Expy, he's one of the series' most moral characters, and his powers are actually fueled by his idealism, the one time he (completely accidentally) breaks the Thou Shalt Not Kill rule, he is Brought Down to Normal instantly. He claims he's powered by his "Devotion to the Utopian ideal", but it's never made clear if he lost his powers for breaking the code, or if his guilt and horror over doing so caused him to somehow shut his powers off since genuinely believed he didn't deserve them.
- For reference, the guy he killed was a supervillain, who had killed dozens of people and was responsible for multiple atrocities, and the killing itself was a complete accident. No-one would blame him or deny it was justified, but Utopian still views it as My Greatest Failure,and, for a while, his Moral Event Horizon.
- Plus he wears a white and gold costume, and defeats a Face–Heel Turn-ed friend of his by forgiving him and flying away, since he believed the guy would do the right thing, he is not only one hundred percent sincere, he's also completely right!
- The unashamedly corny and Silver-Agey Lady Spectra of Lady Spectra And Sparky.
- Elliot of El Goonish Shive is brave, kind, chivalrous, and is the most straight up-and-down member of the eight True Companions. He hates injustice and bullying more than anything else, and his greatest fear is that he might begin to do bad things.
- From the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, there's Ultra-Man, The Golden Marvel, Centennial, Empyrion, Thunder, Champion, Dharma, Kismet, Shaktimaan, Scanner, Protonik, Paladin, and El Grifo Rojo, just to name a few. Somewhat subverted by The Aryan (a white supremacist NPC crimefighter who most of the players hated to deal with).
- Subverted in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog with Captain Hammer, who is treated like a cape by most characters, even though he is really a Jerk Jock.
- In Worm, anyone who dons a costume is referred to as a 'Cape' though few indeed fit the actual trope. However there are several clear examples, Legend is a crystal clear case. Chevalier and several other heroes may well be examples and a couple of the Brockton Bay Wards fit as well.
- The titular villainess of Interviewing Leather has nothing but respect for the "old-school" superheroes.
- The <3-Verse has Mr Perfect of the Brat Pack as a Cape-in-Training, as well as Thunderbolt and Uncle Sam as full-fledged Capes.
- In the Whateley Universe, there are plenty.
- The Headmistress of Whateley Academy is a retired Superhero and very much fits the The Cape trope, even if her current superheroine garb is a body suit without cape. Since she's been fighting villains since 1943, she has a 1940's sensibility about superheroing... along with over sixty years of experience. She still looks early- to mid-thirties.
- And don't forget the 'Future Superheroes of America', better known around the school as... The Cape Squad.
- Unlike his Marvel Universe counterpart, the Sentry of Marvels RPG is The C ape. Other heroes might also qualify, but he stands out.
- Web reviewer The Cartoon Hero uses a heroic persona and a typical cape outfit.