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  1. #1

    Default Why do superheroes wear capes?

    I thought they needed capes to fly, but Green Lantern flies and he doesn't have a cape, while Batman wears a cape and doesn't fly. So I thought they needed capes to protect them from bullets and the like, but Superman and Captain Marvel definitely don't need protection, while Wonder Woman needs protection (she's not immune to bullets) but doesn't wear a cape.

    So why do superheroes wear capes? To make a fashion statement?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Thok's Avatar
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    It depends on the superhero, but the general reason is "It looks cool."

    In Batman's case, the cape makes him look bigger, which makes it harder for crooks to shoot him while also being intimidating.

    Wonder Woman doesn't need a cape because she has the bracelets, which allow her to deflect bullets and stuff.

  3. #3
    Elder Member DeadXMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thok View Post
    It depends on the superhero, but the general reason is "It looks cool."

    In Batman's case, the cape makes him look bigger, which makes it harder for crooks to shoot him while also being intimidating.

    Wonder Woman doesn't need a cape because she has the bracelets, which allow her to deflect bullets and stuff.
    isn't Batman's cape bullet resistant and stuff?
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  4. #4
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    Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Depends on whether he brings along the kevlar cape which is heavier to move in but resistant, or whether he wants a big billowy statement which is lighter but not as resistant.

  5. #5

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    Yes, I seem to remember Batman's cape can be bulletproof, and it has very fine tools sewn into it so he can use it.

    But why would Superman use a cape? He doesn't come across as a fashion plate.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Den's Avatar
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    I'm no expert on fashion, but weren't capes actually more in fashion when Superman was first conceived, at least among certain performers and the like?
    All cruel people describe themselves as paragons of frankness.-Tennessee Williams

  7. #7
    Junior Member Abraxas's Avatar
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    Batman's cape can sometimes protect him from fire, and shrapnel. But it can also allow him to glide, I think.

    As for Captain Marvel, the cape makes more sense, because of the magical nature of the hero and capes run along the same lines as magicians and wizards it makes him more whimsical.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Lantern wannabe View Post
    But why would Superman use a cape? He doesn't come across as a fashion plate.
    You don't have to be a fashion plate to like the looks of something.

    It's his style. He likes the way it looks.

    That's all.

  9. #9
    Elder Member DeadXMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abraxas View Post
    Batman's cape can sometimes protect him from fire, and shrapnel. But it can also allow him to glide, I think.

    As for Captain Marvel, the cape makes more sense, because of the magical nature of the hero and capes run along the same lines as magicians and wizards it makes him more whimsical.
    I wouldn't that a cape. More like a Shawl or a cloak
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  10. #10
    Junior Member Joker2503's Avatar
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    Batman glides with his. It's also a good intimidation factor. He looks a lot bigger and more frightening swooping in with the massive cape billowing behind him. Also, it helps with gun fire, even when it isn't bulletproof. Bad guys shoot in his general direction, not really aiming. The cape gives a much bigger target, and a lot of surface area where a bullet can hit and not do any actual damage.

  11. #11
    Elder Member DeadXMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joker2503 View Post
    Batman glides with his. It's also a good intimidation factor. He looks a lot bigger and more frightening swooping in with the massive cape billowing behind him. Also, it helps with gun fire, even when it isn't bulletproof. Bad guys shoot in his general direction, not really aiming. The cape gives a much bigger target, and a lot of surface area where a bullet can hit and not do any actual damage.
    yet he wears a giant symbol on his center mass
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  12. #12
    Marquis de carabas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Lantern wannabe View Post
    Yes, I seem to remember Batman's cape can be bulletproof, and it has very fine tools sewn into it so he can use it.
    O-nce upon a time perhaps. Nowadays, he's bullet proof from head to toe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Den View Post
    I'm no expert on fashion, but weren't capes actually more in fashion when Superman was first conceived, at least among certain performers and the like?
    Ding ding, we have a winner.
    Superman's costume is based upon what a circus strongmn wore back in the thirties. And most superhero costumes, including Batman's, are based on what Superman wears.
    'The marquis. Well, you know, to be honest, he seems a little bit dodgy to me.'
    'Mm,' she agreed. 'He's a little bit dodgy in the same way that rats are a little bit covered in fur."

  13. #13
    Junior Member Joker2503's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadXMan View Post
    yet he wears a giant symbol on his center mass
    1) Not all the time. Depends on the artist.

    2) Ever read 'Dark Knight Returns'? Batman says that he puts a target on his chest because he can put more armor in a chestplate than a helmet. He still tries to dodge shots, but if he has to take one, he wants the shooter to be aiming at the kevlar over his heart.

  14. #14
    Elder Member DeadXMan's Avatar
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    Still aim for the center mass
    A .45 might not kill him but it will drop him
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  15. #15
    The Central Sca-rutinizer Pól Rua's Avatar
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    For many reasons.

    The main one is that a cape highlights dynamism. Comics don't move, and so a big length of cloth fluttering around a character is a good shorthand to let the reader know that this guy is a whirling dynamo of action.
    Superman is a good example of this. Basically, the main reason he was given a cape is to show it fluttering out behind him while he flies.

    In the case of certain characters, capes provide cover, whether it's made of bullet resistant cloth or visual cover.
    The idea of capes as visual cover was used extensively in 'The Shadow', where the titular character would swirl his cloak around him, and criminals wouldn't be able to tell whether they were shooting at a man or at the cloak.
    Additionally, the Shadow's (and, by extension, Batman's) cape helps with stealth by breaking up his outline and creating a dark shroud around him, helping him blend into the surrounding darkness.

    Also, it can be used for the opposite effect, as the hero throws his cape aside suddenly appearing as though out of nowhere. Robin's cape, which is black on the outside for concealment and lined in yellow to highlight his silhouette, is an especially good example of this.

    Captain Marvel's costume is based on military-style uniforms from comic operas, and frequently these uniforms would feature a dress cape.

    Symbolism's another big one. Someone's already mentioned the wizard/magician aspect, but also, Superman's frequently depicted as a sort of guardian angel... and wouldn't an angel have wings?
    Similarly, Batman's cape is designed to look like wings, and to swirl out behind him, making his silhouette look like an enormous bat.

    Of course, there are just those costumes which look better with capes. In the end, some characters have capes on their costumes just because it looks good.

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