Why do superheroes wear capes?

With the exception of Batman. Why do superheroes wear capes?

They look cool.

Actually, isn’t Superman’s super strong or something? I’ve seen him use it to shield mere mortals from danger occasionally. Other than that, see above.

Batman wore a cape. It had scalloping along the bottomm akin to a bat’s wings.

All I can imagine is that they wore it because watching a super-hero’s bum while they fight the bad guy would be exceedingly distasteful, as per the Hayes Office way of seeing things. OTOH, Wonder Woman wore no cape. Apparently, watching her do her thing with her hips and bottom clad in red shorts ( IIRC ) was perfectly fine.

God knows I had no issues with it. :smiley:


Yes, ass coverage is probably one major motive. But I bet there is some obscure history to this that a true comics maven can come in here and lecutre us all on. Which superhero wore the first cape, and what was the story behind it?

Silent, his cape used to be indestructible, pre-Crisis. Now he keeps a supply of them handy because they tend to get torn up pretty regularly. The rest of his costume doesn’t get as much damage because his bio-aura extends slightly beyond his skin and anything within it is essentially protected by his invulnerability. Nowadays, he shields people with his body.

Not so many superheroes do wear capes anymore. The ones who do usually do so out of a sense of tradition, (ie. they’ve always worn them, or the first hero to use their name wore one) or they just think they look cool, and in some cases, such as Robin, the capes are made of bullet-proof material or serve some other function to enhance their powers.

Isn’t Batman’s cape bulletproof?

The Flash, the (current) Green Lantern, Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine (most of the X-Men in fact) do not wear capes.

Batman’s cape is in homage to Zorro (sorry no cite off the top of my head, but I can dig around later if you want, but IIRC that’s why he was drawn with a cape). I don’t know why Superman wears one.

For the most part though, when people think superhero, they think Superman. Superman wears a cape, so that could be part of why so many wear them. Lack of originality.

Plus, a very smart person once said, “They look cool.”

Why do they wear capes? Because it’s freakin’ cold running around in your underwear!

Wonder Woman wears Blue/White Starred Shorts or Skirt, and depending on who is being Wonder Woman - she has a Cape, but it has no purpose.

Storm has a Cape cause it looks cool when she uses her Powers.

Because a necktie doesn’t look nearly as dramatic fluttering in the wind.

Let me hijack my own thread and point out, that it seems to me more DC heroes wear capes than Marvel.

just a thought. :smiley:

So they covered the Bat Butt but not the Bat Package? Someone think of the children!

Well, since her ability to fly is based on her ability to summon wind to lift her, the cape is functional too.

Capes kinda went out of fashion since Dollar Bill got his caught it the bank door, making him a non-moving target for the bank-robbing gunmen.

Capes: Not a good idea.

Look what happened to Dollar Bill in the Watchmen


Okay, how about a superhero who wears a trenchcoat?

Or perhaps… a mink stole. :smiley:

Thinking back to my “Who’s Who’s” and “Marvel Handbooks”, it seems that fewer than 10% of all superpowered characters wear capes – and as the OP pointed out later in the thread, yes, it seems a safe bet that more DC comics characters wear capes than Marvel comics characters.

It seems that in most comic book companies, more iconic and powerful a (male) character – the more the character is typified as a flagship character for a specific company – the bigger the chances are he will wear a cape.

Thus DC’s Superman and Batman wear capes, Marvel’s Thor wears a cape, Supreme has a cape, Fawcett’s Captain Marvel wears a cape, Image’s Spawn wears a cape, ABCs Promethea wears a cape… even Miracleman broke down and wore a cape at the end of Alan Moore’s run.

Vertigo’s John Constantine wears a trench coat, which is a cape with sleeves and buttons, he added facetiously.

It should be mentioned that it all goes back to circus and acrobat costuming. And wrestling. Superman’s first appearance, he’s wearing wrestling boots. Think about it. Trapeze acrobats, go up, take off their capes. Wrestlers walk down, take off their robes/capes.

Also, it’s easy to draw and very dynamic.

To give the toddlers have a reason to wear dish towels around their neck and look adorable.

It seems to me that cape-wearing is (mostly) a phenomenon among flying superheroes. Now, of course there are many exceptions; Green Lantern flies but doesn’t have a cape, Batman has a cape but doesn’t fly, yadda yadda. But overall, earthbound heroes are much less likely, it seems, to wear capes.

So, I reckon the reason is twofold: the cape looks neat when the hero flies, and it gives the impression of wings without having to give the hero actual wings.

Anyway, I’d like to explore this theory, but I’ll need a hand listing some heroes that have capes but don’t fly. Offhand, all I can think of are Batman (plus Robin) and Moon Knight, and they do a lot of jumping and cape-spreading. Who else is out there?