Far beyond Marvel or DC, capes are synonymous with superheroes. For over 60 years since the world was introduced to Superman in Action Comics #1, these accessories are part of the image of heroes for the entire population. The popularity is such that, in all this time, no character that was introduced using the accessory has managed to achieve a redesign without the costume.
- Learn why Fall of the Mutants was the darkest saga of the X-Men
- Do you think you’ve seen it all? DC now unites Wonder Woman and Darkseid as a couple
Batman illustration by Neal Adams. (Image: Reproduction/Heritage Auctions)
Over time, comic book artists would start using superhero capes in addition to indicating character movements.
As an example, let’s use the Batman cape. Nowadays synonymous with the darkest part of the hero’s design, it actually only started to be used that way on the Neal Adams line, when the artist together with screenwriter Denny O’Neil renewed the Dark Knight, pushing him away of the happiest vision seen in the TV series starring Adam West.
Adams used the Batman cape as a resource to justify the vigilante’s fear of bad guys, and over the years it has become one of the character’s iconic traits.
At the same time, villains like Magneto and Dr. Doom of Marvel, created by Jack Kirby, had the cape in their looks as an indicator of their ambitions, and wore them. in their confrontations against their opponents as a mark of theatricality.
If we look at the history of mankind, most of the people portrayed with capes belonged to aristocratic sectors of society, having money, power and fame. The use of the accessory in the design of a character like Magneto, therefore, indicates that he seeks these characteristics, in addition to leaving, during clashes with his opponents, a clear highlight in the figure of the villain against Professor Xavier’s simple suit, for example.
This same theatricality is also present in mystical heroes, such as Doctor Strange, who, from his cloak, in addition to gaining the ability to fly, gains a tone in his silhouette of mystery that matches the myths normally associated with wizards.
Out of fashion?
As the years went by, publishers and comic book authors began to want stories with a stronger foothold in reality, and many concepts that were part of the media since its inception, such as the covers, would not fit well with this new approach.
Who watched the movie The Incredibles, by Disney-Pixar, knows the scene where the superhero stylist explains the reason for not putting more capes on her creations — the imminent danger that a loose piece of mail can present to crime fighters. Although, in animation, it’s a funny moment, it still reflects the changes that comic book fiction has faced during its more than eight decades of existence.
- Have access to more than 1 million digital books with Amazon Kindle Unlimited!