The thing about superhero costumes is that most of them are derived from Superman, whose togs are derived from traditional 19th century circus strongmen, with an added cape.  The trunks have been the subject of much back-and-forth in recent years, but to my eyes, the towel-over-the-shoulders may be the more problematic element.  It’s become shorthand for “superhero” (or, in rare cases, strange fascist regalia) but there are endless complaints that the use of capes are “not realistic” or “hindering to acrobatics” or “using up all my good sheets, and I just washed them!”  In any case, it raises an important and highly decorative query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) loves a cape, but even within the comic book community, they’re becoming artifacts of a lost time, asking: Does the traditional superhero cape make any sense in a modern context?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Wow… This is a tough one. I’m gonna to say that if there’s “utility” in it, then yes it makes sense. For Batman, definitely. It’s menacing and could assist with hiding or throwing an opponent off guard.

    For Shazam… A little half cape doesn’t really make sense. Black Adam doesn’t have one and he does just fine…

    Superman, doesn’t need it, but I want it there. No… I need it there.

    Why do you ask the tough questions Matthew?!? Now I’m going to be thinking about this all day…

  2. Malone_hasco on

    No, it doesn’t. But neither does the whole concept of super hero in a modern society, so its fine. Capes are cool, so are super heroes.

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