We all know Superman and his iconic red cape. Superman laid the foundation of the superhero genre of comic books after its debut. And every hero afterward, was inspired by The Man Of Steel. Even the costume of Superman had a major influence on the costume designs of all other superheroes. But in this article, we will look at the true reasons behind the integration of a cape in the costume of Superman. Was it only an aesthetic addition or did it have a broader hidden meaning? We will explore everything about the cape and how it had survived till now.
Reasons Behind The Cape
This section will feature the most prominent reasons behind the addition of a cape in the costume of Superman.
1. Flying Guide
The most obvious reason behind the use of cape by the creative artists of Superman was that they somehow had to show the flight of Superman on a broader canvas. When the first Superman animated TV Show aired. The cape played an important role in guiding the audience whether Superman was flying or not.
The cape mimicked the intricate movements of a flying cloth which indicated to the audiences that Superman is indeed flying and not falling. And the cape served as a very important guide for the audience to showcase the flying ability of the Man of Steel.
2. Speed Indicator
Not only did the cape guide the audiences of Superman’s flight. but it also played a very important role in indicating the flying speed of Superman. The cape indicated the flying speed through its fluttering motion. The high speed back and forth motion of the cape indicated a high speed. While the low speed back and forth movements indicated a slow speed of Superman.
This speed indication also applicable when Superman was running. And the cape likewise indicated the running speed of Superman as well. The cape has served as an important standard to convey the flying ability of Superman to the audiences as well as the speed of this flight. The cape was a practical and rather inexpensive way to achieve both of these things.
Another important reason that Superman uses a cape is very simply the aesthetics. Because a cape looks amazing as well as eye-catching. None of us can imagine Man of Steel without a cape that does not flutter extravagantly while he is flying. And the elegance that the cape provides to Kal-El while flying is just unmatched.
This is partially the reason that the cape has managed to survive all these decades. As the cape is now not just considered as the part of Superman’s costume but is in fact considered as the costume itself.
When Zack Snyder rebooted Superman with the Man Of Steel movie, he introduced a modern rendition of the costume. In this costume, he tweaked the colors of the costume. And even removed the iconic outside underwear of Superman. But he still maintained the cape and even integrated a CGI cape to make it flutter more elegantly. All of this was because a cape looks aesthetically pleasing.
Sign Of Prestige
In different cultures, the cape is considered a sign of prestige. And the most famous generals of the past used to don a cape to show their stature. At the time of Superman’s debut, he was modeled after strongmen of the time, who used a cape as well as outside underwear as well. This costume was a visual representation of the strength of Superman.
Practicality Of The Cape
The practicality of the cape has always been a topic of discussion. As people argue that Superman can be faster without the cape as compared to times when he is wearing one. Because of the fluttering movement of the cape, Superman faces an increased drag while flying. Which ultimately results in Superman losing speed.
Another impracticality of the cape is that certain villains have used this cape to pin down Superman in attacks that otherwise would have been avoided if Superman did not wear a cape. The villains even use this cape to throw Superman around. So some people have always argued for Superman to lose the cape as well.
There might always be advocates that would campaign for Superman to lose the cape. but in reality Superman’s cape has become an iconic symbol over the years. It has become an integral part of the Man Of Steel’s costume and no one can even imagine Superman without his cape.
To anybody who wants realism in comic books or their movie adaptations we would recommend that they should enjoy these stories for what they are. These stories are called fictional for a reason. And that reason is that they give us a glimpse of all the possibilities that we can dream of. The limit of the canvas of these stories is only defined by one’s imagination. And that is what makes these stories so interesting.
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This article describes the significance of the Superman using a cape in complete detail and also lists the reasons behind the cape’s survival for so long.