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Release the Sewing Machine of Justice


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#41 Clonus

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 12:24 PM

Capes:  Capes originated as a low tech raincoat.  As actual coats were invented, capes hung on for a while with the upper crust because they serve the purpose of keeping the splashed mud and dung off your fancy clothing without entirely concealing it.  Certain entertainers retained it as well because it lent itself to dramatic flourishes.  Elvis wore a cape.  James Brown wore a cape.  Bullfighters wear capes. Those are the associations with cape wearers.  They're attention seekers and/or aristocrats.  The capes signal status.  Zorro and Batman wear cloaks because because they are eccentric rich guys.  Robin is a circus aerialist.  Superman is originally dressed like some kind of circus performer who is half strongman, half acrobat.   Later on his look becomes more aristocratic as befits his status as the pre-eminent hero of his world.  Thor is prince of Asgard.  Doctor Strange is Sorcerer Supreme In my list above I have two cape wearers, Vigilant who is the son of the first four-colour super in his world and Lady Nemesis who is the daughter of that super's arch enemy.  They're superhero aristocracy, complete with capes.  

 

There are exceptions of course.  Cloak wears a cloak just because he's the Cloak part of the team of Cloak and Dagger.  Spawn doesn't so much wear a cape as a cape wears him.  It's also worth bearing in mind that there's a distinction between ornamental and functional capes.  Spawn's cape is prehensile and stretches.  Doctor Strange's cape lets him fly without needing to cast a spell.  Devil-Slayer's cape is a portal to hammerspace.


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Is, "I'm just that awesome" really an origin?

#42 mrinku

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 03:25 PM

Interesting thoughts, Clonus. You can add Magneto and Doctor Doom to the list of characters who adopt a cape/cloak to assert their majesty.

 

Most heroes added in the Silver Age don't have them (and the Green Lantern redesign dropped it). Thor and Dr Strange are about the only Marvel ones I can think of, and they both have anachronistic elements. Superman derived characters do still tend to have one (Martian Manhunter, Mon-El, Power Girl)

 

Saw a Fathers' Day card this week:

 

"Some superheroes don't wear capes

 

They're called Dads

 

And Spider-Man"


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#43 Clonus

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 09:26 AM

Stretchy skin-tight body-stockings:  Historically, martial artists tended to either wear loose-fitting light-weight clothing or virtually nothing beyond trunks to allow maximum range of motion  Modern gym clothes tend use a mix of skimpiness with bare arms and legs, bagginess, and stretchiness fo accomplish the same goal.  Only comparatively recently did we get really stretchy fabrics that approach the capabilities of the modern heroic unitard that tends to be the default.  That's why Superman's original outfit had the trunks.  Without them his costume (or rather the costumes his was modeled on) would become noticeably baggy.  But truth to tell once he started flying around at hundreds of miles an hour he would have lost those trunks instantly.  

 

While the unitard took command of comic book art primarily to show off those perfect bodies and displace their musculature (and boobs) to best advantage any character who can move around at automobile speeds or faster is not going to want loose-fitting clothing.  Nor are the female heroes who can fly that fast or faster going to want to want anything cleavage baring .  The force of the wind will produce noticeable drag and will do more than to the outfit, tearing it to pieces or ripping it right off.  Power Girl's cleavage window and speed of flight would produce an effect that would only be sexy to someone with an inflation fetish as the air captured by it turned her into the world's fasted balloon.  Look at the outfits of speed skaters and people who luge.  Athletic characters want freedom of motion.  Fast moving characters want a streamlined silhouette.  I never could figure out how Jay Garrick's hat stays on.  

 

Note however the big downside of the body stocking/one-piece swimsuit that comes with being streamlined.  No pockets.  Batman gets around that with his utility belt but the belt does add weight and reduce streamlining.  One of the advantages of adding a cape to the ensemble is that it gives you an inconspicuous place to put a pocket where you can at least stick a bit of cash in.  


Is, "I'm just that awesome" really an origin?

#44 mrinku

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 07:21 PM

On the other hand, Bats isn't flying. His acrobatics are performed at much lower speeds where drag isn't as big a factor... and he does have a cape, glove spikes and pointy ears, which add plenty of drag in themselves.

 

I'd actually expect that PG's cape would be more problematic than her chest window as far as drag goes. On the other hand, Kryptonians basically fly by ignoring physics, so it's probably not worth examining too closely. Or you could adopt the John Byrne solution and say they create a personal forcefield that protects the costume and avoids the issue.

 

Hmm... say, if Kryptonians power up by solar energy and are immune to cold etc, it would actually make more sense for them to get around in speedos and bikinis. Or naked, though the law abiding ones would probably avoid that. More exposed flesh = more solar energy absorbed.

 

Just sayin'.

 

And Jay Garrick's hat stays on through sheer moral fibre :)


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#45 Clonus

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 07:38 PM

On the other hand, Bats isn't flying. His acrobatics are performed at much lower speeds where drag isn't as big a factor... and he does have a cape, glove spikes and pointy ears, which add plenty of drag in themselves.

 

I'd actually expect that PG's cape would be more problematic than her chest window as far as drag goes. On the other hand, Kryptonians basically fly by ignoring physics, so it's probably not worth examining too closely. Or you could adopt the John Byrne solution and say they create a personal forcefield that protects the costume and avoids the issue.

 

Hmm... say, if Kryptonians power up by solar energy and are immune to cold etc, it would actually make more sense for them to get around in speedos and bikinis. Or naked, though the law abiding ones would probably avoid that. More exposed flesh = more solar energy absorbed.

 

Just sayin'.

 

And Jay Garrick's hat stays on through sheer moral fibre :)

 

No seriously the air would rush into that opening at hundreds of miles of per hour out and there's no way to for it to get out again.  "Assume a spherical Power Girl".  Way more drag than her cape.. She could have an air-tight forcefield...but since she needs to breathe that wouldn't turn out well. 


Is, "I'm just that awesome" really an origin?

#46 mrinku

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 07:58 PM

Meh. Kryptonians don't need to breathe that much :)

 

Even the Byrne Superman could get by holding his breath for very long stints.



#47 Nothere

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 08:33 PM

Well there is going to far with reality. These are comics. Aliens who can juggle battleships fight mutated talking gorillias by firing ice beams from their fingers. The move by some people to put all heroes in combat fatigues, really needs to die. Yes Batman as a combat pragmatic wouldn't have a cape, but it's cool.


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#48 mrinku

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 09:33 PM

The Batcape's primary function is intimidating criminals; part of his whole look. In effect, it's faux bat wings. You could make a case for some bonus PRE attack dice bought as OIF, though "Reputation: I'm Batman, 18-" would probably suffice.

 

Some versions of Batman have the cape stiffen to provide glider wings (The Arkham video games for example).

 

He also has a line in using it to distract and confuse in close combat. And has been known to use it to smother fires (it is, of course, fire retardant).

 

There's basically no part of the Bat-costume that isn't a useful tool. Because he's the goddamn Batman.