When you are a sci-fi/fantasy character, hero or villain, you might be tempted to wear a cape.

Capes are cool. You look cool with a cape, you can hide secret weapons in it, and depending on your author's perception of science, you get more aerodynamic when flying with a cape.

Artists also seem to think that the cape's coolness is directly related to its length, even when that leaves you with Batman basically being dressed up in a black wedding dress train.

Image showing a long tailed wedding dress + black spray leading to a Batman cape

Unfortunately, for all its coolness, your mighty cape might be the premise of your demise, as shown by this shock-campaign PSA:

Well, of course shock-campaigns are extreme. Earlier archives inform us on how even the most common act of walking can put you in uncomfortable situations:

Character trips over cape and face plants

If you are interested in other examples with more context, you can take a look at this webpage established by a committee of people dedicating their lives to list fellow characters who walked into common tropes.

Make no mistake, greater characters than you have been faced with this situation before... but, who was the first? 1

1 No particular media. Comics, novels, short stories, TV shows... are all welcome, as long of course as they're sci-fi/fantasy. Also, death is not mandatory - could just be a chase slowed down by a cape tangled up in branches, such as Snow White (1937), which still seems quite late.

To clarify, I mean "first" by order of publication, not by "age of the character" (a Roman SFF Centurion having his cape stuck in a branch in a 2010 movie won't count, for instance).

  • 2
    1001 nights will likely mention something and I believe it’s quite fantastical – Edlothiad Aug 2 '18 at 15:26
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    Does Joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat count? That seems to be a pretty old one! – Odin1806 Aug 2 '18 at 15:56
  • 3
    Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, not his coat – Machavity Aug 2 '18 at 15:58
  • 4
    As I recall, King David's son (Absalom?) was done in when his very long hair was caught in a tree. Not quite a cape, but close.... – RDFozz Aug 2 '18 at 17:28
  • 1
    In the original Watchmen comic from 1986, mention is made of a character called Dollar Bill whose cape gets stuck in a revolving door when he tries to foil a bank robbery, making him an easy target. – Klaus Æ. Mogensen Aug 3 '18 at 8:02

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