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Superman has worn a cape since his first appearance and was perhaps the man who made the concept of capes popular.

A scene from The Incredibles, specifically the one with Edna and her general dislike of capes, made me wonder why Superman wears a cape.

Batman wears it because it acts as a part-time glider of sorts, and yes this question could be asked for the numerous other heroes (Shazam, Homelander, Black Adam, etc.), but since Superman popularized the trope I ask about him.

I have read that he wore it because it was a part of Kryptonian culture, because it healed him, and because Martha just made him wear it.

Is there any actual reason why Superman wears a cape in-universe?

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  • 3
    Are we talking strictly the golden age comic book Superman here ( who popularized the concept) or any Superman. There reasons might not always be the same. Mar 22, 2023 at 8:44
  • 6
    Because capes are cool
    – Valorum
    Mar 22, 2023 at 9:25
  • 2
    Case in point: Dollar Bill. Mar 22, 2023 at 11:27
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    Guessing that the out-of-universe reason was so Superman could have a tight, form-fitting costume -- reminiscent of strong-men and wrestlers -- without showing his butt-crack every time he turned around.
    – Nat
    Mar 22, 2023 at 17:02

2 Answers 2

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TO PROTECT OTHERS

Superman has on numerous occasions used his cape to protect people from bullets, explosions and whatnot. The Silver Age Superman also used to wrap Lois Lane in his cape when flying her to the Fortress of Solitude. See pictures below.

There may be other reasons, but this one, at least, is very well documented.

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    Now the question is: was it an intended feature of the cape, or was it just a conveniently jury-rigged feature?
    – Clockwork
    Mar 22, 2023 at 10:32
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    As I recall the cape originally had a pouch to hold his Kent clothing.
    – Paulie_D
    Mar 22, 2023 at 12:53
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    Maybe, @virolino, the cape is just the visible manifestation of Superman's energy field. ;)
    – FreeMan
    Mar 22, 2023 at 16:11
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    can someone please explain the context of Luthor calling Superman "sir"
    – shanu
    Mar 23, 2023 at 6:38
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    @ShawnV.Wilson: In what sense is Golden-age Green Lantern "older" than Superman? I thought Green Lantern appeared in 1940, whereas Superman was wearing his cape on the cover of Action Comics #1 in 1938.
    – Lee Mosher
    Mar 23, 2023 at 13:32
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Aerodynamics

In the CW Supergirl series, it is stated that adding a cape to her costume helps Supergirl maneuver more accurately in flight. Presumably the same would be true for Superman, but I don't have a source explicitly about him.

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    What is CW supposed to mean?
    – Clockwork
    Mar 22, 2023 at 19:45
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    @Clockwork The CW Television Network
    – Laurel
    Mar 22, 2023 at 19:47
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    That is, of course, stunningly wrong. Cloth flapping in the wind induces lots of unequal drag forces.
    – RonJohn
    Mar 22, 2023 at 23:56
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    @Clockwork CW is the result of a merger between UPN and WB (the latter standing for "Warner Bros"). At the time of the merger, UPN was owned by CBS, so the combined network was given the initials CW. Mar 23, 2023 at 0:57
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    @RonJohn I guess a "cape made from structured polymer composites" somehow negates that problem.
    – Barmar
    Mar 23, 2023 at 16:06

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