Capes, as it happens, have a pretty storied history. Often worn by the likes of great warriors, generals, commanders and gods, capes connote a certain grandeur – a “ready to throw down-ness. Ella Morton of Atlas Obscura digs into the history of capes and notes that throughout history, capes have been symbols of status, informed legitimate tactics in sword-fighting, lent theatricality to one’s ensemble, and hinted at a self-aware extravangence.
“The cape can be thought of as the tail of a kite as well,” says Professor James Kakalios, author of The Physics of Superheroes. “So if you have a character who is so strong that they could jump a great distance, they could perhaps leap a tall building in a single bound, then you could also use the cape as a signifier of the fact that they’re moving fast through the atmosphere because you could see the cape billowing behind them. So it would give a visual indication of flight.”