Friday, October 26, 2012

A Handbook for Supervillains: No Capes

This is your competition in Cleveland.
Give up now.
So You Want To Rule The World
No Capes, or Edna Mode Was Right
When creating your villainous look, one of the greatest temptations besetting those starting into the evil life is the cape. Whether you’re fighting a costumed crusader or styling yourself as the evil  overlord of your Eastern European country of choice, it’s easy to imagine yourself sweeping aside some long black cloak as you order someone executed or cackle about how you have the hero in your clutches. (Note: Many of those cape/cloak fantasies probably include revealing your evil plan to the hero, just so you can bask in how clever you are. A later chapter will discuss why this is in fact one of the dumbest things you, as a villain, can do.)

Fight this temptation, young evildoer. Capes are a relic of a bygone era, and will not only limit your flexibility as a villain but also hamper you should worst come to worst and you end up in a fistfight. A flunkie who has designs on your power can also easily take you out if you hamper yourself with a large sweep of fabric attached to your neck. Though you can find ways around it – electricity sticks are a fun choice, and can be adapted to match any color scheme  – why open yourself up to the possibility? If you’d like, you can electrocute them anyway and not worry about your life being at risk.
Beyond the practical applications, capes also add an element of cheesiness to your villainous persona that will inevitably limit the kind of heroes you attract and your ability to terrify the greatest possible swath of the populace. Dracula used to be terrifying, peering over his cape as he hypnotized innocent women into baring their necks, but these days his classic profile is little more than a parody or a kids’ cereal mascot. Loki can get away with it, but anyone else who wanted to do the same thing would also have to rant like a mad god, which can get tiring.

Capes – especially fur capes, which are the kiss of death unless you happen to have wandered into a medieval fantasy world – are no longer terrifying to modern audiences. Don’t let yourself become a relic, or if you do at least do something fun to get there like attempting to steal the moon.

Next: The Underwear Question, or It Didn't Work For Batman

1 comment:

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