Archive: Capes

This was originally a vague sort of idea I had for a 24-hour comic, largely due to my thinking a lot of big capes would be easier to draw than people, but I eventually realized I wasn’t likely to do even that. So, I sat down and composed the narration, instead. It’s been quite a while, but I found it while rooting around the old stuff. I’m not sure how amazingly nuanced it is, but I still enjoy it. And, since that’s what my archive weekends are for, ta-da-ish:

What is it about capes?

Attach it to a proud, strong, self-possessed man and add a touch of wind. There you have it: a shining symbol of hope and optimism.

Now turn down the lights. Night filter, please. Make the edges ragged and tone down the color. In the right country, pull it mysteriously in front of the face–just a cape and a pair of steely, penetrating eyes. Your symbol of hope is something far more sinister. It hides away the monster’s face that compels…well, we all know how Dracula plays out.

Same night. Same palette. Back over here now. Add a mask. Throw in a solid right hook and a tortured childhood. Cape still strikes fear, but not in the innocent. Or, rather, it scares the innocent, but it’s the same part of them that lets off the gas when they see a cop, or has them cleaning their apartment before Mom comes to visit. Keeps them honest. The good kind of scared.

Throw it off one shoulder. Pump up the magenta. Sand the ground and add a touch of bull. No, the real kind, with horns. Preferably, eliminate the pre-drugging of the contemporary fights; make it a real confrontation. The cape is daring. Bold. It’s about taking risks, finding more in yourself than you would ever expect.

Now cut a hole in it. It’s okay, I promise to take the blame. There, just big enough for, say, a pair of eyes. Head east, and drape it over a woman. Not so daring now. Keeps you in line, but not in any way you’d really care for. Then, too, it’s hard to find a penetrating gaze when you can’t even make eye contact, isn’t it?

And if she’s proud, or strong, or self-possessed, you’ll likely never know it. No shining. No hope. Precious little optimism.

What is it about capes? Quite a bit, I think.

(Originally published at Trickle of Consciousness)

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