In real life, the widow's peak (a distinct point in the hairline in the center of the forehead) is a result of a lower-than-usual position of the intersection of the bilateral periorbital fields of hair-growth suppression on the forehead and is a dominant inherited trait. The term widow's peak is from the belief that hair growing to a point on the forehead is an omen of early widowhood.
For some reason, in fiction, it seems like it's also an omen of becoming the villain (or, at least, becoming one big Badass
). Maybe because it makes one's hairline look like angry eyebrows.
Actually, in some villains this may be because of weird pattern balding, where the hairline recedes on either side of the center just a bit, as a sign of the stress of their job
Can overlap with Forehead of Doom
. See also Bald of Evil
, where there's no hair left up top.
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Anime & Manga
- Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z, as seen in the trope picture, as well as Raditz. Notably, he still has it after his Heel-Face Turn.
- Giovanni, the infamous leader of Team Rocket, in Pokémon.
- Higuchi in Death Note has this kind of hairstyle. He's also a Corrupt Corporate Executive using the Death Note to kill business rivals.
- Baron Ashura from Mazinger Z is The Dragon of the Big Bad and he/she has this hairstyle. It is not obvious from first because he/she always wears a cowl, but if you pay attention, you can notice indeed he has one.
- Ryo Narushima from Shamo.
- The Joker.
- The Riddler is more often than not depicted as having one.
- In Alan Moore's Top 10 story "Deadfellas", in which Hungarian vampires are analogous to Sicilian mobsters, the younger vampires laugh at the older "vidow's peak Vlads" for their horror-movie behavior and dress style, much as the Real Life "Mustache Petes" were derided and ousted by younger and less honor-bound mobsters.
- Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon may or may not have had one, but the metal skullcaps he wore were clearly evocative of that shape.
- Raven actually grew one over the course of the New Teen Titans, eventually inspiring a plot concerning her father Trigon.
- Snowflame has this in the front, and a party in the back. Depending on who you ask, he's also a Mystical White Hair.
- There are several characters from The Trigan Empire who have this, mostly villains.
- Doctor Strange
- Doctor Strange had one when first introduced (as a good-but-unnerving "master of black magic" who was meant to seem vaguely demonic). He still has it, but it's milder now that he's an unambiguous hero.
- His foe Nightmare sports the classic type.
- Ghost Rider foe Lilith is a pretty extreme case.
- The Tomb of Dracula: Dracula, of course.
- Both Norman Osborn and his son Harry have one in Spider-Man.
- The Sub-Mariner sports a beautiful one. Whether Namor is villainous or not depends on the continuity.
- Shazam's Black Adam, though he's often more of an Anti-Hero.
Films — Live-Action
- Dracula does have one in the book, though its given less attention than his other, more strange features.
- Otto von Chriek is not a villain, but he tries to evoke the Classical Movie Vampire look and therefore has one.
- The text of the books doesn't mention it, but many illustrations of Lord Vetinari have this.
- Dr. Hix, of the Department of Post-Mortem Communications, has one as part of his (slightly) evil image.
- In Alexander Kazantsev's Destruction of Faena, the eponymous planet is inhabited by the two "races": the "longfaces" (humans who have the widow's peak) and "roundheads" (the rest), with the former generally being major assholes who believe themselves to be the master race. Kazantsev was probably satirizing the racism based on the skin color with this one.
- This is a racial trait in the Dragaera series, in which it is called a "noble's point" and all "Dragaerans" (read elves) have them except for the Teckla, who are still elves, but are the peasant class. Not evil per se, but they have a tendency to be pretty ruthless, especially if you are a Teckla or human.
- Mrs. Jeepers in the Bailey School Kids series is described as having one, and her students suspect that she is a vampire.
- Oddly enough, Johnny Tremain's widow's peak is described in-story as a sign of wisdom. Presumably the trope has changed over time.
- Oberyn Martel of A Song of Ice and Fire has one, and while not totally unsympathetic is a jerk who will go for Anything That Moves and is known for fighting with poisoned weapons.
- Dr. Fu Manchu "with a face like Satan" is sometimes represented as having one.
- In The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin, Dr. Mordeau the Thaumaturgy teacher has one, along with a tendency to wear black and not go out in the sunlight.
- Julian from Kindred: The Embraced.
- Eddie Munster from The Munsters.
- Dr. Chaotica from the Star Trek: Voyager holodeck program "The Adventures of Captain Proton". As an expy of Ming the Merciless, it's required.
- Doctor Who:
- The oppressive Moroks from "The Space Museum" have this as their Rubber Forehead. So do the Dominators in "The Dominators".
- The Master from had one of these in some of his incarnations. Most noticeably on Roger Delgado. They gave Roger Delgado that widow's peak for the role — they thought it looked more sinister than a receding hairline. (They also widened the white streaks in his beard.)
- Antiheroic example - The Fourth Doctor actually has a very prominent widow's peak in the classic, Dracula shape, though there's an enormous volume of curly hair that covers it up, so it's only visible when he scrapes his hair backwards (see "Pyramids of Mars" and "The Seeds of Doom" for a couple of examples). This fits his Creepy Cute personality very well - he likes to appear silly and innocent to cover up a seriously dark side.
- In the Star Trek: Enterprise two-parter "In a Mirror Darkly", Mayweather's Mirror Universe counterpart has a widow's peak.
- In Jekyll Hyde has a minor widow's peak, as opposed to Jackman who has straight hairline.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Evil Willow, although she also wears one naturally while a good character.
- Dracula, of course, bears one as well during his apparition.
- Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones. Justified because it is actor's Charles Dance real hair, while the character's counterpart from the A Song of Ice and Fire books sports a Bald of Evil after completely shaving his head.
- Gene Simmons of KISS has a very prominent one while in make-up.
Myths & Religion
- Satan sometimes has one.
- Frank Zappa's "Titties & Beer" features the devil as a little guy with a red suit and widow's peak.
- Marvel Universe villain and Satan-expy Mephisto has one.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, all three members of the Fire Nation royal family have widow's peaks, though none of them very pronounced. Zuko becomes a subversion in Season 3.
- A young Dr. Wily had one in the Mega Man cartoon.
- Though not as pronounced as other examples, Vlad Masters of Danny Phantom clearly has one, furthering his vampire-like appearance.
- Averted with Aqualad from Young Justice, whos has regular-sized widow's peak, but is a hero. Subverted in season 2 when Aqualad undergoes a Face-Heel Turn and works for Black Manta, but it turns out he was a Fake Defector infiltrating the Light.
- The Duelist from ThunderCats (2011).
- Averted by Terence the Tractor, who while he has a widow's peak or at least the appearance of one, is nothing but level-headed and helpful.
- On Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Black Adam (see above) seems to have nothing BUT a widow's peak.
- Notably employed in the Real Life deliberately shaven sakayaki tonsure of historical Samurai, supposedly developed along with the topknot (chonmage) to allow a better fit when wearing a helmet. Younger Samurai were obliged only to shave and shape their immediate hairline into a highly defined widow's-peak, but older Samurai would extend the tonsure well past the crown, while retaining the widow's peak for as long as age-induced baldness would allow, sometimes growing their topknots into shapes that could be folded back over the tonsure, improbably making this style overlap with both Bald of Awesome and a comb-over. This fashion was gradually adopted by the wider Japanese culture in latter periods, but is now only seen, like topknots themselves, on sumo wrestlers.