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Evil Wears Black

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Careful, Your Highness. Her robe is a clue that eating that apple is not a good idea.

Ironclad shows us the familiar Hollywood image of medieval times in which all peasants are covered in mud, and everyone wears brown—Unless they're baddies, in which case they wear black.
Lindybeige, "Ironclad: Part Two - costumes"

Black is perhaps the most typical color for evil, or at least the antagonists, to wear. Thus in many stories, the villains will wear largely black clothing most of the time, in contrast to the colors worn by neutral and good characters (which will be at least moderately lighter).

This is because, in many cultures, black is the color of darkness, decay, and death. Thus even though wearing black doesn't make someone evil, being evil makes it more than likely one is going to wear black.

It doesn't matter if it's all the villains, the Big Bad and a few others, or just a group of Mooks that appear for a few episodes, if they wear a large amount of black (even just one noticeable part of their clothing), you know it's this trope. This is also why black is a common color for an Evil Costume Switch.

Heck, some Eviler than Thou villains might wear black when the "lesser" evils don't.

There's some science behind this. There are studies that show that people that wear black are more aggressive than people who don't. They've also found that black isn't only associated with evil, but also contamination and sickness. These associations give people an instinctive cue that the person wearing black is dominant, and somebody you don't want to mess with. note 

The Western genre tradition of the bad guys wear the black hat was not as common as later writers would think. However, some certainly held to it, such as Once Upon a Time in the West and Shane, and you'd probably never imagine Lee Van Cleef without one.

This trope very often involves a good chunk of Color-Coded for Your Convenience — whereas villains are dressed in black, heroes or innocent characters will wear white or light and bright colors.

Now since some think Evil is Cool, then black can also become a cool color, but those don't cover this trope, nor does this trope come into play if the heroes also wear black. This can come into play with a Villain Protagonist though.

Trope relations:

A Sub-Trope of:

A Super-Trope to:

A Sister Trope to:





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    Anime & Manga 
  • While black is present in most of the character designs in Bungou Stray Dogs, a lot of it seems disproportionately centered around the Port Mafia. Notably, Dazai's Heel–Face Turn prior to the series is marked by a change from a mostly black wardrobe to lighter colors like tan.
    • It's stated in-universe that mentors in the mafia gifted their new students with a piece of black clothing (or weapon).
  • Death Note:
    • Misa, despite her childlike behavior and appearance, is secretly evil and wears Gothic clothing, especially a Gothic lolita-like maid outfit.
    • Mello, the Anti-Hero of the second half of the series, wears black pants and a black shirt.
    • The only outfit we see Ryuk wearing is compiled of black, chains, and all sorts of other things. Oh, he's a Shinigami, which tips you off that he's evil.
    • The Villain Protagonist, Light, typically wears a black shirt and upgrades to a black suit in the Mello/Near arc.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Turles, Goku's Evil Counterpart, wears all black and has much darker skin than Goku to match the armor.
    • Dragon Ball Super has Goku Black, some kind of mass-murdering Evil Twin of Goku who dons a black gi. It's Future Bulma who came up with the name, specifically because of his wardrobe, which might be short for "Goku in Black".
  • The Fallen Angels from High School D×D have black wings and are dressed in black, although they still use light-based powers.
  • Zig-zagged in Lyrical Nanoha: in the original incarnation of the series, Chrono Harlaown was the bad guy and wore black clothes with Spikes of Doom. As the concept of the series evolved, Chrono became an interdimensional law officer but kept his black attire, which was instead retrofitted as the uniform of the Enforcers, top-ranked dimensional police. Fate Testarossa took Chrono's place as the main character's rival and resident Dark Magical Girl and also wore black from the onset, but the series went the Dark Is Not Evil route, and Fate turned out to be the most Lawful Good character in the show, while still wearing mostly black because it suited her—and because she eventually rose up to join the ranks of the Enforcers, just like Chrono.
  • In Naruto, one of the Akatsuki's distinguishing traits is that each member wears a black cloak.
  • Princess Tutu:
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion: Homura becomes the devil, making her already dark color scheme even darker as she turns evil.
  • In Yaiba the Moon Princess Kaguya wears black clothes (although shaded purple in the anime), which still counts despite including a Playboy Bunny outfit trimmed with white fur.
  • In Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, most of the prominent villains wear black. The Titans wear it as a Putting on the Reich way of emphasizing their State Sec status and dictatorial ways. Haman Karn, Evil Chancellor of the Neo-Zeon faction based on the asteroid colony Axis, also wears black throughout Zeta and sequel series Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ to go along with her ambitions of Earth Sphere domination.
  • Resident Evil: Heavenly Island: Zi Li is the only major female character who wears a black swimsuit, and is probably one of the evilest women in the franchise.
  • Video Girl Ai: Mai, a character created to be the titular character's destroyer, wears a lot of black and a bustiér, miniskirt and a cool cape.
  • Spacytchi of Tamagotchi wears a primarily black outfit and, along with his brothers Pipospetchi and Akaspetchi, wants to take over Tamagotchi Planet.
  • The Homunculi of Fullmetal Alchemist often include black clothes in their human forms, and Pride's true form is a black shadow with numerous eyes.
  • In Moldiver, Isabelle frequently wears black clothes and is working for the Big Bad, Professor Amagi/Machinegal.

  • Sistine Chapel: "The Temptations of Christ" makes it obvious which character is Satan by putting him in a giant black cloak while standing next to a Christ covered in bright primary colors.

    Comic Books 
  • ElfQuest: Winnowill wears a black dress (trimmed with white fur) most of the time in her initial appearances and tops that off by having long, black hair. Even the warning nickname later given to her, "The Black Snake", contains the color, and her harmful magic is referred to as "Black Sending".
  • Jurassic Strike Force 5: Master Zalex wears nothing but black. The only part of his outfit or body that isn't black is his eyes, which are red.
  • Justice League of America: Crime Syndicate member Superwoman, Lois Lane's evil doppelganger from another universe, wears black.
  • Pafman: The main antagonist is the Enmascarado Negro ("The Black Masked"), a guy who is always totally dressed and masked in black. Lampshaded at the end of a short story in which Pafman, disappointed with being a hero, joins the villains and declares: "I've even dyed my suit black so I'll look more evil".
  • Shazam!: Black Adam predominantly wears a black and yellow uniform.
  • Spider-Man: The symbiote costume, known for corrupting Spidey and later being worn by supervillain Venom, is a black version of the regular Spider-Man costume.
  • Superman:
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four: Upon turning evil, Reed Richards discards his Fantastic Four jumpsuit for a black shirt with red Tron Lines. After becoming The Maker, he goes for a black jumpsuit instead.
  • Ultimate X Men: Mastermind uses a black leather jacket and black glasses.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side: One strip features "Professor DeArmond—the epitome of evil butterfly collectors," who wears an all-black outfit and carries a black butterfly net.
  • Most of The Addams Family wears black whenever they're seen.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Discworld of A.A. Pessimal, the Guild of Assassins still wears black with all its associations. But younger, late-entry or otherwise non-traditional Assassins note  are rising to prominence. One rising star dispenses with the Black altogether note , preferring to wear the comfortable veldt-khaki of her homeland. Other new young Assassins are even wearing previously-disdained camouflage outfits for those occasions where it works better than Black.
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: A group of not-cultists in Nightmares Yet to Come wear black hooded cloaks over black fur and black manes. One of Trixie's first thoughts on seeing them is that Rarity would probably object to their limited fashion sense. Later chapters show they don't always look like this, and one of them explains to a victim that they mainly do it for iconography's sake.
  • Parodied in Material Days. Material-L thinks Chrono is obviously evil because he wears black.
    Material-L: "I KNEW you were evil! Evil spikes, black clothes and now having people to enforce your will!"
  • Hellsister Trilogy: Satan Girl, a murderous and psychopatic Supergirl's duplicate wears a all-black bodysuit, plus a black cape and a black cowl.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: What the fairies think Underworld garb looks like, as said in Cornering the Duke:
    "Do you see any black? Of course you don't! It doesn't look like Underworlder garb at all!"

    Films — Animated 
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • The Evil Queen of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs wears a black Ominous Opera Cape over her purple dress. Following her transformation into a hideous witch, she wears all-black, hooded robes; this transformation provides the page image.
    • Maleficent, the evil fairy of Sleeping Beauty, wears a long black cloak with black horns. She even calls herself the "Mistress of all evil".
    • Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame dresses in black robes and a hat, with purple and red adornments.
    • The villain of Big Hero 6, Yokai, wears a black trench coat and a black zip-up suit, further emphasized by the bright colors that the heroes wear.
    • Subverted Frozen (2013). In order to throw off the audience, Prince Hans wears light colors while the other characters (Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven, and the Duke of Weselton) wear darker colors. The spoilered individual is a subversion of the Prince Charming trope Disney is known for, selfishly betraying Anna so he can seize the Arendellian throne.
  • Instead of his typical white suit, the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse version of Kingpin wears a black suit, giving him a more villainous and intimidating look.
  • In The Thief and the Cobbler, the Evil Chancellor Zigzag wears a mostly pitch black robe, with minor gold edges.
  • To the extreme in the Italian cartoon West and Soda, which parodies the Spaghetti Western: when Johnny, the good guy, finally goes on his revenge spree, he changes his clothing from white (the standard good guy outfit) to black.

    Films — Live Action 
  • In 300, the Persian warrior elite known as the Immortals wear all-black uniforms with creepy silver masks. They're the most dangerous of all of Xerxes's warriors and are soon revealed to literally be monsters. In 300: Rise of an Empire, the whole Persian navy is wearing black.
  • Basic Instinct: Roxy, a murderer and Psycho Lesbian, is usually seen in dark-colored clothes.
  • The Book of Revelation: The three women who had kidnapped, imprisoned and raped Daniel all wore black concealing outfits.
  • In Casper, Corrigan wears mostly black outfits.
  • The villains of the Charlie's Angels (2000) and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle are shown wearing black. In both cases, this coincides with The Reveal to the angels and the audience that they are villains in the first place.
  • In the Children's Party at the Palace, several villains such as Burglar Bill, the Child-Catcher, and the Grand High Witch wear black.
  • Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan the Destroyer, all villains are fond of black leather armour. Rexor also wears a black fur cape during the opening raid on Conan's village.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • In, Man of Steel, General Zod and his crew wear black Kryptonian skinsuits and don black armors when venturing outside their ships.
    • Black Manta's armor is, well, black in Aquaman.
    • Some of Roman "Black Mask" Sionis' suits in Birds of Prey are black. And there's his mask too, of course.
    • Darkseid wears a black sleeveless armor in modern-day in Zack Snyder's Justice League. Both Steppenwolf and Superman are inversions meanwhile, as the New God wears a silvery and shiny armor while wanting to terraform the Earth and the Man of Steel wears a black suit while he's The Paragon.
    • In The Suicide Squad, resident Hate Sink Dick "Blackguard" Hertz wears all-black body armor, in direct contrast to his more sympathetic and colorfully-dressed compatriots. Meanwhile, Mad Scientist Gaius "The Thinker" Grieves spends most of his screen time wearing a casual all-black ensemble (blazer, Hawaiian shirt, jeans and sneakers).
  • In the Dracula adaptation starring Bela Lugosi, his black Ominous Opera Cape with a High Collar of Doom became iconic of villains and the Classical Movie Vampire.
  • End of Days. After Satan takes a Tall, Dark, and Handsome host, he walks around in a black longcoat and later appears in a Black Cloak during the Satanic bedding ceremony.
  • In The Great Race, Professor Fate and Max wear black (and their car is also black). Although this is a comedy, they are still the villains.
  • In the Black Comedy Heathers, the trenchcoat-wearing J.D. is given the signature color black to show him as the villain. Played with in that it's used more for the badass associations at first as he seems like a cool outsider from the female protagonist's perspective. It only gradually becomes clear that he's actually a homicidal lunatic.
  • The Holy Office: Most characters wear colorful 16th century clothing except the inquisidors, who dress in all black. Justified in that black dye was expensive and thus reserved for people with higher positions.
  • In Karate A Muerte En Torremolinos, the ninjas are completely dressed in black.
  • The Karate Kid: The Cobra Kai members who bully Daniel wear black martial arts uniforms.
  • Kung Fu Hustle: The Axe Gang wears stylish black suits.
  • The Last Starfighter: Xur wears black, in contrast to his father and the other Rylians, whom he betrayed, wearing white.
  • The Legend of Frenchie King: The outlaw Louise and her gang of sisters always deck out entirely in black when committing their robberies. Morally speaking, they are still A Lighter Shade of Black compared to the also black-clad, inhumane Dr. Miller.
  • In The Lord of the Rings films, the main minions of Sauron tend to favor black, whether it be the robes of the Ringwraiths or the armor of the Orcs, in contrast to the bright and/or earthy colors favored by the good guys. That said, Sauron's human minions seem to favor gold and scarlet. In a slight subversion, the Guards of the Citadel in Gondor also wear black, albeit with silver highlights.
  • Maleficent: The title character starts the movie wearing a tan dress, then switches to the iconic black robe after her Start of Darkness. She later pulls a Heel–Face Turn, but continues to wear the black robe.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • HYDRA of course in Captain America: The First Avenger, but inverted when Steve Rogers wakes up in the future; when he starts getting aggressive the door opens and black-clad SHIELD mooks enter. Steve naturally assumes the worst and throws them through the wall.
    • Thor: Ragnarok: Hela's outfit is a combination of black with green patterns. Even without her pitch-black helmet on she looks remarkably gothic.
  • MonsterVerse:
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): Alan Jonah almost-consistently wears dark colors when he can, and after escaping Antarctica, he wears a pitch-black top. This is in contrast to his Well-Intentioned Extremist partner-in-crime, who prefers light-colored clothes, showing that Jonah is far less genuine in his well-intentions to "save the planet" by releasing the Titans to cull humanity's self-destruction, and he's unwilling to make any attempt to stop King Ghidorah once it begins creating an extinction event.
    • Godzilla vs. Kong: Amongst the three human antagonists who represent Apex Cybernetics; Ren Serizawa is the biggest offender with his pitch-black overcoat and pitch-black casual shirt, but Walter Simmons and his daughter Maia also favor wearing at least one black or partly-black garment during almost all of their screentime. Where the Evil comes in is that they're deliberately engineering Godzilla's rampage and all the loss of life it causes so they can murder Godzilla and take control of the Titans for their own desires, using Muggle Power to justify otherwise entirely selfish or Freudian Excuse motivations.
  • The Mummy Returns: Imhotep wears a Black Cloak for most of the film, before ditching it for a Walking Shirtless Scene.
  • Night Nurse: Nick, the child killing chauffeur, wears a daunting black (almost Gestapo-looking) uniform.
  • A Perfect Murder: Murderous Steven always dresses in black whereas his wife Emily whom he intends to have killed is usually dressed in white.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean, it's played straightest with Blackbeard. Other evil characters, notably Ian Mercer, have largely black outfits, but everything Blackbeard wears matches his facial hair.
  • The Princess: Big Bad Julius wears a lot of black, as do many of his men.
  • Prom Night (1980): During the third act, the killer wears all-black clothes to blend in with the dark environment of a school after-hours: a black shirt, matching slacks and shoes, and a glittery black ski mask.
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark: Sadistic Torture Technician Toht wears a black suit and matching longcoat and hat as his main ensemble, even in the broiling Egyptian desert.
  • Red Sonja: The villain's army wears black armour, complete with Spikes of Villainy.
  • Replicant: Serial killer Edward "The Torch" Garrote dresses in all black clothes, whereas his 'good' clone is dressed in more heroic colors like blue and brown.
  • Rolli – Amazing Tales: The Trashers all wear black cloaks that resemble waste bags as well as black helmets/hats.
  • Savages Crossing: Serial killer Phil wears a dirty black suit.
  • In Scanner Cop II, Carl Volkin is notably the only villain in this entire series to go around entirely in black.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Sith wear black cloaks, and Darth Vader wears all black. The "good" Jedi prefer brown robes and white tunics.
    • Averted by Luke in Return of the Jedi, though he was embracing his inner darkness and defeating it. Played with later in that when he rejects the Dark Side, his shirt is torn and the white underneath is exposed.
    • Imperial uniforms go back and forth on this. At the top are Darth Vader and the Emperor, who do indeed wear black. Below them are the officer corps, who favour a dark grey. Below them are the white-armoured Stormtroopers and the black-armoured TIE Pilots. First Order forces in The Force Awakens add shiny chrome armour for high-ranking stormtroopers and paint the TIE fighters black.
    • The color motifs in Star Wars (at least in A New Hope) seem to reflect the Magic Versus Science conflict more so than simple morality. While the Empire wears washed-out, clinical whites, blacks and grays that reflect their dependence on technology, characters like Luke and Obi-Wan wear warmer brown and cream colors to reflect their connection to nature through the Force. This was before the prequels flanderized Jedi and Sith cultures at least, having all the Jedi dress exactly like Obi-Wan, and all the Sith decked out in black robes.
  • In Superman II, the Terrible Trio of Ursa, Non, and General Zod all wore black, contrasting with the white of other Kryptonians, and Superman's Primary-Color Champion outfit. Zod's outfit also has very dark red metallic accents.
  • The killer in Valentine wears a black coat with matching gloves and slacks, which creates a disconcerting effect when coupled with his Fallen Cupid mask.
  • In the western comedy The Villain, the eponymous outlaw Cactus Jack Slade wears black.
  • The eponymous villain in Warlock (1989) is the only character to wear completely black attire, which only makes his blond hair more noticeable.
  • In Warlock: The Armageddon the next Warlock kills a side character and steals his clothing, noting with approval that it's black.
  • Judge Doom sports a black suit, hat and sunglasses in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Pretty on-the-nose, but Toons aren't exactly known for subtlety...
  • Willow: All of Bavmorda's men wear black armour. General Kael complements his with a scary bone mask.
  • In all Winnetou film-of-the-book movies. Winnetou wears beige clothes with blue ornaments and Old Shatterhand wears light brown clothes. All the bandits wear very dark clothes, and one item is usually black, be it a hat, trousers or a shirt. The main antagonist tends to have a completely black outfit in each part of the movie series, though perhaps not for all his scenes. In Winnetou I, Old Shatterhand and Winnetou are not friends yet and Old Shatterhand has to fight with the Apaches. He wears a sky blue shirt, and his friends sport bright colours as well. It was crystal clear he's a good guy, and not only because it's a prequel to Treasure of Silver Lake and everybody in Germany and Eastern Europe knows that those two pals are Heterosexual Life-Partners.
  • In The Wizard of Oz the Wicked Witch of the West wears black. This is in contrast to Glinda the "good" witch we meet who wears pink.
  • Azazel in X-Men: First Class wears a black suit at all times. His boss Sebastian Shaw alternates between white suits and black suits, as well as a black Nehru jacket.

  • Alien Hunters: The skelkrins are a race of tall, red-skinned aliens who wear black armor covered in spikes. They also happen to be very hostile and desire to rule over or wipe out all other species in the galaxy.
  • Deryni: Deryni Alaric Morgan (a good guy with 0% Approval Rating) deliberately wears all black. The fact it is his heraldic color doesn't excuse him.
  • In Discworld, black is the required color for members of the Assassins' Guild, whose members have included the very evil Teatime and the Anti-Villain Lord Vetinari, who still wears shabby black robes. Though the trope is played with as the Guild are sometimes shown as neutral, a source of Black Comedy, or even an actual force for good in the world. It's also averted by the witches, who wear black (well, Magrat and Tiffany don't) but are even more of a force for good in the world.
  • The Vitalizer from "Clockpunk and the Vitalizer" is dressed head to toe in black, save his gray mask. Contrast Clockpunk, also wearing black (though lined with silver).
  • Honor Harrington: In Shadows of Freedom, one (solarian) character is somewhat amused by the tendency of repressive dictatorships to outfit their jackbooted thugs in all black uniforms. This is also a bit of Hypocritical Humor, since the Solarian League's own jackbooted enforcers, the Gendarmerie, wear black uniforms too.
  • Firmly averted in The Lord of the Rings (and Tolkien's Legendarium more generally): although Sauron's forces often wear black, black is also the traditional colour of Gondor.
  • The Quest of the Unaligned:
    • Crown Prince Alaric wears a black security uniform and has black hair, despite being The Hero. This Word of God post confirms that this was an explicit and deliberate Inverted Trope.
    • Gaithim wears a black robe and is a hoshek or mage of Darkness.
  • In The Wheel of Time, all the myrddraal wear black, as do some of the Forsaken, most notably Ishamael and Semirhage. Inverted by a couple of the other Forsaken, Lanfear and Demandred, the former of whom wears white and silver all the time, and the latter of whom shows up for the Last Battle decked out in armor of those colors.
  • In the Magister Trilogy, pure black is the symbol of the titular Magisters, as a pure black can only be created by magic, and no witch would waste precious athra to dye their clothes. So only the Magisters, who steal athra from others to survive and fuel their powers, can afford to wear black.
  • In The Cloak Society, the titular supervillain group naturally wears black uniforms (with silver embellishments). Also Played for Laughs—Alex wears civilian clothes when he sneaks out to meet the superhero Kirbie, but she jokes that he still only ever wears black, something that Alex had not even noticed. The third time he's about to leave and realizes that he's still in all-black, so he digs around his dresser until he finds a shirt that "looked a little lighter than the others."
  • City of Bones by Martha Wells: Charisat's condemned criminals, including the Warder-turned-lunatic-murderer Constans, are made to wear black, though Constans and his acolytes do it as a badge of pride. Subverted when Constans turns out to be correct about the main conflict and the white-robed Warders are shown to be Unwitting Pawns of a major villain.
  • The Inner Party members in Nineteen Eighty-Four wear black boiler suits and are the tyrannical leading minds of Oceania, while the lower-ranked and more oblivious Outer Party members wear blue boiler suits.
  • Bazil Broketail: Padmasa's human soldiers wear black uniforms, along with its sorcerers.
  • The Chronicles of Dorsa: The Order of Taghren witch assassins all wear black, living in service to the books' main villain.
  • Tales of the Ketty Jay. An Invoked Trope by Trinica Dracken, who's given herself white hair and pale skin, which along with her all-black outfit and black contact lenses gives her a ghoulish appearance. Having clawed her way up from Sex Slave to Sky Pirate captain, she believes her beauty has only brought her pain, and the mostly male pirates would instinctively undermine an attractive female leader, so she makes herself a figure of fear and awe instead.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow. Oliver Queen wears a green outfit (in homage to his mentor Yao Fei, who trained him on a jungle island) even though it's pointed out that black would blend in better. So naturally his Season One Evil Counterpart the Dark Archer wears black in contrast, later revealed to be the standard outfit of the League of Assassins. The trope is then zigzagged over the course of the series as both heroes and villains wear black. The Black Canary wears all black leather, but Sara Lance started off as a former League of Assassins Dark Action Girl, and anyone who takes up the Canary mantle copies her style. Scenes where Thea Queen is drawn to her supervillain father Malcolm Merlyn will usually have her wearing black clothes, as opposed to her black-and-red superhero outfit. And in Crisis on Earth-X Oliver finds himself up against the Dark Arrow, an evil Nazi version of himself backed by plenty of black-clad Gasmask Mooks.
  • Blackadder, Prince Edmund Plantagenet and Duke of Edinburgh adapts an all-black outfit once he becomes The Black Adder. Most of his descendants likewise attire themselves in black, though much of the time they are just Jerkasses and some characters that are easier to define as flat out ''evil'' are not dressed in black or even dark colors. In fact, the fourth one is never seen in black, rather wearing a soldier's tan uniform.
  • Blake's 7. The Federation Gas Mask Mooks wear black overalls, black gasmasks and carry black weaponry. Travis wears all black leather, and even when he's forced to leave the military is usually seen wearing black clothes. Avon, the most morally ambiguous member of the heroes, is often seen in black leather as well. However it was deliberately averted by actress Jacqueline Pearce who decided to have Servalan, the Big Bad of the series, wear white (though she changes to black halfway through the series).
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Evil Faith wears black outfits.
    • When Xander and Willow become vampires in Wish!verse, they wear black leather. When the real Willow pretends to be vampire!Willow she steals the latter's black clothes. Also, in the last three episodes of Season Six, Willow dons black clothes and "dyes" her hair black as she embraces black magic.
    • Caleb, The Dragon in Season 7, wears black as he's a fallen priest. However, he also points out that it's slimming.
  • Charmed: The sheer majority of demons on the show are basically human-looking goons who throw Fireballs and wear black. In fact, pick any episode and there's a good chance the Monster of the Week is a (usually male) demon or warlock in black clothing.
  • Community:
    • In "A Fistful of Paintballs", a mysterious shooter called only the Black Rider appears, "network television handsome" guy played by Josh Holloway dressed in all black with badass stuff like a black cowboy hat or bandolier with paintball bullets who takes one student after another. He was hired by the City College, Greendale's nemesis.
    • There is a Running Gag that Abed keeps referring to six timelines that were created when Jeff used rolling a dice to decide who will go to get pizza. In the darkest timeline, they all wear black, which was at first a sign of mourning. Later the study group turns evil and they transform into supervillains who wear black, mostly leather. Abed is still a good guy underneath, but he looks like the others and wears a long black robe. His look is completed with a black evil goatie.
  • Doctor Who Classic:
    • The Master as portrayed by Roger Delgado and Anthony Ainley wears all-black unless he's in disguise. Even the Master's TARDIS console room is identical to the Doctor's, but with black surfaces.
    • The villain in "The Five Doctors" deliberately changes into black clothes when putting his evil plot into action.
  • The Peacekeepers from Farscape wear black armour or uniform. The villain Scorpius is dressed all in black, as well.
  • This is very common among evil speedsters in The Flash (2014).
    • Eobard Thawne still wears a yellow Reverse-Flash costume like his comic book counterpart, but it has black leggings and gloves on the show. When out of costume, he almost exclusively wears black.
    • Zoom wears a pitch-black costume covering him from head to toe.
    • Edward Clariss/The Rival wears a black suit similar to Zoom's, but it's covered in dark orange lines.
    • Savitar usually wears a dark silver set of Powered Armor, but he has a black zip-up jacket and a black pair of trousers beneath it.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Intimidating Tywin Lannister, the patriarch of House Lannister, wears black, mostly leather with metal accents. It's especially notable since his family colours are red and gold which is how his children usually dress. He's one of the main antagonists to House Stark who are more of heroes with just cause.
    • Tywin's daughter Cersei Lannister abandons her family colours for some black leather numbers that look a lot like Distaff Counterpart versions of what her father wore when she commits mass murder by destroying the Sept of Baelor and crowning herself Queen Regnant.
  • In Good Omens (2019), the demon Crowley (although he's more a Noble Demon than a truly evil one) always wears black clothes in contrast with the angel Aziraphale who always wears white or beige-colored clothes.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys:
    • Ares, god of destructive war, favors a black leather get-up.
    • Any and all servants of Hera (an antagonist to Hercules) are most likely wearing black leather and skull-motif armor.
  • Big Bad Rufus in House of Anubis wears the same black coat, black turtle neck and black pants in virtually all his appearances.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid loves this trope:
    • Early on, the heroes are menaced by a villain who looks like a black version of the title character, and simply refer to him as "the black Ex-Aid" before they finally learn his name: Kamen Rider Genm, AKA Kuroto Dan, president of Genm Corporation and supposedly their ally.
    • Later in the series, the Big Bad Kamen Rider Cronus gets two of the heroes to Face–Heel Turn and join his side. One of them (Hiiro Kagami/Kamen Rider Brave) switches from his white lab coat to a black business suit; the other (Kiriya Kujo/Kamen Rider Lazer) wears a black version of his normal clothing and gains a new Rider form with more black armor pieces.
      • Hiiro later turns out to be an inversion as Cronus gives him a new Super Mode that's predominantly white and gold with an angelic motif; ironically, his last Super Mode had a "demon king" motif and used darker colors like maroon and black because it represented a Fallen Hero, while this new one represents the same hero finding redemption and becoming good again.
    • Subverted with Taiga Hanaya, so-called Dark Doctor, who wears black military clothes or black scrubs. He starts out as Jerkass with a massive ego, but time and Morality Pet softens him into Jerk with a Heart of Gold. He went through so much crap that pretending to be a jerk is essentially his way of keeping it together.
    • Parado wears a black coat and mostly acts like a Psychopathic Manchild operating on Blue-and-Orange Morality. Another Ending movie trilogy has Another Parado, his Evil Twin note  whose outfit is a Palette Swap that turns it completely black.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Adar has jet black hair and dark clothing, and is the leader of the Orc horde gathering in the Southlands. He stands out among Orcs for being the only one wearing black.
  • From Once Upon a Time: Black features prominently in the Evil Queen's wardrobe. After her Storybrooke counterpart Regina tries to redeem herself to its citizens, this is reflected in her wardrobe changes: she wears more gray shades and more color.
  • In Power Rangers in Space the surviving Psycho Rangers briefly take on (never before seen) human form. To remind us that they're evil, they're wearing black leather jackets and black pants. And colored undershirts so we know which one is which, so Psycho Black is wearing only black.
  • Star Trek
    • While various Villain of the Week types wear black, there's also a low-key version in Alternate Reality Episodes where the protagonists are portrayed as evil, so wear dark undershirts and black gloves (see VOY "Living Witness") or black assault vests (see ENT "In A Mirror, Darkly") with their standard Starfleet uniforms.
    • Star Trek: Picard: Romulan siblings Narek and Narissa (when she's not posing as a Starfleet officer) are always dressed in black, and they're Zhat Vash operatives. Their organization's death squads have an all-black uniform, including opaque black helmets. The traditional hooded robe of the female leaders is black.
  • Supernatural
    • In the episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part Two" (S02, E22), the Yellow-Eyed Demon wears a black shirt, black jacket, and dark jeans.
    • Crowley wears a black suit over a black shirt, although with a blue tie. He was a human but after death became a powerful demon.
  • The Walking Dead (2010): Negan, the leader of a large group of hostile survivors called the Saviors, wears a black leather jacket.
  • An Invoked Trope in Westworld whereas their final piece of apparel, guests have a choice of a white hat or a black hat, indicating their choice to play either a hero or a villain.
    • William chooses the white hat, but his amoral and hedonistic brother-in-law Logan wears the black hat.
    • The Man in Black is an experienced guest who revels in rape and cold-blooded murder, is dressed in black and has a black horse. He is eventually revealed to be William thirty years later, and a sign that he is Slowly Slipping Into Evil is when William swaps his white hat for a black one.
    • Hector Escaton, a host who plays a stereotypical 'bad boy' outlaw, naturally dresses in all-black leather.
  • Thieves of the Wood has an evil mayor who wears black suits.
  • Negatus, main villain of Yonderland, dresses entirely in black, complete with black nail polish and eyeliner.

  • While he didn't always wear black, Doctor Steel did on occasion wear a black PVC outfit with top hat and cape.
  • Cowboys From Hell by Pantera: "Bad guys wear black, we're tagged and can't turn back."
  • In the music video for "Holding Out for a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler, the evil outlaw cowboys dress up in black and threaten her with neon whips.
  • Black Metal is shaped by this trope.
  • "Timebomb" by Rancid is about a young man growing up around crime and who is shot dead at the last verse.
    black coat, white shoes, black hat, Cadillac
    the boy's a time bomb.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Face or Heel, a demonic gravedigger like The Undertaker definitely qualifies.
  • Combined with Evil Costume Switch, everyone who joined the New World Order traded colors with the traditional black and white shirt.
    • A year before the nWo formed, this was played with to one of the founding members, Hulk Hogan, after the Dungeon of Doom shaved off his mustache. Hogan wore all black and was presented as the "Dark Side of Hulkamania."
  • After joining The Corporation, the Big Bossman returned to the WWF wearing black SWAT gear instead of his blue police shirt.
  • Melina's second run as a WWE villainess saw her compete in an all-black outfit, and she donned all black as a heel in matches against Velvet Sky at Northeast Wrestling. In her 2015 appearance at MCW Ladies' Night, Melina dressed entirely in black while appearing as an evil enforcer.
  • Layla donned a long black evening gown on the August 2, 2013, episode of Smackdown: the night that Layla turned heel and betrayed Kaitlyn.

  • In the Mixed Martial Arts competition show The Ultimate Fighter, Chael Sonnen very obviously chose to play the role of heel in his season against champion Jon Jones. His team wore black jerseys, and he repeatedly described them as "the bad guys."
  • The Oakland Raiders were long considered the "bad guys" of the NFL, and of course they wear black.

    Tabletop Games 
  • When it comes to wizards in Dragonlance, the Black Robes are, by definition, evil (they draw their magic from the dark moon of Nuitari, the god of evil magic), and are contrasted with the Red Robes of neutrality and White Robes of good... though, that having been said, this in no way hinders some Black Robes from being surprisingly decent people, and their general tendency towards Pragmatic Villainy (encouraging that over other kinds of villainy is one of the main reasons they are tolerated) has made Black Robes the Token Evil Teammate of good groups more than once.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Black Legion, arguably the most powerful and evil Chaos Space Marine Legion whose color of choice is written on their name.
    • The Slaanesh-devoted Emperor's Children, whose colors are black and... hideous hot pink (or purple Depending on the Artist). Due to centuries of self-inflicted sensory abuse, clashing colors are one of the few things that still grab their attention.
    • Averted by the Deathwatch (the Imperium's elite anti-xenos Space Marine squads who forgo their Chapter colors for all-black armor) and the Black Templars, who are firmly on the side of good—on the Imperium's side.

  • Played with in the 2008 Chess in Concert. The Soviets are coded black and the Americans white, and the protagonist, Anatoly, is Soviet, so black is good, or neutral at worst. At least for the first act. Anatoly defects late in Act I, and the Soviets are the antagonists from that point onward, so black is evil. This is pointed up by the fact that Viigand, the Soviet antagonist of Act II, wears the exact same shades of black that Anatoly wore in Act I.

  • The G.I. Joe franchise has seen many versions of Destro and The Baroness wearing black. Many versions of Cobra Commander himself, including the Marvel comics in the He's Back! moment, have traded his blue outfits in for black versions.

    Video Games 
  • The Big Bad of BlazBlue, Yuuki Terumi, wears a black suit and hat as his alter ego Hazama, and keeps wearing the former under the orange cloak he's better known for. His true identity, Takehaya Susano'o-no-Mikoto, is an animated suit of black armor.
  • Some of the playable characters in Death Smiles are, or used to be, evil, such as Casper and Sakura, who both wear black outfits.
  • In Dragon Age II, when Anders commits to a plan of blowing up the Kirkwall Chantry to incite all-out war between mages and Templars, his outfit changes from its normal colors to black.
  • F-Zero has Black Shadow. As if his name wasn't already a clue, he is the ruler of the ominous Black Shadow Group and his outfit looks a lot like Batman's, except with big, demonic horns just to drive the point further home.
  • Fallout 3, the evil mercenary armies of Talon Company wear a custom variant of Combat Armor painted black.
  • In Final Fantasy IV Golbez wears variable dark blue or black armor Depending on the Artist. He continues to wear his dark armour even after his Heel–Face Turn.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth wears a black outfit with steel touches. He wears this prior to his Face–Heel Turn and seems to be a fairly common colour choice for SOLDIER, who are, on a whole, a Punch-Clock Villain group.
  • In Final Fantasy IX, Evil Overlord Garland wears a futuristic suit of black armor with matching cape. This is in sharp contrast to Kuja being a man dressed in white.
  • Kingdom Hearts, Master Xehanort's clothing is primarily black and grey, while the members of the Organization wear black cloaks.
  • In Gwent: The Witcher Card Game the banner and uniform of Nilfgaard is black with a gold sun emblem. Basically every other faction hates Nilfgaard for their spying, treachery, constant warring, and general habit of trying to conquer everything it touches.
  • Ganondorf of The Legend of Zelda almost always wears black in his Gerudo form, whether it's a suit of armor or a flowing robe.
  • Mystery Case Files:
    • The Shade, the main antagonist in Mystery Case Files: The Countess, gradually took the shape of lady Gloria Codington while draining her creativity over the years and now appears as a dark doppelgänger of hers wearing an entirely black version of her dress.
    • There is also Alister and Charles Dalimar, some of the most prominent baddies in the Mystery Case Files franchise, that always wear black in their appearances.
  • Contrast to the rest of the character designs for students, the Goth-Punks of the Pico game mythos all wear black, or if they're lacking have some shade of black on their body. The lone exception is Hanzo, a Highly-Visible Ninja.
  • Pokémon:
    • Team Rocket's members wear black with red "R" emblems, while Giovanni is depicted in the games wearing black suits. In the anime, he wore orange at first but switched to black in Best Wishes when he and Team Rocket became major antagonists again.
    • Jessie and James, two of the main antagonists of the anime adaptation, wore white uniforms and were mostly used as comical relief in the seasons before Best Wishes. In that season, they get noticeably more competent and evil, and of course, they switch to black clothing. When they switched back to their regular white-and-red uniforms, they get noticeably less competent.
    • A faction split from Team Plasma in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. In the original Gen 5 games, they weren't this, but since they split from the main group as they supported Ghetsis instead of N, they changed to be like so in the sequels as a way to show that they were now just blatantly evil and not even pretending to be Well Intentioned Extremists. It's especially blatant with Ghetsis's costume change in the same games too.
    • Team Skull in Pokémon Sun and Moon wear black clothing as well. Likely because they're not even trying to be remotely subtle, and pattern themselves off American gangs. Gladion is also this, due to working with them, though he's actually a good person the whole time.
    • The Dark-type, called the Evil-type in Japan, is made up of primarily black-colored Pokémon or Pokémon with at least a little black. You can count the Pokémon with Dark as their primary type (Darkrai, Sneasel, Umbreon) on one hand. Most with Dark as their secondary type (Crawdaunt and Shiftry) are differently colored, however.
  • Albert Wesker from Resident Evil doesn't start out wearing much black (in the first game and Resident Evil 0, his shirt is blue), but after betraying S.T.A.R.S., he starts dressing more like a villain. He wears a black combat uniform in Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, and a black suit in Resident Evil 4. He really starts embracing this trope in the fifth installment, with a longcoat made of pure black leather, as well as black inner getups, gloves, and boots. The only thing that isn't black would be his hair and his eyes.
  • In Street Fighter, Akuma by default wears either a black or dark purple gi. When Ryu becomes Evil Ryu, he's also depicted with a black gi (which becomes tattered in the fourth installment). M. Bison also wears a black cloak over his red outfit, although he tosses it off when the matches begin.
  • Averted in StarCraft II, where Raynor's signature skull-helmed Power Armor is entirely black. The main human villains are colored purple (Confederacy), red (Sons of Korhal), and white (UED).
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • Neutral Hostile units in Warcraft III are automatically colored black (though it's possible to make them keep their color via Level Editor).
  • Wu-Long, the Big Bad of The Way of Cinnamon, has a primarily black outfit.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • Mystery Skulls Animated: Played for Laughs; in contrast to the rest of her family's white, pink, and purple attire, Cayenne wears darker reds and purples and has flames painted on her cowboy boots, emphasizing what a terror she can be to the victims of her pranks.

  • Cucumber Quest: The Nightmare Knight is the Big Bad of the comic, and he's a Black Knight clad in all black armor.
  • Richard of Looking for Group is one of the protagonists, but he's also an undead sorcerer who actually needs to do evil acts to maintain his powers. He wears a black robe and hood.
  • In El Goonish Shive, one of the first major villians, Damien, wore black and his stripes were also black. This was a late design decision and his original colors were red and white.

    Web Original 
  • Jenny Everywhere: Her Evil Counterpart Jenny Nowhere is usually depicted as wearing all-black, whether that be a figure-hugging black catsuit, a black tux, a black skirt and tank top, or (in her guise as “Evil Cloak” in Tales to Behold) a plain old hooded Black Cloak.
  • In The Cry of Mann, Gergiev is malicious and cruel, underscored by his purely black outfit. The only color he has is the orange on his teeth and feet, while the rest of his clothes are dark.

    Western Animation 
  • In Ben 10, Kevin Levin usually wears black clothing and is evil. At least in the original series. However, in the sequels, he's become less evil, but still wears black clothing.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, Big Bad Father's main outfit is a pitch black silhouette suit.
  • Snidely Whiplash wore a black top hat and cape in Dudley Do-Right.
  • Final Space: The Lord Commander wears almost all-black clothing and dark gray, and he's an incredibly vile being who wants to rule the universe and tortures his underlings for the smallest slights as well as being one of the Team Squad's prinary antagonists.
  • In Gandahar, the robotic army is all black, aside from their glowing red eyes.
  • In Gawayn, the Duke's outfit is dominantly black.
  • Perhaps owing to his more evil nature, Hordak from She-Ra: Princess of Power wears black armor with a red Horde symbol emblazoned on it, as opposed to his pupil Skeletor's purple harness. His sidekick Imp also wears similar outfit, though lacking the boney decorations.
  • In The Smurfs (1981), Gargamel wears a black robe, in contrast to the (usually) white clothes(?) of the Smurfs, and the more colorful clothes of the good humans.
  • "Devious" Diesel, one of the main antagonists of Thomas & Friends is painted black.
  • Superman: Doomsday. When Superman returns to Metropolis to take on his evil clone, he's wearing a black Superman suit to absorb as much solar energy as possible. As per this trope, Jimmy Olsen assumes that an even more evil Superman has arrived to make things worse.
  • In Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race, the Ice Dancers, who normally wear pink and purple, wear black versions of their outfits in "Shawshank Ridonc-tion".
  • Underdog: The canine hero's faced several villians who wear black, including Simon Barsinister, Battyman, and the Wicked Witch of Pickyoon.
  • In Winx Club the Wizards of the Black Circle all wear black.


Video Example(s):


Shawn Michaels Heel Turn

Shawn Michaels betrays his tag team partner, Marty Jannetty.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / FaceHeelTurn

Media sources: