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"I like spiders, loss and rain. I'm only happy when I'm in pain."

It can't be emphasized enough that Hollywood really does not understand the myriad and various subcultures of young people (or these days, aging former young people) and the many subtleties to be found within. Hence this trope, which refers to stereotyped goths in popular culture.

There are, generally speaking, three major goth stereotypes:

  • The Lone Psycho Goth: At best, this character may have an obnoxious level of Wangst. At worst, this character will be well off the deep end of Loners Are Freaks, a card-carrying Straw Nihilist, and may even be Ax-Crazy. It's worth pointing out that this formerly obscure stereotype was pounced upon and dragged into the spotlight after the Columbine tragedy, simply because the shooters wore black trenchcoats and were erroneously reported to have listened to Marilyn Manson (who is, contrary to popular misconceptions, not connected with goth culture at all).
  • Perky Goths: At the exact opposite of the spectrum from the Lone Psycho. They get their own entry.
  • Gloomy Goth: We see these most often in fiction. They are usually pale skinned with some Vague and Grave Affliction (or, even more often, act lethargic and look unwell even though nothing is actually wrong with them). Sometimes, this character is a Deadpan Snarker and/or the sympathetic version of The Snark Knight. They may have trace personality traits of the Wangsty type or the more dedicated Nihilist, though they often don't go far enough to be the Straw Nihilist. More often, they're The Eeyore. Almost guaranteed in either case to have some kind of family-related drama, usually used as a "justification" for their personality — you will never see a fictional goth who just happens to be the way they are without some tragic reasoning behind it. Unless, of course, it's Played for Laughs by making him the black sheep in a The Brady Bunch-style family with no real psychological beef. In this case, they're generally "cosmetic" goths who are in it just to rebel against their parents, or as "poseurs" who only want in on the fashion statement. They usually grow out of their "existential depression" with the flip of a switch, unless their being a goth is the entire premise of the show.

Most goths in fiction will be presented as a Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette who wear only black, leather getups, suntan at night and listen to loud depressing music. It's worth noting that goth is neither a skin tone nor a fashion statement, so most media tend to treat goth characters almost as if it were a fashion or fad for a darker Cutie to go after. Of course, thanks to Hot Topic and its ilk, goth has been hijacked by a large number of people who think it's nothing but a fashion statement, making for a sort of Truth in Television that utterly infuriates (or nihilistically amuses, see above) "true" goths, though extending a hand to "baby bats" who may genuinely be interested in digging deeper is generally viewed as a necessary duty (that fifteen-year-old kid in a Blackcraft shirt and ripped black skinny jeans with a fake grill who mostly listens to Soundcloud rap and Billie Eilish very well could become a good friend of yours in five years, after all), and gatekeeping behavior is heavily frowned upon (though it does unfortunately happen). There is also a tendency to equate goths with vampire wannabes and the vampire-obsessed. While, like BDSM, there is some overlap between the two subcultures, and the post-Victorian vampire can be considered a goth icon, equating the two in the presence of a goth can be hazardous to your health.

Please note: Goth as a subculture dates to the late '70s. (Teenagers sometimes think they invented it.) And just to keep things clear, goths are markedly different from emo people. Woe betide the person who gets these cultures confused in real life.

Although there is a sort of goth template, this template is built upon and changed dramatically to suit the individual's tastes. In order to be considered truly goth, one must fulfill the majority of the following requirements (in order from least important to most important):

  • The goth subculture began with a certain genre of music, which we now recognize as Goth Rock but was originally considered no different than other Post-Punk before Gothic Rock became its own music style with its own subgenres. Listening to goth rock is a basic requirement for participation within the subculture. Examples of goth rock bands include Bauhaus, The Sisters of Mercy, Fields Of The Nephilim, and The Cure. Gothic Rock has four subgenres which include Deathrock, Cold Wave, Dark Wave, and Ethereal Wave. Certain other groups are sometimes seen as being goth, such as Marilyn Manson or Evanescence, but these bands do not do Gothic Rock or any of it’s four subgenres.
  • Goth is not a religious thing, but a secular youth culture based on a shared taste in music, books, and some fashion much like The Mods of the 1960s. However, one of the things that is very goth is open-mindedness. Therefore, people such as Neopagans and yes, even Satanists found themselves drawn into the creation of the early scene as they often felt like outsiders in "normal" society, and are still prevalent today. This can lead to nasty stereotyping that all goths are "devil worshippers"; however this is still a rather small minority of goths. Despite these people being a minority, their presence is one of the things that make the modern scene as distinct and colourful as it is. The "open minded" part of being goth has also lead to the subculture having a higher than average number of gay, queer, agender/nonbinary, or trans individuals, neurodivergent folks, and BDSM enthusiasts.
  • Goths are likely to be artistic; there are many who take an artful pride in their wardrobe, in making music related to their subculture, or any other creative field. Although it is very rare, however, non-artistic goths can still exist. Goths tend to value individuality and thinking differently, and this is where the distinctive wardrobe comes in. Black is the most popular colour of clothing in the scene, but many other colours are used, and back in 1978 (the year goth was born) when people complained about the "depressing wardrobe" of Joy Division fans they were complaining about grey, not black. Spooky clothing is popular, as is avant-garde fashion, Elegant Gothic Lolita (and related styles) and DIY Punk Rock clothing and haircuts. That being said, individuality is important; dressing to the nines 24/7 is not, which is why the "white collar/corporate goth" who prefers darker-colored work clothing and maybe sneaks in an ankh pendant is a stereotype. And because of the emphasis on creativity, there are several clothing tropes commonly embodied by gothic fashionistas. The most common are: Impractically Fancy Outfit, Of Corsets Sexy, and, of course, Pimped-Out Dress. Applies equally to male and female outfits.
  • Since gothic rock and post-punk are both musical genres that often explore pain, death, and suffering, many people with trauma in their lives can feel drawn to the music and the subculture. Goths have also been shown scientifically to have a slightly higher level of mental illness than the general population; however this is still a minority of members of the subculture. No violent crime has ever been connected to the true, non-Marilyn Manson goth scene.
  • Goths may be seen as eccentric. This probably has something to do with liking a few somewhat obscure genres of music to the point of obsessively identifying themselves with those genres. There are likely many more goths in fandoms in relation to the total population than in "mainstream society;" however since goths are not space aliens the fandoms that they do enjoy are not likely to be different from ones popular outside of goth, except for maybe Tim Burton films.
  • Goths are usually in it for the long haul; that is, they are generally not "in a phase." Individuality being valued means that many goths have a strong sense of self. Goths know who they are, what they listen to, what they read, and how they dress, and they aren't likely to change completely; they may simply "bend the rules" and express themselves as they choose within set guidelines (example: dressing in black clothing with an ankh pendant at work, but still not violating the dress code).
  • Don't be surprised to learn that some goths enjoy Classical Music, especially ones involving piano or violin pieces. Many of the songs can be gloomy, triumphant, or potentially inspiring, which many goths can relate to at times. This is the same reason why many enjoy blues, gospel, and early country - there's a lot of contrasting emotion to be found in all of those genres.

Note that a majority of these are required — not all of them. Just because someone doesn't dress goth doesn't mean they aren't — as long as they fulfill most of the other qualifiers on that list, they are indeed goth (some people just don't like the style. In fact, Claire's markets to the "preppy goth" niche, crossing what are usually opposing factions). Also, goths are going to fluctuate as to what degree they display each trait.

There are a few other things that goth is not:

  • A fashion statement.
  • An outdated trend. (Many observers in Real Life mistake goth for a trend of The '80s and The '90s, and see its current fans as an example of Disco Dan type characters. The portrayal of adult goths in movies like The World's End don't help, nor do I Was Quite a Fashion Victim jokes about someone's past "goth phase.")
  • A sign of immaturity, a Peter Pan complex, or a refusal to grow up.
  • Ax-Crazy.
  • Hikikomori, although some can be.
  • A gateway to true mystical power.
  • A stereotype fuelled by depression. Once again this is a subculture; not all real goths purposely become sad for nothing.
  • Something to be shunned; again this stereotype only praises or enjoys demonic and dark interests. It doesn't make them real.

For the manga of the same name by Otsuichi, see Goth. For the video game, see Gothic. Being a fan of Gothic Horror note  doesn't make one a goth, but there are subcultures within the gothic community who draw inspiration from various Gothic Horror Tropes. Elegant Gothic Lolita is an unrelated clothing style from Japan with its roots in both Lolita Fashion and the Visual Kei subculture (which then inspired the Anime Character Archetype of the same name), but there is some stylistic overlap given that both draw on Victorian styles, and a few in the Goth subculture have deliberately combined the two beginning in the 2000s.

For those barbarians infamous for their Rape, Pillage, and Burn ways originating largely from the area we now call Germany... the closest Useful Notes page we have is The Migration Period, although it doesn't quite cover much yet when it comes to that period of Germanic history outside of what The Other Wiki has covered...

A handy guide to different (stereo)types of goths can be found here.

This is a Super-Trope to the following tropes:

  • Goth Girls Know Magic: The tendency for a Goth girl to have magical powers.
  • Goth Rock: A genre of music featuring dark subject matter and gloomy, monotonous vocals.
  • Goths Have It Hard: A character with a dark aesthetic that appears depressed, troubled, and/or self-destructive, with the implication that they like morbid things because of their psychological issues.
  • Perky Goth: A Goth with a cheerful personality.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • Irn-Bru had an ad where a group of stereotypical gloomy Goths try the beverage and become perky— so perky they decide to go to Blackpool to surf (with coffin-shaped boards yet!) and enjoy the fun fair.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Sawyer the Cleaner of Black Lagoon dresses as a goth when not "on the job." She's basically the Lone Psycho Goth, although she's more lone, due to having her vocal cords cut, and psycho, because everyone in this series is, than because she is a goth. She does have her Perky Goth moments, but even those are tempered by her usual deadpan expression.
  • Arguably Freya from Chobits is a goth. She has the Gothic Lolita look, and she is the morbid side of Chi's usually chirpy personality.
  • D.Gray-Man can be considered a full-on goth Shōnen series, which is pretty awesome when you think about it.
  • Misa Amane of Death Note is a Gothic Lolita and a perky type.
  • Re-l Mayer, the heroine of Ergo Proxy, is something of the Deadpan Snarker gloomy goth, dressing in all black and wearing lots of eyeliner.
  • Fairy Tail has quite a few examples.
    • Gajeel Redfox mixes this with a few punk elements. For bonus points even his powers correspond to the many piercings that he has.
    • Mystogan and Juvia both also count. Juvia starts as a Gloomy version, but eventually gets Perky whenever Gray is around her. Mystogan wears darker and more torn clothing than his Earthland counterpart Jellal and surprisingly possesses a shy side, being reluctant to show his real self without a good reason.
    • Midnight of the Oracion Seis Guild, a rather lazy villain at first, but don't be fooled as he manages to fend for himself even when he's sleeping. Like his name suggests this rather feminine-looking man has the appearance resembling typical Goth features such as dark lipstick and twin-coloured hair. A formidable character and, impressively, has enough power to even fend against both Jellal and Erza.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • Saki "Hana-chan" Hanajima hits quite a few points of the Lone Psycho type. She's very stoic, was ostracized by her peers for much of her childhood due to having Psychic Powers, and only ever wears black clothing when not at school. Though she essentially forced herself into becoming a goth after almost killing a boy with her powers after he bullied her and started wearing black as a way of punishing herself for it, she still has a gothic fashion sense since she eventually got used to it.
    • Isuzu "Rin" Sohma isn't as blatant an example as Hanajima, but she has notable elements of the Gloomy Goth stereotype. She's an Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette who habitually wears dark casual clothes with heavy gothic fashion influence. Her attitude is very sardonic and moody because of a terrible childhood that left her with traumas she might never fully get over.
  • Belarus and Romania from Hetalia: Axis Powers both wear rather eccentric clothing, not to mention the two have a rather dark nature behind their normality. In truth, Belarus is quite feared for its dictatorship lifestyle, and Romania's connected with vampires.
  • Mizho from Karakuridouji Ultimo is introduced as one. She dresses like a dead schoolgirl, with bandages wrapped all around her body, along with an eyepatch.
  • My Hero Academia three characters come to mind. Kyoka Jiro, Fumikage Tokoyami and Dabi. All equally loved by the fandom of course. Kyoka being a gloomy, often sarcastic rock lover. Fumikage suitably obsessed with morbid and foreboding concepts. Leaving Dabi an apathetic villain, who finds amusement in desecrating his opponents.
  • Naruto:
    • Gaara certainly looks the part, and he starts off as a Lone Psycho goth. Later, after his Heel–Face Turn, he's more like a Gloomy goth. His siblings, Temari and Kankuro would also count. They become more sociable as the series progresses.
    • Hanzo the Salamander wears rather dull clothing mixing with an industrial theme which in turn symbolizes the Hidden Rain. The Hidden Rain itself is basically the Ninja World equivalent of a "Goth Country." Gloomy? Yes. Creative? Very, but somehow willing to change if it means improving its image.
    • Two Uchiha arguably tip-toe near this stereotype, Madara and Itachi. Madara's appearance gives off the "vibe" mixed with his infamous personality and power; he represents the more negative parts of the trend. Itachi, however, leans towards the more positive, since like most goths he appears as a villain but once again looks can be deceiving.
  • Tomoko Kuroki from No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular! may not dress like a goth, but I kid you not her mindset is closest to one. Though that long, untamed hair and permanent shadows under her eyes does this style justice.
  • Perona from One Piece.
  • Gil of PandoraHearts frequently looks and acts the part.
  • Stocking from Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.
  • Soul Eater could be best described as "gangsta goth", incorporating urban American-style themes (like hip-hop music and graffiti) with gothic touches (like Goth Spirals, monsters, and dark colors). A lot of characters live up to the series' gothic style as well, like Death the Kid, who is literally the son of (the series' equivalent to) The Grim Reaper.
    • Speaking of the characters, Arachne submerges herself in this style. But then again her theme is that of a Spiders, so no surprise there.
  • Legato Bluesummers from Trigun could very well be the personification of the The Lone Psycho Goth. Keep in mind, he wears a human skull as an accessory on his shoulder.
  • Sunako in The Wallflower is an example of the Lone Psycho Goth and an example of playing with a trope. She does Lone Psycho, she occasionally tries to kill people she's attracted to, she can be really nice and happy, she loves the macabre, she can be a badass, she can be ugly, she can be beautiful, even to girls, she cooks, cleans and she juliennes.

    Comic Books 
  • Sam of Death Vigil runs afoul of a group of these in the first issue, likening them to poseurs in the face of the real enemy, the Necromancers and their Eldritch Abomination allies.
  • In the Final Crisis Sketchbook, a tie-in for the 2008 Crisis Crossover showing some of the artist's concept sketches with notes from the author, Grant Morrison apparently redesigned the Forever People (a subset of the New Gods who were basically space hippies) as cynical goths thinking that that's more common of American youth today. He was arguably missing the point of the Forever People, since in their creator's original mythos they represented youthful idealism, which is still around in spades. In the end, they didn't appear in the series, although Japanese heroes the Super Young Team are considered their spiritual successors.
  • Pretty much everyone from GloomCookie. Gloom Cookie is, or at least started out as, a social satire of the (mainly San Francisco) goth scene; written by someone who has a more than passing familiarity with it.
  • Cassie, the protagonist from Hack/Slash. She's a Lone Psycho Stripperiffic Monster Slaying Goth badass Action Girl. Yes, it's as awesome as it sounds. And apart from being very snarky, she's also The Lad-ette.
  • Anne Gwish from Johnny the Homicidal Maniac is a parody of the "gother than thou" scene.
  • kimmie66 is all about goth kids.
  • The entire Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl comic would come across as gothic, if there wasn't so much Black Comedy and Parody in it.
  • Nico Minoru from Runaways who also fits the stereotype by having magic-based powers.
  • Death of the Endless from The Sandman (1989); though she qualifies as a Perky Goth, she's a favorite of the entire community. Her brother Dream is much more of a Gloomy Goth. Her appearance was based on the late Cinamon Hadley, a acquaintance of comic book artist Mike Dringenberg.
  • Screamqueen from Scare Tactics (DC Comics) in The DCU, who also happens to be a vampire.
  • The '90s run of Titans where Damage becomes a big fan of a slasher star named...Goth. Yeah, Goth. Oh, and it turns out Goth is actually a demon who uses his fell powers to convince his fans to kill themselves and shoot up schools. Oh, and Goth also fronts as a Marilyn Manson-style singer, so all the late '90s hysteria bases are covered.
  • Most of the cast of Wet Moon, a Graphic Novel series by Sophie Campbell. The author has considerable knowledge and experience with the scene, which helps.
  • X-23's look in some of her appearances, particularly NYX.

    Comic Strip 
  • Nemi. She's pretty much every non-straight lifestyle rolled up together, and dressed in black, save for a sexual minority (she's very straight in that respect).
  • Dethany Dendrobia, in On the Fastrack, is almost a textbook Perky Goth. This rather unsettles Ms. Trellis, but her immediate superior, Wendy Welding, is OK with it because Dethany's such a good worker.

    Fan Works 
  • My Immortal is written by either a brain-dead wannabe goff [sic] or an expert troll trying to make real goths foam at the mouth with rage... Or make them fall out of their chairs laughing.
  • While her canon counterpart has more of a punk aesthetic, the Persona 5 Adult Confidant AU has Tae Takemi portrayed more as a goth, specifically of the gloomy variety.
  • In The Return getting turned into a succubus seems to mean all your clothes turn goth-y. No one knows why. Generally it's on the Perky Goth side, especially Yuki's new look.
  • Seishi Shino (aka Neo Sailorsaturn) from Sailormoon Millennia Trilogy fits the Gloomy Goth version of the trope despite not explicitly identifying herself with the goth subculture.

    Films — Animation 
  • Goth-kid from The Book of Life, has dyed hair, wears black wrists cuffs, and is called Goth-kid.
  • In Turning Red, while Priya does not dress in typical goth clothing, besides black nail polish, her personality and interests match. She acts seemingly disinterested even if she isn't and has dark eyelids. During the game of charades, she chooses to act out "mortality", which only the goth chick among the group can guess. She is a fan of the series Nightfall (a pastiche of The Twilight Saga) and vampires in general, as she's shown to try intimidating people by putting her hands in a scary vampire pose, and when she's resting on the roof, she has her arms crossed over her chest. She also expresses an interest in werewolves, asking Mei if she is one and saying she's always wanted a tail, and the Cthulhu Mythos, as she is faintly heard muttering "Thank Cthulhu" when Mei arrives at Tyler's party.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Beetlejuice: Lydia is an Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette who says things like, "My life is a darkroom. One. Big. Dark. Room." Because she's so "strange and unusual," she's able to see the ghosts of the main characters. By the end of the film, however, she's seen wearing a normal schoolgirl uniform and has become much more perky.
  • Sinaed Laren from But I'm a Cheerleader, including stereotyped speech and an obsession with self-inflicted pain.
  • Ren and Star in The Butchers are a boyfriend/girlfriend pair of angry goths. They spent most of the bus trip deliberately antagonising the other passengers. When stranded in the Ghost Town, they wander off from the others and then decide it would be fun to read aloud a spell from a Tome of Eldritch Lore they find. Unsurprisingly, they are the first to fall victim to the Serial Killers.
  • The Craft: One of the four witches is a very archtypical goth, who eventually turns into the primary antagonist.
  • Stokely in The Faculty, whose hatred of her classmates is such that it leads her to tell everybody she's a lesbian just to get them to stop talking to her. Her outcast status is part of the reason why she's among the last students at the school who isn't infected by alien brain slugs, which started by assimilating the popular kids after going through the teachers. At the end, she largely drops the goth look (or at least becomes a Perky Goth) and starts dating Casey.
  • Violet from Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning.
  • In Ghost Rider (2007), Johnny rescues a rather ample girl who is a stereotypical goth. She mostly accurately describes him as a really thin guy with his hair on fire, but since she looks like a loony, nobody believes her. Right before the camera pans away from her, she makes a gesture which some have identified as a gesture from a vampire LARP.
  • The Guest House: Rachel starts out with this style, wearing black eyeshadow and largely black leather clothes. She's also got the pale skin that's stereotypical, plus a depressed, bitter attitude at first. It's revealed she took up the style after her mom's death, as home videos from before it show her with a more standard look.
  • The title character Gypsy Vale from Gypsy 83 and her best friend Clive are both goths. The plot revolves around their road trip to see Gypsy's idol Stevie Nicks in concert.
  • In Hangman's Curse, a group of goth kids are suspected of summoning a ghost to get revenge on their Jerk Jock bullies. It turns out that they were pawns of a nerdy kid who used far more mundane means to poison the jocks, and led them to believe that they had actual powers.
  • Harold from Harold and Maude dresses and acts not unlike a kind of proto-Gloomy Goth. He's obsessed with death, wears black, plays pranks by simulating suicide, and converts his car into a hearse. His character development in the film is learning to embrace the joys of life.
  • Colin from Jennifer's Body. While on his way to a date with Jen, he's seen listening to a punk-rock cover of "I Can See Clearly Now."
  • Sam from Life as a House.
  • Lisbeth from The Millennium Trilogy.
  • Megan in Mirror Mirror (1990) is a goth girl from Los Angles who has just moved to Iowa and her fashion choices make her an immediate for the Alpha Bitch of her new school.
  • Mouth to Mouth: Sherry is a Gloomy Goth turned Crust Punk.
  • Fang from My Soul to Take is a paradoxical Goth Alpha Bitch, complete with Girl Posse.
  • Kelly from Mystery Team is an ex-goth; she hates shopping.
  • Not Like Everyone Else: Brandi wears all black and writes horror stories. This is enough, along with her reading about Wicca to make her demonized by other students and even teachers.
  • Queen of the Damned pretty much summarizes all the goth types, even the poseur ones as the female protagonist dresses up in a rather obviously fake attire to attract the attention of Lestat the vampire.
  • Rachel Lang in The Rage: Carrie 2. Particularly notable because Carrie White from the original film and book wasn't a goth, despite being a similar outcast loner, with this film making Rachel into such reflecting how stereotypes had evolved by The '90s.
  • In the Hilary Duff film Raise Your Voice, a gloomy goth girl (Kat Dennings) and a nerd (Johnny Lewis) were paired as the Beta Couple.
  • In Serial Killing 4 Dummys, Sasha is the goth girl Casey is crushing on. The bond over a shared love of Marilyn Manson and an interest in Serial Killers.
  • Series 7 The Contender has a hilariously accurate parody of artsy-fartsy student films, in this case a music video to "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division. This establishes that two of the main characters, in their Backstory went through a goth phase together.
  • Magenta from Sky High (2005), possibly a Perky Goth.
  • Son of the Mask: Loki, Norse Night God of Mischief, His gothic attire is mostly black. He also sports a Black Longcoat. His clothing is as black as the clear night sky itself.
  • The bipolar Tosh from Urban Legend, though her main characteristic is being the Campus Bicycle.
  • We Are the Night:
    • Lena has a somewhat goth style haircut, plus black or dark clothes, with a lot of piercings and tattoos. Initially she's a grungy pickpocket.
    • Meanwhile, Nora has a similar hairstyle, with goth style clothing but in bright colors, as a very perky example.
  • In The Witch Files, Jules is the goth girl who introduces the other girls to magic, and induces them to form a coven. She claims the women in her family have a history of spell casting stretching back to pre-Revolutionary times. Being goth is just a cover, so the other girls don't consider her interest in magic unusual.

  • Another early example is in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. See Huck's description of (the late) Emmeline Grangerford in Chapter XVII.
  • The "murgatroyds" in Anno Dracula are a parody of fashion-goths. And are seen as poseurs despite actually being vampires, most of all by other vampires.
  • Lydia of Caught In The Act by Peter Moore.
  • The Dresden Files has Molly Carpenter, a Well-Intentioned Extremist Hot Witch who turns to goth subculture as a way of rebelling against her religious parents.
  • Discworld:
    • While Susan Sto Helit may be sarcastic about "idiots who write poetry in their rooms and dress like vampires and are vegetarians really," she certainly fits elements of the trope herself. The young witches of Diamanda Tockley's coven in Lords and Ladies (referred to as "necro-nerds" in the Companion) might count, although they seem to be more the "fashion statement" type.
    • And let's not forget the young vampires in Carpe Jugulum, who try to freak out their elders by wearing bright clothes, stay up 'til noon, and call themselves names like "Henry" or "Pam." They even pretend to drink... wine, although only "real weirdos who file their teeth blunt" actually do. They also spend their days dressing up as accountants...
  • The titular character of Goth Girl Rising, Kyra Sellers, is one, but she doesn't believe in labels and considers calling herself "post-Goth" since emo has pretty much replaced goth in the minds of most.
  • Severus Snape in Harry Potter. Deadpan Snarker? Check. Family drama (namely, abusive father and (possibly) negligent mother)? Check. Nihilist? Check... As a teenager. (At least, he comes off as one at times.) Wears all black and is an Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette? Double-check; cosmetic though they may be, they certainly help qualify him. And if the sub-plot with Lily being his lost love doesn't do it, nothing does.
    • Lucius Malfoy could also fit this trope.
    • Voldemort himself holds a high regard to this trope. Even as Tom Riddle he was eerie and creepy despite only being a student at the time. The Death Eaters (especially Bellatrix Lestrange) followed his style down to every sinister cranny.
  • Daniel Gonzalez' Leonor in the eponymous children's novel.
  • Lu, the main protagonist of Murderess, is of the gloomy variety, although she keeps her snark and self-loathing to herself.
  • Similar to the Discworld example above, the rebellious kids of the vampire dimension in Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures series express themselves by wearing bright colors and partying in brightly lit clubs. There's also a market for plastic-human teeth, if you want to scare somebody.
  • One of the earlier literary examples of the Gloomy Goth as a social fad can be found in, of all places, War and Peace. See Julia's thoughts on the smile of melancholy in Chapter V.
  • In the children's chapter book Waylon! One Awesome Thing, Waylon's sister, Charlotte, has taken to calling herself "Neon," dying her hair and painting her nails black and generally behaving as a gloomy, nihilistic goth. However, it's all an act so that she can get some peace from the cliques that have started forming at her school. Things get a lot more comfortable for her and her family once she admits to them that it's all an act and they agree to keep her secret.


    Mythology & Folklore 
  • Dark Magic throughout history has always been seen as negative and gritty, wielders of said magic like Witches are often depicted to be early Goth characters.Sadly these stories were to blame for the murder of many potentially innocent women back in the Early Modern period.
    • Necromancers also fall in line with Witches, Necromancy is the mythical power over the dead and undead. So expect such wielders to be related to (or specifically) this stereotype.
  • Of course Vampires rightfully have a spot here. Spawning fans for many years, Vampires are heavily influenced by this stereotype and yet they always have new depictions keeping them fresh story material.
  • Russian Mythology foretold the existence of Lichs, a Lich was the remains of a powerful ruler or sorcerer who'd seal his/her's soul away when they die then gain immortality as a vile undead ruler making them a lot more threatening than the average Zombie.
  • Catholicism has the idea of "memento mori" or "reminder of death," in which one contemplates their own mortality in order to overcome the vanities this life. Early Christians in Rome worshipped in the catacombs. Skull imagery is often found in religious artwork, and some religious orders would keep the skulls of their members who had passed away. On Ash Wednesday, ashes are smeared on a person's forehead, with the incantation "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." The rosary includes the "Sorrowful Mysteries" surrounding Jesus' crucifixion and death. Rosaries and crucifixes are common items in the goth scene today.
  • Tibetan Buddhism and death imagery. They have a ritual called chöd in which one symbolically turns one's flesh into karmic food to be devoured by demons to ensure them a better reincarnation. A ritual drum is used, as well as a kangling, an trumpet-like instrument made out of a human femur. Tibetan Buddhism is full of wrathful deities like Mahakala, lord of death, who is adorned with skulls and flames. Buddist monks are instructed to picture people dead and decaying in order to avoid temptations of the flesh.
  • Hinduism, particularly in its Tantric form, also has its share of darkness. Particularly with the goddess Kali, who is portrayed black as night with a necklace made of human heads and a skirt made of human arms, holding a sword in one hand and a severed head in the other. She is considered a powerful protector deity, and her worship sometimes involves animal sacrifice.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • And WCW unleashed upon the world Daffney Unger. She does strive for creativity, as far as dress as personal appearance goes. Daffney is loving and open minded and perhaps most importantly, crazy. Sometimes harmlessly goofy, sometimes she shows great empathy, sometimes horrifically vindictive and violent, sometimes she boasts in a voice grating like a strangled cat, sometimes her speech is clear and eerily calm, sometimes she simply screams for no reason. She's your self styled goth goddess, hunger for Unger!
  • WCW Also gave us the glory that was Crow! Sting, sternly looking down on us all while hanging in the rafters. Crow Sting would make a reappearance in TNA but eventually be phased out for Joker! Sting, who was not an example.
  • The WWF had the Brood, with the exception of Gangrel, who was an outright vampire. The rest were just a bunch of black wearing goofs who hung out with him and mocked local sports teams. They started as part of the satanic Ministry of Darkness but turned on the larger group for mistreating one of their own.
  • Shelly Martinez has had about 17 goth gimmicks of different flavors. Hardly any of them got so much as a raised eyebrow in places like Santa Ana, California or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but while working for Ohio Valley Wrestling she said the locals would stare at her and then shy away as if she was a devil woman even though her gimmick there was little more than a chatty tease who happened to dress outlandishly. She eventually just became outright vampire Ariel when called up to WWECW.
  • The Shine Wrestling stable Coven are technically the thralls of the witch Erica Torres, but the group seems to follow the fashion trends of Chelsea Durden, who happens to be a goth, and went extra black after being "inducted". The deluded Card-Carrying Villain and Monster Fangirl Kelsey Raegan were already "closer" to "goth" than "witch", relatively, so applying Paint It Black, random holes in clothing filled with mesh or red cloth, skull patches, skull caps, excessive eyeliner, black lipstick to their clothing and faces make The Coven look even more like a gothic gathering even if they don't sound like it as they talk down to outsiders and heap cryptic cultist praise on mistress Torres.
  • The Platinum Hunnies usually live up to their name with bleached hair, and also wear Hotter and Sexier versions the 1980s Leotard of Power that are solid pink with white lettering or adorned with stripes, flower petals or peaches. When Ava Everett operates independently of Angel Sinclair though her appearance takes a far more gothic slant with black on silver or bright puprle, mismatched kneepads, over turned crosses taking replacing her 't's, green paint around her eyes and more unnatural shades of brown and yellow hair. She sometimes goes so far as to dress as a Creepy Undertaker, sexy undertaker, Buttery Fly Of Life And Rebirth or a Power Ranger all very out of line with the 80s Northeast lady wrestler/work out girl look of the Hunnies.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Chez Goth, a goth-y version of Chez Geek.
  • The card game Gother Than Thou includes cards such as "Fun with eyeliner," "That wasted look," and "Crying yourself to sleep on the fresh grave of your lifelong love who died of consumption and being found the next morning unconscious, naked, and nearly frozen to death by the groundskeeper."
  • The card game Munchkin Bites is a parody of the World Of Darkness, and thus is goth-y, but more perky goth-y.
  • Old World of Darkness was marketed more or less mainly at goths in the first place.
    • The Sluagh from Changeling: The Dreaming take pretty much every goth stereotype and roll them into one big slithery, whispering, spider-loving package.
    • Even stronger than that were the Hollow Ones from Mage: The Ascension. One of the common critiques of the Hollowers was "Goth is not a paradigm." However, the "Tradition" as a whole had derived from urban subcultures since the days of the flappers, dealt heavily in the Goth subculture, but was not defined by it in modern days, identified strongly with Romanticism, and had the guiding ethos of: "We don't have a belief system, really, but if others believe in it, that means we can use it."
  • Visigoths vs. Mall Goths is all about goths in two senses, one being teen mall goths from The '90s, and the other sense being pre-medieval Germanic barbarians who were invading Rome before Time Travel bought them to the (almost) present. Much of the game's humor comes from contrasting the two types of goths.
    • Along the same lines, Steve Jackson Games used to sell a tee shirt that said "So, You're a Goth? Where were you when we SACKED ROME?"
  • In The Small Folk, each clique is based on a different human subculture. The Boggarts are goths.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has an ork clan (more of a subspecies/ideology than a group) known as the Goffs. They are grim and dour and dislike bright colors. Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka is a member of this clan.

    Video Games 
  • The entire faction of the Drowning Doom in Brütal Legend, representing the Gothic Metal genre. Their basic infantry, the Grave Digger, Looks Like Cesare, and a unit called "The Bride" looks like the ghost of the woman in the page image.
  • Celestia Ludenberg from Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is one of the straightest examples of this category.
  • Morgan from Double Homework has the appearance and demeanor of one of these. However, she’s missing some of the more subtle attributes.
  • Lily, the Emo Teen from Duolingo.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim The game itself can appeal to players of this stereotype as well. Becoming a Necromancer (Conjuration Mage), a Vampire (Dawnguard DLC), or an Assassin (The Dark Brotherhood) are all gothic-designed play styles and all three pay-off with many of the games most powerful features.
    • During the Dragonborn DLC, everything is set up to be a simple "save the people" quest....until Miraak is introduced. Miraak is played similar to Sephiroth, he's highly intimidating and creepier than even Alduin in comparison. Miraak is the embodiment of every negative aspect normal people think Goths are, but that's why he's such a great Villain.
  • Sephiroth from the Final Fantasy series. Probably one of the most threatening goths in video game history, as a villain he is often very calm, sneaky and scarily good at hiding the horrors he's more than willing to release against you. Ironically many fans describe, Cloud Strife (his arch nemesis) as Emo so it's like a battle between two stereotypes.
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has Konstantinos Smith, a studio guest on in-game public-radio station VCPR as a parody of a stereotypical Goth.
  • Pandora of Guitar Hero is the representation of the Goth Rock genre. She avoids most stereotypes, though one of her bios mentions that, as a child, she was expelled from ballet school and told a ghost story so scary she got kicked out of Girl Scouts.
  • Ashei from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess; her appearance gives a gloomy goth impression.
  • Jack from Mass Effect 2 is a SPACE goth. She's revealed to be a fan of deep, dark poetry, thinks little of herself, has no hope for the universe to change, an admiration for death, wears black eyeliner, and has hundreds of beautiful tattoos that reflect her inner pain all over her. In the third game, she later gets Hell-Bent for Leather.
  • Violet from the MySims series is a gloomy, yet well-adjusted goth girl. In contrast to her sister Poppy, who loves cute things and lively flowers, Violet is drawn to spooky things and dead (or dying) flowers.
    • Mention Violet, but not Goth Boy? For shame.
    • All of the Spooky Sims as a matter of fact.
    • Before Violet, there was the famous goth family of The Sims.
  • Henry from the Nancy Drew game Legend of the Crystal Skull seems like an attempt at a gloomy-but-harmless goth character, but comes across as more fashion-goth/emo than genuine.
  • In Overwatch Zarya has two skins which look very goth.
  • Pokémon
    • The Ghost Type from Pokémon, unlike the Dark Types (who are based off villainy) the Ghost Type Pokemon are creations of the dead, spirits, and general Macabre-like creatures, However like real life goths, The Ghost Types are NOT always negative and depressing, but more dark humor if anything.
    • Other characters that have a goth-inspired design include Marley (a girl joins you as an ally for a short time), Grimsley (a member of the Unova Elite Four, though his appearance in Sun and Moon is far closer to a New Romantic), Hex Maniacs (A trainer class that resembles goth girls that have ghost, psychic or dark types) and the Gothia family (Psychic Pokémon that resemble goth girls).
  • Lili Zanotto from Psychonauts matches in this trope in style and general attitude, being aloof and brooding and wearing dark clothing and makeup.
  • Every major entry in the Saints Row franchise has had some kind of gothic representation. The second game had fat and skinny goths patrolling the streets of the university district, the third game had an entire gang of Cyberpunk goths known as "The Deckers." Both 3 and 4 had Matt Miller, a goth hacker and one of the youngest members of the gang. Even the player can become a full blown goth - an entire store is devoted to this, known as "Nobody Loves Me." A thinly veiled parody of Hot Topic.
  • While Asakim from Super Robot Wars Z doesn't quite have the goth personality, he grabs hold of every goth-related trope and plays them up. His "dark angel" themed mecha has attacks ranging from launching crows at the enemy to cutting itself and using the "blood" to create Geometric Magic that summons gothic artwork to Mind Rape the enemy. Not to mention that he's an immortal Death Seeker who wears what fans refer to as "vampire bondage gear."
  • Yandere Simulator has Oka Ruto, the shy and somewhat odd President of the Occult Club. She wears gloves and stockings with a spider web design, and has dedicated her life to finding the supernatural. Word of God says the inspiration for her came about when someone suggested a goth girl rival. However, as a rival, she will have to be dealt with by our Villain Protagonist. The other members of the Occult Club also have elements of this.

    Web Comics 
  • In Acorn Grove, the character Tota the Squirrel briefly becomes a goth, but only because she had identity issues. Later she becomes emo and later a lesbian.
  • Alas is all about goths, and for once created by one. It alternates between playing with and parodying the stereotypes, and doing the same with the real scene. A good antidote to most of the rather dire media portrayals.
  • Subverted by Melanippe from Amazoness!; while she looks like a stereotypical goth, the comic takes place in Ancient Greece, and she's really a goth... As in, the tribe of barbarians who would go on to sack Rome.
  • Bobwhite. Here and the following page, Cleo and Ivy debate what is and isn't "goth." Marlene ends up resolving the debate for them: "It doesn't matter because actual gothic people stopped existing sometime in the early 2000's. Now there's just a lot of unhappy people who enjoy claymation."
  • Gilly of Dork Tower is a classic perky goth. Her brother is more gloomy. Also responsible for introducing the term 'spanky goths', whom we hear about but never see.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Elliot's Superheroine spell has a alter ego form that makes him look and act like a gloomy goth girl.
  • Lampshaded in Ozy and Millie: Felicia, a trendy, sheep-like girl, has times when she'll break out the goth makeup in what everyone except the extremely gullible in the strip consider to be a very fake goth style.
  • Victoria and Jax are '90s goths, in the webcomic Poseur Patrol.
  • In Questionable Content, Dora and Raven are both former goths from the same coven. Dora's reason for going goth in the first place was something along the lines of 'because people are retarded.' She eventually drifts away from the coven saying that while it was fun, it had started to feel 'shallow and pointless.' Raven is the classic sheep following whatever herd piques her interest (she tries to be emo at one point to attract 'cute emo boys'), though she may be smarter than she appears to be.
  • Rhapsodies has Blossom, Francine, Olive, Bian, Stefan and, presumably, Bert.
  • Nana Avarre, the "Angsty Dentist" from Sluggy Freelance, is a frightening combo of gothiness with stalking and dentistry...
    Torg: Novocain please!
    Nana: Nothing is real but pain. Would you rob yourself of that last grasp of truth? (Lunges at Torg with her dentist's drill) FEEL MY EMBRACE, TO FILL THE CAVITY OF YOUR HEART!
  • Writhe and Shine is a Slice of Life comedy about the New Orleans goth scene, written by a (now former) New Orleans goth.
  • Zebra Girl's friend Crystal, formerly a Genki Girl and bordering on The Ditz, has recently gone goth in reaction to the strip's Cerebus Syndrome.

    Web Original 
  • Chaos Timeline: An equivalent of them. Tatjana is one of them.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Half-Identical Twins Killer and Killdra wear chains and spikes, and Killer has the gloomy personality to boot. Killdra is more of a Perky Goth.
  • Morganna the Dark Elf from Faephobia: Wet Dreams combines the Lone Psycho Goth stereotype with the personality of the verses typical Fae (that is to say an insatiable nymphomaniac) to hilarious effect.
  • Grayvyn on The Nostalgia Chick is a random goth Lindsay pulls off the street because she needs the magical powers all goths have to restrain Dark Nella.
  • The first Pico flash, Pico's School, a group of goths led by Cassandra grow tired of the conformist school system and start a Columbine-inspired massacre. Pico retaliates with an AK-47 to teach Cassandra and her lackeys what non-conformity truly means only to find out that Cassandra is really a hermaphroditic alien monstrosity with "other plans."
  • Being about high school students, there have been a fair amount of gothic characters in Survival of the Fittest over the course of four versions. Most of them are of the "gloomy" variety. One of the examples that comes to most handlers' minds is Meredith Hemmings, who has nicknamed herself "Pandora Black" and is definitely a gloomy goth. This is explained as her not actually being a goth, but a poseur who is only acting how she thinks goths act like.
  • Persephone and Hades in Thalia's Musings. Hades is, after all, the god of metal.
  • Uncyclopedia's article for goths describes them as "a violent East Germanic tribe of barbarians who proved to be a great nuisance for the Roman Empire from the 1970's to 1990's, primarily with their bad taste in music and dark eyeliner." It comes complete with a photoshopped picture of American Gothic (as goths) and lists the "Emoae tribe" as their chief enemies.
  • There are plenty of goths at the Super Hero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe. Some are that way for superpowered Raven-like reasons, most notably Nacht and Carmilla. Some are just magic wannabes who are trying to steal real magic from some of the wizards on campus. Some, like Bloodworm, are actively using Dark Magic to get boons right up until he suffered a fate way worse than death.

    Real Life 
  • The late Cinamon Hadley was the real-world inspiration for Neil Gaiman's visual depiction of Death as a goth in The Sandman comics.
  • Jillian Venters, the Lady of the Manners, has an entire website devoted to clearing up misunderstandings and stereotypes between goths and non-goths, and encouraging civil and civilized behavior from both groups. Well-known for years as a prominent member of the Seattle Goth scene.
  • Pauley Perrette, the actress who plays Abby Sciuto in NCIS, is very much a Perky Goth herself, and much of her on-screen persona is based on her real-life persona.
  • Goths often face discrimination in real life, based strongly on the negative media and popular stereotypes of goths. Many have been subjected to verbal and physical attacks, particularly following the Columbine shooting, and some have even been killed because of their image. One of the most notorious cases is the murder of Sophie Lancaster.
    • While the stigma against goths is dying down a bit, there's still a trend of hatred towards goths (and emos) online. Unlike previous cases of goth prejudice, which is based on misconceptions of goths being murderous Satanist criminals, online prejudice and cyberbullying seems to be based mostly (if not purely) on stereotypes about goths being Wangsty, self-harming teens who seek attention by being edgy and dressing differently. In the most extreme cases of Unfortunate Implications, online haters will claim to hate goths for being gay or crossdressers.
  • During the Victorian Era of England, this style was the grandfather of all fashion. However it was significantly more elegant and regal and was mostly worn by the Middle or Upper class of the time. The style introduced top-hats and bland coloured dresses which may be complemented with umbrellas and canes.
  • Edgar Allan Poe was famed for his gloomy and rather scary style of storytelling. Thanks to South Park characterizing him as one of the Goths (no doubt an extreme exaggeration), in truth this depiction isn't entirely off from the real man who was (and still is) famed for his deep and depressing literature.


Video Example(s):


Miss Spider

Miss Spider, who has a spooky design in mostly black-and-white colors, loves the night and darkness, has a reclusive nature, and squeezes some moments of creepiness into the cheery group songs. She's actually quite nice if you're nice to her.

How well does it match the trope?

4.71 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / Goth

Media sources: