It seems many Marvel characters have patches of white hair, or partially white hair.

For example:

  • Rogue:

    Rogue hair

  • Mr Fantastic:

    Mr. Fantastic hair

  • Nick Fury:

    Nick Fury hair

  • Oliver Raven Lebeau:

    Lebeau hair

There are also others. Is there a known reasons why many Marvel characters have this kind of hair? I'd like an out-of-universe explanation, not the in-universe reasons why they have white in their hair.

  • 3
    Rogue aside, I'd guess to indicate aging in a medium where the characters don't age by default.
    – Politank-Z
    Nov 2 '15 at 18:05
  • If I had to make a guess... rule of cool?
    – Theik
    Nov 2 '15 at 18:12
  • Stan Lee felt he needed to feel young again?
    – Oak
    Nov 2 '15 at 19:04
  • 1
    Wait, Nick Fury has hair?
    – Mr Lister
    Nov 2 '15 at 19:39
  • @MrLister The non-Ultimate version does.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Nov 2 '15 at 19:48

It varies wildly. For example, in the Movie X-Men, Rogue's hair is turned white during the ordeal with Magneto's machine. In certain comics, she dyes/bleaches it white because she likes it. In others, it's because she absorbed a portion of Magneto's life-force, and that turned her hair white. Coloring the sides of a man's hair, similar to your Nick Fury & Mr. Fantastic, is also a common way to show a man has "aged well" even though his face & stature hasn't really changed. This is largely due to men, both real and comic-bound, having a tendancy to have shorter hair on the sides of their head in relation to the top.

In the real world, it is common for a person who undergoes trauma or intense stress over an extended period of time to have a portion or all of their hair to turn white (referenced in the X-men movie above). It isn't usually something that happens overnight, or even over a small period of time, but it can happen. People have even pointed to pictures of President Obama before election and current to show how much the stress of the presidency has taken it's toll. Being a superhero, or villain, would probably also take a similar impact on one's body.

In general, media guidelines suggest that when you have bodies of the same shape or size, as a general rule, you want to create visual cues so the observer (reader, watcher, player, et cetera) so you don't have to constantly give a full face shot so the observer can identify him or her. Sometimes this manifests as a specific outfit (for example, the Power Rangers also wearing their specific colors when not actually in their ranger suits), as an overarching theme of a character (Ex: Both Nidalee and Kalista are "relatively scantily clad, spear-throwing adult female" characters in League of Legends, so they not only have different color palettes, but also different ways of moving, and different roles in the game). Little things like having a unique haircuts/styles or signature clothing help observers keep tabs on who's who without extra effort. And the more that unique object "pops" against the background, the better.

For example, "Busty flying white girl in green leotard with yellow accents" could be Meggan, Siryn, or Rogue (or, or, or...), so the artists use things like hair color to help tell people apart.

  • "In the real world, it is common for a person who undergoes trauma or intense stress over an extended period of time to have a portion or all of their hair to turn white" youtu.be/GaUqpnHvua8?t=26s
    – tenwest
    Aug 13 '16 at 19:20

Obligatory TV Tropes reference (which will ruin your life!), Locked Into Strangeness with a side of Power Dyes Your Hair, specifically invoking Skunk Stripe. There's a fairly common event in entertainment media where a significant event causes a permanent change in the hair. It's a single streak in part because it avoids the entire head of hair turning white (white hair tends to be associated with advanced age, not always so great when you want to depict dynamic heroes). Use of power, particularly channeling energy, is sometimes also shown to bleach hair color.

Ultimately, I think that Vogie probably has the answer sewn up, but I wanted an excuse to bring up the TVTropes links.

  • I suspect the trope you're actually looking for is "Skunk Stripe"
    – Valorum
    Aug 13 '16 at 17:41
  • That too. :) To me, the actual cause of the whitening was more important than the actual "single stripe of hair".
    – FuzzyBoots
    Aug 14 '16 at 4:21

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