Is there an explanation for the prominence of blue-colored wolves, especially werewolves, in fiction?

In media, a large number of wolf characters (werewolves or otherwise) are depicted as blue, ranging from bright blue to a subdued purple - examples include Warwick (League of Legends), Jon Talbain (Darkstalkers), Sabrewulf (Killer Instinct), Tiger (Monster Rancher), and Weregarurumon (Digimon). While unrealistically colored animals are common in fiction, the prominence and consistency of this specific style has made me wonder if there is a historical or heavily-ingrained cultural reason for this.

Why are wolves, especially werewolves, depicted with blue fur? Are there legends or folklore regarding this? Are there real-life species of wolves that are particularly blue in color? Does it relate to their association with the full moon for which they are tied to? Are their old historic records or stories about wolves, fictional or non-fiction, that relate them to the color blue for any reason?

1 Answer 1


In short: Because blue is a stand-in for black.

Warning: This post leans heavily on TvTropes. Click links at your own risk.

This appears to be a subset of the trope Hair Color Dissonance:

This can also be done for art reasons, as actual black tends to look very poor in animation.

Your brain will typically "correct" dark blue or purple hair into "black", wheras true black might not look right:

Alternately, it's similar to the practice of exaggerating motions and forms to make them look right when animated; when trying to exactly mimic realism, it can come across as slightly off and dead. It's not so much the Weirdness Censor acting up as an intentional manipulation of the eye and how it perceives color.

A second trope, Purple is the New Black, explores the use of purple specifically, but notes:

In older comics, blue was used because it was one of the basic pigment colors and thus inexpensive (and because Hollywood Darkness is generally blue-tinted). This has led to some mixed messages over whether (for example) Nightcrawler's fur or Spider-Man's pants are blue, or if they're black in the same way Superman's hair is black (despite having blue highlights).

So my guess is that they're probably supposed to be black (Sabrewulf in particular seems to be in-character black). Of course, several of those games come from Japan, where the process has been exaggerated until rainbow-colored hair (and fur) is now seen as normal (see the trope You Gotta Have Blue Hair).


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.