A Load of Bull

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17Minotauros.jpg
'Moo'. Are you happy now?
Tauren Male, World of Warcraft

Talking bulls or bull-men, especially those who stand on two feet (usually hooves, though not always). They tend to take strength-based characteristics, most likely be a Mighty Glacier, rarely a Fragile Speedster.

This trope goes all the way back to the Gud-alim of Mesopotamian Mythology, so it's Older Than Dirt. The later myth of the Minotaur has directly inspired about 99% of all examples below.

Compare Big Badass Wolf and related tropes. See also Everything's Better with Cows, Horn Attack, and Bullfight Boss.

Examples of A Load of Bull include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The Marvel Universe villain Man-Bull.
  • Bova is a cow-woman who sometimes appears in the Avengers comics.
  • Wonder Woman has occasionally been seen encountering the, or at least a, Minotaur. She had one as the chef for her embassy.
  • Tony Stark once faced a human / bull hybrid, during the age he also met Midas and Madam Masque, in a trend of Greek foes for the Ironclad one.
  • Rintrah, who was Doctor Strange's apprentice for some time in the nineties, ressembled a green minotaur.
  • A humanoid buffalo shows up in the Hack Slash short comic "Home, Home on Derange". It was created when bigoted cowboys interrupted a Native American ritual.

Film[edit | hide]

Literature[edit | hide]

  • The Last Unicorn: The Red Bull.
  • Somewhat subverted by Thomas Burnett Swann's Eunostos the Minotaur, who has at least as much brains as brawn.
    • Not to mention Silver Bells.
  • Bull-centaurs or shedu (see below) may exist in Narnia. Regular minotaurs exist as well (mostly bad in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, although the Prince Caspian movie has a heroic badass one).
  • Om from Small Gods, when manifesting himself on the Disc, would take the shape of many animals, the bull being one of the most popular, and the holy horns being the sacred sign.
    • Sergeant Colon finds himself meeting, in Feet of Clay, Rogers the Bulls. No, that's not a typo. To everyone not a bull, there's only one bull. However, apparently each eye of a bull sees a noticeably different field. Thus, the bull reasons, this must be the sight of two bulls. This explains why bullses tend to tilt their heads: so each bull can see what's going on.
  • Ferdinand the Bull from a 1936 book by Munro Leaf was a subversion, as he was quite gentle, preferring picking flowers and other "girly" activities.
  • Both a minotaur-type creature (oddly named Erinyes, and blind) and a rubber Ferdinand the Bull mask figure in the plot of the Stephen King novel "Rose Madder".
  • House of Leaves has numerous references to Greek mythology, including the Minotaur. The book has mythological references printed in red, and passages which are, to some degree, threatening to the reader are also struck out. Minotaur may or may not be struck out, depending on if it's in one of the aforementioned mythological references.
  • A Cordwainer Smith short story has B'dikkat, a humanoid bull-person, as a caretaker of the inmates on a prison planet.
  • In the Thursday Next book The Well of Lost Plots, a murderous Minotaur escapes and wreaks havoc throughout the books of the Book World. He goes by the alias Norman Johnson, and in the following book Something Rotton he is hit with a Slapstick marker so that they can track him through Fiction. No one in the books he enters seems to notice he's a Minotaur.
  • Fablehaven briefly features a huge shedu-style creature (see below) called a Lammasu. They also have traditional minotaurs.
  • A genetically engineered minotaur appears in the third book of Piers Anthony's Warrior's Circle trilogy. He's a nice guy normally, but he's been built to go into a murderous sexual frenzy periodically, inflamed by the smell of a virgin. Murderous because, well, he's hung like a bull.
  • As well as several briefly-mentioned minotaurs, Neil Gaiman's American Gods gives us "the buffalo man" (a man with the head of a bison), who seems to be an Anthropomorphic Personification of America itself.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

Music[edit | hide]

  • OX, bassist of Finnish shock rock band Lordi, is a skeletal 'bulltaur.'
  • The creature in the logo for Radiohead's Amnesiac is refered to as the "Minotaur", even though it doesn't really resemble a bull.

Oral Tradition[edit | hide]

Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • The WWF gave us Mantaur. Somehow, mankind survived anyway.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle: The almost-forgotten Chaos Dwarfs, being heavily influenced by Mesopotamia, have the Great Taurus, a chariot-sized red bull with wings and which can also breathe fire unless I'm quite mistaken. They also have Bull Centaurs and the Lammasu, based on the mythological Shedu mentioned above. The original Lammasu was a lion with a human head.
    • The Beasts of Chaos utilize minotaurs in their ranks as well.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, we have the Tau. Hooved, herbivorous, (comparatively) peaceful, and led by a bunch of Druids. They are also, unusually, Fragile Speedsters rather than Mighty Glaciers, who feel that close combat is uncivilized, and completely unnecessary in a world full of plasma weaponry and walking battlesuits. Unfortunately for them...
  • Dungeons & Dragons has Minotaurs and Gorgons. The latter are NOT the snake-headed chicks from Greek Mythology—those are listed as Medusae—but metal plated foul-tempered carnivorous bulls with Petrification Breath Weapon.
    • Also part of the bulls = strength thing, the spell bull's strength...increases strength.
    • Dragonlance also included minotaurs as a fairly civilized, if not always nice, Proud Warrior Guys Race.
      • Which may have inspired 4e to make them a playable race in general.
    • Mystara also has Enduks -- winged Minotaurs.
  • Minotaurs in Magic: The Gathering are usually portrayed as Proud Warrior Race Guys. Hurloon Minotaur was an iconic creature in the early history of the game, but it wasn't actually a very good card.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse often speaks of the extinct Apis breed: a race of were-aurochs whose task was matchmaking, to ensure successful bloodlines of shifters. Sadly, they were wiped out in the massive wave of werewolf jackassery known as the War of Rage. The Minotaur was the last of their kind.
    • Their spiritual heirs, the Baal-Hadad (alternatively, "Gudthabak"), appear in Werewolf: The Forsaken and are much less nice. They are a race of Helios (sun-spirit) worshippers who are convinced it is their purpose to rule over humans as "lords of the herd" and who only reproduce by magically transforming wolf-blooded humans into their own kind.
  • The Mutants and Masterminds setting Freedom City has Taurus, who in addition to being the original Minotaur, has prospered quite well since his days of being locked up in the Labyrinth on Crete. Now, he runs another sort of Labyrinth, a criminal organization operating behind so many shell companies that few individuals get a glimpse of the whole thing.
  • Scion introduces Minotaurs as a Demigod level threat (and potential followers)... and makes their origin even more squicktastic, by virtue of making Poseidon even more of a Jerkass then Classical Mythology normally makes its gods! In the myths, Poseidon cursed Pasiphaë to fall in lust with the White Bull after King Minos tried to cheat his way out of giving it back to Poseidon. In Scion, the White Bull's first act upon emerging from the sea was to rape Pasiphaë, then rampage across Crete raping any woman it could catch! King Minos couldn't do anything to stop the creature as, while Poseidon took no interest in what it was doing, he knew that harming it would draw the Sea God's wrath—the only relief came to Crete when Heracles came and carried the White Bull off as one of his labors. In its wake, it left a considerable brood of Minotaurs, which are still a One-Gender Race that procreates by raping human women.
  • One of the signature Lunar Exalted is Strength of Many. Since his Spirit Totem is a bull, his war form greatly resembles a minotaur. His Tell is having the hooves of a bull for feet.

Theater[edit | hide]

  • In Sophocles’ tragedy, The Women of Trachis, Hercules’ wife Deianira speaks of the spirit of the Acheloüs River who appeared to her as a bull, a great water serpent, and finally as “a man’s body but a bull’s face, and from his clump of beard whole torrents of water splashed like a fountain.” (The Disney movie Hercules also depicted the river spirit as a man-bull.)

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In the Doom series, anything in the Baron family (namely Barons of Hell, Hell Knights, Cyberdemons, Skulltag's mod-exclusive Belphegors, possibly even The Baphomet itself unless you clip through his face and find John Romero's head; then he's just a wall sprite with attitude) all base themselves off minotaurs. The 3D versions? Eh... Our Cyberdemons Are Sissier.
    • While far more bloated and chubby, Pain Elementals share the Baron's bull horns, even bearing stubby, useless little arms as well. An evolution / degradation to the Baron genus?
  • The Tauren race from the Warcraft universe, who, in something of a subversion of the classic minotaur concept, are Gentle Giants with a culture inspired by western Native American tribes. They are the largest Player Character race in the game and, appropriately enough, are the only ones whose "/moo" emote sounds like an actual bovine's.
    • Villainous tauren are relatively rare in World of Warcraft; there is a (now defunct) villain named Mr. Smite in Deadmines, and there are the Grimtotem, a rival tribe to the playable Bloodhoof. With those exceptions, most Tauren tend to be friendly (and cuddly.)
  • Minotaurs are a race of creatures in Heroes of Might and Magic.
  • Hell Bovines from the Secret Cow Level in Diablo II.
    • In Lord of Destruction, there are some enormous minotaur-like demons in Act V, called [Descriptor] Lords. For some reason, bull-demons are all named for the Clans of goatfolk from Act I and Act II—Moon Clan/Lord, Blood Clan/Lord, etc.
  • The Wario Land series has Beefne from Wario Land 1 and Red-Brief J from Wario World. Amusingly fitting, they both imitate some of Wario's trademark abilities.
  • Reploid Mino Magnaxe from Mega Man Zero 4.
  • God of War features several Minotaurs as Giant Mooks and pits Kratos against a gigantic armored minotaur demon zombie who is on fire as a level boss.
  • Subverted and played straight in Soul Nomad. Subverted with Sepps, (a quick agile race that looks mostly human). Played straight with Redflanks (Mighty Glaciers, much larger but less human looking). Both races have heroic examples. Danette (female Sepp) and Grunzford (male Red Flank, who's also a Cool Old Guy).
  • General Slaughter in the Battletoads games.
  • El Odio from Psychonauts is a giant, pink bull that not only terrorizes one character's mind, but also the player, for the entire level.
    • And as it turns out, killing him would be unthinkable as he is in fact the character whose mind he is found in.
  • Goht in The Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask (the one who had to be beating by being out-raced and bashed as a Goron).
  • Heretic. The Maulotaurs were the second episode boss, and were about as tough as the Cyberdemon. In the final battle of Shadow of the Serpent Riders, you had to fight eight of them.
    • They also showed up in Hexen as well, where they could be summoned to help you in battles.
  • Taurus Fire in Mega Man Star Force.
  • Brahminator (fun encounter) in Fallout Tactics.
  • Bigbutt from Banjo-Kazooie, who is extremely powerful and only appears in three places in the entire game. He's functionally immortal (he can never die), but not invulnerable (you can attack him and knock him out but he always gets back up).
  • Keine Kamishirasawa from Touhou Imperishable Night. She's also a werecreature.
    • This one is actually the result of Memetic Mutation. Keine herself does not have any cow features, or really, anything to do with cows at all. The horns she has in Were-Hakutaku form are simply close in appearance to those of a cow.
  • King's Quest VI had an infuriating section in which you had to walk around a labyrinth to rescue a princess from a Minotaur, in a direct reference to the Greek myth.
  • Quest for Glory I had a minotaur as the guard of the gate of the Brigands' Lair. He's actually there only to protect the Baron's daughter, Elsa, who due to an enchantment has forgotten who she is and become the Brigands' leader. He shows up again in the fifth game as the Guildmaster of the Adventurers' Guild in Silmaria... even if you killed him in the first game.
  • In order to get into a house in Mechquest, you need to complete a quest with a Minotaur boss.
  • ActRaiser: the final boss of the first land is named Minotaurus, no guesses as to what he is.
  • MadWorld has these in the form of recurring miniboss Big Bull Crocker. "Now that is a bunch of bull!" Granted, Big Bull Crocker is just a giant man wearing a helmet, but still.
  • Minotaurs play an important role in Puzzle Quest. They are mostly Proud Warrior Race Guys, and the protagonist has to earn their respect, after which minotaur priest joins the party. The minotaurs' god—Lord Sartek—is also a huge minotaur. Among the bad guys there are minotaur slavers, undead Skelotaurs (skeletal minotaurs), undead minotaur Doomknight, and even mechanical Mechataur.
  • First appeared as a boss in Rondo of Blood, the Minotaur has been hanging around the Castlevania franchise for a while now.
  • Partially subverted in Blue Dragon. Jiro's shadow is a Minotaur, though he's also the brains of the team (that is, at least before Zola joins the party), has a smooth voice and tends to fight better as a back-row mage.
  • Tohma from Tales of Rebirth. He provides the muscle of the Four Stars, though he's not dumb at all.
  • Originally, Bowser, the main villain of the Super Mario Bros. series games was actually not perceived as a turtle-dragon, but instead an ox.
  • Minotaurs appear as mooks in Will Rock. They throw axes at you and can split up into two smalle Blood Minotaurs if killed with anything but the Sniper Crossbow, the Acid Gun, Medusa Gun or Atomic Gun.
  • Minotaurs appear as Demonic Spiders in Warriors of Might and Magic, having lots of HP and being very strong in battle. The best way to kill them is using Air magics like Thunderbolt and Ghosts.
  • In Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, a minotaur disguises itself as a tree and infects Kaeli (one of the hero's traveling partners) with poison.
  • Xain from Legend of Legaia.
  • Dwarf Fortress features minotaurs. They sometimes attack your Fortress and can be found in Labyrinths in Adventure Mode. They are less than a tenth the size of any other semi-megabeast, but more than make up for it by naturally being experts with all melee weapons.
  • Minotaurs appear in City of Heroes as boss enemies. You'll find them in Cimerora, which is loosely based on Rome and it's mythology.
    • And thanks to the Animal Pack, players can make one of their own, complete with Beast Run.
  • In Academagia, Minotaurs are one of the non-human intelligent species of Elumia. While civilized and not innately hostile, they apparently tend to keep to themselves and don't normally mix with humans or other species. One notable exception to this seclusion is Gorithnak, Academagia's Master Smith and head of The Grand Forge. Although he isn't portrayed as particularly gregarious either...
  • Alistar the Minotaur is a playable champion in League of Legends. He's a dual tank and support-type champion, being both incredibly durable and having several crowd control attacks and an AoE heal.
  • A minotaur appears as a boss in several Castlevania games, including Symphony of the Night and Curse of Darkness.
  • Fantasy Quest pits you against one, hand to hand, in a volcano.
  • Tauros from Pokémon
    • Black and White gives us Terrakion, a bull-like Pokemon that's based off of one of The Three Musketeers.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Krunch Bloodrage (and the whole Bloodrage clan) from the webcomic Looking for Group. Believe it or not, he's not the warrior.
  • The dreaded Minotaur of Crete appears in Gunnerkrigg Court. He's called Basil, and he's a nice guy who's easily startled.
  • The Superest: Janitaur.
  • Principal Beau Vine from Ozy and Millie.
  • Dungeons & Denizens stars Min, a beefy, yet mild-mannered Minotaur working as a janitor in a dungeon. His brother is much taller and beefier. A recently-introduced new Minotaur, called Titanic, is even larger.
  • Atland features Bruce the minotaur as a main character. Physically, Bruce has the body of a tall muscular human male with the head of a bull. While he has a pair of human hands, his feet are stout cloven hooves. His entire body is covered with short sleek brown fur and he has a very human-like tuft of black hair on top of his head. Bruce has sired a half-human son named Tad who seems to be entirely human with the exception of a pair of horns and green eyes lacking in pupils, just like his old man.
  • Tavros Nitram, one of the trolls in Homestuck, has huge horns that are very much like a bull's. Unsurprising, since all of the trolls follow a Western zodiac theme and he represents Taurus, the bull sign.
  • A story in The KAMics featured a minotaur named Bob
  • The Dreadful gives us Boozloaf, who doubles as a somewhat Badass Preacher and Pungeon Master.
  • Dagg the Fierce in At Arms Length, a would-be pillager minotaur, runs afoul of dragon mercenaries Kaige and Kiley.
    • Also, his cousin supposedly once attacked main characters Ally, Reece and Sheila, with a .44 Magnum at that.
  • Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic has Turg. Sort of cool big chap, but as the only member of his species around, very lonely—until he met a Sphinx and chose to stay with her. Yeah.
  • The legend of the Minotaur is referenced in this Oglaf comment, and the Minotaur himself appears here. (Caution: the linked comics are sfw, but the comic as a whole is very much not.)

Western Animation[edit | hide]