Robot 6

Six by 6 | Six comics that made us cry

Tom Strong #36

Tom Strong #36

This week Chris Mautner suggested we share our softer sides and each talk about three comics that broke down our tough-guy exteriors and made us openly weep as we turned the pages. It’s a risky venture, to be sure; to some members of our audience, this will destroy the “manly man” image we’ve worked so hard to build up on the blog, but for others, it will show there’s more to who we are than just bad jokes and Shelf Porn.

So here they are — six comics that made us cry. After reading our selections, be sure to grab a tissue and tell us what comics made you cry as well.

1. “We’re brothers, Tom”

I always thought Tom Strong was the weakest of Alan Moore’s ABC line (in fact I said so rather openly in issue #231 of The Comics Journal). Oh sure, there were lots of colorful dialogue and zany plots, but I felt the series was sorely lacking in gravitas. The characters seemed too thinly sketched to me and I couldn’t find myself forming enough of an emotional commitment to them to care about what happened to them. It kept hinting that there was a lot more going on under the surface, but that’s all it would do, hint.

That was until the final issue, no. 36, where, during the “end of the world as we know it” created by Promethea, Tom is confronted by the ghost of his arch-enemy Paul Saveen, who reveals that he is, in fact, Tom’s half-brother. What follows is one of the most tender scenes I’ve ever read in a superhero book (“Jesus Paul” Tom says, breaking down “We tried to kill each other.”) When, two pages later, Tom introduces Saveen to a passerby with a simple “This is my brother. This is my brother Paul” well, I just lose it. –Chris Mautner

2. “…I think I’m going to cry …”

Back in the 1980s, Marv Wolfman and George Perez had a pretty incredible run on the New Teen Titans, and issue #38 always stood out to me as one of the highlights — and one that, yes, made me cry. “Who is Donna Troy?” was narrated by Dick Grayson as he attempted to track down information about his longtime friend Donna Troy, whose past was much less of a continuity nightmare back then. The structure of the story had Grayson using his detective skills to find clues about Donna’s past, and we saw her emotional reaction as he presented each of them to her. Part of the mystery is resolved thanks to a doll Grayson finds in the apartment building where Wonder Woman first found Donna. He tracks it back to a toymaker who used to fix dolls for the orphanage where Donna lived for a time, which eventually leads to Donna reuniting with her adopted mother and visiting the grave of her real mom.

An emotional scene, sure, but it wasn’t the one that got me … it was when Grayson pulls out the doll again, fixed by the toymaker. It gets me every time:

from New Teen Titans #38

from New Teen Titans #38

–JK Parkin

3. “The Indifferent Winter”

Chris Ware’s comics always get billed as “cold” and “unfeeling,” which never makes sense to me, as I see him as one of the most heart-rendering cartoonists around. There’s one strip, however, collected in Quimby the Mouse, that, upon first read, made me break down and reach for the tissue box. It’s a silent strip, consisting of tiny, tiny panels, all of equal size, taking up an entire page (that’s 13 across and 25 down if you need an accurate count). It’s a simple tale involving the ever fickle Quimby and the bodyless cat head he hates. Tired of his presence, he sends the head off on an oceanic voyage, where the poor thing ends up encased in ice before being saved and eventually comforted by another mouse. Of course, by this point, Quimby is disconsolate at the loss of his friend/lover/whatever and sets off to find him. He does, but it’s too late, the cat head is happy in his new relationship, so Quimby heads back home alone. Months pass and a package arrives for the head. It’s the old victrola he and Quimby used to listen to and its appearance makes the head burst into copious tears of regret. I don’t know why, but by that final panel I was doing the same thing. It didn’t matter really what Ware did from that point forward. He had me. –Chris Mautner

4. “Yes, Doctor Octavius. You can help. You must help.”

No, he couldn’t — or wouldn’t, anyway. In Fantastic Four #267, a pregnant Sue Richards had radiation poisoning, and a host of the Marvel Universe’s top scientist — including her husband, Reed — were trying to find a cure to save Sue and the baby. In a desperate moment, Reed turns to an incarcerated Doctor Otto Octavius, a.k.a. Doctor Octopus, and asks for his help.

While overall things weren’t looking good for Sue and her baby, this issue started with a glimmer of hope, that maybe the Fantastic Four could find the help they needed from one of Spider-Man’s worst enemies. At the time, Octavius was separated from his mechanical arms, and Reed manages to connect with him as a scientist, convincing him that he could still help people. Unfortunately, once Reed and Octavius are on their way to see Sue, old habits return, and Reed spends most of the issue wrapped in battle with the Octopus arms.

It’s a pretty emotional issue all around, from Reed’s desperation to save his family to the seeming redemption of Doctor Octopus. But it’s the last page that really got me:

from Fantastic Four #267

from Fantastic Four #267

–JK Parkin

5. “Don’t wiggle aroun’ an get the covers off’n ya.”

E.C. Segar’s Popeye is, without a doubt, one of the funniest comic strips ever made (I’m pretty sure it says so in the Library of Congress somewhere) but that’s only part of the reason it’s one of the greatest comics ever made (again, LoC). Segar had drawn such indelible and compelling characters for so long that he could easily turn farce into heartfelt tragedy without nary a pause. That’s exactly what he did in the Sept 26, 1937 Sunday strip, where the baby Swee’Pea’s long lost mother returns to claim her child. Forced to turn him over, Popeye goes dead silent, staring at the door, then sits down on a stool, his hand on his chin. “Sweepea’s gone,” he says, matter of factly. The Jeep, his odd pet, gets a baby doll from the table and hands it to Popeye. Popeye puts it Swee’Pea’s bed, tucks it in and then goes to bed himself, with a simple “G’Night.” That, ladies in gentlemen, is the saddest comic I have ever read. God, I’m getting all verklempt just typing this. –Chris Mautner

6. “Nothing’s wrong at all.”

Grant Morrison’s run on Animal Man is one of my favorites. From the story of Crafty in “The Coyote Gospel” to the animal rights issue featuring Dolphin to revisiting Psycho Pirate being the only one who remembered Crisis on Infinite Earths, the book covered a lot of interesting and varied themes. The one theme, though, that really resonated with me was the theme of family. Despite all the postmodern, “breaking the fourth wall” adventures that Animal Man found himself in, Buddy Baker was at heart a family man, and throughout the series I came to love reading about Ellen and the kids as much as I did about Mirror Master and B’wana Beast.

So when issue #19 hit, man … it was an emotional punch to see Buddy’s family die. But that’s not the moment I remember that made me cry. It was when they came back in Animal Man #26:

Animal Man #26

Animal Man #26

In a classic issue that featured a conversation between Animal Man and his writer, the only person who really could save Buddy’s family, Grant Morrison, does just that. Sniff. –JK Parkin



Great picks! As these things happen, I was thinking about that last issue of Tom Strong just yesterday, and how moving it was, just yesterday, so I’m delighted to see it here. In fact, Moore has managed to get under my skin a couple of times, with the story “Pog” from Swamp Thing being first and foremost.

BTW, did nobody else want to take up the crybaby challenge, or was this always designed to be the two of you?

The rest of the crew wanted to retain the right to point and laugh.

But seriously, Chris had the idea and agreed to do half of them. I probably would have reached out to the others if I got stuck, but I came up with my three pretty easily.

Global Honored

June 21, 2009 at 12:27 pm

Great read. Those were some tender moments for sure. Now quit being a wuss and do a ghastly death top ten already!

Roger Stern wrote an issue of that World Without A Superman story (post Superman 75) (Action Comics?) where Bibbo breaks down and asks God why Superman died and a bum like him is still around.

That got to me.

If that stuff makes you cry, I do not recommend reading Laika, by First Second.

Actually, I do recommend it. And have a box of tissues handy. I am not joking. I mistakenly read it on a bus trip from San Diego to Denver, and did not have any tissues. My sleeves were drenched. (Thankfully, I was reading with a book light and it was dark :o)

Two very recent examples

The issue of Action Comics in which Pa Kent dies (again) really got me – when Clark finally hears his mother screaming after Kandor finishes expanding, and then he races back and finds himself too late – the pain on his face, and how you can see him straining against time to get back – a masterwork by Messrs Johns and Frank.

And in the latest issue of Batman, when Superman askes Alfred if he’s OK, and he responds, “no, I’m not alright… my son is dead.” I tried re-reading that page, but couldn’t do it.

good list. for i remember the sorrow when after reed worked to save sue and her baby even making a deal with doc oct only to see his effort all for naught as for that teen titans issue i found dick giving donna the doll moving when i first read it espically since the doll looks like a raggedy ann version of starfire. as for animal man the look when he got his family back made me reach for the tissues. cool list. though surprised you did not put jeans death in the dark phonix saga on the list. instead

Yes, good list but you forgot this:

Shade, the Changing Man # 50

Lenny takes a cigarette and says this things:

“He was in a band. He said he was going to be The New David Bowie. For a while i did not even mind him calling me Angie. But then he got a job at his uncle’s shoe factory, and the rock star thing just became something he could talk about when he was drunk or miserable. A stupid delusion. The truth is he never had the guts to really go for it. By the time i realized he wasn’t the person i though he was, i was nineteen. With a baby.”

And of page.

It’s not end. I was cry so much in this issue. Death, despair, love.

Ah yes, the death of the Richards’ second child. A powerful, unforgettable, humanizing moment.

Sure is a good thing that everyone since has been content to leave well enough alone and not try to monkey around with that…

Amazing Spider-Man #400. One of the most moving death scenes ever, be it comics or otherwise.

The scene in All Star Superman #10 where Superman brings the Superman Emergency Squad to cure the kids in the cancer ward. Honestly, that whole issue is just one emotional “You will believe a man can fly” moment after another.

How about the Swamp Thing 55 (I think). Swamp Thing’s funeral narrated by Abby. Very emotional. Or the Blue Planet issue.

Or the final doom patrol (grant morrison) where Cliff meets Crazy Jane on the bridge to take her home?

Astro City #1/2 – about a regular guy whos haunted by images/memories/dreams of his wife lost in a “Crisis” like event.

Scott Morse’s Visitations is the big one for me.

Jackie Estrada

June 22, 2009 at 9:22 am

I defy anyone to read Carol Tyler’s “The Hannah Story” (which appeared in an issue of Drawn & Quarterly) and not start sobbing.

Y: The Last Man #s 59-60. Beautiful and brilliant.

Animal Man #5: “I’m sorry. I can’t read it.”

Iron Man (Vol.4) #15. The death of Happy Hogan.

Peter David’s final issue of The Incredible Hulk, where an aged Rick Jones gives his account of his relationship with Bruce Banner to a reporter.

Since I read it in trade I’m not sure of the issue number (49, maybe?), but The Walking Dead issue wherein Rick believes he’s found another group of survivors via telephone.

Oh, and Silver Surfer: Requiem #4. Damn.

And sorry for the overpost, but Promethea #36, as well. What can I say? I cry like a little girl.

Mine was on Justice League Annual, when Blue Beetle (very chubby) was being mocked by ordinary crooks even though he was doing his job. He really seemed down but still strugling to keep his morals and righteousness. It was poignant for me at that time. Tragic on comedy.

“The Boy Who Collected Spider-Man” by Roger Stern. Great story, many tears, never syrupy or overly sentimental.

The Animal Man and Fantastic Four I whole heartedly agree with and you are not alone with your appraisal of Chris Ware.

One for me was an issue of Spawn where Terry Finally meets Spawn and knows it’s Al, one page one hug one choke from me.


AND Robert Kirkmans issue were Lori dies. I was almost sobbing.

The only comic that ever made me cry was the last issue of Y: The Last Man, when Ampersand died. Just broke my heart.

Mother Come Home.

Gets me every time.

I cannot believe that no one has mentioned Uncanny X-Men 137 yet.

“Once upon a time, there was a girl named Jean Grey and a boy named Scott Summers. They were young. They were in love. They were heroes. And today, they will prove it, beyond any shadow of a doubt.”

I just misted up now writing that.

Two spring to mind.

The first is an issue of Incredible Hulk written by Peter David. I don’t remember the issue number. Its the one with the killer “Crazy 8.” The ending, the twist of it, gets me every time.

More recently, its All Star Superman #6. The death of Pa Kent. I’ve read and re-read it dozens of times, each time praying it ends differently, even as I know it won’t.

Death of Captain Marvel, specifically when the Skrull general shows up to salute Mar-vell as their greatest enemy ever. I was thirteen, I think, and that was the first time in nine years of reading comics that one made me cry.

Swamp Thing #32, “Pog”.

Peter David’s final Hulk issue is very good, but it’s issue where Jim Wilson dies (#420 to be exact), that REALLY gets the water works going.

But that being sad, there were so many great moments in that series. You could read it all in a day you get that sucked in to it.

Supergirl’s dying words to Kal-El in Crisis on Infinite Earths #7, “I wanted YOU to be safe…you mean so much to me…so much to the world…You’re crying, please don’t. You taught me to be brave and I was…I love you so much for waht you are. For how…good you are…”

And then Superman’s anguished cry in silhouette without caption or sound effect.

Wipes me out everytime.

Not a superhero comic but the Calvin and Hobbes story where he finds the injured bird. Gets me every time.

The end of The Judas Contract. The one panel towards the end. Gar Logan cradling Terras dead body. That was the saddest moment in any comic. EVER.

Starman #80 makes me tear up a bit at the end…

@ Colduo

I googled that strip and it was good, but I also found the raccoon story which made me fight back spontaneous tears!

Y the Last Man 60

Silver Surfer Requiem 4

Worlds Finest: Our Worlds At War Special. When the elder statesmen of the JSA bid farewell to Hippoloyta.

Sandman# 8 the first Death story: “You get what everone gets. A lifetime.”

the end of Sandman: A Game of You – Wanda’s Funeral

Identity Crisis: Sue’s funeral, Firestorm’s death “Tell my Dad I said goodbye…”, the deaths of Jack Drake & Captain Boomerang.

the ends of We3 and Starman

the deaths of Solly, Ted & Nash (all Starman), Gert (Runnaways), Blok (Legion), Buddy & Vic Sage (52).

Stuck Rubber Baby.

Okay, I’m stopping now. Having dredged up all those memories I need to go and get some counselling.

Hitman #60: the reason I can’t re-read the whole series. Beautifully written but unbearable. The end of JLA/Hitman worked the same way…

Giant Size Astonishing X-Men #1: Gone. With my pride as a cried like a baby.

The funeral issue in Starman (#75? 76?) kills me every time. Every time.

Yeah, I cried over the last issue of Hitman, too. THAT was tragic…

I think of only one issue that made me cry. It was Identity Crisis #6, death of jack Drake. he point where he talks to Oracle and then to his son. You see Tim begging Bruce to hurry and the conversation between Tim and Jack right before Jack dies makes me cry.

I have never read that Teen Titans issue and just the description given here kind of got me a little teary there. Now i gotta hunt that down to read the full issue. Great List.

One Comic that made me cry, Identity Crisis when Tim Drakes dad died. That last scene with Batman holding tim and that line..”Batman and Robin..Orphans” I lost my S**T.

Tom Fitzpatrick

June 27, 2009 at 1:23 pm

The Amazing Spider-man (1999) # 36, the 9/11 issue by JMS and John Romita, Jr., gets me every time.

Especially, around the scene where they show Dr. Doom crying.

How could anybody read this issue with a dry eye is beyond me.

Pedro and Me

And the issue of All-Star Superman where future Supermen come back in time so that Clark can say goodbye to Pa Kent (number 6?).

I recall a story by Grant Morrison during his New X-Men run, where the story is told from a dogs point of view. The team is trying to figure out what happened, and reading the dog’s thoughts with ” my master is home ! what ? why is he hitting me ? why ” — and I almost felt overwelmed with anger and sadness.

I just thought about how horrible it must be for the animal. I almost shed a tear.

and I’m not even a Dog Lover.


Davey Boy Smith

June 27, 2009 at 2:03 pm

A lot of good comic and graphic novels find mention here.

We3 is heartbraking. “U r Bandit” gets me every time.

Kitty Pryde’s death in Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men. Jean Grey’s death in X-Men #150, where Jean Grey, as she lays dying, bids goodbye to Scott, her “best friend”.

Incredible Hulk #467 was moving, and reminded me why Peter David is considered the definite Hulk author.

“Mother Come Home” is nearly unbearably depressing.

Neil Gaiman’s Death comics are very sad, as is his Sandman issue about the woman who wishes to die after being transformed into Metamorpho.

The X-Force/X-Statix -story where U-Go-Girl sees her daughter for the first time and decides to pose as her older sister in order to protect her is a real weepie. And it’s all beautifully rendered by guest artist Darwyn Cooke.

The Books of Magic 2-parter by Peter Gross where Tim Hunter’s father returns for a day to spend time with his son is probably the saddest story I’ve ever read, as well as being my favourite comic book story of all.

Oh, and lest I forget, the Joe Kelly-penned, Tommy Lee Edwards-illustrated back-up feature in Wolverine Annual 1996 where Logan helps Amiko come to terms with the death of her mother. Amiko’s sense of loss is palpable.

And the story from X-men Unlimited where the Beast meets a potential soulmate, only to discover that she is not mutant, but a mutated cat.

The one-two punch of that issue of I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S NOT THE JUSTICE LEAGUE, when they find Ice in Hell.

First, when Guy Gardner, of all people, just keeps whispering, “Please come back, Tora. Please come back. Please come back.”

And second, at the end, when Bea and Guy hold each other, sobbing.

There was more genuine, heart-wrenching emotion in this silly comedic B-list superhero spin-off than in all of the INFINITE CRISIS titles going on at the same time. I’m getting misty just *thinking* about that issue.

The only issue to ever make me cry was the Pog issue from Swamp Thing. I came close with Elektra Lives Again and a few key points in Cerebus like Jaka’s Story

Tulip: You´re — Crying
Jesse: I guess I must be learnin´.

CEREBUS High Society
When Cerebus says goodbye to The Regency Elf

When Jimmy runs away from hospital

The end of Judd Winyck’s “Barry Ween’s monkey tales”. Shit’s sadder than his Pedro book.

The last issue of Barry Ween 3. Barry, after turning time back, and saving the life of the girl he loves, collapsing in his kitchen and falls apart, sobbing alone. I was right there with him.

Dammit, you got there first

we3 when the dog says “Home”. Oh I wept like a baby

It will always be for me HITMAN #60… everytime. Even just skipping thru that issue gets me close! Also another favourite issue of mine from HITMAN was #49 and the death of Tommy’s father figure Sean. This series is by far one of the best series i’ve ever read and will always hold a tender spot in my heart.

Fables… When Snow talks to their seventh child and tells him to go and find his dad…
And the Walking Dead last Tony Moore issue …

Silver Surfer: Requiem

In the second issue there is a scene where Silver Surfer, knowing he’s going to die, asks Spider man what he could do for Earth before he left. Spider man doesn’t know at first, but once Mary Jane comes back and says “I was free… I was free… my god, I’ve never felt anything like that. Thank you, thank you…” Spider man tells the Surfer he should use his power let everyone in the world see the universe how he does, if only for a moment. That whole sequence brought me to tears. I thought it was one of the most beautiful sentiments I had ever seen. “I told him that people can’t change what they are until and unless they understand what they can be. Unless they can know it, and feel it, in their hearts.” “For five minutes, they, and the whole world, knew what it was to be at peace… to be free.”

Guess mine wasn’t the saddest now that I think about it, but it’s the only time I can think of being moved to tears by a comic book… maybe in the walking dead when they lose control of the prison. You know what I’m talking about.

There’s a bunch of moments in the second half of Scott McCloud’s Zot!, the “Earth Stories,” that get my eyes watery. Especially the issue where Brandy sobs into Ronnie’s arms after he sells his comic collection for her. Just tore me up.

The tail end of Warren Ellis’ and Colleen Doran’s Orbiter also got me teary-eyed.

I had to post becasue in all the years of reading comics, yes I have gotten choked up but the only issue to bring me to tears was issue 12 of Brit by Robert Kirkman. When Brit can’t stop the machiene from crushing his baby boy, I just couldn’t help it.

People have already mentioned ASM #400, which is the first I can remember moving me to tears: “Straight on ’til morning.” DeMatteis has always been good at breaking hearts, though.

There are a lot of comics that get me (probably too many), but sometimes they’re happy tears. Example: JLA #41, the panel where Wonder Woman leads the armies of man into space to fight the Anti-Sun. “They wouldn’t take no for an answer.” Grant Morrison made me proud of the potential we all had. I’ve read that issue six or seven times and still can’t get past that page without misting up.

Here's a Good One

June 27, 2009 at 3:45 pm

You know what makes me want to cry? Every time I see a new comic book with Obama on the cover. I love Obama as much as the next guy, but Jesus! Enough shilling already! It’s not like it’s a collector’s item or anything. In fact, I’m far less inclined to buy your stupid comic, not more.

Wheres WE3? “We3 Gud. Gud Dog. Home Now.”

As other said, Silver Surfer Requiem. The part when he gives Earth the peace, the return home, and the encounter with Galactus (or more appropriately the last several pages.)

Astro City: Tarnished Angel got to me in the scene when he comes out of the fire.

All Star Superman #10 was already mentioned once, but the scene that really got me was when Superman tells a girl as she is about to commit suicide “You are stronger than you think you are.” as he puts his arms around her. WOW!

Definitely agree with suede about Shade the Changing Man #50. That issue should have come with some kleenex.

Another one: Wonder Woman #172 in which Hippolyta dies. That last page was so beautifully and tragically executed.

Lots of good examples. One that hasn’t been listed is the recent Superman/Shazam First Thunder mini series. This is a jem of an emotional ride that went unnoticed for the genius behind the writing. From the look on Captain Marvel’s face when after standing vigil while his buddy dies on the operating table, to the scene where he almost kills Dr. Silvana for causing this, and finally the climax as Superman confronts the Cap on a mountaintop and hears the tearful confession as poor Captain Marvel blames himself. Then to top that, the look of horror on Supermans face when he learns this superhero is just a young boy. And when Superman looks down on a crying boy and asks, “Who did this to you?” we realize that Billy being turned into a superhero is in fact child abuse all along. We agree with every word of Superman’s lecture at the Rock of Eternity when he shows his disgust for what was done to Billy. Genius. Has me in tears every time.

The three stories for me are

The Death of Donna Troy. Everything from the meaninglessness of her death to the reactions of everyone around her it all just struck a chord for me despite deaths being irrelevant in the DC universe especially.

The Thing #4, “Monsters.” It was this great little one off tale where Lockjaw of the inhumans teleports the Thing to a small appalachian town where a youung mutant child named Lucas is feared by the people in the town. The plot itself is a far cry from being completely original, but John Byrne managed to infuse the story with so much emotion and beauty that twenty years later, I still remember it almost panel for panel.

I dont remember the issue number, but in hte original run of What if..? there was a story What If…? The Invisible Woman Had Died. Sue dies in childbrith rather than the baby, and Reed blames Annialhus (sp?) the insect guy from the Negative Zone. Namor joins the F4 and we see each persons remmeberance of Sue before Reed finally loses it and decides to track down Anniahlus. Eventually, Reed kills them both prefering to die than live withou Sue.

Swamp Thing where he brings Abbys soul back from hell after Arcane took her there. Swampy cries, me too.

Has anyone read Sammy Harkham’s “Poor Sailor”? So few words, but so very many tears.

Also, Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Boy on Earth gets me pretty bad every single time.


The panel where his dad leaves him at the World’s Fair, and he just stands up on that balcony alone realizing his father’s abandoned him. Oh boy.

Here’s two:

That Roger Stern “the boy who collected Spiderman” (Amazing 248, I think). Really hits you in the heart.
Also the last issue of Zot! (#36) when Jenny is tracking Zot using her pendant. She turn the corner and finds herself at a hospital… Really well written stuff!

Two somewhat recent examples.

All Star Superman 10 – Superman comes to the rescue of the would-be suicide goth girl and tells her that “It’s never as bad as it seems. You’re much stronger than you think you are. Trust Me”.

And then, Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men, the final montage with Colossus staring at the sunset and remembering Kitty’s words “Everything’s so fragile…”

Peter Parker Spider-man #33 “Maybe Next Year” written by Paul Jenkins. Peter’s reminiscing how his Uncle Ben used to take him to Mets games.

Nice picks guys!
comics that brought me to tears are:
Spiderman2099#10 (where Miguel meets his mom.)
New X-men#150 (Jean’s death at the hands of Magneto.)
Detective comics, where Sasha joins Checkmate.

Avengers #230, where Hank Pym retires after being cleared of criminal charges resulting from Egghead having framed him. Everyone says their goodbyes, including a tearful Jarvis. In the end, Cap pleads with Hank to stay on, saying that “it doesn’t have to end like this.” And Janet Van Dyne finally reacts to the events that led to her divorce from Hank, a process which transformed Jan from ditzy sidekick to a longtime Avengers chairperson.

Roger Stern wrote it. Excellent stuff all around.

Other perennial tearjerkers:

G.I. Joe #19 & #22 – Kwinn and Flagg’s deaths and funerals

Iron Man # 199 – Rhodey and the explosion at Circuits Maximus

JSA # 65 & 66 – The final fate of Rex Tyler

Uncanny X-Men # 137 & #138 – Jean’s death and Scott’s departure

Starman # 80 – The End

There’s a whole lot more, but these are usually the first that spring to mind for me.

Flash’s (Barry) death in Crisis when I was a kid this was the first time a comic pulled that type of emotion from me….it’s the reason I’m more of a DC fan to this day.

Amazing Spider-Man v2 #36(9/11 issue) – Dr. Doom with tears in his eyes…

I just wanted to put in another vote for ASM #400, that’s the first comic I remember bringing me to tears. I also love the moment when Aunt May reveals she’s not an idiot and realized that Peter was Spider-Man a long time ago, that’s why she hated Spider-Man and her way of dealing with it was by not acknowledging it. It was a perfect story.

I also cried in Y the Last Man, more than once in the last story arc, but especially when Ampersand died.

I know there are others, but those are the ones that spring to mind.

Second the sixth issue of All Star Superman #6 with the death of Jonathon Kent. I’ve always felt attached to the Death of Superman saga as well – the final battle with Doomsday followed by a beaten and bloody Superman being craddled by Lois gets to me. Through it all, he was always concerned about Lois and the innocents in Doomsday’s way, never worried about his own safety. To me, that is the definition of what Superman is and always will be.

On a side note, does anyone have a link to the Popeye strip? This particular strip seems very poignant to me right now and I would really like to be able to read it. I believe it should be in the public domain.

Last issue of Y: The Last Man, when Yorick gives Ampersand the pill. Absolutely killed me.

Chris Mautner

June 27, 2009 at 6:55 pm

jjwspider — I haven’t seen a copy of the strip online as of yet, but it’s in the fifth volume of Fantagraphics original Popeye collection, if you want to search Ebay for it. I’m sure it will be eventually collected in Fanta’s current, color run, though it might not be until 2011.

When the Wind Blows. How cheerful the protagonists remain is what makes it so depressing.

Mythos: Captain America #1

This one-shot captures Steve Rogers’ quiet suffering as a man out of time, a frequently under-addressed side of the character. I could see the end coming, but it didn’t help.


June 27, 2009 at 7:26 pm

So many frickin’ pansies…
Grow a sac ladies.

“Amazing Spider-Man #400. One of the most moving death scenes ever, be it comics or otherwise.”

Absolutely. I bought that issue when I was 12 and I was sobbing by the end. Cripes. They were hyping the thing as the issue where “one of the Parker’s dies” and it still got me. Even now with the retcon that it wasn’t the real Aunt May the issue still chokes me up. DeMatteis and Bagley nailed it — they did an amazing job.

Have a good day.
John Cage

Any of the Starman issues where Jack meets David, but particularly when David arranges for Jack to meet his mom.

Starman has a lot of teary moments for me.

– Issue 4? = where Jack kills the Mist’s son and says “I may not have liked my brother, but I loved him…” or some such

– The death and funeral of Ted Knight

And then I wept when the series ended…

“It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch we are free.”

The Valerie letter from V for Vendetta.

For the dozen or so pages the story lasts, Moore makes you feel everything both characters go through. It builds you up and breaks you down simultaneously.
It makes me wonder how, knowing this kind of truly good, emotional stuff is out there, people are completely happy devouring more or the same bubble-headed popcorn crap.

Paul from Rumford

June 27, 2009 at 8:37 pm

There was a 2-part Action Comics story, in which Superman’s blood was poisoned and he was dying. It was determined that it would be possible to save him with a massive blood transfusion. Superman choked up when he saw impossibly long lines of regular humans quequeing at every hospital to donate their blood.

The ending to the greatest comic story ever told. Fantastic Four #51: This Man, This Monster.

The issue of the Question when Vic Sage encounters the man using the frozen dead baby as a prop while begging. It’s then he finally realized there’s no good left in the city.

The Death of Captain Marvel when the Skrulls come to pay homage to their greatest enemy.

I am surprised thsi has not been mentioned. When Krypto dies in “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow/”. (The Ole Yeller effect).

Cap #25 when Cap dies.

COIS #7 – When Superman says to Kara’s spirit, “The Days will be shorter and the nighst that much longer.”

“The kid who collected Spider-man”….absolutely the best tear-jerker. Bendis’ Ultimate X-men (#41?) where Wolverine has to kill an innocent kid…wow. I’ve read that at least 15 times. Finally, Amazing Spider-man #400….best death scene ever. Making that an Aunt May clone still has me more pissed than this Mephisto deal.

Weak men and the things that make them cry. Conan laughs and reaches for yet more wine.

Read any one of the trades for Terry Moore’s STRANGERS IN PARADISE and you are nearly guaranteed at least one heartinthethroatpleaseGoddon’tletmecry per story arc. That series changed how I looked at comics and the way stories are told. I followed nearly the whole thing and felt like the characters where family.

One particular moment – I forget the issue, somewhere in the fifties?, but Katchoo and David are on an airliner that is crashing. The shear emotion and terror that Terry Moore drew in that issue and David’s words to Katchoo give me chills just thinking about it.

That series is one long emotional rollercoster, but you still beg it not to stop. As a matter of fact, when Moore announced the series was ending, I “neglected” to pick up the last several issues. In a way, it was my little way of denying that the series was over. Looking forward to the monster hardback collection coming out so I can finally have some closure!

Strangers In Paradise should be on the reading list of any true comic fan, right up there with Watchmen, Dark Knight, and Sandman.

Kevin Brettauer

June 27, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Oh God, the Valerie letter…Christ, that still gets to me just thinking about it.

The sheer horror of The Ballad of Rodney and June in Fables (#48-49, I think) had me almost weeping from anxiety.

The Death of Steve Rogers.

Walker Gabriel erases his own existence in Chronos.

Laurel sacrifices herself for David Grey in Midnight Nation, and years later an older David encounters a young girl, whom he thanks for reasons obvious to the reader. He tears up.

“Surprised, Ms. Frost?” “Astonished, Ms. Pryde.”

Death offers Hob Gadling a chance to give up his own immortality.

Matthew’s eulogy for Dream.

All of Pride of Baghdad.

The death of Boy Blue, and his closest friends realizing he won’t be back in Fables.

What about We3. When the Doctor sacrifices her self for the dog?

I know someone mentioned Whatever happened to the man of tomorrow, but the bit where Superman is upset after the visit from the future and the narration says something like “Is he OK? He looked like he’d been crying” and there’s a picture of superman with his head in his hands. Alan Moore eh?

The one that sticks out in my head is Ennis’ Preacher. I just lost it when I got to his letter to Tulip. Still gets me a little choked up but I couldn’t tell you exactly what was in the letter. I just remember it hitting like a ton of bricks. I was living with some friends at the time and I had to go run to my room because I didn’t want to have to explain myself and I needed to finish the story.

Not a superhero comic but the Calvin and Hobbes story where he finds the injured bird. Gets me every time.

Man, I didn’t think there was one for me, but it’s this one. For sure. I struggled to hold back tears and lost.

THE INVISIBLES issue… 13, was it? Dunno, read it in book form. Anyway, “Best Man Fall” it was called. The life story of one of the security guards King Mob killed in one panel of the first issue. That comic and Raymond Briggs’s ETHEL AND ERNEST did a similarly powerful job of capturing the uniqueness of all our ordinary lives, for better or worse.

There’s a major event towards the end of Stangers in Paradise that had me sobbing like a baby. I’m being vague to avoid spoilers, but the suddeness of it all really hit me hard.

Sue Dibney’s fate in Identity Crisis made me tear up. The Dibneys deserved better than that.

The next to last trade of Walking Dead didn’t make me cry, but oh boy did it ever depress the hell outta me.


June 28, 2009 at 1:27 am

The last page of Ex Machina #1 was like a punch in the gut for me. I cried properly the first time I read it.

I’ll also support the Orpheus Protocol section of JLI – the page where Bea an Guy just collapse in each others’ arms made me melt when i read it.

Grow a sac? Emperor Cheese why don’t you grow a heart instead. you neandrathal. SHEESH!!!

Q: Are we not men?

June 28, 2009 at 3:04 am

“Grant Morrison” trying to contact his cat by shining a flashlight into the hills is one that always gets me.

When Ben Reilly died in Spider-Man #75.

Even the haters cried tears of joy.

I just remembered one of the earliest ones I ever read:

Defenders #106 – The death of Nighthawk

You bloody kids. My nomination is for “The Death of Superman,” Superman v1 149, November 1961. Not a dry eye in the house. Story by Jerry Siegel, no less. Instant classic. Every kid in the neighborhood had a copy. The middle part shows the entire Superman cast, even including Krypto, walking past Supes’ bier in Metropolis Chapel. G’wan, find this one if you’ve never read it; it’s been reprinted endlessly.

I know its not a comic but the episode of Futurama when Fry’s dog gets cloned. At the end when you see the dog waiting for Fry at the pizza shop until he finally dies. Cant even watch that episode.

Spectacular Spider-Man 200 – the death of Harry Osborn. Harry saying ‘you’re my best friend.” and then silently dying. Spidey left alone crying in the parking lot, and a shot of the two as best friends.


Kevin Brettauer

June 28, 2009 at 8:02 am

““Grant Morrison” trying to contact his cat by shining a flashlight into the hills is one that always gets me.”

Put a bullet in me, why dontcha. Jeez. :(

William Burns

June 28, 2009 at 8:10 am

The last panel of the Alan Moore 9-11 comic with the hand sticking out of the rubble.

The Alan Brennert Deadman-Supergirl story.

The 2 that I can immediately think of to produce real tears for me are:

1. Pride of Baghdad. ’nuff said. I could figure what was gonna happen, but it still hit me. Brilliant graphic novel.

2. The JMS/Collen Doran short story of the homeless girl from Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man Annual #1. That one caught me right off guard.

Wasp is elected Avengers chairperson while Yellowjacket gets framed for robbery. First appearance of the Mechano-Marauder.

The first one to make me cry is still one of the best:

Dick Tracy’s infant was kidnapped by some wannabe bad guys. The infant is left in a car in the woods and bad guys get killed. It seemed like the last panel every day was of that car in the woods (with a caption indicating a crying baby) as Tracy desperately tried to work out where his kid is. When the caption notes that the car is silent…

When Tracy finally gets to that car…he collapses….

We 3 and Astro City 1/2. Didn’t make me cry, but it stirred the emotions for sure.
Come to think of it, Astro City actually has a lot of heart breaking moments.
I may even go with the first SeaGuy series – there is such a sense of hopelessness and futility.

Patrick Lemaire

June 28, 2009 at 12:25 pm

The Death of Gwen Stacy

Last page of James O’ Barr’s The Crow:

Remember when you said “Mine?” and I said “forever.”
You said “Only forever?”
It’s forever, now.

Invincible #12

You will live to see the end of this civilization! Everything and everyone you know will be gone! What will you have after five hundred years?!

You Dad. I’d still have you.

Floyd The Barber

June 28, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Ones for me that came damn close…
(That’s the best you’re gonna get from me cuz I’d never admit if I actually did)

Ones already said I witnessed and couldn’t agree with more:
When Snake-Eyes buries Kwinn at sea, and General Flagg’s funeral in the original G.I. Joe run.
When Harry Osbourne died in Spectacular Spider-Man.
Y The Last Man #’s 58 – 60. (Especially this one).

And two I can’t believe no one has said yet:
Watchmen (SPOILERS)

When Laurie finds out Comedian is her father, and especially the end where Manhattan tells Ozy “Nothing ever ends.”

Also the Ennis issue of Hellblazer when Kit finally leaves John.

I’m shocked no one’s brought up the death of Rorschach…

Floyd The Barber

June 28, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Sorry for the double post but I really gotta throw this one in:

Amazing Spider-Man (vol 2) #36 was a really really tough one especially at the time of it’s release.

Floyd The Barber

June 28, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Really almost all of Watchmen #12 does it to me. The stuff I mentioned above, Rorshach’s death, and also when Silk Spectre starts crying and her and Nite Owl do it and are lying naked spooning on Ozy’s floor. As much as I enjoyed the movie, I miss that they left that part out waaaay more than I missed the damn squid.

Others have mentioned them, but 2 “Imaginary” stories made me cry.

1. The 1961 “Death of Superman”. I was 7 and it was so sad it made me physically sick. I remember having to lie in bed afterwards I was so upset.

2. Krypto’s death in “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow”. I was much older…that scene still makes me sad.

Guess I’m just a Superman whore.

First comic book that made me cry: The Death of Ferro Lad in Adventure Comics 352 (?)

I don’t remember crying again die to a comic book until Giant-Size Avengers #2 – Death of the Swordsman

But the winner for creating the longest crying jag has to be the Lone Wolf and Cub story with the little dog. Saddest dog story ever.

Ultimate Spider-Man #13. Peter tells MJ his secret. I’ve never read anything that captures the shear joy of being in love for the first time as what Bendis does in these 22 pgs. It makes me cry out of happiness and a loss that I can never experience the kind of emotion you only have when you’re 15.

A lot of great issues mentioned – but the first (and still to this day) comic that really affected me emotionally was Uncanny X-Men 303. The issue where a child Illyana, unable to speak english, succumbs to the legacy virus – all from the point of view of Jubilee. Scott Lobdell just NAILED this issue. So powerful, painful, haunting, and sad. And you can get it in the ‘buck bin. It’s a shame. The issue needs more recognition. One of the most powerful comics I’ve ever read.

And how can you not mention Midnight Nation. There are SO many moments in that series that can make a grown man cry, it’s not fair. AMAZING piece of storytelling that blows me away EVERYTIME I read it.

The death of the Executioner from Simonson’s Thor

Connor Kents death got me more than any other..I had been out of comics for a while but found his character and the duality of the supes and lex in one character intriguing. I bought all the issues only to find he got killed. At least he got to go out in a big way. Glad hes back now though.

Superman Adventures #36 (I think) by Millar, where Supes is handling emergency after emergency non-stop, but still makes the time to find a boy’s dog. Others might find it overly manipulative, but it hit all of my dog-lover buttons perfectly

Hitman #34, the Superman issue. “I’m an American now. What can I do to help?”

All of the Morrison moments mentioned are definitely emotional (especially the Animal Man moments), but the the line that stuck with me from We3 was the dog chastising himself. “Bad dog.”

i’d have to say Pride of Baghdad, the last 3 issues of Y the last man and the ending to Identity Crisis where Ralph is talking to Sue. That broke my heart

Herobear & The Kid: “The Inheritence.” Just when Tyler learns just who his grandfather was. From “I believe in you, Grandpa” to the end of the book, I was sitting in a comfy chair at a Border’s bookstore, making that face all guys make when they’re trying to fight back tears.

I still want more of that book. Please, can I have more?

The most I’ve ever cried reading a comic had to be TMNT vol. 4 #10 when Splinter dies from a heart attack. It’s an oversized issue that delicately handles the father figure in the Turtles’ lives. I find it quite poignant that he’s making tea and begins having a heart attack while the panels pull out and distance themselves from the action like a film. Then he crawls through the house calling out to his sons. I have a hard time going back and reading that comic even now.

This is the only time i ever choked up when reading a comic book.

Thor 362- when the Executioner volunteers to hold the bridge out of Hel, basically knowing he is going to die. All his life people have mocked him to the point that he feels dead inside already, except for Balder, who he will hold the bridge for in order that he may escape. Walt Simonsen does not get nearly enough credit for his scripting on Thor because his art was so phenomenal, but this sequence may have been the best scripting I have ever read in a comic book. The final lines I think are my favorite lines ever in a comic book

“He stood alone at Gjallerbrau…and that is answer enough.”

The fact that the Executioner has remained dead since this makes this so much more poignant.

Alan Moore must be a real contender for the title of champion…

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, Kal to Kara: “Yes, Supergirl is… in the past”

Also, as the Legionnaires are leaving, Cosmic Boy almost spills the beans:
“Goodbye, Superman, we’ll … we ALWAYS miss you”

And Saturn Girl, weeping, pretending something in the 20th century air is irritating her eyes.

What do you give the Man who has Everything, in Bruce’s hallucination: “And his father takes the gun away from the man with no trouble at all”

Top Ten #8? #9? The transporter accident. The explanation in the last couple of pages of the Great Scoreboard.

Swamp Thing #thirty-something? A standalone where a drug-taking hippie finds a fallen-off (ripe?) portion of Swamp Thing and is prevailed upon to distribute pieces of it to people seeking drugs. One guy has a very, very bad trip, but a dying woman has a blissful experience. “The sun’s coming up” “It’s still dark” Not that sun. Kiss me”

But Alan Brennert scores a few as well:

To Kill A Legend – the last page
… (Blanking on the name) – the one that shows Earth-2 Batman and Catwoman getting together. The three or four panels ending with their kiss – most especially the silent panel just before it.


Maus – many very sad moments.

The various 9/11 tribute/charity books had some outstanding work – it’s hard to reread these, so I’ve forgotten the details of who did what, but two that really did a number on me were the one told in kid’s drawings about how the Justice League would’ve saved everyone, and the one explaining how the WTC has joined mythical Babylon and numerous other places in an immortal realm of legends. (And don’t get me started on the editorial cartoons from around then. Slate had a collection of hundreds)

There was a standalone issue of Iron Man set in an abandoned satellite where he battled a bio-engineered weapon/monster – somewhere in the early 200s, I think.

For a couple of years there was a triangle Superman title once a year about all his Christmas mail. These were great, as was the one set after his death where a bunch of other heroes gathered to carry on the tradition.

Even Free Fall in Scarlet (Flash #54) can move me to tears.

There’s lots more but that’ll do for now.

How could I forget this one? Uncanny X-Men #200!

A dying Xavier makes Magneto promise to carry on for him by having Mags watch over his longtime arch-enemies. Chris Claremont had been leading up to this moment for years now. You could even notice it in Jim Shooter’s first Secret Wars series when The Beyonder sides Magneto with the heroes rather than the villains.

Just after Xavier is teleported away by the Starjammers, Magneto sheds a tear and vows to keep his promise.

“I gave you my word, Charles. Come what may…I will be true to it.”

Another great example of character development which still chokes me up to this day.

David Carlton

June 28, 2009 at 9:57 pm

“We3.” The whole book. If you can read that book and not break down at some point, you have no soul or goodness in you.

I cried like a baby over the Guy and Ice reunion in hell in issue four of “I can’t Believe it’s not the justice league”

The final moments of the “Hold Me’ issue of Hellblazer.

Constantine not having the chance to tell Kit he loves her in the second to last issue of Ennis’s run on Hellblazer


June 28, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Bill K, I too would like to add “The Autobiography of Bruce Wayne” from Brave and the Bold 197 where Earth 2 Batman and Catwoman get together.

BooK 10 of Y: the Last Man! and Civil War the Confession (at the moment (right after #25) not really too sad any more)


walking dead #48

Y The Last Man #58

yeah those are the top three for me.

Adam Weissman

June 29, 2009 at 3:15 am

Animal Man #4 – final panel “Somewhere the monkeys are screaming. And screaming. And screaming.”

Animal Man #15 – when the dolphins save their murderers

Animal Man #17 – cover

Superman and Batman: Heroes Against Hunger– Luthor’s reaction to the starving people

I want to thank everyone for not being too embarrassed to share some of these, because it has given me a big list of things to go find and read.

“The Autobiography of Bruce Wayne”! Thanks, theloupgaroukid, that’s indeed it.

Yet another Alan Brennert masterpiece of emotion was mentioned above too – the Deadman story in Christmas With the Super Heroes #2.

That multi-page sequence in THE GOON: CHINATOWN when he looks in the mirror and finally looses it gets me every time…

U-Go Girl’s final send-off in X-FORCE is also a big one…

A little piece of me also dies every time Animal Man telling the Coyote that he can’t understand what he’s saying…

Astor City #1/2 – “No one chooses to forget.”

Many comics listed above have made me mist up but for some reason AS #1/2 and Teen Titans #38 are the only two comics to ever make me outright cry.

I cried reading Cairo. G. Willow Wilson wrote an interesting and entertaining book, but one that was, also, a spiritually moving moment for me.

G. Willow Wilson’s Cairo made me cry. Great story, but it was a spiritually moving moment that led to the shed tears.

The Sandman Vol. 6 Fables & Reflections: “The Emperor of the United States of America”- up till then I liked the stories well enough, well told, fascinating craft at work- this was heart-rending in an uplifting, wonderful way, to carve out a purpose in life, even a phantom one.

and to the poster who wrote:
The Thing #4, “Monsters.” It was this great little one off tale where Lockjaw of the inhumans teleports the Thing to a small appalachian town where a youung mutant child named Lucas is feared by the people in the town. The plot itself is a far cry from being completely original, but John Byrne managed to infuse the story with so much emotion and beauty that twenty years later, I still remember it almost panel for panel.

I didn’t think anyone would reference that, but its a heartbreaker.

Seconded, thirded and tenthed on Ampersand’s death- its the last constant in Yorick’s difficult life gone.

Mauricio Muniz

June 29, 2009 at 9:43 am

Well, you are ALL crying babies!

Ahem… That said, for me was the death of Doug Ramsey, Cypher, on New Mutants # 60. I read that on the day Freddie Mercury died and was already sad. Cypher’s kind of pointless death did the trick then…

Of course they brought him back some time later and my tears were all for nothing! Thanks so much, Marvel Comics!

The first comic that ever hit me hard enough to make me cry was Fantastic Four vs. X-Men #3….I don’t know if it’s just Jon Bogdanove’s personal artistic investment in Franklin Richards (he reportedly used his son as his model for Franklin) or my own personal favoritism for both Franklin and Kitty Pryde, but the sight of Franklin, tears streaming down his face, begging, SCREAMING at Kitty not to commit suicide and cause the dark future forseen by his “special dreams” to come to pass, still gets to me every time I read it.

What about “The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man?”

I still get teary just thinking about it.

After reading all the response I have to go with WE3 too. Man that was rough. Damn that Grant Morrison.

Mine is in Strikeforce Morituri, when Marathon sacrifices himself to destroy the alien invaders and save his comrades…

How can you not include Y the Last Man issue 60?!

Also I’ll agree with another poster, we3 was pretty sad.

Issue six of Hitman, the one where Pat Noonan, Tommy’s best friend from childhood, dies. It’s such a heartbreaking scene. It totally destroys me.

Ultimates 3, where every panel Hawkeye reminds us that his family his is dead, tears me up at every panel, then I forget that his family died, then he reminds me and I go”no, Hawkeye, don’t turn into Bulleye, Bullseye will turn into you in 616!” and then I cry from a headache..

Ultimatum, when you find out lots of people died from water and eating people.

Ultimate Elektra, the scene where she is sad and a ninja.

Transformers #4, where the autobots die and remind us that our cars can’t last forever.

The Long Halloween, where Penguin barely gets any screen time and all the other villains get a whole issue.

The X-men issue where Bishop fire energy blasts and is all “NOOOO!”

GIJoe issue where Cobra Commander terrorizes people with terrorism.

Sandman — The Kindly Ones got me a few times as did The Wake

Preacher — one of the greatest love stories ever told in any medium

Ultimate Spider-Man Requiem brought tears to my eyes when Urich told JJJ he’s writing an obituary

but when I think of comics that made me cry, the #1 thing that comes to mind is Y The Last Man #60, because when I read the final scene with Ampersand, I sobbed for an hour and a half, long after the book was closed and on the shelf.

Last panel of Jaime Hernandez (Love and Rockets) Flies on the Ceiling story where the dad is holding his young son after they realize Izzy is not coming back. Having a young son probably helped me realize the depth of that single panel, but goddamn that panel, really that whole story is why J. Hernandez is one of the all time greats. After reading it for the umpteenth time I am able to hold back the tears now, but its still a punch in the heart.

My big tear jerker is Mon-El’s speech at Superboy’s funeral (LSH v2 #38):

So many of my picks have already been listed, but I’ll go ahead and iterate them anyway.

1. JMS’ Silver Surfer: Requiem miniseries. It was a searingly beautiful sendoff for Norrin. I was bawling like a baby six pages into the first issue and didn’t stop until well after reading the last panels of issue #4.

2. Garth Ennis’ Mother Russia arc in MAX Punisher. The story so skillfully wove together a delicate, fragile emotionalism with the consequences raw brutality, and the end completely gutted me because Frank was *devastated* at having to leave little Galina.

3. Jim Starlin’s The Death of Captain Marvel. I had no idea that comics could be like that. None. It blew my mind when I first read it.

4. The end to Peter David’s Captain Marvel series, when Genis makes the ultimate sacrifice. That was hands down the most heroic thing that I have ever, ever seen a character in a comic book do. Peter David’s run on Captain Marvel had numerous moments of true pathos, though, particularly during Genis’ crazy phase.

5. Uncanny X-Men #137 and #138 – Jean’s death.

6. Greg Rucka’s entire run on the Elektra book, where Elektra is pushed beyond the limits of human endurance emotionally. It was, overall, a devastatingly sad read.

7. Rex Tyler’s fate in JSA, as someone else noted above.

8. The Pride of Baghdad.

9. Paul Cornell has gotten me twice in the last three years: the first is the final two panels of the MAX Wisdom miniseries when you realize that Pete is calling Kitty. So spot on, so sad, so tragic. The second was in the recent Captain Britain Annual when Meggan leaves her mark on hell, and that mark is hope.

10. All-Star Superman. So many wonderful moments.

11. The Last Stand of Skurge in Thor #362.

Good question!

The biggest emotional punch in the gut for me was in What If..? series 1 # 42… “What If The Invisible Girl Had Died?”. Especially as the issue was drawn brilliantly in the classic Jack Kirby FF style by Ron Frenz & Joe Sinnott. The one panel that always chokes me up is the single page shot of Reed erasing all his years of research with the word balloon from him saying “My life is over.” Beautifully written by Peter B Gillis.

Can’t let this go without also mentioning Supergirl’s death in Crisis on Infinite Earths. One of the first times you realised that a comic book series wasn’t afraid to kill off major characters and that no-one was safe.

Too Cool to Be Forgotten, by Alex Robinson. The pages with his dad. Get me every time.

And about 20 different moments in True Story, Swear to God.

I think I got weepy when Mariko died in Wolverine, too, but I was a youngin then.

The issue of Ion (or GL?) by Ron Marz where Kyle Raynor uses his powers to bring back his mother who had just passed away in the hospital. She tells him to let her go, that keeping her alive was not natural. So he lets her pass on.

I lost my mother shortly before this one came out and it hit too close to home.

The issue of Superman/Batman by Loeb’s late son, with the preface where Robin talks about how much he misses is friend Superboy was another one that really got to me.

Only two for me and they still get every time. The first was the Death of Captain Marvel Graphic Novel. Specifically when the Skrull General acknowleges that Mar-Vell was his peoples greatest enemy, yet gives him the Skrull’s highest honor and salutes him. Wow.
The second is a two-parter. In the Incredible Hulk as Jarella lays dying, Hulk goes to get Dr. Strange to help. Dr. Strange returns and tells Hulk there is nothing he can do, the GRIEF shown by Hulk, then he stops smashing whatever in sight, stops smashing just as quickiy as he began, and walks out a (still standing) door.
Valkyrie asks the Hulk where is he going? With tears in his eyes, the Hulk leaves saying “Hulk is alone. Hulk is always alone.”
Part two spinning out of this tale in #217 (Jim Starlin cover!) with the Circus of Crime. They have as captive a mermaid who could be a twin of Jarella. The ending after her rescue has the Hulk and this mermaid at the beach. She cannot stay in his world and he cannot come to hers. She kisses him as a wave breaks. When the wave resides, she is gone and the Hulk walks off into the distance. Get me some tissue!

Although it only lasted 15 issues, there were a lot of emotional moments in the mid-80’s series AZTEC ACE written by Doug Moench.

Off the top of my head I recall: Caza’s guilt over suspecting Bridget was a double agent, even after she killed her own time-glitch self to be with him; and the issue when Caza tells the dying boy that his father was a good man, even though he really was a gangster, and gives him his last super-hero comic.

Finally issues of the recent Starman book – Where Jack’s dad, the original Starman, sacrificed himself to stop a bomb…

Brian From Canada

June 30, 2009 at 2:49 pm

I second Uncanny X-Men #303. I’ve re-read the issue recently and still come to tears. Brilliant.

Amazing Spider-Man #200 and 400 were also major ones for me — though both have recently been retconned out.

It’s amazing that for a medium that has been often relegated as below “real” fiction (and for whom death is a revolving door), there are a lot of moments in those so-called funny pages that still remain with us for their emotional impact today.

It’s Japanese, but I can’t let it pass unnoticed: the last fight between Itto Ogami and Retsudô Yagyu in “Lone Wolf and Cub”. The protagonist Itto’s final fate was unexpected to me, in the way it happened. And the moment when the defeated villain Retsudô, realizing the futility of the things they were fighting for, hugs Itto’s son as the grandson he will never have (his ambition cost him all of his children).

I don’t cry since 2000 (although I would like I have done it some more times) , but thie ending let me with the tears almost ready to fall…

I know it is goofy, but my first tear jerker in comics, Rom ( dunno which issue.. it been along time) but when brandy finds out her whole and friends were iced by wraiths. The thought of losing everything, it is maddening. And they portrayed to the “T’.
David’s Death in SiP, Moore did it right there.
Ted’s Death , man I miss that Blue Beetle.
Actually GL’s descent into madness and death, after Mongul’s Attack.

The last issue of Silver Surfer: Requiem always gets to me whenever I reread it. The visuals, the storyline… just incredible.

Is 165 comments some kind of record? And it would be great if it was followed by the 6 comics that made us laugh out loud.

I think the most comments we’ve ever had was 297, for this post:

But I’m thrilled to see so many people responded to our list, as it was a fun post to write.

And I like the laugh out loud idea. The first comic that came to mind was … well, maybe I’ll save it for the list :)

Tonto Goldstein

July 2, 2009 at 11:43 pm

You heartless bastards! How is it possible that no one mentioned Spider-Man Blue?! At the end when Peter Parker speaks into the recorder saying “Thats when you had me Gwen Stacey. All of me.” Only to have Mary Jane walk in, and MJ says “Will you do me a favor Peter? Say ‘Hello’ for me and– tell Gwen I miss her too…” OOH the humanity! Yeah, its hard to believe Loeb the same guy responsible for Hulk Red and Ultimates 3, was able to write something like that.

Since I did a 1961 site, here’s one that’s a lot more recent: The Young Allies 70th Anniversary Special, August 2009. The first story (“You Must Remember This … “) was deeply moving, and a fine coda for a long-forgotten team of World War II-era heroes. The end was very touching, and it got me. Kudos to Roger Stern and Paolo Rivera for this very last of all Young Allies stories. Brilliant.

Alex Kositanont

July 24, 2009 at 7:03 pm

A story that always leaves me in tears is “Leah” by Peter David, Coleen Doran, and Jose Villarrubia, the 6-page silent back-up story from Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Annual #1 (2007).

“Leah” tells the story of a homeless girl who adores Spider-Man, collecting newspaper articles about him to decorate the walls of her cardboard box and keep herself warm at night. She dreams of one day meeting her hero and swinging with him over the city, far above the struggling life she lives.

Peter David combined “The Little Match Girl” and “The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man” with his own personal experiences of Leah Adezio, a friend and fellow comic creator who passed away earlier that year.

Death of Kwinn in original GI Joe series in the 80’s (already been said, but had to agree).

It’s not a comic, but Commander Roy Fokker’s death in Robotech Macross was pretty harsh.

Also have to agree with the death of Jean Gray from the Dark Phoenix saga (original X-Men).

Has to be Y the Last man: issue 59 and 60. The final issue is so heart wrenching that I still feel depressed remembering it..its been 3 days I have finished..i felt broken when Yorick gave Amp the pill in front of 355’s grave..Also in issue 59..with the suddenness in which Yorick loses 355 and his helplessness on realising it..

Y: The Last Man 60

I just googled “I cried when Ampersand died”.. and ended up here. It’s been half an hour since I finished it and I’m still in tears as I write this. There has never been a piece of literature or film that has brought me to my figurative knees like seeing Ampersand’s face looking up at Yorick; I don’t know if it has something to do with the common experience people have when they put an old dog down, but really, just a great series and a final issue that leaves you truly crushed.

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