This could have gone in Kibbles ‘n’ Bits, but it is so excellent it deserves it’s own item. Shaenon K. Garrity’s Ten Comics That Made Me Cry is a nice reminder, in the midst of character deaths planned by corporations, writers who tell the stories they’ve waited to tell all heir lives after an editorial retreat suggests it to them, and entire comics planned with all the care of an entry in the latest spec script sales listings, that comics are all about stories that last and last and last:

Anyway, the saddest sequence of Peanuts strips is that in which Patty tells Linus about finally meeting the little red-haired girl and crying because she realizes she’ll never be able to compete with someone so pretty. There is nothing in the world sadder than those strips. Charlie Brown thinks he’s suffered in love? You’re a solipsistic ass, Charlie Brown.

The second saddest Peanuts strip is Spike’s origin story. I can’t even talk about that one.


  1. I second Astro City #1/2. One of these days I’ll get married, and slip it in my love’s luggage when she flies away on business.

    The first comic to make me cry was the Death of Superman, the imaginary story where Lex Luthor kills Superman. And Funeral for a Friend hit me hard when I read it again after 9/11.

    I started collecting comics with Amazing Spider-Man #254, and was lucky to read the letter column about ASM #248, “The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man”. Probably the best Spider-Man story ever.

    As for Peanuts, there is not so much that makes me cry, but much that makes my heart heavy. The story I remember most is where Lucy shows Charlie Brown a slide show of his faults. Me, I would have bludgeoned her with the projector… And then there’s the series where CB wears the paper bag at camp, and everyone likes him…

  2. I like it when CB finally gets his revenge on Lucy with the football gag in Family Guy. Or the really awkward Peanuts reunion in another episode.

    “Yeah, that’s right! I sold Snoopy the junk!”

  3. ASTRO CITY 1/2 !!! I second that. Completely forgot about it.

    – Tezuka’s Buddha
    – The last issue of Starman. Gets me every time! (I make like a banana ans split)
    – The last issue of Preacher! (A hell of a vision)
    – The last issue of Y the last man (Ampersand!!!)

  4. Family Guy is to Peanuts what McDonalds is to Les Halles. Come on, people, the best you can do is ASTRO CITY and Family Guy?

    I have failed.

  5. Blue Pills by Frederik Peetersen

    Hicksville by Dylan Horrocks

    The end of Human Diastrophism by Gilbert Hernandez

  6. Fantastic to see Maison Ikkoku make Shaenon’s list. Sure, there have been plenty of comics that have made an emotional impact on me, but the final issues of that book were the first (and only that I can think of) that made me literally cry, wiping away tears to read the pages. What a powerful, poignant, spectacular ending.

    And I second Astro City #1/2.

  7. Preacher #10, ‘How I Learned To Love The Lord’. When Tulip asks if she can kiss Jesse goodbye. Nevermind that I know what’s coming and how it all ends, it still tears me apart.

    V For Vendetta, part 2 ch. 11, ‘Valerie’. Every time. I’m a sap.

    Doom Patrol #63, ‘The Empire of Chairs’.

    Invisibles #12, ‘Best Man Fall’, and #21, ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’.

    Stray Bullets #7, ‘Freedom’. It’s a hard life, Virginia.

    …and Signal To Noise by Gaiman & McKean. All of it.

  8. the death of scrooges parents in don rosa’s “his life and times”.

    the death of the mother somewhere in the early run of fantagraphic’s “usagi yojimbo” (sorry, i only owe the german edition, so i don’t know the correct original number or titel of that issue).

    the finale of the first volume of manu larcenet’s “combat ordinaire”.

    the finale of ralf königs “jago” (bittersweet, but ultimately sad).

    “cerebus”: oscar dies in “melmoth”.

    bryan talbot’s “tale of one bad rat”.

  9. * that entire Anders Nilsen book, and all of the other works in other books that reference events in that book.

    * that scene in Barefoot Gen where that kid is carrying the remains of his relatives in a bucket.

    * the Calvin & Hobbes that ends “what a stupid world.”

    * the final Barnaby

    * the Joe Sacco comic in Details about war crimes, the sequence where the former prisoners describe what they were made to do

    * the part in Death of Speedy not when Speedy dies but the last page when Jaime hits the rewind button and everyone is happy at that wedding and their lives don’t touch yet but you know they will and how it turns out

    * Cerebus #186

    * that page in Murmur where the narrator is able to see his mother again

    * that little boy saying goodbye to his father in Three Shadows and his father is so gigantic the kid is crawling on his face

    * Carol Tyler’s “The Bad Seed” kills me for some reason

    In the men-in-tights realm, I remember being sad when The Swordsman sacrificed himself for a woman that didn’t love him. Although I don’t remember, I imagine we found out sooner or later she really did love him. But it was better when she didn’t. He was such a loser in a way they don’t allow losers in that kind of comic book anymore.

  10. There are many sad Lynda Barry comics and just thinking about that one Debbie Drechsler comic makes me want to jump off a bridge.

  11. The comic that made me weep was Keiji Nakazawa’s I SAW IT, the true story of the creator’s experience growing up in post-A-bomb Hiroshima which informed his BAREFOOT GEN epic.

    The second comc that made me weep was Joe Kubert’s FAX FROM SARAJEVO, not so much for any one scene, but for its account of life during wartime and how a jury rigged fax machine can represent the only connection to the outside world.

    I imagine there have been other comics that have made me weep since. But I can’t remember any other than those two, so I guess I’ve stopped counting.

  12. I haven’t read Hannah’s Story in a long time, so if nothing else this thread has inspired me to do some digging into the mighty vaults at SBM.

  13. Fantagraphics should hurry up and publish that new Carol Tyler collection. If her website is anything to go on, it’s been in the wings for at least two years.

  14. Ah, in fairness to works of more recent vintage, I ought confess that I’m sure I misted up reading WITH THE LIGHT by Keiko Tobe, Yen Press’s ambitious manga about a mother’s experiences raising an autistic child. Unaccustomed as I am to hyperbole, I will say that if a lump doesn’t develop in your throat as you read this story, then you have simply have no soul.

  15. Joe Sacco had a scene in one of his war books of a little girl lying on an operating table, unaware she’s dying from a wound, saying she needs to use the potty. My own daughter was about the same age when I read the book. Purely devastating for me.

    Milt Caniff had a military strip called Male Call. There was a strip about a couple of soldiers trying to cut in rudely on a dancing couple: the sexy female star and a man in civilian garb. The woman deftly gives the soldiers a comeuppance and simultaneously covers for them as her partner is revealed to be a blinded veteran.

    Mark Waid rocked me with a scene in a Flash comic wherein a stewardess has been sucked out of a plane in flight. Wally West pauses and has a moment of doubt/panic as he tries to rationalize that he is not a flying hero and no one would fault him for not acting in this one instance. Then he jumps out the plane anyway, hoping he’ll figure out something on the way. In a genre where acts of heroism are too often taken for granted or done almost thoughtlessly, I love this scene for taking us into that moment of decision.

  16. cbrown: Huh, that would be funny if it was just a sentiment. I didn’t even think of that.

    No, it’s the title of the Anders Nilsen book that Tom Spurgeon also mentioned.

  17. I agree with the aforementioned Animal Man mention, but not just for the last issue, but for the monkey and dolphin issues too. IN college, I was forbidden by a friend to let his girlfriend real those issues, for fear she would break down and cry for days.

  18. The only two stories that spring to my mind right away are:

    1. The ending to the Pride of Baghdad, and

    2. The JMS/Colleen Doran Spider-man short story from Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man Annual 1 with the homeless girl.

  19. Silver Surfer 5 “And Who Shall Morn for Him”, (My all time favorate issue of any comic book).

    The Death of Model, Dick Tracy Jr’s first girlfriend (mid 1950’s)

    That Christman Spirit story where Santa changes places with a hardened criminal for the night, (and of course the crook learns the true meaning of X-mas). It’s a tear jerker in the same way that “It’s a Wonderful Life” is.

    I 2nd everyone on that Astro City story I’d also add The Death of Jean Grey (first time), yes I know it’s very Fanboyish but if you ignore all the resurrections that have happened in the years since, the story on it’s own terms still packs a punch, (especially if you were 12 when you first read it).

  20. Just thought of another (there are an awful lot of sad stories dealing with post-bomb Japan):

    “Town of Evening Calm,” by Fumiyo Kouno, in Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms

  21. When I was a kid, Starlin got me twice with the deaths of Capt Marvell and Warlock.
    Maus has gotten me since.

  22. I get a little catch in my throat when I read “Jimmy Corrigan” by Chris Ware. Those chacters are just so empty and hollow and oblivious. The disconnect between father and son and the real world is so so sad. I’m getting all bothered now just thinking about it.

  23. ‘Oh no Veidt, nothing ever ends.’

    Also, the Acme Novelty Strip where Jimmy buys his aging mother some perfume. Most of Chris Ware’s stuff actually.

  24. I guess I’m a cold, heartless bastard, but no comic has ever made me literally cry. I should read more comics. Or get over my macho redneck upbringing and learn to let loose a bit more with my emotions. Or something.

  25. Anyone have the date of that Peanuts strip?
    Sounds like it might be something worth reading… but, kind of hard without, a location.

  26. My comics reading memories seem to contain more “getting the crap scared out of me” moments than those that brought tears. Can’t remember any sad episodes except when Speedy was discovered to be a junkie in the old Neal Adams GL/GA issues. Scary drawings, however, haunted me for weeks.

  27. Neeb-
    I think the Peanuts strip Shannon refers to is the one from June 22, 1972- although if you want the full context you’ll also want to read the ones from a few days before and a few days after. You can find them all at where, incredibly, they’ve posted the full run of the strip for free.

  28. Off the top of me head…

    – Last panel of Jaime’s Flies on the Ceiling
    – the last third of Strum’s The Revival
    – News stand guy holds loitering reader before the big flash wipes them away in Watchmen
    – And, my geek pick, Al Harper stops the Stranger’s Null Bomb in Silver Surfer #5

  29. “Identity Crisis #1, the “Anniversary Present” reveal hit home for me, hard. ”

    Was it then that you truly realized you’d paid actual money for that terrible, terrible comic, and wept because you could not have it back? Or did you weep because you realized that the terrible and gruesome comic you’d just read would become the template for years of ugly, gore’n’death comics from DC?

  30. >> Mark Waid rocked me with a scene in a Flash comic wherein a stewardess has been sucked out of a plane in flight. Wally West pauses and has a moment of doubt/panic as he tries to rationalize that he is not a flying hero and no one would fault him for not acting in this one instance. Then he jumps out the plane anyway, hoping he’ll figure out something on the way. In a genre where acts of heroism are too often taken for granted or done almost thoughtlessly, I love this scene for taking us into that moment of decision. >>

    All due respect to Mark, who’s written many a touching scene, but I believe that’s “Nobody Dies,” from FLASH #54, written by Bill Loebs.

    And thanks to all who mentioned ASTRO CITY #1/2 — The Beat may not appreciate it, but Brent and I sure do!


  31. “Family Guy is to Peanuts what McDonalds is to Les Halles. Come on, people, the best you can do is ASTRO CITY and Family Guy?”

    I wasn’t comparing them. I just thought a couple of Peanuts-related gags on the show were funny, a feeling derived from a sense of humor.

    Pedro and Me, Maus, Contract with God were all heavy on the heart strings.

    Getting shot down on an Internet comment thread. That made me weep into my keyboard.

    Bill Watterson’s done some moving Calvin and Hobbes strips.

  32. As someone else pointed out, Lynda Barry is a master of emotional storytelling. Perhaps the best of her books for that is “The Freddie Stories,” focusing on Marlys’s hypersensitive misfit brother.

  33. That story Roger Stern wrote of Spider-Man revealing his true identity to a cancer stricken little girl.

    Nuff said.

    Close second: The episode of Batman: TAS that Paul Dini wrote introducing the character of Babydoll. That always chokes me up.

    I know that technically doesn’t count.



  34. The worst part of that Spider-Man story is when they removed that little boy’s testicles off-panel to make him a little girl.

  35. Why not out myself as a cry baby to the rest of the world?

    STRANGERS IN PARADISE – when David dies. A good friend of mine had died a few months prior and – well…I may have been a little emotionally charged at the time but dammit – it was David! There are lots of other moments in SiP that can get me to shed a tear or two, but that one left me bubbling like a little girl.

    SANDMAN – the wake
    PREACHER – the final issue
    ASTONISHING X-MEN – when Kitty found Peter. Yeah Yeah! Go on ya jerks… – Cassaday just nailed it so right. I couldn’t help it.
    PEDRO & ME, FUN HOME – for the same reasons as SiP. That, plus they were just good.
    MAGE – when Edsel died and I realized she wasn’t coming back.

  36. Several passages in We3 come to mind. The end of Human Diastrophism, Edith’s death in The Invisibles, Halo Jones getting Toy back to base, Charley Bourne carrying his mate Ginger in a bag.

    I read about two pages of Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow and put it back on the shelf because I didn’t want to deal with the tears that would inevitably follow reading that. Gee-yikes.