iFanboy Video Podcast

iFanboy #191 – Comics That Make You Cry

Show Notes

There is no one among us averse to a good tearjerker, and this episode highlights some of the tearjerkiest comic books we could find. Neither Josh Flanagan, Ron Richards, nor even the mighty Conor Kilpatrick can deny the throat lump caused by these comics.

Pedro and Me by Judd Winick is a tale of friendship and great loss, and is so sincere in its tale that the reader can’t help but be affected, even if they didn’t watch the third season of The Real World.

Preacher isn’t a series you think of when it comes to comics with an emotional punch, but you’d be wrong. Garth Ennis does relationships like nobody’s business, and Jesse Custer and Tulip will make you feel something.

Transmetropolitan is one of Warren Ellis’ best works, but we’re focusing on issue #8, “Another Cold Morning,” about the other side of cryogenic freezing. You know, the one we don’t know. Ellis and Robertson put together one hell of a single issue that really gets you where you feel it.

Jeff Lemire’s The Essex Country Trilogy packs as much sadness and pain into a comic book page as you can find. That’s not to say it’s not a good story, or that it’s not a great read, but one look in those sad eye dots, and men will start coming up for excuses for their watery eyes. It goes double if you’re a hockey fan.

It turns out that reliving high school isn’t all fun sex and drinking games, in Alex Robinson’s Too Cool to be Forgotten. It’s a great emotional story with a powerful ending

I Kill Giants did a bit of a bait and switch, but in the very best way. Just when you think you know what you’re looking at, Joe Kelly and JM Ken Nimura yank the rug out from under you just in time to grab the Kleenex.

Finally, the daddy of iFanboy’s sadness is Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise. Over 90 issues with plenty of laughs, but no shortage of tears makes this one of the most gut-wrenching pieces of sequential literature available today. You’ll spend enough time with the characters that you’ll come to love them, and when the whole thing wraps up, only the most cold and soulless among you will be left with dry eyes.


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  1. Katers had it right with that column he did. Astro City 1/2 had me balling

  2. Ooh, looking forward to this one. That’s some damn great comics you’re talking about right there. Well, OK, I still need to read Essex County and Too Cool To Be Forgotten but they seem excellent as well. But I Kill GIants, Preacher, Transmet and Strangers in Paradise in one episode? Groovy.

  3. The only comic that make me shed a tear is everytime I read an issue of the Justice League of America

    *sniff sniff WHY DOES THE JUSTICE LEAGUE SUCK SOO BAD?!11!111!1111!!

  4. scarily good acting from conor my have missed a calling, seriously i thought it was pretty good

  5. No Y: The Last Man?  The last couple issues of the series hit me pretty hard.

  6. It doesn’t always have to take an entire issue to reduce you to tears.  One panel did it for me in Amazing Spider-man 649 when Peter Parker started his job and Aunt May met him at work.  Aunt May looked up at the sky and said “He did it Ben.” 

  7. Great episode as per usual guys. Conor at the beggining was hilarious.

  8. Astro City, The Nearness of You. Every damn time I read it, it gets dusty in the room.

  9. @StupendousMan – I concur, those final issues of Y: That Last Man were gut-wrenching.  Jason’s inaugural title, Hey, Wait from Fantagraphics Books is also worth reading.

  10. Well isn’t this timely. I just went to my uncle’s funeral yesterday. I’ve read all of these except Pedro and Me and highly recommend them all. I’d also add We3 for the pet lovers.

  11. The direct downloads are not working for me.  I had this exact problem last week.

  12. We finished shooting and I slapped myself on the forehead about Y: The Last Man. But you guys already knew about that.  We3 is another great one.

  13. Here’s one that doesn’t fit into the slice of life box.. We3

  14. @SolomonKull  They work fine for me. Is anyone else having a problem?

  15. @josh  It’s working now.  Blip.tv was dropping connection before, according to my terminal output from mplayer running on an Ubuntu box.

    Anyway, it’s working now. Please ignore my previous comment.

  16. Yeah I’m sorry but after watching Clannad After Story episode 18 all other works of fiction in all  mediums and forms are nothing. I think that’s the first and only work that ever made me cry.

  17. How about everything written by Craig Thompson?  Blankets made me cry!

  18. Y: The Last Man #60. Ampersand. :'(

    I Kill Giants is definitely a good one too for the waterworks.

  19. Pride of Baghdad ripped me up pretty good…

  20. Daytripper is one that got me every issue

  21. Great episode guys.  I should probably read some Strangers In Paradise.  I’ve only read a few pages back in the day when they were reprinted and reviewed by a Canadian magazine/catalogue called ETC., a book similar to Previews.  It looked good but my local shop didn’t carry it and I was more into mainstream Marvel titles than anything at the time. I can still vividly remember those pages.  The book sounds like something I would enjoy nowadays, and since I really enjoyed the first few issues of Terry Moore’s Echo I have no doubt I’ll enjoy Strangers In Paradise as well.

    This episode has me wanting more, so I guess I’ll have to put an order in for the first trade.

    Off to get this week’s books, cheers.

  22. Identity Crisis. got me choked up pretty good

  23. I applaud this video, first and foremost, because the focus is not superhero books. They get enough coverage. I read superhero comics, nothing against them, but they get all the coverage. Because of this show I will read some of the selection as I’ve already read some of them. Great show.

  24. These are all fantastic but We3 would have been a good addition. Blankets was another one that hit my emotions hard.

  25. Oh also, a super hero book never brought me to tears but Civil War: The Confession was damn close.

  26. Ha tissues! I think Locke & Key deserves a honorable mention.

  27. As said before, the first book came to mind was Y: The Last Man issue #60. But also as SirCox mentioned, Civil War: The Confession was pretty powerful too. Also, I was sure you guys would have brought up DayTripper since you guys talked about crying in it every time on the pick of the week podcast. Really looking forward to that trade.

    Also, am I the only one that got choked up during All Star Superman #10?  The scene with him on the roof and the girl thinking about jumping, also his plea with Luthor had me in tears too. That was one of the single greatest comics I have ever read and it happen to make me cry.

  28. Also, how about Sentry: Fallen Sun. But I think those tears were the wrong kind.

  29. Great show. I recently finished both I Kill Giants and Y: The Last Man, and both got to me pretty unexpectedly.

  30. loved video and especially the cold opening

  31. I agree with Conor, I’m more proned to get emotional over a movie/TV show.  Preacher, you could recommend to anyone?  It’s a pretty good book, but also hard bitten, cynical, too offensive with the language, so I’d say a recommendation with reservations.  I tend to enjoy things though that are a bit more positive though.  Back to sad/emontional comics:

    Barefoot Gen–manga
    Our Cancer Year–Pekar
    Howard Cruise’s Stuck Rubber Baby

  32. Great show guys. I picked up the Strangers In Paradise Pocket Books on your recommendation when you did the Terry Moore show a good while back. I tore through the first five but I’m finding it hard to even open the last one knowing that this is the last one. What a series.

  33. @josh  i totally get what you mean about being a dad. i have two kiddos and anytime a story deals with that parental relationship: it gets rather dusty in the room.

  34. Astro City 1/2 the Nearness of You

    Batman : Brave & the Bold 33 Batgirl’s last night out

    Jonah Hex 50

    first three that instantly came to mind

  35. Bastards.  How could you do this to me?

    I read Too Cool To Be Forgotten while I was at home for Christmas.  I got to hug my dad. 

  36. Y: The Last Man has a great “crying” ending.  I was also suprised there was no Strangers in Paradise.  I remember on the audio show, you guys were talking about crying on the bus/subway on the way home toward the end of that series.  I’ve read most of the books listed here and they are certainly emotional doozies. 

  37. I knew Pedro and Me would be on this show!

  38. y:the last man definitely got me. but I would say many tragic flashbacks of the manga called One Piece can get me cry sometimes. Or may be they draw those huge teardrops whenever they talk about the past really get me.

  39. Daytripper #5.

    Those Brazillian bastards. *sniff*

  40. The first Essex County story is -and always will be- my favourite comic book story. Love it so much.

  41. @Neb  No Strangers in Paradise? Did you watch the whole show?

  42. Definitely agree with I Kill Giants. I’d also add Y, Blankets and Starman.

  43. @Neb  @josh  Or read the show notes.

  44. Wait. Shit. I got it – Superman/Batman 26 – The Jam session between all those artists and writers. The first story good about Superboy dead – got me sad – The back up – Sam’s story written by Jeph Loeb about his son who died from Leukemia and him growing up in Smallville – Fuck that got me

  45. @okc: Y The Last Man killed me. the part with the poison grape just broke me down, i never get really sad during truly sad/tragic endings, it’s the bittersweet ones that really kill me

  46. What a great episode. 
    2 books that never fail to make me cry are George Sprott by Seth (I wonder if there’s been an article about this book- I wrote one for Murmur a while back) and the penultimate issue and final issue of The Grand Guignol arc of Starman (I’m not going to spoil it as some people are waiting to read it in Omnibus)

  47. All Star Superman # 10 maybe the one Superhero issue that’ll really bring out the tears at least it came close for me.

  48. Yeah the entire Day Tripper story is a pretty sad.

  49. Biggest for me have been Daytripper, the end of Walking Dead vol. 8- was in a Borders when I read that and almost lost it, the end of Fables vol. 5 where you find out the identity of the “invisible killer”

  50. Also the Marvel color books: Daredevil:Yellow (favorite), Spider-Man: Blue, and Hulk: Grey.

    Still bummed Captain America; White got cancelled before issue #1 came out! My issue #0 is very lonely. 

  51. There are only two comics that have ever made me cry. They were I KILL GIANTS and some random story from one of those 9/11 trades that came out in late 2001/early 2002. It surprised me greatly when I reacted the way I did to both of them.

  52. I am happy to see that others where deeply sadden by the death of Ampersand in Y.  The saddest moment I have ever had reading a comic.  Sad in a deferent way was Rorschach’s death in Watchmen.  But Amp’s death in Y, fuck my sideways, like your childhood doggy dieing all over again. 

  53. Excellent show.

    Josh since you like tough guy stories, might I suggest “Fist of the North Star” (in japanese: Hokuto No Ken). It’s alot like Preacher in that it’s about one guy in bad situations but it’s both humorous and sad. It’s even an animated series. The original is very comedic though at some points but later on (in the 30s and up) it get’s extremely emotional and sad. I highly recommend this series as it is the pinnacle of manly tales that should be shared.

  54. Now that I think about it. All these fantasy child stories seem like riffs to the pokemon theory meme posted on 4chan years ago*.

    *For those of you who don’t know there was a theory of Ash never going on an adventure and that he actually is in a coma after being electrocuted on the first episode. This theory is based off of the dichotemy between how pokemon were portrayed as wild creatures on episode one and how domesticated they appear after episode 1. The characters, villains and relationships are metaphors for subconscious feelings he has such as sexual confusion, anger, loneliness and regret.

  55. For me, definitely identity Crisis. When Robin loses his dad, and the coup’ de grace Ralph talking to Sue as he settles into bed at the end of the series. Made me think about life without a loved one  =

  56. I’ll also say Y: The Last Man.  The last trade had me weeping…in front of my wife…she held me, we had a moment.  It’s pretty rare, but it’s all about that connection to the characters.  Maybe that’s why super hero books don’t get the crying response because whatever happens we know things will be OK in a month or so.

  57. Most of them have been mentioned already. Anything by Chris Ware can have you watery eyed, also there were some moments in Cerebus that were completely devastating. It’s already been brought up, but I don’t think I could read We3 again. 

  58. DEAR BILLY, one of Ennis’ Battlefield TPs, had my crying on my deck during a wonderful summer afternoon.  Really really really good.

  59. I watched this last night while my wife was in the room. She grew very concerned when she overheard the opening. “Is he actually crying?” she asked.

    Well done, Conor! Award winning performance! 

  60. For me these are always the best ifanboy shows.
    When they look at a theme or a tangent made possible by the medium

    The Vault shows- or best villians or the emotional impacts.


    Reviews are great and all- but turning that experience and insight on the things that really make reading worth it in both the the large themes and the periphery and the easter egg moments make for the most
    honest and entertaining shows here.

    In my opinion.

  61. I’m with @everybody who cried out over “Y The Last Man.” When *the thing* happens that makes you sad, it was the only issue of a comic ever that elicited tears from my craggy, stoic countenance. I, too, have Kilpatrick Syndrome when it comes to getting emotional over print characters.

  62. Wow! I was coming here to comment about Y The Last Man as well but it seems most of you beat me to the punch. But yes, totally agree on every level. That’s the only book (issue #60) that has ever had me far past just being choked up.

    It reminded me of when I had to put my dog down a few years ago – I looked into his eyes, held his paw, he looked kinda scared & the doctor did his thing & then he was gone. Truly heart breaking.

    Thanks again guys. Excellent show. 

  63. I’m an old-timer, so forgive me.

    It was September, 1961. I was ten years old and just starting the fifth grade.

    Three years previously, I had caught the comic book bug from the biweekly trips to the barber shop with my old man. I even learned how to pocket one or two on our way out the door. Superman, World’s Finest, Action, and Bob Hope. By the summer of ’60, I couldn’t wait the 14 days. I started using my meager allowance to travel to Metropolis and Gotham on my own. How was I to know it would lead to tears.

    Superman #149, “The Death of Superman.” By this time, even at ten, I knew what “An Imaginary Tale” was. I knew it didn’t ‘count,’ but it didn’t matter. By the time I got to Krypto viewing his slain master lying in state, I lost it. It took me a month to finish that comic.

    On the TV front: Claire and Charlie’s reunion in the last episode of LOST. I didn’t even try to wipe the tears away. They were tears of joy.

  64. I’m pretty new to comics, over a year now, and I’m really hoping I get that crying moment, especially in a long running series that I read. There is a little of the in Walking Dead, but a lot of it is shock, in a good way.

  65. @CaeuZokul  of course! Death of Superman was probably the first comic (that or DD: Yellow) to make me cry. Read it on a road trip to North Carolina in the back of a van and was definitely shedding some tears on the final scene with the newscast covering Superman’s death and the effects of horror and sadness on everyone close to him. That was pretty heavy.

  66. @MegaPhilip  –Death of Superman made me incredibly upset when i found out it was a ruse! My first experience with fake deaths in comics. It was a total Johnny Rotten “ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” moment for me. 

  67. To followup their point about capes not making for many of these moments, relative to other kinds of comics, I can’t disagree, but there are some examples that absolutely nail it for me.  Detective Comics’ second Batwoman arc has this in spades, flashing through moments in her life.  In #859 it shows her at West Point when then commander givers her the opportunity to deny being gay, she simply says “A cadet shall not lie, cheat or steal, nor suffer others to do so. I’m sorry, sir, I can’t….I’m gay.” And quietly takes her ring off and sets it on the table.

    Just brilliant.  

    Also, did the ban on DADT really just fail to get repealed? Such bullshit. 

  68. I only remember physically crying at I Kill Giants and Astro City 1/2 (The nearness of you).  I can’t peg down what they did to make me feel that way, but man was I invested in those stories.  Essex county definitely moved me, but didn’t turn on the waterworks.  Great show.

  69. Giant Size Astonishing X-Men #1: Kitty phasing the bullet.

    Fables: The Good Prince

    Calvin & Hobbes: “Let’s go exploring!”

    Pride of Baghdad

    And everything mentioned above.


  70. Just started reading To Cool To Be Forgotten, wish I didn’t know where it was going but it’s kinda like reading a book the second time and having all the little nuances making more sense.

  71. @MegaPhilip  It’s a risk we must take. Hope you still dug it.

  72. All-Star Superman was full of misty moments. Several have mentioned #10, but #12 did a number on me as well. Superman saying goodbye to Lois, struggling forever in the sun to keep it going so that the rest of us can live and have happy lives. Not to mention #6 (or was it 5?) with poor Zibarro trying to get Superman’s attention, asking him to read his poetry. Poor guy.

    Now that I think about it, Superman Beyond #2 and Final Crisis #7 both made me cry a bit. Especially Final Crisis – he wished for a happy ending! Whenever Morrison writes Superman he focuses so much on the big-hearted, gentle, helpful Superman that it’s hard not to get a bit choked up thinking about the possibilities and consequences of that kind of love.

  73. SiP is by far the most emotional I’ve got reading a comic book. Especially near the end. A few of the issues left me a wreck. Not necessarily from crying, just emotionally in a place that was hard to get out of. I can’t think of anything else that is even in the same ballpark.

  74. I know featuring a book two weeks in a row would be a bit much, but….
    I read “Two Generals” yesterday and that ending sure made me verklempt  

  75. Great episode, Ron describing strangers in paradise and choking up clinched it, Im going to buy some trades right now

  76. Tiers are for queers!
    Wait, this is the wrong video to debate Super Smash Brothers….

  77. The last couple pages of Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal number 1 had crying.

  78. Ok, a super hero book that got me was ultimate spiderman, once at the end spider man ultimatum and again with j. Jonah jamersons eulogy in requiem.

  79. It’s quite a shame that the Strangers in Paradise HC collections are mostly OOP… I’d love to collect them but not for OOP prices…

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