One of the most understated abilities of comic book writers is how they handle emotions. Though the stories of the most mainstream comics tend to be about powerful heroes changing the world and dealing with villains, they also have really heart-felt mementoes. In fact, some of them are so deep and melancholic, you forget you’re even reading a comic. It’s what elevates the medium from Sunday’s comic strips to an actual art form. Throughout comic book history there have been quite a few moments that have made fans shed some tears.
Archie is Killed by Homophobia
Archie had been around forever. He was released in 1941 and became instantly popular for how entertaining and wholesome it seemed. Decades after its release, Archie welcomed a new character, Kevin Keller. He was the first openly gay character in Archie’s history and he was surprisingly well received.
In the “Life with Archie” storylines were all the characters have become adults, Keller is a senator. During a fundraising event, his life is threatened by a bigot. While his bodyguards go for a red herring, Archie sees the actual gunmen and trying to push Keller out of harm’s way, he ends up being shot. The comic ends with Archie shot, bleeding to death while others look.
Alex DeWitt’s Death
When Kyle Rayner is chosen to be a Green Lantern, he immediately enlists the help of Alexandra DeWitt, his girlfriend. They were both unsure about what to do with his new powers, but eventually, Alex becomes a coach of sorts for Rayner and he begins to find his footing as a superhero.
That is until one day Rayner goes to Los Angeles to save it during an earthquake. Upon returning home he finds a note prompting him to look for a present on the fridge, and when he opens it, he finds his amazing girlfriend dead and stuffed inside. He immediately goes after the perpetrator, Major Force but police interrupt them. Alex’s death completely changes Rayner and serves as an important point for his character’s development.
Jessica Jones and The Purple Man
Jessica Jones is really really really dark. Jessica has PTSD and a complicated past, but things get infinitely worse when Kilgrave meets her and takes control of her mind. While he doesn’t outright hurts her, he does assault her and makes her watch while he sexually assaults college students in front of her. Generally, Jessica Jones makes some amazing points about violence and coercion, but they can be hard to swallow at times because of how gritty and sad the whole universe is.
Mia Lives with HIV
Mia Dearden, Green Arrow’s sidekick, had an awful, heartbreaking life. She was abused as a little girl, grew up in the streets and was forced into unsavory business by a disgusting boyfriend. When the Green Arrow saves her, he sends her to Oliver Queen’s centre for at-risk teens. Mia begins to live there, and she soon becomes part of the Green Arrow’s team.
Mia and Oliver had a close, fraternal relationship. He was really protective of her and she reciprocated. So, when she’s diagnosed with HIV, Oliver immediately wants her to quit, though she resists since she wants to do something meaningful with her life. Mia is the only comic book character that has HIV but hasn’t died of AIDS, in fact, at some point she was married and living in London.