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[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Batman_Alley_500.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[Franchise/{{Batman}} Some legends can only be born in tragedy.]]]]
->'''Jack:''' ''(reading box description)'' "When the planet Krypton was destroyed in a cosmic holocaust--" [[LateArrivalSpoiler Aww]].\\
'''Rich:''' You're ''just'' finding that out. This is news to you.
-->--'''''[[Creator/RedLetterMedia Best of the Worst]]''''' watches ''{{Film/Supergirl}}''

''[[ComicBookDeath No one stays dead in comics]], except [[BuckyBarnes Bucky]], [[Franchise/SpiderMan Uncle Ben]] and [[{{Franchise/Batman}} Jason Todd]].[[note]]Since then, Jason and Bucky have both come back from the dead. D'oh.[[/note]]''

If you've read ComicBooks, then you know DeathIsCheap, StayingAlive is easy and there's a [[HowToCheatDeath thousand ways]] to [[FirstLawOfResurrection trump]] the SortingAlgorithmOfDeadness.

There are, however, some characters who ''stay'' dead. These are the [[FriendlyTarget loved ones]] who suffered DeathByOriginStory, and play a vital role in the motivations of the hero. Their death can be (in)directly the hero's fault (Comicbook/{{Spider-Man}}, Uncle Ben), not their fault but still a huge motivation (Franchise/{{Batman}}, Thomas and Martha Wayne) or simply there to add drama (Franchise/{{Superman}}, Pa Kent). Similarly, ScarsAreForever when they represent an important event for a character (for instance, [[Comicbook/{{Batgirl}} Barbara Gordon's]] lower body paralysis).

Sure, bringing them back is always possible and could take the story in exciting new directions, and deeply change the FallenHero when his dead little sister returns... or it just might be in bad taste, get poorly handled, nullify [[CrusadingWidower their motivation]] and lead to a {{Retcon}} or AuthorsSavingThrow that "[[OpeningACanOfClones they were really]] a [[ReplicantSnatching robot]] ShapeShifting Alien [[CloningBlues clone]]... [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot ninja]]" and promptly getting killed or forgotten. This is why StatusQuoIsGod.

Usually, the rationale for why they can't be brought back involves a FantasticAesop about not meddling with death because of [[CameBackWrong dire consequences]]... [[BrokenAesop except]] the hero, villain, and a score of other [[PopularityPower popular]] characters have ''already'' cheated death with no major consequences.

Usually this happens because TheCallKnowsWhereYouLive. When the loved ones aren't specifically [[YouKilledMyFather murdered by a villain]], their deaths are often due to something common and/or vague such as a car accident or some kind of [[TheDiseaseThatShallNotBeNamed disease that shall not be named]]. The cause of death can also start out very vaguely and then clarify (often disastrously) as the story progresses.

A variation of DeathByOriginStory occurs when the important death is the main protagonist's ''own'' death, as important part of his or her ''own'' origin story. Usually, this involves a transition to an [[TheUndead undead]] state of some sort, or alternatively, the character dies but is [[BackFromTheDead resurrected]] in [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence a new form]] and granted [[HowToGiveACharacterSuperpowers superpowers]]. Or, it can become a mystery where the hero has to find out WhodunnitToMe in order to either avoid death or avenge it.

When a series becomes popular enough, they might decide to make a {{prequel}}. The characters would still be alive at the time, but everyone knows they're DoomedByCanon and would watch it only to see how it happens if it wasn't shown already.

Compare DeathByNewberyMedal, LastOfHisKind, DyingToBeReplaced, ConvenientlyAnOrphan, PlotTriggeringDeath. Might result in ForgottenFallenFriend. Frequently involves a PosthumousCharacter.

%%If you have time, please take time to put examples in alphabetical order. This page Administrivia/HowToAlphabetizeThings should help you with that.

!!'''As a DeathTrope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.'''
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime & Manga]]
* ''{{Arago}}'' Arago and Ewan's parents, as well as Joe's old partner.
* Tobio Tenma fits. Without his death, ''Manga/AstroBoy'' would never have been created.
* ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'' has the death/disappearance of the Roman Empire. It is brought up at the very beginning of the series, and leaves the little Italy brothers to be tormented by other nations. Roman Empire makes a few appearances, but he's pretty obvious dead.
* Guts of ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' has a whole bunch of dead folks in his origin story (which actually played out in the manga) consisting of pretty much everyone in the Band of the Hawk with the exception of Rickert (who wasn't with the Hawks when the Eclipse went down) and Casca (the one other character other than Guts to survive being Branded, who had a ''very'' nasty experience that [[GoMadFromTheRevelation she still hasn't recovered from]]). Because of this, Guts is madder than hell at Griffith, who sacrificed everyone to join the Godhand as its fifth member.
* The ''very first chapter'' of ''Manga/BlueExorcist'' is this. Rin finds out he's the Son of Satan...and his father promptly [[DemonicPossession possesses]] his [[HappilyAdopted foster father]] [[TooCoolToLive Shiro]], killing him in the process and making Rin awaken his demon side, which sets in motion most of Rin's motivation and issues within the manga. Doubles as TheCallKnowsWhereYouLive for bonus points.
* In both the LightNovel and Anime versions of ''LightNovel/ChuunibyouDemoKoiGaShitai'', Rikka's father in both the anime and light novels died years before the story takes place, and is a motivating factor for Rikka to [[MsImagination take up the Wicked Eye and search for the Unseen Horizon]].
* Clare from ''Manga/{{Claymore}}'' has one of these with the death of Teresa.
* Three of the four central characters of ''Anime/CodeGeass'' became the people they are today by losing a loved one (Leouch = mother Marianne, Suzaku = father Genbu, Kallen = brother Naoto). Later on it's revealed that there's much more to the deaths of Marianne and Genbu than first appeared (Naoto, however, simply stayed dead).
* In ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' both Goku and Vegeta's home planet was destroyed by Frieza before the series began and losing their families in the process, also making them the last pureblooded Saiyans alive, with the two other survivors Raditz and Nappa being killed many years afterwards (If one counts the movies, Then Vegeta's brother Tarble was also among the last pureblooded Saiyans alive, and there were other survivors, namely Turles, Paragas, and Broly, who were eventually defeated).
** And earlier, in ''Manga/DragonBall'', there is Son Gohan, the elderly master who adopted young Goku as an infant. The poor fellow ended up being squished by Goku's Oozaru form some time before the series began. Since DeathIsCheap in the Dragon Ball universe, however, he did come back for a day during the Fortuneteller Baba arc as her fifth fighter for a reunion with Goku and his former master, Master Roshi.
* With the exception of one fairly minor character in ''Manga/FairyTail'' (and a few demons) all deaths happen in people's back stories. As an inversion, in Hiro Mashima's previous manga, ''Manga/RaveMaster'' there was no better guarantee that you'd be alive for the actual events of the story than dying in a back story. If you didn't turn out to have been NotQuiteDead or have faked your death you got to stay in the realm of the living as an animal (though if you were a mom you seemed to be exempt from that rule.)
* ''Manga/FruitsBasket'' LOVES this trope. Most obviously for Kyoko, but Katsuya and Akira, Akito's father as well.
* Trisha Elric and Scar's brother in ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', to name just a few; many major characters have one, and in one case it's an entire country. Although in [[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist the 2003 anime version]], Trisha is more of a case of CameBackWrong.
* Hiroyuki Kazami in ''Anime/FutureGPXCyberFormula''. The car which is equipped with his creation, the supercomputer Asurada, is driven by his son Hayato.
** Kaga's friend Eiji serves as this for him. His death is the reason why Kaga has warned Hayato about the Zero Zone and why Kaga himself has stayed away of it for years.
* The Test Type Zoanoid from ''Manga/{{Guyver}}'' is always the first Zoanoid to appear... and the first to die. His death is necessary however, as it sets off the events in the entire series.
* Satoko's, Rika's and Takano's parents in ''VisualNovel/HigurashiNoNakuKoroNi''.
* ''[[Anime/TheIdolmaster THE iDOLM@STER]]'' - Chihaya's little brother.
* Most of the main characters in ''Manga/InuYasha'' are motivated at least partly by dead relatives or acquaintances, either before the beginning of the series or shortly after their introduction. Inuyasha's girlfriend Kikyo and Sango's brother Kohaku come back, sort of (''very'' complicated in Kikyo's case). Inuyasha's mother, Shippo's father, Miroku's father, and the rest of Sango's village stay dead.
* The ''Anime/IronMan'' anime series shows the classic origin story with Dr. Yinsen (see the Comic Book and Film entries below) ...then subverts it by not only having Yinsen ''survive'', but become the BigBad of the series.
* ''Manga/KimbaTheWhiteLion'' has the eponymous character's parents who both die by the end of the first episode.
* Soubi in ''{{Loveless}}'' ends up at Seven Voices under Ritsu's instruction because his parents were murdered. Soubi's mother is also Ritsu's [[TheLostLenore Lost Lenore]], and Nagisa claims this is the reason that Ritsu took Soubi's virginity.
* Tiida Lanster in ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'', Teana's older brother who died during his final mission in disgrace. From that point on, Teana sought to achieve her brother's dream of becoming an enforcer while proving that the [[GunKata magic he taught her]] was not useless.
* Juzo Kabuto in ''MazingerZ'' and ''ShinMazinger''.
* All five Shuffle Alliance members in ''Anime/MobileFighterGGundam'' have deaths connected in some way to the reason why they're in the Gundam Fight: Domon has his mother, who was killed by Kyouji's escape; Argo has the wife of future Neo-Canada pilot Andrew Graham, Norma, who gets sucked out into space in an accident; Sai Saici has his father, who died attempting to revive the Shaolin Temple; George has the Tragedy In Marseilles, in which a cruel competitor snaps and kills many spectators when he's denied the title of Gundam Fight rep; and Chibodee has his mother, who were killed by clown-faced terrorists.
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' the whole story of the eponymous character is set in motion by his parents, the Fourth Hokage and his wife sealing the Nine-Tailed Fox into Naruto, even though they lose their own lives in the process, which is shown right at the start of the manga/anime. Likewise the massacre of the Uchiha clan leads to Sasuke changing his personality and focusing almost entirely on his revenge.
** Neji's father allows himself to be killed in Hiashi's place. Neji believes he was forced to do it, though, and holds a grudge against the head family until it is revealed that he chose to die- not for the main family but for his village and his brother.
** Kakashi got this twice in one arc. The first was in-story, where Minato explained the suicide of Kakashi's father had led to him being a stickler for the rules. The second was when Obito died and inspired Kakashi's current personality.
** Gaara's mother and uncle died, his mother due to complications during birth and his uncle trying to kill him. The Kazekage's attempted manipulations of the facts led to Gaara being [[BloodKnight less than well-adjusted]].
** Sasori's parents were killed by Sakumo Hatake during a mission, and arguably contributed to his fall.
** Haku's mother was killed by his father, who Haku then killed.
** Nagato's parents were killed defending him, his dog was killed in cross-fire from a battle, and his dear friend Yahiko killed himself to protect Konan.
** Tobi's backstory hinges on the death of [[TheLostLenore Rin]], his childhood crush.
** Madara's brothers were both killed during the Warring Clans Era, as was Hashirama's youngest brother. While Hashirama moved forward, the loss of his brothers played a part in Madara's eventual destiny.
** Black Zetsu was created by Princess Kaguya in her dying moments, in order to revive her at some point in the future.
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''. Every single character who is given more than five minutes of screen time is defined by the loss of some loved one, most often a parent, most often horribly. Almost all of them through suicide or misaimed noble sacrifice. But then, this is [[CrapsackWorld Evangelion]].
** Also, one ingredient in the construction of their HumongousMecha are the soul of the pilots' dead mother.
* ''Anime/{{Noir}}'' has main protagonist Mireille Bouquet's reason for fighting being that she wants revenge on The Soldats for killing her parents and older brother.
* Practically every Straw Hat Pirates member in ''Manga/OnePiece'' has such a tragedy, the only exception being Sanji, whose mentor merely lost his leg and is still around. In the present, however, the number of real deaths (while not zero) is ''greatly'' overshadowed by the {{Disney Death}}s.
** Brook is an unusual case in that, being an undead, the DeathByOriginStory is actually ''his own'', along with his pirate crew at the time.
** There's also Fisher Tiger and Otohime, whose deaths influenced the current generation of fishmen.
*** That was pretty much the ''only'' guaranteed way, save one or two instances, that any named One Piece character could die.
* The death of Utena's parents in ''Anime/RevolutionaryGirlUtena'' starts her on her quest to become a prince.
%%* ''Manga/SailorMoon'': Mamoru's parents.
* ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' has Kamina. No one saw it coming, which added to the shock value of his sudden death. Even afterward, he remained a large inspiration to the entire Dai Gurren Brigade, all the way to the final battle.
* ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'': [[LizardFolk Anak's]] reason for entering the Tower was revenge for the murder of her parents by orders of King Zahard.
* Rem of ''Manga/{{Trigun}}'' serves as the reason for Vash's motivations and also the source of his philosophy. While in early episodes of the anime their actual relationship is unclear, episode 17 shows their origins and her motherly relationship to him.
* In ''Manga/TsubasaChronicle'' it's Fai's twin brother, and Kurogane's Parents.
* In ''Manga/UQHolder'', Touta's parents were killed in a car crash resulted in him getting amnesia and being raised by Yukihime.
* ''Anime/WeissKreuz'' enjoys playing with this one. Three of the four members of Weiss are motivated at least in part by someone else's death: Aya by the deaths of his parents, Yoji by the death of his partner Asuka, and Ken by the death of his friend Kase. Kase and (arguably) Asuka ''both'' turn up alive again, only for Ken and Yoji to be forced to [[KilledOffForReal kill them for real]].
* ''Anime/KillLaKill'' has the fathers of both TheHero and TheRival, Isshin Matoi and Soichiro Kiryuin, respectively. [[spoiler: [[LukeIAmYourFather They're actually the same man.]]]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/AllFallDown'' has the 642 casualties inadvertently killed by Sophie's ascendance in The Fall.
* Parodied in the first issue of ''TheAwesomeSlapstick''. The Scientist Supreme of Dimension X conveniently falls dead after telling protagonist Steve Harmon everything he needs to know to stop the BigBad's schemes. After Steve leaves, he springs back up with a grin.
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' has several instances of this. Thomas and Martha Wayne for him, and the Flying Graysons for Robin, who would later become Nightwing.
** Even the Joker has had, in some of his origin stories, his wife dying as [[StartOfDarkness part of his origin story]] [[FreudianExcuse turning him to villainy]]. Or [[MultipleChoicePast not.]]
** In case you didn't think the Batfamily had enough of this, [[{{Batwoman}} Kate Kane]], her twin sister and her mother were kidnapped and held hostage when Kate was ten years old. When her father managed to rescue her, she left her cell and saw their bullet-ridden corpses.
** ''[[GrantMorrisonsBatman Batman Inc.]]'' introduces two more characters with similarly tragic pasts. Mr. Unknown, the future Batman of Japan, took on the role after his friend and mentor was tortured and killed in a very gruesome manner. Batwing is a former child soldier from Congo whose parents died of AIDS when he was a boy.
** At least two Batman ''villains'' also have this as their origin; the parents of the Wrath and those of Prometheus were criminals gunned down by the cops right in front of their son.
*** Similarly, Crux from ''ComicBook/RedHoodAndTheOutlaws'' dedicated his life to [[RevengeBeforeReason killing all aliens on Earth after a spaceship crash killed his parents.]]
** In the continuity of the ''ComicBook/{{New 52}}'', it has been established via retcon that Helena Bertinelli, the post-Crisis ComicBook/{{Huntress}}, was killed as a young woman and had her identity usurped by Helena Wayne, her pre-Crisis counterpart.
* In ''Big Bang Comics'', the Knight Watchman is a CaptainErsatz version of Batman. Instead of losing his parents as a child, however, Reid Randall lost his brother as an adult -- he was killed by gangsters who wanted to scare the Randalls into handing over the family business. Reid became the Knight Watchman to put his brother's killers behind bars, and soon took in his orphaned nephew Jerry as his sidekick, Kid Galahad.
* Comicbook/{{Blade}}'s mother was attacked while pregnant by a vampire. And while she died in labor, Blade was tainted at birth by the vampire bite, but not fully turned. This pretty much shaped his grudge against the supernatural.
* ''Comicbook/CaptainAtom'' had two examples. The experiment that turned Nathaniel Adam in Captain Atom also hurled him eighteen years into the future, where he discovered that his wife, Angela had, in the intervening years, died of cancer. Coming to terms with her loss was a big part of Cap's character arc.
** Cap himself was also an example, of course, since the experiment that made him Captain Atom also atomized his body (he got better, obviously). This was true in the Charlton version as well.
* Comicbook/DoctorStrange inherited the title and artifacts of "Sorcerer Supreme" after killing his master and tutor, the Ancient One (at his request). Whether this means the role is a YouKillItYouBoughtIt deal is yet unresolved.
* This was one of the reasons that Comicbook/TheFlash (Barry Allen) stayed dead once his former KidSidekick Wally West came into his own as his successor. That's been undone now, though.
** A pivotal story in the early '90s played with this by having Barry seem to return leaving Wally happy about Barry's return but conflicted about being back in his shadow (particularly since his speed had been reduced at the same point when Barry died leaving him the slower and less competent Flash). He had to deal with these issues in order to defeat Barry when he turned out to be Professor Zoom.
* Abin Sur's impending death on Earth led the GreenLantern ring to choose its first human bearer (not counting Alan Scott, whose ring is of a different origin.) He's managed to stay dead and his death has even recently given Hal Jordan the nemesis ''Amon'' Sur, who blamed Hal for his father's death.
* Particularly nasty variation in ''HackSlash'', in which Cassie Hack's origin story involves having to kill her own psychotic and undead mother.
* ''The Intimates'' only offhandedly mentions it, but Punchy first donned his costume shortly after his older sister was murdered.
* Ho Yinsen, the man who helped [[Comicbook/IronMan Tony Stark]] escape capture and build his first suit of armor. The identity of the people who capture Tony and force him to build them weapons varies depending on the medium, but regardless of the exact telling of Iron Man's origins, Yinsen is always there to a) help Tony build his armor and escape, b) act as TheMentor, and c) die.
* This is mentioned by the second Jailbait in ''[[{{Irredeemable}} Incorruptable]] ''.
-->''My parents are dead and I just put on this costume because apparently [[UnusualEuphemism I just had a superhero origin]], okay?!''
* Parodied in ''Kill All Parents'', where a scientist discovers that dead parents somehow directly guarantees their kid will become an awesome superhero. This leads to a government project dedicated to randomly murdering couples with children (and in one case an entire alien planet) to ensure that a generation of heroes will exist to save them from a foretold catastrophe.
* MartianManhunter has what is arguably the most extreme example of this ever. Most of his ''species'', including his ''wife and daughter'', spontaneously combusted after contracting a psychic plague engineered by his ''own brother''. J'onn only survived by severing his own psychic connection to the rest of his people, meaning he had to watch his family die in front of him while he was mentally cut off from them. The worst thing is that he could have stopped all of this. He knew his brother was up to no good, but J'onn still had misplaced trust in him and underestimated the depths of his evil. The loss of his people and his family in particular are a huge part of his character, which might be why attempts to revive his race always turn out to be fakeouts. While there is another (evil) Green Martian out there, his family is still dead.
* Both Comicbook/MisterTerrific's older brother and wife die, leading to him taking up the mantle of the original
* James-Michael's parents in OmegaTheUnknown, combined with a RoboticReveal.
* Comicbook/ThePunisher watched his whole family get caught in a mafia cross-fire, leading him to kill as many criminals as he could find.
** And then, in [[Comicbook/ThePunisherKillsTheMarvelUniverse an alternate-universe story]] where Frank Castle's family were killed during an alien invasion, he blamed the X-Men and Avengers and went on to hunt down meta-humans. It didn't help that the superheroes weren't very willing to accept responsibility for the deaths that their superfight caused, though Castle's actions in this What If comic were portrayed as nothing less than extreme.
** Marvel supervillain crimelord, Comicbook/TheHood, magically resurrected Frank Castle's wife and kids during Marvel's ''Comicbook/DarkReign'', in an attempt to bribe him to leave him alone. Frank is unable to accept that they're the real deal ''and burns them alive'' (using the corpse of another briefly-resurrected supervillain who he just killed). Even the Hood (who still gives support to his own ex-wife and kids) was thoroughly [[EvenEvilHasStandards shocked.]]
* The DC miniseries ''Relative Heroes'' parodied this; the main characters, who recently discovered their superpowers, decide that the death of their parents means they're destined to be superheroes.
* {{Spider-Man}}'s defining tragedy was the very preventable death of his Uncle Ben.
** To a lesser extent Peter Parker's biological parents, as he was introduced as an orphan being raised by his aunt and uncle. Richard and Mary Parker's death however was not shown until an annual during the Lee/Romita run; later the two were "brought back", but not that surprisingly the "returned" parents were revealed to be robots.
* ''SpiderMan'' supporting character Toxin plays around with this a little: Toxin's already an established hero when Razorfist kills his father, and by the end of the series Toxin sees Razorfist put behind bars.
* Played with in ''Comicbook/{{Starman}}''. David Knight dies in the first issue after doing nothing of note (apart from fighting the Will Payton Starman), but Jack takes an entire story arc before taking up the mantle. David becomes more interesting after his death, popping up in the annual "Talking With David" stories and even getting his own story arc at the close of the series.
* ComicBook/{{Superman}}'s parents died, of course, when Krypton blew up. Originally this also included both Pa and Ma Kent dying , marking the passage between Superboy and Superman.
** Averted in post-Crisis Superman, where both Ma and Pa Kent are alive in the main continuity.
*** Played straight again in the {{New52}}.
* Subverted and played straight with Rorschach in ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}''. When his mother died all he said was "Good". But it was the event when Kitty Genovese was killed and despite multiple people hearing and seeing this event did nothing did he decide to become a vigilante.
* "The Wombat" in ''10th Muse'' murdered her ''own'' parents outside a movie theater after arranging for them to see a showing of ''The Mark of Zorro'' in an attempt to invoke the trope and make her a stronger hero.
** This storyline was later remade with a few major alterations in ''Insane Jane'' - Jane kills everyone she knows so she can have a proper "origin", but she's schizophrenic and doesn't actually know she's doing it.
* A few other Marvel stories that involved this trope, for example:
** TheWasp's debut and origin story involved the murders of Hank Pym's first wife and of Janet Van Dyne's father as motivations for Hank's attraction for Janet and Janet's decision to become a superhero.
** ''Comicbook/{{Daredevil}}'' #1 introduced Matt Murdock as a half-orphan, then his father was murdered on the orders of the Fixer. Frank Miller's retcon later revealed that Matt Murdock's mother had not died but become a nun, while the origin of Miller's new character, the [[MeaningfulName aptly named Elektra]] also entailed the death of her father.
** Professor X of the ''ComicBook/{{X-Men}}'' was shown as having lost his biological parents as well as his step-father in his origin story. Cyclops was introduced as an orphan (although it was later revealed that at least his father survived long enough to meet his children again).
*** Professor X's origin (which spans several decades prior to his debut) also has him [[HandicappedBadass paralyzed from waist down]]. Even though he's [[CloningGambit no longer in his original body]], the notion of one of the most powerful men alive being confined to a wheelchair is so intrinsic to Xavier's character that restoration of his ability to walk never lasts long.
** ComicBook/{{Loki}}'s ''Tales of Asgard'' origin story showed him as the orphaned son of one of Odin's late enemies.
** {{Magneto}}'s young daughter died in a fire while a mob tried to kill her father for his newly emerged mutant abilities.
** Another ''X-Men'' example with ComicBook/{{X-23}}, who's actually the DecoyProtagonist of her own origin book, which focuses instead on her mother and creator, Sarah Kinney, her attempts to clone ComicBook/{{Wolverine}}, and her subsequent HeelRealization and HeelFaceTurn to save the girl. And then she's killed at the end as a final posthumous KickTheDog by Zander Rice, just as she helps X-23 escape.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fanfics]]
* ''Fanfic/MyLittleUnicorn'': As we learn through flashback narration, the case for Lightning's family. In the remake, the same goes for [[spoiler: Starla's parents, Buddy Rose's parents and Buddy Rose's cousin's parents]].
* Connor, Zane and Starr's capture by Pokextinction in ''Fanfic/{{Pokeumans}}'' give Sakato, Nathan and Starr something tragic to fight for. [[{{Irony}} On the plus side,]] they aren't dead. They're just {{brainwashed}}.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* How much of Anakin Skywalker's (''Film/{{Attack Of The Clones}}'') move toward the Dark Side had to do with the death of his mother at the hands of the Sand People (whom he'd [[CurbStompBattle slaughter in an ]][[OneManArmy orgy of vengeance]], including [[WouldHurtAChild women and children]]--definitely a path to the Dark Side of the Force)? And of course his premonitions of Padme's death were how Palpatine got his hooks in him too.
** And in ''Film/{{Star Wars}}'', Luke starts his trajectory to Jedi herodom with the death of his guardian family on Tatooine, and is on a deeper level motivated by the long ago death ([[FromACertainPointOfView from a certain point of view]]) of his father.
* The comic book films of ''Film/{{Batman}}'' and ''[[Film/SpiderMan Spider-Man]]'' follow their predecessors.
* In ''Film/{{Godzilla 2014}}'', Sandra Brody is shown with Joe and a young Ford at the beginning of the film, and dies shortly afterwards. The film then jumps fifteen years later, and we're shown that Joe hasn't gotten over her death, while their son Ford has moved on, married and has a kid of his own.
* The only difference between [[Film/IronMan the film version of Iron Man]] and the [[ComicBook/IronMan various comic origins]] is that Dr. Yinsen, here, is Muslim. But he's still a respected colleague, and he still [[HeroicSacrifice sacrifices himself to allow Tony to escape]].
** On top of that, his death is a total TearJerker, revealing Ten Rings murdered his family, so by dying, he's "going to meet them" as he earlier said he would when he "escaped."
* The Bowler in ''Film/MysteryMen'' references this, a little. She inherited the role and title from her father, whose skull is now encased in her (transparent plastic) bowling ball. Twisted a little in that she doesn't really ''want'' to be The Bowler; her father's ghost guilted her into it, and she's looking forward to avenging his death not because she feels a burning need for justice but so that she can go back to grad school.
* Subverted with Jason's old neighbor in ''Film/MysteryTeam''.
* ''Film/{{Superman}}'': Jor-El and all of Krypton.
** Also, in this version, Pa Kent's death ends up being what motivates Clark to fulfill his purpose in life as Superman.
-->"All those things I could do... all those ''powers''... and I couldn't even save him."
* In the 2002 remake of ''[[Film/TheTimeMachine2002 The Time Machine]]'', this is actually enforced in-story.
* ''Film/{{Watchmen}}'' has a bit of subtle fun with the Batman ur-example: The very first "still" in the title sequence shows the first Nite Owl punching out the would-be killer of Bruce Wayne's parents!
* ''Film/XMen'':
** ''Film/XMenOriginsWolverine'' has LoveInterest Kayla. Being Logan, a character who in the comics collects dead lovers and was unattached in the first three movies, it seemed she was doomed to die, and the film doesn't disappoint... ''at first.'' But when it's revealed he death was faked and their affair false, the trope seemed [[AvertedTrope averted.]] But then it turns out she [[BecomingTheMask really loved him]]... so she was dead as a doornail by the end, and the now amnesiac Wolverine didn't even know to cry over her corpse. Tragic in all the wrong ways.
*** Then there's John Howlett, Wolverine's father, who is killed by the groundskeeper Thomas Logan in a drunken rage. The trauma of witnessing this activates young Logan's mutation: bone claws and he uses this to kill Thomas Logan, supposedly avenging his father's death. With his dying breath, [[LukeIAmYourFather Thomas Logan reveals that he, not John Howlett, is his real father]].
** Erik's mother in ''Film/XMenFirstClass''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In ''Literature/AbrahamLincolnVampireHunter'', young Abe's mother is killed by vampires, thus beginning his quest for revenge.
* The [[Literature/CHERUBSeries CHERUBs]] are all required to be orphaned or abandoned with no family members likely to turn up and claim them. This trope strikes main characters James and Lauren, as their mother dies just chapters into the first book and Lauren's father is sent to jail for smuggling cigarettes after hitting Lauren.
* In ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', the death of Susan's parents. Unusual in that they'd been key characters in a previous book, and that Death himself is implied to have offered them an alternative (living on at his estate, like Albert), but they opted to see their real lives through to the end.
* Flame in ''Literature/TalesOfAnMazingGirl'' Parents died to motivate her to fight evil. And royally screw her up.
** Subverted in ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}''. The Assassins' Guild took Mr. Teatime in as a child because they took pity on him after the sudden death of his parents. As Lord Downey later came to reflect, it was a pity they didn't look into this...
* Clark Savage, Jr. died in the first ''Franchise/DocSavage'' novel. He had already trained his son to fight crime.
* In ''Literature/{{Dune}}'', Paul Atreides becomes [[TheChosenOne the prophecied Muad'dib]] only after the sneak attack on his House by the Harkonnens, resulting in the death of his father, drives him into the desert, and into the shelter of the Fremen.
** Paul gets this twice actually: he only decides to fully follow through on the prophecies when his son dies.
** This ''also'' makes him Duke Atreides and eligible to become Emperor, but that's just the normal workings of inheritance.
* Mack Bolan, Literature/TheExecutioner, tried to wipe out the entire Mafia after he returned home from Vietnam because of the death of everyone in his family except his little brother.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotter'' Harry's parents are sacrificed at the start of the story, his mother's sacrifice specifically allowing him to survive.
* In the ''Literature/IncarnationsOfImmortality'' series, Zane becomes the incarnation of Death by killing the previous incarnation of Death. Also, death figures largely in why Chronos and Satan become their respective incarnations.
* Fisk's parents in the ''Literature/KnightAndRogueSeries''. His father died of pneumonia after reading a book out in the rain. His mother died in a flu epidemic.
* In ''[[Literature/KushielsLegacy Kushiel's Avatar]]'' by Jacqueline Carey, the Markhagir (although he is a villain) has a DeathByOriginStory - the neighboring country invades and kills the entire royal family, leaving him suffocating under a mountain of corpses. This trauma turns him into the complete madman he is.
* Happens to Queen Vasi Bria's mother in ''Literature/TheLastDove''. Her death causes the fighting between the clans.
* In ''Literature/MythAdventures'', the death of Skeeve's first teacher Garkin.
* Nick Carter's father Sim died in the first ''Nick Carter'' story. He had already trained his son to work as a sleuth.
* Alex Maxwell, a.k.a. Shade of the ''Literature/SeekersOfTruth'' gets one of these when his parents are killed explicitly to draw his brother into the BigBad's evil plot.
* Simon Mead in the ''Selena Mead'' stories.
* ''Literature/SisterhoodSeries'' by Creator/FernMichaels: The first book ''Weekend Warriors'' introduces us to Myra Rutledge, Nikki Quinn, and Barbara Rutledge. All three of them are very happy... until Barbara gets killed by a drunk hit-and-run driver who exploits DiplomaticImpunity! Myra sinks into a funk for over a year until she witnesses a vigilante killing a rapist and killer on live news. Then she gets the inspiration to set up a group of vigilantes to get justice for women who were wronged by {{Karma Houdini}}s. On an interesting side note, Barbara has appeared as a ghost to Myra, Nikki, and Charles Martin from time to time to make conversation or offer advice.
* ''Literature/TheSpider'', Richard Wentworth, fought crime after the death of his wife and daughter.
* Dorn Graybrook in ''Literature/TheYearOfRogueDragons'' hates dragons with a passion and hunts them for a living. Reason being, a [[OurDragonsAreDifferent black dragon]] killed his parents and bit off half his body as a child. (A wizard replaced his missing limbs with iron golem parts.)
* The Domino Lady's father, a senator, assassinated by a criminal group, inspired her to fight crime.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Alias}}'': Sydney's fiancé Danny is killed in the pilot episode after she tells him she's a spy, and provides the motivation for her turning on SD-6 and starting to work for the real CIA. Despite the introduction into the series mythos of zombies, clones, zombie clones and immortality juice (oh, if only it [[ItMakesSenseInContext made sense in context]]) and multiple fakeout deaths for Sydney's main in-series love interest, Vaughn, Danny stays dead and is never seen again.
* ''Series/BabylonFive'':
** [[TheCaptain Captain]] John Sheridan has always regretted the death of his wife, whose ship was destroyed while surveying a distant planet on the edge of known space. Particularly since he is aware that he forgot to say "I love you" and "Good bye" to her the last time they spoke, as they were both in a rush. The discovery that the [[BigBad Shadows]] were responsible for her death is a huge motivator for him in the second and third seasons of the show. Since he assumed that Delenn was telling him the truth when she said the Shadows ''[[AFateWorseThanDeath killed]]'' [[CameBackWrong his wife.]]
** Also, Marcus was motivated to become a Ranger after the death of his brother, a Ranger, in a Shadow attack--when previously, he hadn't taken his brother's stories about the Shadows very seriously. (This is touched on a bit in the series, but elaborated in the [[ExpandedUniverse canon book "To Dream in the City of Sorrows"]], where we see him in training.)
** The death of G'Kar's father at the hands of Centauri occupiers (he was a servant in a Centauri household and was [[DisproportionateRetribution hung from a tree for spilling a hot beverage on the lady of the house]]) spurred young G'Kar to take active leadership in the [[LaResistance Narn Resistance]], which later made him an important council leader on free Narn, with the position he had in the show.
** Ivanova joined Earthforce after the death of her brother in the Minbari War--in spite her father being a pacifist and opposing her joining. Also, her mother's suicide from the depressive effects of [=PsiCorps=] drugs spurred her to become a big foe of that organization, and to help some telepaths avoid or escape its clutches.
* ''BadBoy'': In this KoreanDrama, the death of Gun Wook's ForgottenFallenFriend from the orphanage begins his revenge against the rich family that [[ParentalAbandonment abandoned]] him.
* ''Series/BlueBloods'': The middle sibling Joe Reagan was killed in the line of duty before the series began. This formed part of youngest sibling Jamie Reagan's motivation to leave law school to become a cop like most of the rest of the family. Jamie's investigation into Joe's death also formed the main plot arc for season 1.
* ''{{CSI NY}}'': Mac's wife Claire, who died on 9/11--it's gotta be part of the mix of his motivation to fight for justice, alongside his Marine background.
* ''Series/DarkJustice'': Judge Nicholas Marshall, the protagonist, stopped believing in the system and started believing justice when he lost his family (namely, his wife and his daughter) and the murderer got OffOnATechnicality.
* ''Series/{{Dexter}}'': Dexter's adoptive father, Harry Morgan. And his biological mother who got hacked up in a shipping container when he was 2.5 years old - Dex and his older brother Brian sat in blood for three days.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** A number of companions of the Doctor have ended up traveling with him after their close relations died, usually as BackStory (making them ConvenientlyAnOrphan) occasionally as shown onscreen:
** Vicki's father was killed in a massacre just prior to the events of her debut story, "The Rescue".
** Sara Kingdom was tricked into assassinating her own brother in "The Daleks' Master Plan", but died herself at the end of the story.
** Victoria Waterfield's father died fighting the Daleks in "The Evil of the Daleks".
** Adric lost his brother to the Marshmen in "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS18E3FullCircle Full Circle]]" and, with him, any reason for staying with his own people. When Adric himself died at the end of "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS19E6Earthshock Earthshock]]", he was seen holding his brother's belt in his final moments.
** Nyssa lost two family members as a result of the Master's machinations in "The Keeper of Traken". The first was her stepmother, whom the Master manipulated, then killed once he had no further use for her. Then, the Master killed Nyssa's father and [[GrandTheftMe took over his body]]; this was followed soon after by the destruction (in "Logopolis") of Nyssa's home planet.
** Tegan Jovanka's aunt was murdered by the Master in "Logopolis".
** For a viewer who begins watching from the beginning of the new series (2005) this trope could also apply to the entirety of the Time Lord race.
** Technically the regeneration of one Doctor into another is a DeathByOriginStory, since the previous Doctor has to die for the new one to be born.
* ''Series/{{Leverage}}'': Sam, the young son of mastermind Nathan Ford, died prior to the start of the show after a health insurance company refused to pay for his treatment. Nate blames the company, and his need for revenge leads him to use his skills to steal from the heartless rich to give to the deserving.
* ''TheMentalist'': Psychic Patrick Jane, the protagonist, became a consultant for the California Bureau of Investigation when his wife and his daughter were murdered by a serial killer. Particularly because he partly blames himself, as he openly mocked the serial killer on a talk show.
* ''Series/{{Merlin}}'': Arthur's mom, Ygraine, died giving birth to him. The catalyst for Uther's magic ban and a major part of the series' premise.
* The death of Gibb's first wife and only child at the hands of a drug dealer (And his hunting down and killing ''him'') set him on the path to stop being a Marine sniper and instead become one of the top investigators of ''{{NCIS}}''
* ''Series/PowerRangersRPM'': Marcus (Scott's brother) and Andrews (Summer's butler). Not to mention ''nearly all life on Earth'' when [[BigBad Venjix]] unleashes a [[ApocalypseHow Type 4 disaster]] at the start of the series.
* ''PushingDaisies'': Ned first discovered he could resurrect the dead when his dog, Digby, was hit by a truck. His mother died soon after, and he resurrected her. However, the dead could only be brought back to life for one minute, or something else had to die. Ned didn't know this, and only learned it when the father of the GirlNextDoor, Chuck, suddenly died. Ned then discovered that if he touched a resurrected person again, they died again, with no more chance at resurrection. He learned this when his mother kissed him good night. Finally, Chuck is murdered when she and Ned are adults, and he resurrects her, thus starting the events of the series...
* ''Series/QueenOfSwords'': The murder of Tessa's father in the pilot episode provides the motivation for her to become the masked vigilante, the Queen of Swords.
* ''Series/{{Revolution}}'': In the [[Recap/RevolutionS1E1Pilot pilot episode]], Ben Matheson gets killed off in a shootout between the Monroe Republic's militia and his son Danny Matheson. Between that and Danny Matheson being captured the militia, this is what starts the plot of the show.
* ''Series/{{Slingers}}'': DM's blames himself for his girlfriend's death. As presumably some form of closure he uses a holographic copy of her as ship pilot.
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'': There was a comic book about [[LexLuthor Lex's]] childhood hero, the Avenging Angel, whose love interest became a victim of this trope. When the producers of a movie based on the comic decided to use the SparedByTheAdaptation trope on her, it motivated a VillainOfTheWeek to kill her actress while recording the scene where the character should die. When said villain learned of Clark's powers and how he uses them for good, the villain decided to kill ''Clark's'' love interest out of the belief a hero needs this element and a living girlfriend would be a weakness.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'' and ''Film/{{Stargate}}'': Charlie, O'Neill's son. In the original movie, Charlie's death is a major motivation for O'Neill to go on what is probably going to be, and almost is, a suicide mission. And despite several characters treating death as a revolving door (I'm looking at you, Daniel), Charlie stays dead (except for [[Film/StargateContinuum that one]] [[AlternateUniverse alternate reality]]). Of course, he's been dead and buried well before they ever run across the technology to bring people back to life, which only seems to work on the recently deceased (and has [[CameBackWrong bad side effects]] anyway).
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'':
** The Winchester boys can come BackFromTheDead all they want. Their mother? DeaderThanDead. [[DisposableWoman Sam's girlfriend]]? KilledOffForReal.
** Also, their dad was KilledOffForReal after "In My Time of Dying." (Sure, he returned as a ghost in "All Hell Breaks Loose," but that doesn't count -- their mother returned as a ghost as well and then she got DeaderThanDead.)
* ''Series/TeenWolf'': The deaths of Derek's family. The fire that killed the majority of his family years before the story begins has shaped Derek into the person he is, and establishes Kate as one of the first season's main villains when it turns out that she was the one who set the fire. The more recent murder of Derek's sister Laura establishes the Alpha as the BigBad of the first season, and also starts the whole story since her body being found is the reason Scott and Stiles are wandering around in the woods, leading to Scott being bitten and becoming a werewolf.
* ''Series/{{Tracker}}'': Cole became a prison guard to guard Rhee, the Vardian who killed his wife and daughter. And then he follows Rhee to Earth after the escape. Although he's charged with rounding up all the escapees, Rhee is his first and primary objective.
* ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'': [[AxCrazy Callisto's]] StartOfDarkness happened when then-BigBad Xena killed her parents before her eyes. When goddesshood and time travel gave her a chance to save them, ''she killed them anyway to ensure she would become the monster she is''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Newspaper Comics]]
* ComicStrip/DickTracy decided to join the police force after the murder of his fiancée's father.
* The first [[ThePhantom Phantom]] started battling pirates to avenge his father.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Toys]]
* Toa Lhikan as part of the Toa Metru's origin story in ''{{Bionicle}}''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games]]
* It's not surprising that this happens a lot in ''Franchise/AceAttorney'', given the game is entirely about murders.
** Phoenix's first major case was the murder of his mentor Mia Fey, although [[SpiritAdvisor she stuck around afterwards.]] Later she even does double-duty for the origin of Prosecutor Godot.
** Gregory Edgeworth's death is what led to his son Miles getting adopted and getting turned into the Demon Prosecutor.
** The unsolved murder of Cece Yew is what prompted the formation of the Yatagarasu.
** Kay Faraday would probably not be the second Yatagarasu if she wasn't trying to follow in her dead father's footsteps.
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII'': Ezio Auditore becomes an Assassin after his father (an Assassin himself) and two brothers are framed and publicly executed. His first act is to hunt down and kill the man who had them killed, only to find out that someone else was pulling the strings. The rest of the game involves hunting down and assassinating Templars one-by-one.
** ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedBrotherhood'' starts with the new BigBad killing Ezio's uncle and destroying Monteriggioni.
* In ''Videogame/AssassinsCreedIII'', Connor's mother was killed when his village is attacked by Charles Lee, setting him on the path of vengeance.
* It being the slightly {{Troperiffic}} game that it is, ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' has six different origins to choose from, and someone dies in at least three of them.
* Jeff Bogard dies ten years before the events of ''VideoGame/FatalFury'', driving his adopted sons Terry and Andy to train in martial arts to avenge his murder at the hands of Geese Howard.
* Tombstone's wife in ''FreedomForce'' was killed by a neighbor in revenge for turning him down (also see the own death section)
* In ''VideoGame/TheGodfather: The Game'' game, Johnny Trapani serves as the DecoyProtagonist for the prologue and is gunned down at the end, paving the way for his son Aldo to become the real player character and giving him motivation to go out and kick the asses of other mobsters.
** Aldo himself dies in the prologue of Godfather 2, which as his second in command allows the player character room to step in and take his place in the organization.
* The Spirit Monk's unnamed parents (and the entire population of Dirge) was killed by Emperor Sun Hai's invasion in the backstory of ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire'', which led directly to the nasty problems the player must solve.
** Dawn Star is also an orphan, although it's revealed that her father is still alive - it's their teacher Master Li, while her mother was murdered by order of TheEmperor.
* ''VideoGame/TheLastOfUs'' has Sarah, Joel's daughter who dies in the prologue, which takes place 20 years prior to the events of the game.
* Link's mother in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]''.
* Similarly in Bioware's other RPG, ''Franchise/MassEffect'' two of the three possible backstories for Commander have his/her parents dead by default either because Shepard grew up on the streets or because of a Batarian attack.
* In ''Videogame/{{Metroid}}'', Samus Aran's family and the Chozo who raised her are all dead thanks to Space Pirates. This is elaborated in the manga, and only hinted at in the games.
* Hanzo Hasashi's family is slaughtered by the Lin Kuei, specifically, by a warrior named Bi Han (AKA Sub-Zero). After Hasashi himself comes back from the dead, he vows to avenge them and kill Sub-Zero. To symbolize himself as a new person, he starts calling himself [[VideoGame/MortalKombat Scorpion]] (also see below).
* Esmerelle, the player's mother in ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'', was killed by a bit of the exploding MacGuffin that ended up stuck in the player's chest.
* Jack Dark in ''PerfectDark Zero''.
* Bella Goth in ''VideoGame/TheSims 2'', who was abducted by aliens. Even trying to bring her back using her character files usually fails because she has the memory "I died". Trying to get her clone from Strangetown also usually messes with the game. Despite this, there is still an UrbanLegendOfZelda going around that there is a cheat to bring her back.
* Maria and Pachacamac from ''SonicTheHedgehog''.
* ''StreetFighter'' is fairly fond of this trope with the "disappearance" of Chun-Li's father and the death of Charlie being the main reason why Chun-Li and Guile respectively joined the ''VideoGame/StreetFighterII'' tournament. Thunder Hawk's father, Arroyo, was also a past victim of M. Bison.
* In ''SuikodenII'', the entire backstory for the CookingDuel minigame sidequest is that Hai Yo is on the run from a cooking syndicate intent on stealing a recipe he received from his deceased fiancée Shun Min. Slight subversion in the fact that we're able to meet Shun Min in ''SuikodenV'' before her DeathByOriginStory takes place.
* When her little brother [[ShoutOut Myouren]] dies, Buddhist nun [[VideoGame/{{Touhou}} Byakuren Hijiri]] decides to pursue immortality to avoid her own death. She tries to broker peace between humans and youkai along the way, gets sealed away for her sins, and that puts in motion the events of ''Undefined Fantastic Object''.
* In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', lots of dead characters from [[VideoGame/{{Warcraft}} the previous games]] are back in a way or another for everybody's enjoyment. However, this doesn't include Durotan and Draka (Thrall's parents), Llane Wrynn (Varian Wrynn's father), or Grom Hellscream (Garrosh's father).
** Through time travel shenanigans, the ''Warlords of Draenor'' expansion actually ''is'' bringing back Grom and Durotan.[[note]]Llane and Draka could conceivably be alive in the new timeline as well, though so far there's no mention of them.[[/note]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* In ''WebComic/AxeCop'' #0, the eponymous character's parents are poisoned by Telescope Gun Cop. This involves TimeTravel.
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', the death of the original Grace Sciuridae was the reason Grace was created the way she was.
* In ''EverydayHeroes'', Jane Mighty changed her life after the murder of her best friend, Goldie Aurum.
* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' has this for two characters using an unusual twist: the deceased in question died ages before those whose origin they are part of were born; they simply prepared things ahead of time and it is their story that drive the heroes, rather than direct personal connection, although there is some form of attachment.
* In ''Webcomic/KirbyAdventure'', Keeby was introduced in a flashback arc solely to die and give Kirby a reason to start the KAS.
* Right-Eye from ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' (the StartOfDarkness prequel, that is). Also, Roy's little brother.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Pacificators}}'', [[SiblingTeam Larima and Taffe]] lost their parents in a war. In fact, this is [[WordOfGod why Larima hates violence]].
* ''Webcomic/ProblemSleuth'':
--> [[http://mspaintadventures.com/?s=4&p=001524 Your losses cause you to feel an all-consuming sense of vengeance. You feel like every superhero origin cliché is swirling around you at once! ]]
* In the MegaCrossover (and ''meta'') FanWebcomic ''Webcomic/{{Roommates}}'' this is one of the two [[note]](The other is being TheScrappy)[[/note]] known ways for a character to [[DeaderThanDead stay dead]]. We learned this in the biggest TearJerker of the series yet: When [[Film/{{Zombieland}} Tallahassee]] [[GenreSavvy tried to use]] the NobodyCanDie / DeathIsCheap nature of the comic to bring back his son [[http://asherhyder.deviantart.com/art/Roommates-207-Immutable-266360821 and failed]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebAnimation/TheAccuser'' became a vigilante after his wife was killed.
* ''WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog'': Penny died to make Dr. Horrible who he is... so unless Whedon has something really strange up his sleeve in the sequel, she's DeaderThanDead.
* In the ''Website/EpicTales'' series ''ShadowHawk'' the title character's father is killed. This is what leads to him becoming a superhero, so that he can learn about his father's killer and get revenge.
** Also the character Astral Controller is an example of someone whose death was their origin story, as David Wilson only become Astral Controller after he died because of a deal he made with Hades.
* In the ''GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'', this is part of the BackStory for several characters. The most blatant example would be Doctor Ka, the rest of whose family was slaughtered by demons when his sorcerer father delved into things Man was not meant to know. This set the mystic superhero on his path to... well... mystic superherodom.
** Battlecat, being basically a CaptainErsatz of ''ThePunisher'', witnessed his entire family (other than his daughter) being slaughtered by crime lord Baron Samedi and his Mafiosi after his wife testified against one of the crime lord's henchmen. Turned out to be a big mistake on the part of Baron Samedi.
* The Shadow of the ''[[LessThanThreeComics LessThanThree-Verse]]'' has his older brother, who was killed in a shootout between rival gangs. This lead to Shadow taking self-defense classes, and beginning his crimefighting career. Lucky for him, he discovered his superpowers on the job.
* Deirdre Rees's parents in ''[[http://gaius0artemis.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4lwgxe Night Hunters]]''.
* Phase in the ''WhateleyUniverse'' still has both parents, but his mother ''hates'' him now that he has turned into a mutant. It's ''her'' backstory that has this trope. As a child, she and her big sis were kidnapped by two horrific mutants, one of whom generates a fear aura and manifests monsters. The other was worse. The other ''ate the big sis alive in front of the child''. Phase's mother was institutionalized for three years after her rescue. She's ''never'' going to be okay with Phase being a mutant.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* In the ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' franchise, the source of the conflict between the Turtles and the Foot is the rivalry of Hamato Yoshi and a rival (primarily Oroku Saki) over the beautiful but ultimately ill-fated Tang Shen, who always ends up dying after choosing Yoshi due to the other suitor's jealousy.
* In ''[[WesternAnimation/{{Thundercats 2011}} [=ThunderCats (2011)=]]]'', Lion-O's personal motivation to defeat BigBad Mumm-Ra is shaped not just by the destruction of Lion-O's kingdom, but by Mumm-Ra's gloating assassination of Lion-O's father, King Claudus.
[[/folder]]

!!Examples of Own Death By Own Origin Story:

[[folder: Anime & Manga]]
* Really quiet young hitman gets betrayed and murdered by his closest best friend. His body is stolen from the syndicate he worked for by a scientist who has the technology to reanimate the dead. The deceased man in question is revived as a nearly-invincible gun-toting cowboy assassin and sent out to take revenge on his killer and the syndicate that betrayed him. That's ''{{Gungrave}}'' right there.
* ''KoreWaZombieDesuKa'': Ayumu dies at the start then becomes a zombie. The driving force behind the first third of the anime is finding his killer.
* Brook of ''Manga/OnePiece'' died along with his entire crew, but he was the only one who could come back (though only once).
* Pretty much the entire cast of ''Franchise/SailorMoon'' died in their origin story and reincarnated in present day (as of when the Series was released) The senshi aside from Venus are kept in the dark about this for much of the first season. It is unknown how Venus already knows in the [[Anime/SailorMoon anime]] but in the [[Manga/SailorMoon manga]] she learned in her own series, ''Manga/CodenameSailorV''.
* One of the first things we learn in ''LightNovel/ShakuganNoShana'' is that the protagonist, Yuji Sakai, has been dead for an indeterminate amount of time.
* The main character of ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'', Yusuke Urameshi, looks at his own dead body within the first 5 minutes of the first episode.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* Briar Harvestar/The Hooded One in ''{{Bone}}'', though she is not the main protagonist.
* The same thing applies to everyone resurrected by ''Franchise/TheCrow'', and they usually have dead loved ones to avenge as well.
* Boston Brand, aka Comicbook/{{Deadman}}, gained his abilities by, well, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin getting killed]]. His body is even resurrected by the [[BlackestNight Black Lanterns]] but his attempt to repossess his old shell and return to the ranks of the living fails. Then the [[BrightestDay White Lanterns]] bring him back... [[StatusQuoIsGod for a while, anyway]].
* Parodied in another way in the GreatLakesAvengers' Mr. Immortal. It's something of a misnomer, since he's perfectly capable of being killed; "Mr. Resurrection" might be better... for him the Grim Portal is more of a revolving door.
* Doomsday is shown to be a version of the trope in the minseries ''Hunter/Prey''. He started off as an experiment in "evolution". Whenever he gets killed, he comes back in an "evolved" form with improved resistance to whatever killed him. Over time this builds up to the point that he was capable of going toe-to-toe with Big Blue in the "Doomsday/Death of Superman" arc. In which he and Superman killed each other. ''Hunter/Prey'' takes place ''after'' that; you do the math.
* Parodied in ''ComicStrip/KnightsOfTheDinnerTable''; Bob's first attempt at being a GameMaster involved all the characters being killed, and then the main bulk of the adventure took place in Hell. For some reason, though, he never explained this and let them roll up new characters, who ''also'' had to die before the adventure could begin. This went on for hours, until the group, as he put it, "gave up during the prologue".
* ''Comicbook/MoonKnight'' took the cowl when he was beaten to death by Raoul Bushman and was resurrected to serve as Khonshu's fist of justice. He also hunts Werewolves by the side, we're not really sure why.
* ResurrectionMan's power involves him dying and then being resurrected by nanotechnology with a new super power, usually related to the manner of his death.
* Secret agent/assassin Al Simmons is set up and murdered by his boss. After striking a DealWithTheDevil he is returned to Earth as ''{{Spawn}}'' with a new body and supernatural powers.
* Typically, this is what happens to TheSpectre's hosts; almost all of them were murder victims who found themselves bonded to the Vengeance of God incarnate.
* ComicBook/TheSpirit 'dies' in every version of his origin story, which is why he calls himself the Spirit in the first place. If you want to get technical, he is exposed to chemicals that put him into a death like coma and is buried. He awakes and takes advantage of his new found death status to become a vigilante. Alvarro Mortez AKA 'El Morte' in the DC reboot actually dies though. He is unfortunate to die TWICE.
* Ditto Comicbook/SwampThing. ...Sort of. It gets... complicated when Creator/AlanMoore comes on board.
** And, while on the subject of Swamp Thing, it's also true for Garbage Man, a very similar character.
* Physicist Jon Osterman from ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' is atomized in a nuclear experiment, but returns as "Dr. Manhattan", an immortal indestructible [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence ascended godlike entity]].
** Dr. Manhattan was an {{Expy}} of CaptainAtom, so it is of course not surprising that Cap's origin was basically the same in both the original Charlton version and post-Crisis DC version: his body atomized by a nuclear bomb, he returns with superpowers. Also, see above for the example of his first wife.
* Parodied in an issue of ''ComicStrip/WhatsNewWithPhilAndDixie'', when a nascent superhero is subjected to so many different methods of acquiring superpowers simultaneously that said hero is reduced to ashes.
* Hilariously invoked in All-Star Superman, when Superman is on a world that spits out opposite clones of his world (such as Bizarro Superman having flame breath instead of Superman's trademark ice breath), Superman asks about Bizarro Batman, and is told that his parents shot him, he's dead.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Franchise/TheCrow'' movies, where the murdered protagonist is granted the chance to return as a deathless revenant to take revenge on his murderers.
* ''Film/{{Darkman}}''.
* ''Franchise/{{Highlander}}''--an Immortal becomes an Immortal when s/he 'dies' the first time.
* ''{{Spawn}}'', like its comic book counterpart.
* Naturally, some movies featuring vampires or ghosts as main characters.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Jesus Christ in ''Literature/{{the Bible}}'' becomes the savior of human souls after His death and resurrection.
* The opening paragraph of ''Literature/{{Daemon}}'' is Matthew Sobol's obituary. Guess who becomes the main antagonist of the book.
** A variation occurs with Pete Sebeck. He is tried, convicted, and put to death, but the Daemon had an agent that somehow made him simply be put to sleep instead of dying. In the second book, he goes on to be a legend of the Darknet, and Sobol gives him the choice of whether the Daemon has been a force for good or evil in the world.
* Allen Carpentier in Niven and Pournelle's ''Literature/{{Inferno}}''.
* [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Dead Boy]] in the ''{{Nightside}}'' novels.
* ''Ring0Birthday'', and the novella "Birthday", on which it was based, recount the tale of how Sadako Yamamura was killed and tossed down a well, turning her into the vengeful, supernatural entity of ''{{Ringu}}''.
* Arguably almost all the Cullens in ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'', if you count "between life and death, only turning them into a vampire can save them now" as death.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* The Grim Reapers in ''DeadLikeMe'' start their "second" life (well, ''unlife'') by dying, and then find out that for them the afterlife is not what they expected. Consequently, the central character and narrator of the series, Georgia "George" Lass, dies in a freak accident during the first twenty minutes of the pilot episode and is drafted into the ranks of the Reapers, to collect souls from the dead and help them pass on into the light.
* All kinds of vampires, those we actually met (if briefly) before they became undead: {{Dracula}}, [[Series/ForeverKnight Nicholas Knight]], Series/{{Angel}}, [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Spike]]... becoming a vampire has a marked effect on their psyche and motivations.
** The ''LegacyOfKain'' franchise offers several interesting examples: Kain originally becomes a vampire [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge to kill his assassins and to satisfy his thirst for revenge]], and Raziel has been killed and resurrected ''twice'', first by Kain after his death by his own hand as a vampire-hunting Sarafan knight, and again after serving as Kain's underling for a millennium and then betraying him, being cast into the Lake of the Dead, from where the Elder God resurrects him as a half-wraith half-vampire to settle the score with Kain...and to carry out the Elder God's ulterior motives.
* After his parents and little sister were murdered by [[NebulousEvilOrganisation Destron]], Shiro Kazami's drive for revenge almost led to him making a HeroicSacrifice to save [[Series/KamenRider Kamen Riders Ichigo & Nigo]]. Thankfully he gets rebuilt into Series/KamenRiderV3.
* Kai from ''{{Lexx}}'', whose introductory narration declares, "Today is my day of death: the day our story begins." After spending 2000 years reanimated as an assassin in the service of evil, he finally reclaims his memories and identity, but not his life.
* Jack Harkness of ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' was killed by Daleks on ''Series/DoctorWho'' and was revived and made immortal by a [[AGodAmI temporarily god-like]] Rose Tyler. Every time he died subsequently, he then returned to life. When we meet him at the start of ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'', his death and resurrection happened 138 years ago. His death, abandonment by the Doctor, and immortality, more or less created the Jack we see in ''Torchwood''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Mythology And Religion]]
* Osiris from EgyptianMythology came to rule over the underworld after his own death.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
* The ''TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness'' game ''TabletopGame/WraithTheOblivion'' is one of the few games where the dreaded words "Well... you're dead." are completely expected.
** Also true for the [=WoD=] game {{Orpheus}} where a fair share of [=PCs=] are ghosts, either right from the beginning, or by dying during the game.
** Also, just about every player character in ''TabletopGame/VampireTheMasquerade'' and NWOD counterpart ''TabletopGame/VampireTheRequiem''.
** And ''TabletopGame/MummyTheResurrection''. Thanks to the Spell of Life and variants, when you get killed again, you'll always come back.
*** And NWOD successor ''TabletopGame/MummyTheCurse'', where the Rite of Return serves the same function as the Spell of Life.
** The ''TabletopGame/NewWorldOfDarkness'' gives us ''[[TabletopGame/GeistTheSinEaters Geist]]'', where the PC dies, but comes back after making a deal with a Geist.
** And if you want to pull off becoming one of ''Immortals''' purified, you've got to kill yourself first.
* Early versions of the ''{{Traveller}}'' RPG featured a character generation system which frequently killed player characters before play began.
** Yes, you read that right: it was possible for a character to ''die while being rolled up.'' In fact, there was a military service (implied to be of the commando/special forces type) for "hopeless" characters with sub-par ability scores designed to either kill them off or give them significant rewards to compensate for their deficiencies.
* [[GodEmperor The God Emperor Of Mankind's]] "death" pretty much kicks off the [[StatusQuoIsGod current]] [[CrapSackWorld status]] [[CosmicHorrorStory quo]] of the ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' universe.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The main character(s) of ''AlteredBeast'' are dead before the game starts, and thus you need to [[MemeticMutation WISE FWOM YORW GWAVE!]]
* In the arcade game ''Avenging Spirit'', the main character is killed while walking with his girlfriend, and the girl's father, who researches ghost energy, calls him back as a ghost so that he can save her.
* Tombstone of ''FreedomForce'' was framed for the murder of his wife (see up) but the execution wound up transforming him into his super[[NinetiesAntiHero "hero"]] self.
* Almost every character in ''Main/GrimFandango''. A game about a reaper in the afterlife.
* In ''VideoGame/MortalKombat'', Scorpion returned from Hell to avenge his and his family's deaths by hunting down and killing the Lin Kuei assassin Sub-Zero. Of course, that didn't quite go as planned, and only proved that Scorpion probably shouldn't have wound up in Hell to begin with.
** ''MortalKombatLegacy'' reveals that sorcerer Quan Chi impersonated Bi Han (AKA Sub-Zero) and, along with Shang Tsung, set the whole thing up in order to trick General Hanzo Hasashi (AKA Scorpion) to join the Netherrealm in Mortal Kombat. Quan Chi even mentions that the desire for revenge will blind Scorpion (no pun intended) to any inconsistencies.
* The hero of the Dark Avenger module for ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'' gets sent back from the dead to avenge him/herself and everyone else who died without being avenged.
* In ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'', The Nameless One wakes up in a mortuary and spends the rest of the game figuring out why he ''cannot'' die.
* The eponymous VideoGame/{{Sonny}} of the flash game series of the same name died prior to the start of the first game and is resurrected by some sort of experiment that turns him into an amnesiac zombie with superhuman powers.
* Yuyuko Saigyouji of the ''Videogame/{{Touhou}}'' series was DrivenToSuicide by her power to [[IWishedYouWereDead invoke death]]. Her body was used to seal the [[WhenTreesAttack Saigyou Ayakashi]], preventing her spirit from moving on in the reincarnation cycle and allowing her to become the [[SuperpowerLottery super-powerful]] ghost princess we know today.
* Most of the player characters in ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou''. Although in Joshua's case he's actually a godlike being.
* The whole ''idea''—or at least a good chunk of it—behind death knights in WoW.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''Webcomic/HannaIsNotABoysName'' is full of this. Particularly in the case of the [[NoNameGiven nameless]] [[OurZombiesAreDifferent zombie]] {{narrator}}, who doesn't actually care [[WhodunnitToMe Whodunnit To Him]]. Conrad has a FirstEpisodeResurrection, thanks to the title character. And [[{{WMG/HannaIsNotABoysName}} Wild Mass Guessing]] says there may be more examples than meet the eye. (Including, quite possibly, [[AmbiguouslyHuman Hanna himself]].)
* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' prequel book StartOfDarkness BigBad Xykon "dies" to become a Lich and overcome the effects of a nasty virus which prevents him from using his magic.
* All of the main characters of ''Webcomic/TheSenkari'' die in their origin flashback. [[BackFromTheDead They got better.]]
* The main character of ''{{The 503}}'', Phil Stone, accidentally sent his girlfriend, Dawn, to her death during a wildfire three years ago and the strip opens with him just starting to heal from it. It's later revealed that the whole reason he moved to Portland is because of Dawn.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' episode "Ghost Princess" reveals the death by origin story of the titular character.
* ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' wouldn't work at all if Danny weren't a phantom. Then again, he's not really dead, he's just drawn that way.
** Due to the odd NeverSayDie quality of the show, its never made completely clear if he did "kinda-sorta" die or not -- a lot of ghosts are heavily implied to have died, but others seem more like alternate-dimension monsters that where never alive at all. All we really know about Danny is that he's now a hybrid that's half-human and half-ghost, whose DNA was suffused with ectoplasm.
[[/folder]]
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