Wham Line / Newspaper Comics

  • Candorville was once a mostly realistic strip with the occasional Big-Lipped Alligator Moment. Its transition into a darker, more unnerving brand of humor can be traced back to the first time Lemont and Saxon are alone together, when Saxon's mask of sanity begins to slip. Two lines cemented the change, and every subsequent plot arc can be traced back to them: "The vampire, Roxanne, is not my lover. She's my mother." Of course, this was aided somewhat by Saxon's suddenly developing Milky White Eyes and fangs.
  • Rick O'Shay: New preacher Jubah Lee notices Hipshot Percussion is the only town resident to not come to church. Visiting the gunslinger during his target practice, the preacher mentions how faith can give a person confidence. Hipshot explains he has all the confidence he needs, thanks. Preacher Lee replies "Oh? and is that the reason you practice with six guns two hours every day?" Stunned by the remark, an impressed Hipshot relents and goes to service the first time in his life.
  • For Better or for Worse: "I have fallen in love...but it's not with a girl."
    • When Elly is informed after getting back from vacation that Kourtney has been fired in her absence.
  • Retail: A challenge is declared. A plot to make a rival change jobs backfires horribly.
    Cooper: [To Josh] Because, by this time next year, I'm going to have your job.
  • Garfield: When Jon confronts Liz on going out with another guy:
    Liz's date: So, what a minute... you like this guy?
    Liz: As a matter of fact, I do.
    Jon: That's right! She does! ...You do?
  • In a series of Calvin and Hobbes strips, Calvin tries to join the other kids in a game of baseball as a break from his typical status as a loner. He keeps screwing up and the team berates him to the point where he wants to quit the team. When he informs the coach, rather than receiving sympathy, he gets this:
    • In a later story arc, Calvin is getting mysterious coded letters in the mail...specifically, insult letters. While we get a few hints at who the culprit is throughout the arc, we finally get solid evidence on who it is with this linenote :
    Mom: Hey, who cut up my magazine?
    • And let's not forget the lines that capped off what initially seemed like a typical 'family outing' storyline:
    • Speaking of Adult Fear, there was a comic wherein Calvin got sick and Mom informs him that he won't miss school because it's a Saturday. Calvin's response to this sends her running for the phone to call the doctor...
    Calvin: I know.
  • Bloom County sometimes had these, and usually played them for laughs. In one case, Bill (in one of his occasional moments of speech) has (apparently) been born again and takes to TV as Fundamentally Oral Bill. At first, he's unsubtly begging for cash with the promise of ridding the world of the other annoying televangelists, earning a following among Bloom County's more gullible residents. However, it's the following line (where he's wagging his finger through the TV at Opus) that leads to verbal harassment and, with no shortage of overwhelming guilt, Milo booting Opus from the boarding house and - quite literally - being Put on a Bus:
    Fundamentally Oral! Bill: PENGUIN LUST! Nothing but urges from HELL!
    • An example that's played more straight is when Opus receives a letter from his long-lost mother, who's being held for makeup tests at the Mary Kay Cosmetics factory:
    Opus: SHE'S NOT DEAD!
  • Peanuts: One seemingly typical storyline starts with Lucy kicking her brother Linus out of the house. But things take a direction nobody was expecting after she gets a phone call from the hospital:
    Lucy: [on phone] A new baby brother?! But I just got rid of the old one!