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Adult Fear / Webcomics

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  • in Tales of the Questor, we have the arc "Hunter of Shadows." Imagine that your child has been suffering from inexplicable night terrors— unable to sleep for fear of monstrous creatures creeping out of the shadows at night to get him. Then one stormy night you come running to his room to find out that his terrors are REAL-- and are crawling up onto his bed after him....
  • This is heavily implied to be why Tiger became a superhero and Spinnerette's mentor. His wife demanded he give up crime-fighting out of fear of him dying. He complies... until a gunman opens fire at his daughters' school. His daughters were fine, but the news traveled slowly.
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  • The Korean webtoon Trace is unique among other X-man-esque spin-offs in the fact that it follows the journey of a middle aged business man as he develops mutant powers, rather than the usual gang of high school teenagers. Since this a Crapsack World he lives in, his wife and daughter are taken away by the government under the pretense of normal screening and testing, when really they are used for human experimentation. The protagonist doesn't realize this until he breaks into the facility, where he is greeted by the sight of his wife's head floating in a vat. Talk about preying on a typical father's worst feelings of helplessness.
  • In the "Just Today" story arc of Something*Positive, Davan's father Fred has to deal with being diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He asks his wife Faye to take the day off from work to spend time with him so he can tell her. In the end, he can't bring himself to tell her and they just spend a peaceful day together. As they go to bed for the night, she thanks him for spending the day with her and they share a goodnight kiss (the caption for this strip is "Sometimes it's about life...". The next morning, Fred realizes that Faye died in her sleep (the caption here: "Sometimes, it's about fear").
    • Also in SP, Ollie can be an example of this. While originally Avogadro's sexual abuse was Played for Laughs, Ollie later reveals that he had Abusive Parents, with his father beating him often. He moved in with Avogadro to get away from the abuse, only to be functionally used as a sex toy until Avogadro's death.
  • Homestuck: Poor Jane's dad. It's hard enough that there have been attempts on his teenage daughter's life, but then he had to watch her get blown up by a letter bomb...
    • More generally, a major theme in the webcomic is kids inheriting, and being screwed up/over by, the mistakes of those that came before them. A fear that many parents have.
  • The "bishounen virus" storyline of Manly Guys Doing Manly Things has Commander Badass getting rejected by his children because the virus has rendered him unrecognizable and scary to them. Word of God is that this was based on an incident when she was a little kid and her dad shaved off his beard; a lot of readers turned out to have similar stories.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Starting here. An angered dragon takes vengeance by hunting an adventurer's distant children.
    • Later reversed, yet no less horrifying, when the adventurer in question shows how far they'll go to protect their family.
    • And then there's Roy Greenhilt's backstory. His brother died as a baby, which somehow was the fault of their jerkish father. One can only imagine what the mother felt like.
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  • In Yosh!, Kate's father explain that he searched her for months, following any lead he could find, including obituaries.
  • Fans!: Alysin's parents dealt with the helplessness of watching as their daughter suffered from a rare and deadly disease, to say nothing of the severe personality changes that resulted. Will's father murdered his mother, and Will lived in fear that he would turn out like his dad. Shanna reined in her imaginative impulses, fearing that she would end up like her insane mother.
  • Jae Gu of Girls of the Wild's has been raising his younger siblings for years, after the death of their father and abandonment of their mother. He absolutely freak out when they get food poisoning from spoiled sushi, carries them to the hospital barefoot, crying the entire way. By the time he makes it to the hospital, his feet are so cut up he is leaving large bloody footprints wherever he goes and still is more concerned with his siblings then getting his feet bandaged.
  • Girl Genius: Baron Wulfenbach has had it rough. The woman he loved stabbed him in the back and had him transported to a faraway land. When he got back home, his ancestral home had been destroyed in the Long War between the Sparks. So he establishes peace throughout Europa, using his more ruthless methods rather than those of his friends, the Heterodyne Boys, and it worked. But it turns out there are still weapons left from The Other's siege of Europa, weapons which release wasps that turn people into its servants, and then The Other manages to infect him with one of its wasps, and may have already done the same to his son. On top of everything else, he's very aware of the chaos that would ensue if he were to die, and so is frequently testing his son to make sure he's capable of shouldering the burden of being ruler of the entire continent.
    • Things just keep going downhill for Baron Wulfenbach: he's convinced that someone's dispatched an assassin from Skifander to kill his son, convinced that his son's been infected by a mind-control parasite to which he'd believed they were immune, and goes on to decide that the only way to defeat the reincarnated-via-brain-hijacking version of his former fling is to set off a time-freeze bomb, with himself at the epicenter of the blast in order to stop the The Other from overrunning the continent. Even though he knows this move will destabilize the government, more than likely tear apart the tenuous peace he's achieved, and put his son in even more danger as the acting ruler of an unstable continent, in his mind it's the only option.
  • In Unlife there are several, most of them about children - such as your child gone missing during a catastrophe, a zombie outbreak at that. In one heartbreaking background story a mother turns in to a feral zombie and devours her own children.
  • In Three Panel Soul, some night terrors eventually progressed to being about "a door I can't open. On the other side I hear crying. I think I miss the spiders."
  • Far to the North features kids getting almost eaten/abducted by dragons, kids getting almost shot by goblins, parents AND kids being held hostage by slavers, having your daughter-in-law almost raped in the next room while you listen, among other parental horrors. Dark stuff for an otherwise fun adventure tale.
  • In Daughter of the Lilies, there's a woman in the backstory of one of the characters who had several miscarriages, and people were concerned that she might not be able to cope with another stillborn baby. And then there is the guy who is taunted by a demon about his bad parenting namely, driving his son to suicide by disowning him because of his homosexuality. It is the weak point the demon needs to be able to overpower him. The demon isn't realistic, the bad parenting very much is.
  • Awful Hospital: Fern's child has a progressively worsening illness, and is being kept away from her in a shady hospital.
  • The Sanity Circus: Although the main villains are fear-consuming Eldritch Abominations, Nimbus says in the comic that each is based on a particular phobia. Posey, for example, is pediophobia (fear of dolls), and Sammy Talbot is scopophobia (fear of eyes).
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent:
    • With the number of characters that are military, fear of having a loved one die in battle shows up fairly often.
    • The whole issue around Reynir for just about everyone involved.
      • On the crew's side, there is having to keep someone alive on a mission that has a decent chance of ending up a Suicide Mission, on resources that were intended to only barely support them.
      • On Reynir's side, accidentally ending up in a Death World, surrounded by people he mostly can't speak with, and full awareness of being a bother to them.
      • While only implied in the story proper, things most likely look quite bad from the point of view of anyone from Reynir's home country of Iceland involved in his case, including Reynir's parents: they can only contact the crew indirectly via Mission Control, Reynir is in a long-term Contamination Situation as far as they are concerned (it's the reason he couldn't simply be sent back the way he came), and his life is in the hands of people who are insane enough to go visit the Silent World voluntarily.
    • The info available to the reader about the Rash eventually establishes that troll bites are not an automatic death sentence, so non-immune people that were bitten are simply put in quarantine until it is known whether they are in the Typhoid Mary incubation phase or simply not infected. Think of it as getting tested for a terminal disease, and having to wait two weeks for the results.
  • Charby the Vampirate:
    • There are a large number of undead children in the story, meaning all of these characters died as children. Menu is a werewolf whose transformation significantly slowed his aging and was mauled by the gigantic werewolf that turned him as a child.
    • Children are the preferred food of Quixoto, an ancient vampire with powerful physic abilities that likes to torment his prey before slowly killing it.
    • The city of Kellwood has a park frequented by children that butts up against Kellwood Forest with no boundaries whatsoever. There are frequent deaths seen there and in the woods bordering it.
    • The orphanage in Kellwood is treated like a take-out joint by the man eating creatures in the forest.
  • Sandra and Woo: A mixture of teenage and adult fear in the Tunnel of Horror strip. A shambling zombie? Not scary. A math teacher? Scary. A swinging blade pendulum? Not scary... unless it's made by the lowest bidder and has a screw comes loose.
  • Sleepless Domain: One must spare a thought for the parents of the Magical Girls of the story, for it's certainly a shock that one day their daughters wake up with magical powers that meant they had to fight monsters at nighttime, with all the risk of injury or death that comes with it.
    • Particularly poignant in the case of Zoe's parents, who already had to deal with this situation when Zoe's older sister was a magical girl, and didn't know Zoe identified as female until her powers awakened, so genuinely thought they wouldn't have to worry about it again.
    • When Heartful Punch's powers awakened, her father was so terrified for her he tried to stop her from fighting altogether. Considering monsters killed HP's mother, it's understandable he feels this way. It's why they're currently estranged and HP lives in a dorm.
    • Tessa is showing signs of PTSD after the traumatic incident in Chapter 2 that resulted in three of her friends getting killed and herself losing her powers. Tessa overhears her parents discussing all the troubling signs she's showing (staying out later, spending a lot of time in the graveyard her friends are buried in) and considering she might need therapy causing her to fake being happier.


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