Follow TV Tropes


Dark And Troubled Past / Webcomics

Go To

  • Lexx's past in Alien Dice takes this up to eleven. Lexx's father died young of an illness and his mother, a fighter for the space station they lived on, was killed defending their home. He was then raised in an orphanage from hell where he was forcibly turned into a mon-like thing (the titular Dice). He attempted suicide several times, but failed, and has faced numerous other tragedies, including rape, slavery (or, the threat of it, actually), and being forced to kill his fellow Dice, Riane, who then decides to haunt his mind. That's only hitting the highlights. Lexx is better at remembering happy moments than he is at remembering truly tragic ones, though nightmares say otherwise.
  • Advertisement:
  • In APOC, Clara knows very little about her past, but Robert explained that the last time he saw her, she was in the lab, looking like the walking dead, spewing dark language and killing anyone within close proximity of her body. There's probably more to uncover yet.
  • In TheBeastLegion Fyre constantly goes through this syndrome until she meets Xeus and unveils her tragic past.
  • Played straight in Bittersweet Candy Bowl. Abbey has such a distressing past that the author actually felt unable to finish a planned chapter about it.
  • Advertisement:
  • In Blue Yonder this is brought up against a cape: he used to be a cop, and was thrown off the force for stealing evidence.
  • A fair portion of the characters in Charby the Vampirate:
    • Charby was kept as a slave by a sadistic pirate captain from infancy and when he took a chance to escape was attacked by a vicious vampire who played mind games with him before tearing into his throat and leaving him to die.
    • As a child Blaine had an argument with his parents and when he started to feel guilty and came downstairs to apologize he found his mangled parents being fed on by a vampire.
    • Menu didn't even have a name before meeting Charby having been left in the trash as an infant and eventually mauled by a werewolf while still a child.
    • Mye and Hex were drowned as children in a witch hunt proving them to be innocent. They were then raised from the dead as zombie slaves by a cruel master.
    • Advertisement:
    • When Tony finally learned he was an Alp instead of a sickly human his painful looking initial transformation was seen by his mother who hired a hunter to hunt him down.
    • Zeno was shamed and ostracized by the other Scotodino before being abandoned by his parents. He was then picked up by mad scientists who vivisected him alive and eventually killed him. After being rescued from their lab he was taken in healed and adopted by elves only for his new family to be killed by monsters as his crying now attracts them before the story even began.
    • Sadick seems to have lost his eye in a traumatic event that left his best friend banished and Sadick thinking him to have been executed.
  • In Chirault both protagonists seem to have this. Teeko's past is fairly straightforward, but we have yet to learn anything but cryptic puzzles about Kiran.
  • Crystal Heart: Raffaela's backstory. She was part of a group of orphans living on the street who became pick-pockets to survive. One day, they found a crystal... then, a Syn agent showed up and murdered one of the children to get the crystal. Raffaela then joined Syn to get revenge.
  • Dissonance: both of the main characters have one.
    • When James' mother died, his father kept telling him that god had a plan for those he allowed to pass. But then his father developed Alzheimer's Disease. He was mostly normal at first, and when he eventually needed to go to a nursing home, James would visit him and take him to the church there every Sunday. But in the end, he was just a shadow of the man James once admired.
    James: When my mother died, my father always told me that god had a plan for those he allowed to pass. But god took my father years before he finally allowed him to pass.
    • Sarah has wanted to be a mother for years, and one day got herself inseminated. But in a 1/20,000 chance, she developed ovarian cancer. It's implied she nearly didn't recover, and now she isn't sure fate wants her to be a mother.
    Sarah: I think if I were meant to mother, there would be at least one positive sign.
  • Alexander Hamilton in The Dreamer, man, oh man. Let's break it down: when he was a teenager, in the span of a few years, 1) his mother died, 2) his father vanished, 3) his aunt, uncle, and grandfather also died, 4) his cousin committed suicide, and 5) Alexander and his brother were disinherited and left penniless orphans. Let us not forget that his father, James Hamilton, may not even have been his father at all (the honor may go to a gentleman by the name of Thomas Stevens).
  • Elf Blood: For such a cheery, optimistic, and caring person, the fact that TKO was designed, born, and raised to be a long-range assassin is quite surprising, if not downright shocking.
    • It's implied that, as children, when assassination became too emotional for TKO, SKO voluntarily did the killing for her.
  • Grace, Susan, and Tedd in El Goonish Shive, though Grace appears to have been the only one who suffered physical abuse. "Lord Tedd" from the alternate universe seems to have a dark and troubled past of truly epic proportions.
  • In Glorianna, the title character sometimes alludes to unspecified traumas from her childhood, and also carries heavy guilt for abandoning her daughter.
  • Many of the characters from Gold Coin Comics, such as Lance, whose entire village was burned to the ground.
  • In The Green-Eyed Sniper, one of the main characters, Sekhmet, is a wanted war criminal who hides her past from everyone, until she confesses it to another character, named Blitz and, later on, the other main characters, Shanti, finds out about it.
  • The Guide to a Healthy Relationship: Julian was found as a child in a bag by a creek, with no information about where they came from or where his parents were, has been ostracized by most kids their age for being "weird" and eventually even by their only friend, and has some pretty gruesome memories of being mistreated in a psychiatric clinic by people who were trying to "fix [them]". Apollo doesn't reach quite the same levels of tragic, but thinking his best friend had died and then his parents disowning him after he outed himself as gay might have factored into him becoming The Alcoholic.
  • In Harbourmaster, Nephos freaks out during a conversation about names when asked what "Caliga", his last name, means — because it's not actually a last name, it's the name of his tribe, and the planet his tribe lived on was wiped out during the war by Orbital Bombardment. (Javin goes to talk to him, in part because he's had to deal with similar trauma in his own life.)
  • Vriska Serket of Homestuck. Being raised by a giant spider who forced her to kill hundreds or even thousands of other children to feed left her pretty damaged.
    • Also, WV. A simple farmer willing for peace has his home and crops destroyed by war. He unites the Prospitian and Dersite pawns and leads a rebellion against the Black King. Then Jackspers Noirlecrow shows up. Noir slaughters the King and all the rebellion, save for WV, dooming him to lead a life of Survivor's Guilt.
  • I Don't Want This Kind of Hero: Despite being a comedy, there's quite a few characters who have one. Degrees of coping range anywhere from the likes of Guineung, who functions well in spite of it, to No. 2 who's fine as long as certain elements don't come up, to Dune's who's a Shell-Shocked Veteran, to Baekmorae's who's... Baekmorae.
  • In Impure Blood, Roan has been subjected to Fantastic Racism, was Made a Slave as a child, and has had to fight for years in Gladiator Games (as "The Abomination", to put the icing on the cake).
  • Galatea in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, who spent her one-month childhood being treated literally as a lab animal in a pen. She didn't take it well.
  • Secret in Keychain of Creation. Ye Gods, that girl has been through some deeply troubling shit. Backstory starts here.
  • In Knight Run, Anne and Pray are orphans who have been together forever, with Pray making no attempt to hide that Anne is the only person she cares about. Their extremely unhealthy devotion to each other is one of the many hints that there is something extremely dark in their past, especially as Pray is slowly revealed to be The Ageless and at least one generation older than Anne (though note this isn't particularly rare in this universe). Fans had several theories about who they are and where they came from. The idea that one or both of them killed their parents was suggested, as well as the possibility that Pray might be a doll, or Anne might be someone she kidnapped, so on and so forth. In chapter 74, we finally get a flashback to the truth, and it's far worse than anyone imagined. Pray is one of the monsters who has been fighting humanity for centuries—and Anne is her daughter.
  • In The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal, hints of this slip past TJ's jovial facade. Even the day after he and Amal meet, he makes light of having given sexual favours in exchange for food at a young age. Some of the stuff he really didn't want to share later gets dragged into the light, like why he's carrying a backpack full of cocaine.
  • Detective Bolivia Enzon from Lovesyck is the daughter of her mother's rapist, and consequently was never truly loved as a child while also being overshadowed by her genius sister who later turned serial killer. She then joined Hubble Police Force where her warnings of threats were ignored due to her reputation for paranoia, resulting in innocent deaths. At some point she also lost her unborn child while it was still in the womb.
  • Commander Badass's superiors tried to invoke (yes, invoke) this in Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, telling the Commander that his entire family was dead for two years. The Commander being the Only Sane Man though, his response (instead of becoming dark and broody like they wanted) was to ask for a therapist, then a lawyer.
  • In Monsieur Charlatan, Charlatan's first appearance has him musing over a photograph, ready to commit suicide.
  • Asia Ellis from morphE. The details are not apparent yet, but it seems she was raised in some form of cult where she was forced to wear a mask at all times. After she was rescued her guardian tried to bring her into public schooling with failed results. The situation she is in now feels familiar, though as of Chapter 3 she is convinced it is not the same group that kidnapped her this time.
  • Warrick of Namesake is a prime example of this. He was abandoned by his father, watched his mother be killed in front of him, had his grandmother die, his grandfather commit suicide, ended up contracting the same illness that killed his grandmother, and then uses magic to heal himself that makes him both unable to touch water and completely mentally unstable. And this is all before the comic even starts.
    • The same goes for his twin sister Selva, who went through the same things minus the mystery illness, and ended up just as unstable as her brother, as a side effect of his spell.
    • Slightly subverted, as although he does begin as a villain his backstory isn't used as much of a Freudian Excuse. His villainy is actually a side effect of the spell he used to keep himself alive.
  • Parodied in The Noob here.
  • In No Rest for the Wicked, Claire. Introduced, she muses about how easily a woman could become a witch without realizing it and implies something about her own child. Later she refuses to explain why she no longer has her baby with her. And she comments that she had hated her parents — and now she knows she's no better.
  • The Order of the Stick:
  • In Our Little Adventure, Angelika warns Norbert not to go there when he asks if something bad happened in her past.
  • Pixie and Brutus: Downplayed, but Brutus was a military service dog before coming to live with Pixie and her family, and he has clearly seen some shit. (Whatever happened to him, it cost him an eye.) In one strip, Pixie innocently asks what war is, and Brutus can't bring himself to tell her.
  • Project Blackfire: The main character Dark Flame had an abusive father and suffers from post-traumatic episodes which he utilizes a tranquilizing serum to keep at bay.
  • Questionable Content:
    • Faye moved to the same town as the other characters to escape her small Southern town after her father shot himself in front of her and she got into a car accident. She's also an alcoholic.
    • Hannelore's parents' response to her crippling OCD seemed to be mostly "throw money at it and hope it goes away".
  • In Rascals, Chrissy reveals to Quick her trust issues stems from her relationship with Trevor, who lost his way when he became rich, cheated on Chrissy with Amanda, and eventually tried to sex her out to a buddy. It all starts right with a flashback here.
  • It eventually turns out that Zig Zag, the perky, perpetually randy and playful Serbian tiger/skunk crossbreed from Sabrina Online has one of these. She gets livid if anyone tries to suggest it's her Freudian Excuse for being a notorious pornography star and director, though.
  • Both Cain and Kylie from Serpamia Flare have exhibited signs of having gone through traumatic events in their pasts.
  • Tekno in Sonic the Comic. While we never see her past, it's implied that she's done some pretty bad things since she worked with Dr. Robotnik. Her murdering someone in the fan continuation seems to better support this, though that's related to her going through a mental breakdown
  • Sweet Home: Plenty of characters have this.
    • Jisu’s boyfriend committed suicide at some point in her past. She was the one to find the body.
    • Hyuk and Eun's mother died, their father left them in an orphanage, and after swearing he would quickly return, he died as well, leaving them both alone.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: