Caroline Abbott's father is separated from her as a prisoner of war during the War of 1812.
In the Kit series, Stirling Howard's father abandons Sterling and his mother when he can no longer support his family due to financial losses in The Great Depression. In the movie adaptation of the books, Kit's father is the one who leaves the family to try to find work in Chicago, albeit temporarily, unlike Mr. Howard.
Molly's father is absent for most of the series since he is serving as a doctor for troops in England during World War II. The whole family misses him immensely. He leaves a Christmas message for the family in Molly's Surprise and officially returns home at the end of Changes for Molly.
Another case of parental divorce, and the dad's first appearance in the series is purely to say he's moving far, far away.
And then we have Tobias, although Elfangor's disappearance was special circumstances.
In Armada, Zack's father Xavier died in an explosion when he was less than an year old. Later, he turns out to have faked his death in order to help EDA.
The Artemis Fowl series begins with Artemis Sr. missing and presumed dead, though his son is determined to find him. He succeeds by the end of the second book.
Half-siblings Leo and Tia in The Art of Being Normal both have absentee fathers. Leo's father Jimmy left when he was a baby while Tia's father Tony is in jail for selling stolen goods. Part of the story revolves around Leo finding his father.
In Seanan McGuire's October Daye novel Ashes of Honor, Etienne reveals he has a daughter whose mother never told him about her, until she calls him up one day and furiously accuses him of kidnapping her.
Isaac Asimov's "it's such a beautiful day": The question of why Mr Hanshaw doesn't appear in the story is answered early in the story by Mrs Hanshaw glancing at a cubograph of her dead husband. Context suggests it is a sci-fi photograph next to her bed.
Kristy's father, Patrick Thomas, abandoned his wife and four children and almost never calls or writes.
Abby and Anna's father died in a car crash.
Bambi: As is normal with roe deer, the fathers are not present in their children's lives. Even Bambi abandons his mate and children by the end.
In Black Unicorn, Tanaquil doesn't know anything about her father, only that her mother had renounced him and she inherited her skills with repairing objects from him. When she realizes Lizra's father Zorander is her father, she's nothing but disappointed, as he's cold and heartless. Lizra can't blame her.
In A Boy Made of Blocks, Alex meets Isobel, a woman whose autistic son Jamie is about Sam's age. She tells him that her husband left her before her son was diagnosed.
Bravelands: Fearless' father Titan is murdered by a group of rival lions early on.
In The Bridge of Clay Michael Dunbar is brought up by his mother after his father, a firefighter, was killed in a bush fire. Later on, he abandons his five sons.
The Brothers Lionheart: No mention is ever made of the boys' father in the movie. In the book he's said to have gone to sea.
In A Brother's Price, Jerin and Ren have this in common, both having deceased fathers. Jerin's died of an accident a few months before the start of the book, resulting in Jerin's Promotion to Parent to his younger siblings. Ren thought her father had died of illness, but when Jerin, now betrothed to Ren and her sisters, is moved into the palace's husband quarters, he finds evidence that his predecessor, Keifer, was involved in killing the princesses' father with poison.
Erika, Grünlich's daughter, suffers from this in Buddenbrooks.
In Captain Underpants, Harold's parents are divorced. The father is only mentioned at all in the Backstory given in the ninth book, implying that Harold never visits him.
This is apparently the standard in Cat Pack. Texas Jake never mentions his father and Carlotta's kittens are fatherless (with all of the club wanting to be their step-father).
In The Chronicles of Amber, the absence and possible death of Corwin's father, King Oberon, drives much of the action. Turns out he's not so disappeared after all, but concealing his identity. Mind you he really was captured and imprisoned in the Courts of Chaos; it was his escape and return he concealed.
The Crimson Shadow: Siobhan's elven father abandoned her mother (a human) before she was born as he couldn't bear to see them both die before him of old age.
The Dark-Thirty, a collection of African-American ghost stories: A boy with psychic powers has an irresponsible, semi-Affably Evil disappeared dad (mom despises him but when he's around it's usually a fun time). Dad takes his son back to the city when he learns about the boy's powers and uses him to make money on horse races, but when the kid's power disappears and he's beaten by his debt collectors he promptly returns the boy to his mother, never to be seen again ("And good riddance", says his mom).
Sourcery has it in a really twisted, really weird form.
A more conventional version in Sam Vimes's backstory. His mother always told him that his dad was run over by a cart, Vimes's own theory is that this was a brewer's cart, and it ran him over a bit at a time for years. This is part of the reason he's so determined to be a good father to Young Sam.
In Dragon Lance, Kitiara Uth Matar's father, a Solamnic Knight, leaves the family when she was seven years old. She later sets out to find him, never managing to do so, but becoming a mercenary and adventurer on her journey.
In Jim Butcher's Dresden Files novel Summer Knight, Harry is offered a chance at this: the Winter Lady offers him the information if he will only sleep with one of her court and ignore the ensuing pregnancy. He rejects it. Strongly.
In Blood Rites, Harry presupposes this after Emma's death, when he laments that her children are orphans. Jake reveals that, in fact, she had not wanted to settle down with him, but he will raise their children.
And then in Changes, Harry finds out that he is the Disappeared Dad to the daughter nobody told him about. He is understandably furious with her mother but Susan had her reasons.
Ella Enchanted, being a literal Cinderella story, places Ella's father as a frequently-traveling merchant. He also has little to no interest in what goes on around his house in his absence.
The Elminster Series: Elminster fathers lots of children by his different women, but is mostly absent in their lives. Some, like Nastra, he had to leave them for their safety, but they later meet and team up. Since he's constantly off on various adventures however there is little chance of much relationship.
In Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Oskar's grandfather abandoned his father before he was born. He tries to apologize and explain in letters entitled "Why I'm Not Where You Are," but only one ever gets sent.
Family Skeleton Mysteries: Madison's father Reggie, who responded to the news that Georgia was pregnant by going out and cheating on her. When she found out and he admitted it, she dumped him.
First Light: An aspect of their community. Children are raised by their mothers and never know their fathers. Thea eventually finds hers, however.
Forbidden: The Whitelys father moved to Australia with his new wife five years ago.
In the Karen Traviss-penned Gears of War expanded universe novels, Anya Stroud was raised by her single mother Helena. Helena refused to tell Anya who her father was (or if he was even still alive) before her death, and Anya is understandably a little bitter about it.
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld: Sybel's grandfather never realized he'd fathered a child, as it's said he had only slept with her grandmother once. Her father therefore grew up without ever knowing him.
The Glass Menagerie: Mr. Wingfield abandoned his family before the events of the play take place.
The father of the main character in Esther Friesner's Gnome Man's Land/Harpy High/Unicorn U trilogy stepped out to get a newspaper and never came back. It's revealed in the middle book that this was due to his becoming Champion of the Sidhe.
In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Gods of Mars, John Carter meets a young man whose father died before he was born. Three guesses as to who his father was and whether that info was accurate.
"With drawn swords they made for me, but before I went down beneath them they had tasted of the steel of my father's sword, and I had given such an account of myself as I know would have pleased my sire had he lived to witness it." "Your father is dead?" I asked. "He died before the shell broke to let me step out into a world that has been very good to me. But for the sorrow that I had never the honour to know my father, I have been very happy. My only sorrow now is that my mother must mourn me as she has for ten long years mourned my father."
Good in Bed features two examples. Cannie's father walked out on his family while she was young, and is later discovered to be a plastic surgeon in Hollywood, who refuses to face up and give her answers when she confronts him. There's also Bruce, the biological father of her child from Sex for Solace, who continues to keep his distance from Cannie, even after getting this news.
The Handmaid's Tale: Offred talks about her radical feminist mother at length, with no mention of her father.
Specific cases in Harry Potter, where if you're not missing one or both parents you will be soon enough (unless you're a Weasley. Lucky them).
James Potter died when trying to make a Last Stand to Voldemort to save his wife Lily and baby Harry.
Frank Longbottom is alive, but can't really BE a father since he was driven insane by the Cruciatus Curse. The same is the case with his wife Alice, thus Neville was raised by Frank's mother.
Dean Thomas' father, as revealed by Word of God, is a wizard who left his Muggle wife and unborn child because he feared they would be targeted by the Death Eaters. He was later killed, and his family never learned the truth. This would have shown up in the text, but got dropped in favor of Neville's story.
The first few books suggest Tom Riddle senior abandoned his wife and child because he didn't like magic. The sixth book revealed the much more sympathetic truth — he fled from his captor Merope after she took him off the Love Potion she'd been feeding him. She thought after all this time and with a baby on the way he'd feel the real thing or stay in the forced relationship. He didn't, and Merope later went the Death by Childbirth way. This led to Self-Made Orphan years later...
The Dumbledore family lost their father after he went to Azkaban prison for attacking some Muggle boys who attacked his daughter.
And of course in book seven BOTH of Teddy Lupin's parents are killed in the Battle of Hogwarts when he was only a few months old. He at least gets to be raised by his grandmother, and is practically a surrogate son to his godfather Harry.
Lucius Malfoy becomes this in the sixth book because he's sitting in Azkaban and it's the motivation for Draco to become a Death Eater, try to kill Dumbledore, and to get the Death Eaters into Hogwarts.
Household Gods: Nicole's ex-husband Frank is a deadbeat who's habitually late with child support payments and often doesn't use his time with their kids at all. Once she's sent into the past, he's forced to care for them full time, and is quite unhappy with it.
This happened to two of the main characters in The Hunger Games, as Katniss and Gale's fathers were killed in the same mine explosion when they were eleven and thirteen, respectively.
Also, Finnick dies in the last book before Annie gives birth to their son.
Nora's father was murdered shortly before Hush, Hush begins.
John Cleaver's father in I Am Not a Serial Killer is absent from the book except when he sends John a letter and an iPod at Christmas.
I Am Number Four: Sam's, and John's to an extent - but he claims Henri as his father.
In If I Fall, If I Die, Will Cardiel's father Arthur is a successful architect who lives in the Netherlands with his new family. He and Will have talked on the phone a few times, but they had nothing to say to each other.
I'm Ok (2018): Ok's dad died before the story begins. He was working on a roof when he slipped, fell off, and broke his neck.
The In Death series: A number of characters throughout the series are much more likely to have a mother in the picture than a father. Does Nora Roberts have a problem with fathers?
In Two Worlds: Anthony's best friend David's father left when he was four because he couldn't handle raising an autistic son.
In "Joey: A 'Mechanical Boy'," Joey's father is sent overseas when Joey is eighteen months old, after which he and his mother move in with her parents.
Any books based on the life of Julius Caesar will include this trope, as he had to leave his daughter Julia behind when he was off being a badass in Spain and Gaul. Actually subverted in Conn Iggulden's Emperor series where Julia goes through a phase of teenage anger and resentment towards him, but otherwise pretty much worships her father. This is attributed to her growing up hearing the stories about her father's accomplishments but never seeing him do things like hurt his slaves, get himself drunk or punishing his soldiers. She even goes so far as to helping her father in the civil war, despite the fact that it means betraying her own husband, who is Caesar's opponent.
Caesar's father also died when he was 16, leaving him head of the family.
A lot of characters in Erich Kästner's books miss one or both parents, and since in the cases where the father is missing the relationship between the child and his or her mother is played up, which resembled Kästner's extremely close relationship to his mother, some critics tended to focus on that to the exclusion of the missing mothers. Note that at the time Kästner wrote his books — after World War I (and the Spanish Influenza) and after World War II — it was not that uncommon for children to be missing one or both parents.
In Emil and the Detectives, Emil Tischbein lives in a two-person household with his mother. The sequel "Emil and the Three Twins" indicates that this will change soon when Mrs. Tischbein will marry Oberwachtmeister Jeschke.
As does Anton Gast in Pünktchen und Anton.
In The Flying Classroom, Johnny Trotz was callously abandoned by both parents before becoming the ward of a sea-captain.
In Drei Männer im Schnee (which among other things became the basis of the 1938 movie Paradise for Three), Hildegard, the female half of the romantic couple has no mother, Fritz, the male half, has no father.
In Das doppelte Lottchen, Lotte and Luise discover that they are living with the respective parent that the other one is missing.
Stephen King has written many examples (his father left his family when King was two):
Eddie Dean in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. He finds the Mid-World expression "forgotten the face of my father" ironic, because he wouldn't recognize his father if he met him. When he introduces himself as "Eddie Dean of New York, son of Wendell" in Calla, he thinks that leastwise, his mother always said that.
Bobby Garfield in Hearts in Atlantis. His father died of heart attack when Bobby was three.
Carrie White in Carrie. Her father died in an accident before she was born.
Louis Creed in Pet Sematary. His father died when he was three.
Hal Shelburn in The Monkey (short story in the collection Skeleton Crew). His father was a seaman, like King's.
In Der kleine Mann and its sequel, Der kleine Mann und die kleine Miss, Mäxchen Pichelsteiner, having lost both his parents in a tragic accident, is raised on his own by the stage magician Jokus von Pokus. Eventually he gains a new mother in the shape of Rosa Marzipan, Jokus' lover and later wife.
In Leyla: The Black Tulip, the protagonist's father Aslan was an artist that disappeared during the war in the Caucasus (implied to be one of the Russian campaigns to conquer the region), since he was trying to record the conflict in his paintings. His disappearence leaves his family destitute and with no means of supporting themselves, forcing the main character to sell herself into slavery to save them and ending up in the Ottoman imperial harem.
In Anna Dewdney's Llama Llama picture books and the Animated Adaptation, Llama Llama has a warm and loving relationship with his Mama Llama, which is good, because a Papa Llama is never seen. It's never explained why he lives with only Mama.
Frances Hodgson Burnett seemed to love this trope as this happens to pretty much all of her main characters. Sara Crewe at least used to have a loving father, but both of Mary's parents are emotionally and largely physically absent even before they die. And then we have Little Lord Fauntleroy Cedric, whose loving father died when he was a toddler, and the plot is kickstarted when he and his mom go to England to meet his grandfather...
Miracle Creek: When Young and Mary moved from Seoul to Baltimore, Pak became a "wild-goose father," which normally refers to men who migrate annually between a job in one country and a family in another. Now people like him are called penguin fathers, because he couldn't afford to migrate and went four years without seeing his family.
In Les Misérables, Fantine's boyfriend Félix Tholomyès abandoned her when their daughter Cosette was very young. Cosette doesn't remember him, and for part of the book believes that Jean Valjean is her father.
Antonia's father dies before the events of the The Monk, leaving her to be raised in relative poverty and obscurity.
Monster of the Month Club: Rilla's father, David Charles Pinowski, who split up from her mother before Rilla was ever born. Part of the plot of book 3 is her using the internet to try and find him, which she ultimately succeeds at, allowing him to visit for Christmas in book 4. She also learns he and Sparrow had tried to find one another, but he was in the Peace Corp at the time and never got her letters, and she'd changed her name by the time he tried to find her.
Myth Adventures: Trollian siblings Tananda and Chumley were raised by their mother, a strong-willed Trollop who is mentioned a few times in the series. They've never said a word about their father, but he's apparently not around, as their Mum always drafts Chumley to use his Trollish strength for heavy lifting whenever she redecorates her house.
In Paladin of Souls, it is revealed that Roya Ias' "boon companion" Chancellor Arbol dy Lutiz had essentially abandoned his latest wife and young son to attend upon his liege at court. Young Ahrys did not even remember his father but yet strove to excel in all the arts of warfare and statesmanship in the hopes of being summoned to the capital until the day the elder Dy Lutiz died. As Ahrys' half-brother (the result of their mother's long-term affair with the Castle Warder) put it:
"Me, I had a father for all of my life, or at least all of his. Ahrys had... a dream."
In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, most of the demigods where the god is the father have never met their father and before finding out their heritage, usually are told that their father wasn't in the picture. Inverted for the godly mother, of course. In Percy's case, his mother Sally told him that his father wasn't dead but had been lost in sea. Seeing how Poseidon was his father ...
In Power, Donna and Omishto's biological father left their family for another woman, and then, supposedly, left that woman for another. Donna remembers this about him, but Omishto just remembers him as a beautiful man and as the one who named her.
Tierra in Princess Holy Aura is raised by her single mother, and does not think highly of her father.
"I have a father. Biologically. Other than that, he's an asshole."
L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter trilogy opens with Prospero Lost. His children still haven't found him at the end of the second book.
Rabble Starkey: Rabble's father abandoned her mother, Sweet Ho when Rabble was about one month old.
Reaper (2016): Played with. Jex's dad is certainly this by our standards, but as everyone's parents are in Game, standards are different and Jex's father is considered unusually good by calling her every week and offering to sponsor her Game membership. Until he's killed by the bombing that kicks off the plot.
The children's story Rise and Shine Bunny is about a Funny Animal rabbit boy learning not to be so grumpy in the morning. His family consists of his "Mama" and three siblings, but no mention is made of their father.
In Roadmarks, one of the subplots involves a young man searching for the truth about his absent father, the protagonist.
Isabel of Castille's father died when she was younger, and much of the conflict in the story is between her two brothers over who is the rightful king of Castille.
Marie Antoinette's father died a few years before the book begins. She notes how her mother always was mourning him.
The future Queen Victoria's father died when she was a baby, which means that she becomes her uncle William's heir presumptive upon his accession, since her father was the next brother in line for the throne.
Mary is Queen of Scotland practically from birth since her father died a week after she was born.
Kristina's father died after getting lost in a foreign land, making her King of Sweden at a young age. (Her father insisted she be crowned king instead of queen.)
A minor plot point in Kazunomiya's story is how her father is dead, which weakens her mother's position, since she was merely a concubine instead of his legal wife.
Bo's father from Run left the family when she was young. When she finally tracks him down she finds that he started a different family.
Santa Olivia: Tommy's father was killed by one of the bombs supposedly set by El Segundo while he was just a baby.
Sixty Eight Rooms: Jack is raised only by his mother. The lack of a father isn't a plot issue, but their lack of money is.
A Song of Ice and Fire: King Robert, in direct contrast to how his dear friend Nedraised his bastard, entirely ignores the existence of fifteen of his illegitimate children and does his best to avoid Edric Storm, the sixteenth. Gendry, one of his eldest children, doesn't even know that Robert is his father.
He isn't much better to his legitimate children, being the "psychological absence" type who wants nothing to do with them, leaving their mother Cersei to raise them. Of course, they aren't his, but neither he nor they know that.
In The Story of Valentine and His Brother, Richard can't bring himself to love Valentine, who looks too much like his mother. He spends most of his time in Florence and only meets Val a handful of times.
Sunshine has Sunshine, aka Rae Seddonnote legal name, aka Raven Blaisenote birth name bemoaning her absent sorcerer father. Unusually, it isn't the man himself she resents but his family, who apart from her grandmother strictly avoided contact after the divorce. Which is now a problem because their heritage is the reason she isn't normal. Which is in turn the reason she isn't dead after the beginning of the novel, but some of the time she feels like dying at the start would have been so much less painful, and she has no mentor. Except the vampire.
This is the default in Survivor Dogs. Male dogs usually don't stay with their mates, which is why dogs refer to them as "sire-dog". There are exceptions though, such as Lucky once he has pups with Sweet.
In Fairest Of All: A Tale of The Wicked Queen, the titular Queen's abusive father died just before she married the King. He lives on as the manin the Mirror.
The King spends much of Snow White's childhood off in a war. He ends up dying in battle, which sends the Queen off the deep end in her grief.
Both of Maleficent's parents abandoned her in a tree as an infant.
In the novella A Taste of Honey, Lucretian's father, said to be one of the Daluçan gods, left his mother Olivy and never figures in the kid's life, making Aqib and Lucrio both his actual father-figures.
Tell Me How You Really Feel: Sana's father Massoud has not had much contact with her over the years, so she's cold toward him at the beginning when he comes back into her life. However, she slowly warms up to him somewhat after he makes an effort to be more there.
Thérèse Raquin: Camille's father is nowhere in the story. His mother raises him alone. Thérèse too, because Mme. Raquin's brother disappeared as well, leaving his daughter behind.
In Three Days to Never, the protagonist and his sister were raised by their grandmother after their father disappeared when they were very young. It turns out their father didn't deliberately abandon them — he was done in by the bad guys.
Subverted in Time Scout. Margo grew up thinking her grandfather abandoned her mother and grandmother. Turns out she left him. And it still hurts.
Tolkien's Legendarium: The prevalence of Disappeared Dads in Tolkien's work may be inspired by Tolkien himself losing his father at a very early age.
In The Silmarillion, the Children of Húrin, Túrin and Niënor, lose their father at a young age, which is the beginning of all their trouble — he's captured by Morgoth and released only after they've both killed themselves.
Alanna and Thome in the Song of the Lioness series have the psychologically absent version; their father has never gotten over the death of their mother and more or less ignores them. They manage to pull a Twin Switch for years despite being of different genders.
The absence of Daine's father in The Immortals led to Daine being branded as a Heroic Bastard and earned her much ridicule, but in the last book, she and the readers find out he was actually a god.
The first book of the The Numair Chronicles reveals that Ozorne's father was killed in a conflict with the Sirajit people.
Michael's dad is never mentioned in The Traitor Game, in contrast to his mum, who is an important supporting character. His absence is conspicuous enough that we can infer he's not in the picture.
In Tranquilium, Gleb Marin's father was killed when he was 17 or so. It's played somewhat more straight with his own son Billy, who doesn't know Gleb is his father; the man he thinks is his father is missing as of early Part Three (when the son becomes a character in his own right) because he is a prisoner of war. He is mostly raised by his mother, who is Gleb's former lover and the wife of Billy's adapted father, and by Auntie Olive, who is Gleb's former wife. Things inevitably get rather awkward when Gleb has to rescue Billy from a conspiracy (the fact that Gleb was by this point a sovereign monarch didn't help)...
The father of the titular character in Gregor the Overlander, vanished when he was eight. They find him though.
Don De Lillo placed the Disappeared Dad trope at the innermost core of his monumental novel Underworld. Protagonist Nick Shay believes that when he was a boy his father had been abducted and murdered by the Mob, because Italian fathers do not leave their families; they just don't. Told in backwards chronological order, the novel finally reveals that his father had secretly left in a case of Parental Abandonment after all.
In Michael Flynn's Up Jim River, the harper was raised by her mother alone, with only some information about her father. When her mother disappears, her quest for her also has the unspoken desire to find her father.
This seems to be the most common result of male Moroi and female Dhampir relations in Vampire Academy. The dad takes off and the mother raises the children on her own.
Villains by Necessity: Sam was raised by his mother alone, who could not remember who his father was or where he went. It turns out this is because Mizzamir raped her, conceiving Sam, then wiped her memory to save his reputation.
The lead of the original arc, Firestar, wasn't involved with his father Jake. Jake wasn't even revealed to be his father until after he first appeared.
In We Can't Rewind, this has been a chronic problem with Denise's family: her mother's boyfriend didn't stick around to help her through her Teen Pregnancy after conceiving Denise, and Denise's molester escaped the law by going on the lam soon after he realized he'd impregnated her. This leads to some drama later, as she has difficulty explaining the concept of marriage to Jaymee when she decides to get hitched to her employer (and the book's narrator) Don.
Welcome To Wonderland: P.T.'s father hasn't been present in his life, though as of "Sandapalooza Shake-Up", P.T. suspects Jimbo of being his father. However, Jimbo shoots that notion down in "Beach Battle Blowout" by stating that he and P.T.'s mom were just friends.
Neither Miranda nor Sal from When You Reach Me have a father. Miranda even comments that because she never had a father, she doesn't feel the need for one.
In White as Snow, Draco goes off and creates a new capital city with a new queen who gives him sons and forgets Arpazia and Coira. Played with in that they don't miss him and soon leave the city themselves.
Pretty much all of Jacqueline Wilson's teen books contain this. Parents are almost always divorced and the father has usually vanished into the ether (occasionally to be replaced with a Wicked Stepfather).
By the same author, The Two Princesses of Bamarre has the king (the father of the titular princesses) as a distant, negligent man. While not bad per say, he never takes action until he's spent a ridiculous amount of time consulting a book of proverbs he carts around. When his oldest daughter comes down with a deadly disease, he vows to go out and find a cure...after having a leisurely breakfast and spending several days consulting his book. He ends up not even attending his younger daughter's wedding, because he thinks the proverbs advise against it!
The main character of Wonder Show, Portia, is actually missing both of her parents, but more emphasis is put on her father since he's the only one she remembers well. Most of her motivation in the story comes from trying to find him or get her hands on a file containing information on him. In the end, she finds out out he died long before the main events of the story.
The disappearance of Meg Murray's father years ago becomes a central part of the plot in Madeleine L'Engle's novel A Wrinkle in Time. Working as a physicist on a top-secret project for the government, he'd accidentally teleported himself to another planet, where he was held captive. Meg and companions end up rescuing him.
The absent father is a major plot point in You Don't Know Me. The entire premise revolves around the relationship between John and his stepfather (or the rough equivalent, anyway), so the missing father is really a necessity. The details are vague at best - though a fantasized version of the father is mentioned frequently, John has little to no recollection of who he really was, his mother rarely talks about him, and the actual disappearance was sudden and without explanation: one day there, the next day gone.
In Zeroes, Scam's father left him and his mother when Scam was young. Bellwether wonders if Scam accidentally caused him to leave using his superpower, which he had no understanding of or control over at the time.
Wicked Good: After Archer and Wayne's divorce, Wayne spent two years traveling around New England auditioning, during which time he almost completely cut off contact with Archer and Rory. Now Rory resents him and his belated efforts to bond.
Rory: Why do I have to hang out with Dad? He ignored me for two years. I should ignore him for two years. Let him see what that feels like. He doesn't like me and I don't like him. Why can't he understand that?