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Heroic BSOD / Webcomics

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It's all fun and games until someone's psyche crashes and burns.

  • Chapter 4 of Legio Arcana ends with Nolan in a wheelchair unresponsive to his girlfriend and his friends after surviving a demonic possession.
  • Hyacinth of Squid Ninja has this happen a couple of times. Of Course, her Trickster Mentor messing with her head doesn't help much.
  • In Megatokyo, after a dramatic conversation with Miho, Ping the Robot Girl ends up with all of her emotional statistics jumbled up.
  • In City of Reality Todo gets this after seeing AV gets shot in the Do You Believe In Magic storyline.
  • In Erfworld, when Jillian is unable to rationalize her way around a conflict between Wanda's influence and her loyalty to Ansom, she briefly collapses. She recovers and charges into battle, resulting in a major victory for Ansom's side. This stuns Wanda into a considerably more severe BSOD of her own.
    • Later, it turns out that this may simply be backlash from the breaking of Wanda's suggestion spell.
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  • Parodied in Exterminatus Now After hearing that an old friend of his is behind an assassination attempt on his boss, Eastwood goes into a trance and spends a few minutes repeating his name. His teammates take the opportunity to steal his wallet.
  • Grace in El Goonish Shive kinda has one of these after making Big Bad Damien blow himself up.
    • Ellen also went through one of these when she was created.
    • Elliot suffers from one when he has the revelation that he loves Sarah as a sister not as a girlfriend.
  • 8-Bit Theater:
    • In one of the rare dramatic moments, Fighter has a brief moment of sadness when Black Mage is killed by Lich. He replaces it with a screaming rage though.
    • Black Mage later fakes one when he accidently killed White Mage. She got better.
    • When White Mage realizes that all of her well-intended acts inevitably lead to ruin, she experiences a BSOD that actually turns her evil for a while. Of course, because it's White Mage, it doesn't work, and she quickly reverts back.
  • Questionable Content features a few, of varying forms and degrees, mostly but not all the comedy version:
    • Not too surprisingly, consider Faye after her dad died.
    • OCD-fastidious Hanners has one after learning her underwear was showing while she was drumming — from both of her male bandmates.
    • Marten sorta suffers from one when he and Dora break up.
    • Pintsize, being an AI, comically suffers from a near-literal version on occasion.
    • Steve does this ... only in his case, he ends up going on adventures, becoming a spy and all that ... unless that's just a case of Put on a Bus.
    • Mega-nerd (or possibly just kilo-nerd) Marigold suffers a minor but nigh-lampshaded BSOD here.
  • Ash from Misfile suffers one during his first defeat at the hands of Kamikaze Kate in this strip.
    • Although having his first period might have contributed to that emotional roller coaster.
    • Ash gets it again when Vashiel tells him that Rumisiel won't be able to return to Heaven for another 72 years, meaning he won't be able to correct his misfile mistake until then. Considering the average human lifespan, Ash realizes that he will have to stay the way he is for the rest of his life. It takes a visit from Emily to snap him out of it.
  • Sluggy Freelance
    • "That Which Redeems": Zoë from the Dimension of Lame gets a minor one — when Torg, Zoë and that dimension's Bun-bun climb up to what they think to be the Demon King's abode and Torg is snatched inside immediately at the door, Zoë sits down (instead of running away) and sits still, staring ahead, and pets Bun-bun, not responding to his questions.
    • Still in "That Which Redeems", Torg goes through a mild one of these after an Alternate Universe version of Zoë he'd been dating dies, and immediately jumps to Roaring Rampage of Revenge mode. He never completely stops being his goofy self after the ordeal and returning to his home dimension, but he is a lot angrier and mopier for a while, especially around Zoe.
    • In "Wayang Kulit", Torg, Kiki and Bun-bun enter a shadow world where the local beings basically try to induce a Heroic BSoD in anyone coming there to make them stay forever. Kiki is driven to despair over some toast. Torg is faced with visions of the events in "That Which Redeems" and more about how women who love him or whom he loves are doomed and breaks down, hiding from the images in a castle created for him and claiming to be happy there. Bun-bun faces his worst fears immediately (he does have a brief period uncharacteristic moment of shock) and starts threatening the guardians testing him with physical harm.
    • Riff went through a minor one upon finding out that Zoe was not dead as he had thought, but instead was horrifically burned and in constant agony, kept alive by life-support. What's worse is that he thinks it's all his fault. He gets over it quickly though and vows to set things right.
  • Lilah's miscarriage in Ctrl+Alt+Del forces Ethan to go into Heroic BSoD mode. He spends the next several comics wandering around in a zombie-like state (the lack of sleep might have contributed to that), and was seen trying to get a soda out of a vending machine until moments later, when he says he's not even thirsty and that seeing Lilah inconsolable was far too much for him.
  • Dan from Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures experiences one of these in this strip due to a troubling suggestion.
  • The innocent titular character in Rice Boy has to travel the harsh wilderness, be dosed with liquid despair, learn cosmic secrets at the cost of other people's lives, see a hundred clones of himself spawned and cut down, and know that he must save the world and die. Suffering a Heroic BSoD he throws himself off a cliff ... into the next stage of his quest.
  • The Order of the Stick
    • "I think we broke Haley."
    • Vaarsuvius as well, as the result of what the elf perceives as a great failure back in Azure City and in everything that has happened since, to the point where everything the elf does has the underlying tone of being horrifically, terribly afraid of continuing to fail in new and horrifying ways.
    • Elan goes through this after he realizes his father Tarquin is evil, and not in a Noble Demon sort of way. It gets worse when he tries to kill him, only for his father to tell him that he'll win either way: If he wins then he wins and if he loses then he'll at least he'll go down in legend and that he'll at least have lived a great life.
    • Vaarsuvius, again, has the mother of all Heroic BSOD when s/he realizes that the earlier casting of the Familicide spell had not only killed black dragons, but numerous human families on the Western Continent through the dragonblooded Draketooth clan.
    • Roy has one, hearing of Durkon's death, and tries to talk the rest of the team into Losing the Team Spirit. Belkar, of all people, gives him a Rousing Speech.
    • Roy gets a comedic one in this early strip when Elan of all people is the only one who knows how to ride.
    • Durkon, while trapped in his own mind by the High Priest of Hel, has one when he is reminded of the day he was kicked out of the Dwarven lands, and how he cursed the priests for what they did.
  • In Fletcher Apts, Doug often blanks out and mentally reboots when he sees a girl flash her breasts. Like in this strip, he forgot the answer to the homework problem he was talking about, and in this strip his brain literally flashes a BSOD, causing Doug to forget his lesson and possibly the entire week beforehand.
  • Lampshaded in Shortpacked!! When Ethan realizes how gratuitously evil he's being, his shock and horror causes the strip itself to "crash"—complete with BSOD.
    • As an added bonus, that entire chapter was named Heroic BSOD
  • A comedic version appeared in VG Cats, when Aeris had a major Freak Out on the subject of Donkey Kong's stare.
  • In "4our-Calendar Cafe", Cambel and Sara both had a BSOD moment when they heard of Michael Jackson's death in this strip. Although clearly not part of the cannon, the author himself said "pretty much all of us entered a state of Blue Screen of Death when we heard about the news".
  • Misho, from Keychain of Creation, suffers one of these in #220 as a result of his Heart of Tears Limit Flaw.
  • Torvald of Dante Residential gets a literal BSOD in this strip after being liked and rejected by the same girl within mere seconds.
  • Parodied in this Concession, where Matt (post-destupidification) seemingly goes into a Heroic BSoD when he learns that The Internet Is for Porn.
  • Kate of Instant Classic suffers one after learning that Orson Welles (whom she idolizes) voice acted in an anime (a genre that she regards as the lowest, least dignified form of filmmaking).
  • In Homestuck, John is given the command "mental breakdown" after discovering Fruit Gushers are made by Betty Crocker. In actuality, this trope is brilliantly and hilariously subverted. THIS IS STUPID
    • However, this is played very straight immediately before the above example, where John's discovery that his dad is just a boring businessman and isn't really into "harlequins" at all is enough to send him into the fetal position.
    • Surprisingly, Karkat is by far the most prone to this trope:
      • He his first one after he fails to get Sollux into the Medium in time. It doesn't last for very long, though.
      • He gets another one when Eridan kills Feferi and Kanaya. His horrified face became a popular photoshop target within the fandom thereafter.
      • And another very shortly thereafter when he finds out that Gamzee flipped the fuck out. Much later on, it's implied in a conversation with John that he's only just recovered from another following encountering post-flipout Gamzee in person and presumably having to kill him. (Although it's revealed Karkat was able to calm him down rather than kill him)
      • And another, less serious one when he freaks out about possible troll-human relationships that might develop during the three years on the asteroid, complete with a Call-Back to the first example in this list.
    • Dave has a pretty nasty nervous breakdown after finding his Bro dead, impaled on his own katana. He tries to play it off for a little while, but after failing to retrieve the sword from the body, his cool shatters in the middle of his conversation with Terezi. Combined with the stress of managing stable time loops and watching many doomed timeline selves die horribly, Dave remains something of a shell-shocked mess for the rest of Act 5. He seems to have gotten some of his mojo back during the 3-year meteor journey but is still dealing with the lingering trauma in Act 6.
    • WV gets one after the demolition of his rebellion. Complete with Mood Whiplash.
    • Not too surprisingly, Dirk seems to be in this state post-[S] GAME OVER.
  • Yumiko experienced one in And Shine Heaven Now when she finds out not only isn't she the original personality, but she has eleven split personalities in total. She then suffers a second one when Heinkel releases them, while the personalities sort themselves out.
  • Dejoru in Juathuur, after being abandoned by everyone and seeing Mijuu die in front of him.
  • Peanut of Housepets! is prone to having these when confronted with his socially unacceptable attraction to cats, most recently when his best friend and adopted sister Grape revealed that she knew about his secret, long-time crush on her.
  • Fumbles of Goblins experienced this twice. The first was when he injured an elven child and realized he had become as bad as adventurers; the second came after Goblinslayer carved the word monster into his forehead and he was left alone in the torture cell by his friends. Following the second, Big Ears has stated his mind is completely broken.
  • Lloyd from Murphy's Law experiences this after he discovers that the dragon that he had been fighting, wasn't evil.
  • Rikk had one in Fans! when a fellow Aegis member Hilda committed suicide right in front of him. Shortly after the suicide, Rikk learned that "Hilda" was an artificially constructed homunculus created by the Aegis' enemies, and the "suicide" was staged to create just that response in Rikk.
  • Not the most heroic example, but the Nameless Grad Student of Piled Higher and Deeper experiences one when his experimental results turn up lacking. It's even lampshaded by his advisor: [1].
  • In Penny Arcade, Tycho goes into one when he sees an ad for a place called "Gamez N Flix", which made the always elegant Tycho go mad.
  • Antimony, in chapter 31 of Gunnerkrigg Court after being told that she was the reason for her mother's death, reels back in shock and proceeds to run out of the Court and into the Forest, setting off the alarm, and creating a huge firewall of death to prevent anyone following her.
    • It helps that the art is also bizarrely warped to represent her crazed state of mind
  • Girl Genius has a few, but given the Black-and-Gray Morality of the setting, the degree of Heroic in Heroic BSoD may vary:
    • Gilgamesh Wulfenbach suffers one of these when he thinks that Agatha's dead, which lasts for a couple of months.
    • Agatha later has one of her own when Lars dies, but hers involves a calliope and an attack carousel which is capable of levelling a small town.
    • Zeetha is heavily implied to be suffering from depression before her appearance in the comic, due to the fact that she's spent the last few years unsure whether her homeland actually exists or whether all her memories are fever-dreams. She finally gets confirmation that it's real from Agatha, only to be told that the one person who could possibly know where it is has been missing for years, which triggers a more traditional Heroic BSoD and a Big "NO!".
    • Gil gets another BSOD in the most recent section of the comic which is really rather impressive - after the timestop in Mechanicsburg, he believes that Agatha and everyone else (including his rival for Agatha's attentions, Tarvek) is stuck in it, which leads to his Heroic BSoD lasting for two and a half years. This includes barely sleeping (not sleeping for months at a time, to be precise) and being constantly stuck in The Madness Place for the entire time, which is really really bad for your sanity. This BSOD doesn't actually end when he sees Agatha again - it takes Tarvek coming out of the timestop and proving to be sane and healthy to pull him out of it.
    Bohrlaikha: He no longer sleeps.
    Doctor: What?! For how long?
    Bohrlaika: Weeks? Months? I do not know.
    Doctor: Ridiculous! That's dangerous! One can go mad!
    Bohrlaika: How would we know?
  • Scandinavia and the World:
  • It's Walky!: During the strip's climax, Linda Walkerton was taken out of commission by Her preserved, pre-resurrection corpse and the information that she'd died, been brought back, and manipulated into doing the will of Dargon Chesterfield and his compatriots, which turned her understanding of the most important moment in her life and the aftermath thereof on its head.
  • Squid Row Total system shutdown
  • In Wapsi Square, Shelly went through one of these after being trapped in another world as a sphinx for 80,000 years, while no time at all passed for her friends. She got better surprisingly quickly.
  • Julie suffers one in Our Little Adventure after her friend Pauline dies.
  • Scarlett from +EV declares that poker and Princess Amazia are her two favorite things, and she couldn't do without either. Then Amazia comes out against gambling.
  • 9th Elsewhere: Carmen enters this when she accidentally destroys the key that unlocks her mind because of her lack of self-control of her lucidity.
  • Dubious Company's Leeroy has one complete with Oh, Crap! stare when the magic fades from the latest leap to Another Dimension and Sal is missing.
  • In Blue Yonder, Jared shows it when they are attacked again
  • In Schlock Mercenary, after Ventura faced an angry mob with green belt... and low-profile powered armor. Her commander is good at snapping people out of such problems and knows this, but forgot Para was not really trained as a soldier, so it worked only as a quick-fix and she froze in the next fight.
    Doctor Bunnigus: It's not her blood, sir.
    Captain Tagon: What do you want me to do, give her a bath?
    Doctor Bunnigus: It's worse than that. I think she needs a hug.
  • In Goblin Hollow, by the creator of Tales Of The Questor, the protagonist Ben Bruin's brain shorts out after he receives news of his impending fatherhood.
  • In Sinfest Lil' Evil wants a film with The Bad Guy Wins and Humiliation Conga, ending in this.
  • Ace in Commander Kitty suffers from one after Mittens hatches a plan to foil Zenith that outclasses anything he could come up with. He snaps out of it when MOUSE lets him listen in on a completely innocent conversation between Mittens and Freeda that sounded a lot dirtier than it really was, sending him into a rage that ends with poor Mittens stripped by the transporter and shunned by the crew.
  • The newly elevated Dark Eldar Archon in EATATAU!!! has a Brain Leech that causes these.
  • The titular character of Serenity Rose has several of these on the backstory. A partial list:
    • She freezes a few square miles of Lake Michigan when her Mother dies.
    • She takes a bus with a dozen or so people in it on a joyride 300 feet in the air, ending in a swamp, when her father dies and she's rejected by the girl she had a crush on after failing to protect her from bullies.
  • Hope from Alone in a Crowd has one of these when she realises her parents have abandoned her and aren't coming back. Made all the more tear-jerking because she could only actively ignore it until she had to say it out loud.
  • Nelson in Full Frontal Nerdity somehow managed to respond even worse to the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones than his co-gamers, spending an entire strip silent apart from mumbling a little and bearing a traumatised expression.
  • Sydney in Grrl Power after a bullet was fired in the direction of her face. Continued the next week.
  • Few of the cast of Ménage à 3 really qualify as "heroic," but the writers seem to like using the comedy version of this trope. Sometimes the characters respond to stress with hysteria, but sometimes they blank out:
  • Ruby of Sticky Dilly Buns tends to suffer frequent traumatic confusion, for comedy effect, due to her being an easily embarrassed, naive virgin and the comic's Butt-Monkey:
  • Invoked in this Sandra and Woo strip: As Larisa implies that she wants to have sex with Landon, the latter is a bit freaked out, complete with a parody BSOD screen.
  • In this Consolers page, PC, while not exactly "heroic", gets a literal one upon hearing about Goldeneye's success, as he can't believe this kind of game would ever do good on a console.
  • Mecha Maid from Spinnerette goes through this with the arrival of Colonel Glass and her implied suicidal feelings due to her ALS. She then tried a suicide mission to destroy him that ended up with her suit disabled and Colonel Glass deciding to spare her because of her ALS. After Spinny kills Colonel Glass, she is shown lying in bed, depressed. It takes Spinny accepting that someday Mecha Maid is going to die before she is willing to cry, and she starts apologizing while Spinny holds her. In the current arc, Mecha Maid is said to still recovering from her injuries and emotional trauma.
  • Anadyne from Unsounded suffers this after Toby and Stockyard's corpses are dumped in front of her. She completely ignores the climactic battle with an Eldritch Abomination going on behind her, as seen here.
  • Zebra Girl: Of all people, Sam has one when he saw several years later the cabin in which he was tortured by Sandra for days. Seeing the character who until then was known for his Nerves of Steel fleeing from the scene, having nightmarish flashbacks and needing some time to compose himself is rather distressing.
  • In Champions of Faraus, Flamel has a minor one when he is fired from the Garn city watch by his boss Captain Shalour.It is Played for Laughs.
    Leilusa: So he's available for hire?
    Flamel: Uh?
  • Angel Moxie: Riley, after Grant Kyokasho's Heroic Sacrifice, kills Shugari and breaks down into tears. It doesn't last too long, but it counts.
  • Guilded Age: Byron gets into a bit of a funk after he berserks and kills or incapacitates his entire team. It's bad enough that he has to be taken out of action for awhile, and begs to be killed so that it will never happen again.
  • Steven from Ask White Pearl and Steven (almost!) anything does not take it well when he finds out that White Pearl is essentially acting as a mindless extension of his will.
  • Poor, poor, Dani in Hooky. She experiences some of the most tragic events in the story. The first of these happens after Alex is killed. Then after her father is killed. And this all culminates into the B.S.O.D of B.S.O.Ds when she believes that Dorian has been burnt at the stake.
  • Kubera:
    • Yuta, after he realizes that the sura who destroyed Leez's village was his half-brother Maruna. Also after he realises that Gandharva has taken sura form in the human realm, something that should be impossible. He'd been tempted to eat him earlier. Happens again when he loses control of himself and bites Leez.
    • Leez when Asha reveals that she went to Leez's village to kill her. It descends into a full-blown Freak Out when she is forced to confront the fact that Asha had been isolating her and hid the fact that her friends were alive in order to keep Leez dependent on her.
  • Rise From Ashes: Winter pretty much shuts down when she remembers just how cruel she was as a Red Crow.
  • Rose when she discovers that she's a Shadow copy of Willa and not the original in Latchkey Kingdom. She goes wide-eyed from shock and doesn't come back until Nikol finds her and uses The Power of Friendship to convince her she's not a monster.


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