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Tear Jerker / Astro City

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There's a lot of tragedy behind the scenes in Astro City. A lot of characters, even the ones who seem like they're doing great, are suffering for one reason or another.

  • In "Family Album", Astra's life with the First Family initially looks fun and exciting, but then she goes to do an interview, and while she's able to answer the host's questions intelligently enough, she nearly ends up in tears when they decide to let her field questions from other kids, as she struggles with simple questions like "What's your favorite TV show?"
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  • While it eventually became more bittersweet, the original fate of Loony Leo was absolutely tear-drenched. Originally a cartoon character brought to life during a battle between a Mad Scientist and The Gentleman in a movie theater, Leo ended up becoming real thanks to the belief of the audience and became a bit of a sidekick to The Gentleman for a while, and eventually went into show business, but even after his career fell apart and he developed a drinking problem, the real kicker didn't come until he reveals what really drives his depression; he misses his girlfriend and three nephews, the side characters from his cartoon adventures. He has loving memories of people who never actually existed.
  • "The Nearness of You": a short story dealing with an ordinary person's struggle with a Cosmic Retcon that erased his wife.
  • "The Tarnished Angel" is a Reformed, but Rejected story, tragic because the ex-supervillain would be content with so little.
    • And the story-within-the-story "Voice of the Turtle," ends with a Hope Spot... but the Turtle's the next victim of the hidden killer.
  • The Silver Agent's career ends in a way that was hinted at in the very beginning of the series: being executed by the state for a crime he didn't commit. And, as revealed in The Dark Age and his later two-issue focus arc, the Agent knew of his tragic death (because of time travel) and went to his death anyway, to avoid a Bad Future.
  • Beautie's focus story, "Her Dark Plastic Roots", reveals that the robotic member of Honor Guard suffers from continuous loneliness (even though she doesn't understand the emotion) as well as inevitable 'amnesia' when she gets close to discovering her own secret origin. Another hero, M.P.H. eventually learns the whole story: It turns out that her creator was originally a young girl whose father was a supervillain; when he learned that his daughter's creations were superior to his own, he forced her to get rid of Beautie, so she ordered Beautie to go away and forget about her. Beautie periodically tracks her down again, but she always tells Beautie to forget and leave again. By the time of story when she's middle aged, M.P.H. tells her off, but by the end of story she hasn't reconciled with Beautie and M.P.H. himself resolves not to tell Beautie about it in the hopes they will reunite naturally of their own accord.
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  • Then there's the anguish Crackerjack and Quarrel go through as time starts catching up with them. Watching them as they accept and deny the effects of time on their skills will hit home for older readers.
  • The story of G-Dog, a superhero who's a Fusion Dance of a man and his pet corgi, using the same magical amulet that had belonged to Stormhawk (from "Sorrowsday"). The guy had been a petty criminal and had taken the dog as collateral from a drug addict who owed him money (who had himself stolen the dog from a breeder). Having the dog as a companion slowly begins to change him into a better person, but after stealing the amulet and stumbling across its power, he does a complete Heel–Face Turn as he gains an empathic bond with his dog, and feels guilty about committing crimes. The two begin fighting crime as G-Dog, the man goes back to school, gets a job and even gets married, and attributes all the positive changes in his life to his pet. Unfortunately, eventually the dog begins to grow old, and finally passes away from cancer at 17. The man doesn't lose his powers, as they're a permanent side effect of the amulet, but he's absolutely devastated by the loss of his beloved companion. In the end, rather than bonding with a new animal, he leaves the amulet out in the wilderness where Stormhawk had once found it, in the hopes that it will benefit someone else as much as it had him.
  • The true nature of The Gentleman: He's actually just a mental projection of a little girl, made to look like her father who died during an attack by the "Bund-o-Teurs", a group of Nazi sympathizers, in 1942. He looks and acts the way she remembers her father, a kind, powerful man who helps anyone in need. She even keeps herself the same age with her powers, thinking that while she probably wants to grow up and mature, the world needs the Gentleman more than it needs another normal adult.

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