This comic, where the beleaguered single male callboy at Nerdrotica who finds out that one of his regular callers is an old man who uses the service as a method of recalling memories of his deceased male lover.
The whole flashback of Scotty's last day, especially this comic, in which Davan pours his heart out to Scotty over the phone, coupled with Mr. Harris knocking on his son's door, wanting to talk to him, when you know how it's going to end. And at the end, just... Ow, my heartstrings.
Davan: I never knew my half-brother, but I'd like to think you were sort of sent to me in his stead.
This Erfworld comic. It's because Grey-and-Grey Morality of the setting that makes you root for the both sides. And then you realise it's the Pacifist of "Bad" side doing the deed. And all the main protagonist knows about it all is this message from said pacificst: "Im In Ur Dirtz: We broke the leadership.". Baaaw!
Nana's Everyday Life. You don't even need to know the series to end up a snivelling wreck by the end of it. Compared to Nana's Everyday Life, Elfen Lied is straight-up comedy. Let that sink in for a while.
This strip. Black Mage finally achieves his dreams of becoming the most powerful evil force in the universe... and then the one being he's ever loved shows up out of nowhere, right into his line of fire, and he apparently kills her. And then, to add insult to injury, Fighter finally gets the picture that BM is evil and blames him for the one atrocity he didn't mean to commit.
Big Boss's explanation of The Boss's death, and Liquid's highly emotional reaction to it.
Big Boss: You understand now? I had to kill the greatest hero of the modern era because the factions of Philosophers were fighting over money. Liquid Snake: But you burned those sons of bitches right? Tell me you went home and SKULLFUCKED every last one of them!
Link has now been updated to one that works. In case you weren't bawling already, the ones focusing on named people were all true stories - the artist took news stories and put them in comic form. Eyes are moist on the first one, wet on the second, and the waterworks break by the 4th or 5th.
Wrong section, but go on, just try playing this song at the same time.
This Animal Crossingcomic◊ from This Is Game. A mother gets into Animal Crossing thanks to her child; being wheelchair-bound, the game gave something for the mother to do. Sadly, the mother's sclerosis became serious and she eventually passed away. A year and a half later, the boy decides to visit the game and finds his mailbox full of presents from his mother with letters saying how much she loves him.
Even more painful: Anna collecting the ashes and visibly starting to fall apart emotionally.
Also: Hennya's death in Abel's Story.
The tragic story of Aniz and Destania after the death of Siar, Aniz's clan leader, and the rest of the clan.
When Abel visits his dying mother at the hospital and she stays alive just long enough to tell him that she always loved him before passing away was especially potent for readers who have been in similar situations with their relatives.
The death of younger Sheena. As the ROM they were in collapsed, the heroes were stranded in a mess of garbled coding, glitching the game up and costing Sheena's life. Seeing her newfound sister fade away, Sheena dropped to the ground. "She's gone..."
Bogey realizing he was useless and in the way on their missions, unable to do anything aside from get himself killed, and becoming an increasingly minor character as he pondered his usefulness. That combined with the fact that he was actually in love with Sheena, but could see she and Radd were meant for each other.
Sheena realizing she loves Radd and wanting them to be together, but being afraid it was their programming speaking. Afterwards, she realizes that regardless of programming, she'd have fallen for him all along.
Back to Bogey, the second one is made even worse by his Heroic Sacrifice. Radd is losing in the final battle against the Seer. One more hit and he's dead, permanently. The Seer is about to use his most powerful move yet, to wipe out Radd and everyone else. Bogey is trapped in there with them, watching unnoticed from the sidelines. He makes his appearance, reminding Radd that he could get a full life meter from killing the most common enemy in his game... a Bogey. At first Radd refuses to do this, but realizes he has to. Despite all his fighting, Bogey dies the hopeless death of an enemy sprite. Or does he?
The ending, too. Possibly the best webcomic ending out there.
The fact that Bogey nearly forced Radd to kill him. Bogey says something along the lines of, "I understand.", walks away, and suddenly runs back and tries attacking Radd. Radd blocks it... And kills Bogey in the process. *sniff*
These twostrips. Say what you will about Marten and Dora's relationship, but seeing it come to an end after so long was pretty heartbreaking.
That last line before Marten closed the door was just such an awful way to put it, it conveyed how hurt he was and was actually horribly true at the same time. That one line matched the angst of this strip right after it.
The death of Thor in Brat-halla. Admittedly, it's in a story set in the future so the character isn't actually dead "yet," and it's really a case of Foregone Conclusion, but the sheer unstoppable inevitability of it.
Welcome to Norse Mythology! We're all just killing time until the end of the world!
Several in YU+ME: dream , such as how Fiona's mom died and tried to kill her in the process, the big revelation that it's all just a dream, and especially when it's revealed that Lia broke all the rules just to be able to truly meet Fiona and is currently being imprisoned/tortured/raped/some other form of horrible treatment because of it.
Bogroll's death in Erfworld, that is all. It's only after his Heroic Sacrifice (shouting "For Lord Hamster!!", no less) that you realize how much you rooted for him. And it gets worse, when Parson shows his Not So Stoic side at the news...
And Vinny crying at Prince Ansom's death kinda stabbed me in the heart.
There's just something about thisminus. strip... The main character gets rejected from playing with two girls, believing that minus will just cheat by using her magic powers. She creates an angel to play catch.
The same two girls play a game where they flip a coin and call heads or tails. One of them gets dejected for losing constantly, so she demands minus to send her to the past so she can tell her past self to say the right answer. minus sends her back too far. She eventually returns as an old woman who's lived a full life. Despite the sister wanting her to return to her original age, the other sister refuses and comforts her sibling, saying everything will be all right.
And there's this strip. A cloud she created wants to play with minus. Getting tired of the cloud, she simply makes it inanimate again.
For a lot of people this is the first minus. strip they saw. Without context, the last panel is an absolutely heartrending statement of defiance and serenity. The whole world is falling apart and she's just standing there, waiting to take a swing at that asteroid.
Grim Tales from Down Below fits one in too, after Grim Jr. lashes out at Mini Mandy for saving his life, you can see how crushed Mini Mandy is, one page later, she is RIPPED INTO PIECES BY THE PUMPKINATOR, and another page later, Lock, Shock, and Barrel are horrified, unlike Oogie, who is laughing in pure glee, and after Junior Took a Level in Badass, the Redeemer comes and takes Mini Mandy to heaven, she gives Junior one last kiss, in my opinion, merging Tear Jerker AND Nightmare Fuel together PERFECTLY.
Riff finally comes face-to-face with her empty shell of a body, his alternate self trying to convince him she's brain-dead.
He goes back in time to save her, betraying his new friends, only to be told by his alternate self it's impossible; meanwhile, she wakes up briefly and goes back to sleep, blissfully unaware that she'll be dead in a matter of hours.
Fans! has a few, notably from the God-Machine arc;
"Save Draft. That paragraph stays." Context; Shanna is writing about this adventure four years after the fact, and up to this moment, we don't know whether Will survived the final battle.
This comic. Sure, yukkuris are supposed to be either funny or annoying, but this... Abusive Parents, Family-Unfriendly Death, and the scene where Alice goes out into the rain to stay with her Mommie... Although, the parts where the Mommie realizes how much Alice loves her, in turn realizing how much she loves Alice and her sisters, and Alice, her sisters, and Mommie being happily reunited in the after life, at least provides a Bitter Sweet Ending.
Nature of Nature's Art. Ending of the first arc, as Quintet repeatedly attacks Meander's living body, now fully facing the fact that Meander, her best friend, is dead and all that's left is a vacuous animal with only the slightest snippets of memory making him keep near to her. Then, as he runs off into the wild, away from his friend that his vacuous animal brain can't understand why she was attacking him, we are left with a quote from him from near the beginning of the story. Then we have the end of the second arc which is going on now, what is it with nofna and best friend death anyway?
The second arc is worse than that. It's revealed that XZ (formerly known as Nutsedge) has been constantly bombarded with sexism, leading to her decision to quit the college. This is revealed through SV's nightmarish power - and then SV beats her to death. If that wasn't enough, right after this No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, he realises that he's dying, and as he writes his story, his monologue reveals the lesson he has learned, and the secret to true happiness... and then, after he dies, when the investigators see his message, it turns out to be illegible, and SV is passed off as a fool who never learned anything! Yes, in the end, SV's efforts were for nothing.
A Running Gag in Achewood is Philippe asking Lie Bot "What is the saddest thing?" and getting an uncharacteristically — and brutally — honest answer. They have generally been intentionally over-the-top, but the first one is legendarily depressing.
"It grows from here. Reginald begins reducing more and more actions to simple lines of dialogue: 'nod,' 'dance,' 'laugh,' 'love.' Eventually his muscles atrophy; his body wastes away. Only the left hemisphere of his brain remains alive, the spoken word itself reduced to mere thought. And once Beartato earns his master's degree and invents a brain-to-speech synthesizer, that final thought is at last heard: 'Weep a single tear for the life I have wasted."
"The First Week", from Jenny the Military Spouse. Jenny goes through the first week of her husband's first overseas deployment. All in the form of a happy cheerful helpful guide on how to deal with deployments. It's the implications of Jenny lying wide-awake in bed clenching her blanket it her hands.
The rather...bizarreSugar Babiez has an unexpected one near the end. This comes in the form of Despair, parts one and two. YMMV, but the fact that this is that last we see of Jess before the comic ends makes it hit a little harder than it should.
That series seems tailor-made to be as saddening as possible. Quite a feat with only a handful of comics to its name.
This entry for an Original Character Tournament left many a person only able to say "...wow" in their comments. The gist of it is both Original Characters are dying, one a demon that will eventually be reborn, the other a man that will just simply die. As he's dying, he hopes that they'll be something afterwards. "Something above our heads. Or burning like a bloody furnace below our feet. I'd... I'd take either over nothing at all." The part that will really make the tears flow? There is something. "Welcome to Endrealm."
Although Errant Story has more of the other moments, the page after this one certainly qualifies as a Tear Jerker. Sarine is faced with something she definitely has trouble trying to execute. "Anilis, I don't want to have to kill this girl!"
Ace Dick's game of life is an in-story example (with Shout Outs to Batman and The Oregon Trail). The reason that the second face of Demonhead Mobster Kingpin could be defeated was because it was so depressing that DMK grew a second emotion meter.
This comic by Rebecca Sugar. It takes otherwise hilarious quotes from the Simpsons, and makes them so heartbreakingly sad. ( "Can I go now?")
The Super Fogeys has one of the most elegantly sorrowful strips ever, all about getting old.
And again. Dear lord, this much bittersweet should be illegal. For context, Star Maiden stole Spy Gal's boyfriend when they were young, breaking Spy Gal's heart. This is the first time they've confronted each other since.
Venus Envy, anyone? Despite being a major exporter of Wangst, there are a good deal of legitimately sad bits.
Richie's rant about how Alex/Zoe is a freak, after she's blackmailed by Principal Darc
The author's personal experience with transphobic violence is easily the worst bit.
And Nina STABBING the protagonist (presumably to death, as the strip ends with Nina standing over a collapsed and stabbed Zoe) is a big example of Anyone Can Die, especially in a formerly lighthearted comic. YMMV as to whether this is Wangst, a Tear Jerker, or even Nightmare Fuel.
Teddy Bear Anti-Christ is usually darkly and morbidly humorous, but this one is sad. Poor Byron.
Annie Mia/Leila's backstory inSchool Bites. "And I knew I would never see him dance again..."
Tocsin's death scene in Dragon Tails(at least until the next strip. The latest in a line of a thousand mindless automatons, and the only one to realise that he has life, and understand exactly what that means. As he sacrifices himself to save the dragons and realises that he's just another clone generated by a magical sphere, his last words really clinch it:
Tocsin: Now that you know that the sphere will resurrect my form, please promise, please...don't bring me back.
In "Good Boy", Death lets a dog wait five minutes for his owners, but they never come back and he dies of hypothermia. His ghost wonders if he was a bad dog and deserved to die, but Death reassures the dog that he wasn't bad... but that his owners were. The dog is then given to a ghost teenage boy, which leaves a happy ending for both ghosts, but there's a bit of sadness when the ghost boy says, "Mom? Dad? I'm not ready to die yet!".
The prequel to "Good Boy". The dog, whose name is revealed to be Coby, gets given to a boy named Michael and they make fast friends... but the friendship only lasts about a year. After that year, Michael regularly forgets to feed and play with Coby and Michael's parents berate Coby for getting in the way. When Michael's mother reminds him to feed Coby, Michael just groans, says he's tired of Coby, and calls him stupid, hurting Coby's feelings. Michael's parents then pretend to take Coby for a "ride" only to tie him to a bollard and leave him there just because he shed on the furniture.
"Black Cats" is perhaps the most harrowing of them all because the cat, unlike other animals who died accidentally or were abused by people who didn't know it was abuse, was killed intentionally via getting run over because she was black and the driver thought black cats were bad luck. Her ghost then sees the old lady who feeds her, wondering why the cat didn't eat anything. Then, the woman finds the cat's body and buries it. While the cat's mother does get a happy ending (being adopted by the old lady), her daughter was not so lucky.
"Little Mo" involves a baby seagull named Mo dying of starvation because his parent couldn't feed him. The parent even wonders if it's failed him (though Death says it hasn't) and claims it's feeling weak and its stomach hurts.
In "Hear Me", a duckling dies by being hit by a car and the ghost says goodbye to its mother and siblings.
In "Royal", a lion's ghost complains that at the Circus of Fear where he worked, the performers would beat him and force him to do undignified tricks, so he never felt like a king.
In "Tired", an old elephant is being hit for not going in the right direction, and is describing its life as hell and talking about how it misses its mother, from whom it was separated at birth. Then, it dies.
In "Slow", two women steal a turtle's eggs, then the turtle herself dies because she had plastic around her neck. To make matters worse, Death reveals that all of her friends are dead too.
In "Grief", the ghost of a cat named Luna (not the black cat who was killed) watches her owner grieve.
In "Friends?", a dog was adopted as a puppy and wanted to make new friends... only to find that his owners adopted him for the purpose of dogfighting. He dies, and the human nearby isn't even sad, just calls him useless. He only makes a friend in the Grim Reaper as a ghost.