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Woobie / Comic Books

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With great power, comes great woobieness.

Comics with their own pages:

  • Sobek, the talking alligator man, in DC's 52 - the first scenes in which we see him befriended by Isis's brother just make you want to bawl. This is horrifyingly subverted later, though, when he turns out to be one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and actually kills, then partially eats, the aforementioned boy who cared for him. Few betrayals have felt quite so awful.
  • Swedish Children's comic Bamse has reformed villain known simply as "The Wolf". Orphaned as a cub, raised by three alcoholic stepfathers — who didn't even bother to give him a name — into life of crime, tries to reform when said stepfathers end up in prison. Only to be repeatedly fired because of his reputation. In the end, he does not get the girl, and the fact that he lives alone in a rundown old hut in middle of nowhere is constant reminder of his woobie factor.
"Once a thief, always a thief."
— Vargen, pushed back into the life of crime
  • Vargen (which is the original name of this character) doesn't end up with Virginia, no. But when Bamse gives him a chance to reform himself, he takes it and becomes more accepted in the local community. Though even then, he constantly gets bullied — now mostly by the villains, such as the other wolves — and is usually the first one to be suspected by the community if something goes wrong.
  • Batman
    • Barbara "Batgirl" Gordon was humiliated and crippled by The Joker just to torture her dad.
    • Cassandra Cain was brutally trained (to the point of shooting her until she learned to get out of the way) in isolation from human language, made all the more horrifying by starting from birth and only ending when she ran away at about eight. The kicker is that she has yet to fully grasp on an emotional level that her upbringing was that bad aside from the killing thing (which was what prompted her to bolt). And even after becoming Batgirl, she doesn't have an easy life, including losing two love interests, (seemingly) her best friend, and a whole city under her protection!
    • Jim Gordon's a pretty solid contender, too. Not one, but two murdered wives, and, as above, his daughter being crippled to torture him, all from being the commissioner in a city with exactly one clean cop who's since left the force, one Lovable Traitor on the police force, and a few trustworthy vigilantes against...well. His daughter's shared in most of this, and wins by being the one shot, but this is not a fortunate man. And his son is a serial killer.
    • Poor Tim Drake. During his tenure as Robin he lost both his parents, one at a time unlike Wayne and Grayson who got to deal with it in one shot, watched as his girlfriend "died" on the operating table, had his best friend die, had the city he'd evacuated his stepmother to flattened, had his other best friend die, had his civilian best friend develop cancer, had his girlfriend return only to have left him thinking her dead for a year while she was forced to fake her death and then betray his trust on orders from Batman to make him "a better Robin". To top it all off, after he gets adopted by Batman it turns out Batman has a son who tries to kill him and deems him worthless, his adoptive sister gets drugged and repeatedly attacks him, and his predecessor-another of his adoptive siblings-makes an almost successful attempt on his life. Then Batman died, making that 4 dead parents. And now Batsy's homicidal sociopath son? Took over Tim's job as Robin forcing him to pick a new hero ID. The poor kid...
    • Seemingly being a Woobie is one of the prerequisites to be a Robin. Take Damian Wayne, the sociopath son mentioned above. He's a small child trained to be an unstoppable killing machine, and later, upon his granddad Ra's Al Ghul's death, a replacement body for the old man. Escaping from his own mother, the only person to show him affection, Damian lands in Bruce's care. Unfortunately in an amazing bit of bad timing, Damian barely manages to display his jealousy of Tim Drake's deeper connection to his father before seeing said dad dead in Batman RIP. At the start of his career as the new Robin under Batman Dick Grayson's tutelage he's rebuffed and sent away by his own mother, who severs every tie with him and frankly states that when she wants an obedient and useful son, she'd rather have another one gene-engineered than take Damian back with her. Despite being Badass enough to make a fairly good Robin to Dick Grayson, it's no wonder that he's glum and lonely enough to move Stephanie Brown, the then-Batgirl who he's rude and obnoxious to, to tears, driving her to give the poor kid a hug and teach him how to play in a moonbounce. Even his role-mandatory stint with the Titans is cut abruptly short as he's just deemed too insufferable for their standards, prompting Damian, on his own accord, to give his seat back to Tim.
    • Stephanie Brown was used and abused for 15 years, views of her competence changing every month, being told to give up. Not even to mention that time she got tortured to death, impregnated, had her supervillain father die, and her mother is a former drug addict. It gets worse for her in Batman Eternal as both her father and her mother are trying to kill her, forcing her on the run.
    • Jason Todd, of all people. Usually closer to sympathetic Anti-Villain, or Jerkass Woobie, but when you have been abused or betrayed by your biological mother and adoptive father, was outright killed by the Joker, had no punishment levied on him for that, and in your quest to stop crime have killed so many people that you have moved from liking it as a punishment, to apathy, to outright disliking it in self defence. He views his life as too miserable to share with others, and his death had insufficient meaning to stop a similiar situation happening to another of your mentor's sidekicks, at around the time you return to confront him. Also, he gets treated as a failure by Batman, who makes no active attempt in his life to help him, merely giving suggestions in his hologram message, which happens to mention how much of a failure he is, driving him insane. A couple of poorly thought out attempts at at testing his replacement and proving points to the Batfamily don't go well either, due to their stubbornness. Combine that to the dildo-head costume Grant Morrison gave you, and people might see where he's coming from.
    • Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth: Amadeus Arkham. After his father's death, he's left alone to care for his mentally ill mother, whom he was eventually forced to Mercy Kill in order to "free" her from her delusional torments. He then turned his old house into Arkham Asylum, but this only led to more tragedies when an inmate escaped and murdered his wife and daughter. He ends up going insane himself and died as an inmate in the very asylum he built.
  • Captain Atom in his Charlton Comics period was a fairly average stock hero. Upon being incorporated into The DCU, Captain Atom started closely fitting the trope. His heroic Charlton past rewritten as a Metafictional story baked for the general public, young soldier Nathaniel Adam was framed for a crime he never committed. Desperate to get back to his family, Nathaniel agreed to be strapped to an atomic bomb, acting as a guinea pig for an alien alloy. Upon waking up as a superpowered powerhouse, twenty years later, he finds that his Jerk superior, Colonel Wade Eiling (the same dude framing him, by the way) had married his beloved wife, who died sadly of old age believing Nathaniel dead, and a traitor. Due to Nathaniel having been pronounced dead after his disappearance, Eiling never got his pardon sent, thus he becomes a pawn in his hands, forced to act as a mole in the superhero community for his power-hungry commanding officer. From there, Captain Atom's life becomes a never ending series of pain and suffering, briefly summarized in: his only son, raised by his worst enemy, hating him as a traitor to everything the All-American boy Adam used to stand for, being constantly blackmailed into obedience by Eiling, getting married again, and dumped, by a Canadian Terrorist, sacrificing his life to save the universe without anyone at all caring about, save for Superman and Batman, getting shunted into a parallel dimension of Jerks (the WildStorm universe) and becoming a Big Fat Reset Button for that reality, being shunted back to his Earth, getting enough battleaxe crazy to amass an army of enslaved superheroes to take back the Multiverse, falling into a coma, being enslaved by a magic evil chick from another world, and getting back to normal just to find how everyone hates his guts now. Just to make his life more miserable, during the Brightest Day storyline Captain Atom finds out that his quantum energized body is still evolving, so he's Not Even Human anymore.
  • Almost every character in Circles counts, but the biggest four are Douglas, Arthur, Ken, and Paulie.
    • Douglas was a humble man and met his girlfriend Linda. He unknowingly had a son with her and felt awful for not being there when he grew up. He dumped Linda when he realized that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Paulie. He knew what he was getting himself into by staying with Paulie despite his HIV and he knew the consequences. When the fateful day arrived however, it still hurt him like hell. He gave up on everything and lost hope to the point where if he didn't have his friends and family around him, he would have likely been Driven to Suicide.
    • Arthur is a kind man who is an aspiring artist. He met John and Paulie in the 70's and they stayed close together. However, when their friend Keith came home with Paulie and Arthur, they were all too drunk to know any better and Arthur passed out. Paulie contracted HIV from Keith that night and because Arthur was supposed to have sex with Keith at first, he feels extremely guilty and blames himself for getting Paulie sick. Douglas steps into the picture and only makes it worse for him. Paulie know it's not his fault but it took years for Arthur to come to terms with that and finally rekindle with Paulie, Doug, and John.
    • Ken had a very rough childhood. He grew up poor and his mother worked all day. He spent time with his Uncle Davis but he turned out to be sexually abusive to Ken. Uncle Davis threatened him to keep it a secret. He kept quiet about it for all of these years until he finally told Paulie because he was the only one he trusted and thought of as a father. The reason he pushed everyone away is because he didn't want to get close to someone like he did with Uncle Davis.
    • Poor, poor Paulie. He is living with HIV due to a tragic mistake and is ironically the least deserving of such a fate. He is a kind and noble spirit who treats everyone with open arms and a warm heart. The worst part is that he hardly did anything inherently bad in his life with the only thing being dropping school and experimenting with alcohol and drugs in his college days. He never hurt anyone or did harm to anybody in the past. It's no wonder he is hailed as a hero by others and why his death left such a huge impact on everyone.
  • Concrete:
    • Ron Lithgow's (a.k.a. Concrete) life isn't all bad, but you still feel for the guy. He and his best friend are kidnapped by aliens during a camping trip meant to help him get over a rough divorce, their brains are transplanted into alien bodies while the aliens transplant themselves into theirs, and then they're forced to undergo a series of grueling experiments. When they finally escape, his friend refuses to go with him on the grounds that life in such a body isn't worth living and stays behind, with Ron never knowing what happened to him. He seeks out help only for the government to keep him locked up for tests for so long that he finally tries to walk out, only for them to shoot his leg off for doing so. When he finally recovers they agree to free him on the basis that he allow himself to be made a public spectacle in order to make the public so sick of him no that one really questions his existence too much. And that's just his origin story. The author once commented, "I see Concrete's existence as one of sustained low-level embarrassment, punctuated by episodes of acute humiliation."
  • Convergence:
    • Both Harpers in Convergence: Titans #1. After all the crap Roy did and went through, after finding at least some semblance of peace, Lian gets resurrected and Roy is told if he ever wants her back for good he has to fight Troia and Starfire. And Lian, in her very first appearance after she was brutally killed off in Cry For Justice and used as a justification for Roy's Face–Heel Turn, is now at the mercy of a demonic being who quite literally has her life in his hands. She's terrified and begging her dad for help, but at the same time she's also forced to watch as her father fights Donna and Kory, her surrogate aunts, and he's doing it for her. Donna is even the closest thing to an actual mother Lian's ever known so she's watching her family tear itself apart over her. God damn somebody give these two a hug, or better yet, just let them hug each other. They get their hug.
    • Pre-Crisis Supergirl witnesses a vision of her own future death in Crisis on Infinite Earths and goes through Heroic BSoD as she realises her Heroic Sacrifice might have been a Senseless Sacrifice after all as it seems everything is falling apart. Then she rallies, decides that whatever happens to her she has to save her cousin and flies back to save him.
    • Even before Convergence, Lian Harper qualified for this trope. Sure, she has an incredibly loving father (Arsenal) and is the surrogate niece of many in the superhero community, but naturally things have not been easy for this girl. Her mother is Cheshire, a Psycho for Hire responsible for nuking the country of Qurac and laughing as she did, who has also proved that she is willing to forsake Lian's life as long as she has a replacement child handy. Lian also knows what her mother has done to Qurac, and even at a young age feels incredibly guilty about it when her babysitter reveals that her grandparents died during the devastation. Lian was also scared her babysitter was going to hate her now because of it. Aside from this, Lian has been targeted by people who want to get at her parents. She's been held hostage, she's been stricken with a disease that would've killed her, she's been poisoned with Joker venom, and she's been abducted by a child slavery ring which permanently branded her. Despite all that though, Lian's still been able to smile and carry on with her life, even to the point where she demonstrates how much she's able to understand her father's depression. Then, during Justice League: Cry for Justice, her babysitter just leaves her by herself to go after a supervillain, and Lian is then violently crushed to death while Star City is destroyed thanks to Prometheus' malfunctioning machine. Her death is then used as a justification for her father becoming a violent Anti-Hero and for resuming his old heroin addiction. At the very least Convergence managed to undo her death and restore the bond between her and her dad.
  • Daredevil isn't "adorable" or anything, and he certainly isn't what anybody could call "pathetic," but he inspires a deep sympathy and a need to compose fanfics that somehow relieve his pain, or at least make the rest of the world sympathetic to it. He's completely blind (through having a canister of radioactive waste explode in his eyes as a boy), his father was killed, he fights to get through law school to help the downtrodden who don't have anywhere else to go, he becomes Daredevil to help the people on the street who otherwise wouldn't have anybody on their side... and because he became Daredevil, the two women he loved were both slaughtered right in front of him, he's been mind-raped more times than one can count, and then, to top it all off, he's exposed by an uncaring public, attacked by the public, the press, and the FBI when he tries to keep his sadistic enemies away from his friends' homes, put in jail for obstruction of justice (!! Daredevil is about justice!), forced to sit in solitary confinement while listening to his best friend get stabbed to death and nobody lifts a finger to help, his wife is driven permanently insane, he himself goes through numerous breakdowns, each one worse than the last), he's getting more and more isolated and alone all the time... and he still tries to save everybody else.
  • Even Deadpool can be subjected to this. His mother died of cancer when he was five, his father was possibly killed by a drunk in a bar fight, his wife was killed by a crazy mercenary, he joined Weapon X because they promised to make him a superpowered hero and cure his cancer (most likely the same cancer that killed his mother), but instead was thrown in the reject pile and experimented on by a mad scientist, began to wish for death so strongly that he ended up having a love affair with the anthropomorphic personification of Death, and when he stood up to the bully bodyguard Ajax the guy got back at him by torturing one of his friends to death and then killing him. Then his healing factor activated which allowed him to defeat Ajax and save everyone, but also caused him to be separated from his lover Death and suffer severe brain damage that screws up his memories and he's also horribly scarred from the cancer. During the series, he gets attacked by the guy who killed his wife, who now claims that he is Wade Wilson and Deadpool was the mercenary who killed his wife, and Deadpool can't refute his claims because his memories are so messed up, when he tries to stop killing people and become a hero, he's forced to kill Ajax to save the spirits of his old friends from Weapon X, then he's recruited to save the world by killing a being who stands in the way of the prophesied savior, but the savior "saves" the human race by sapping them of free will so he ends up killing the thing to save the world the whole time wondering if he's doing the right thing. And that's not even getting into Cable and Deadpool, which admittedly does make things a bit better for him, but seriously, the guy can't catch a break. This is subverted a bit because he's sensible enough not to angst about it all the time, but still.
    • Bob, Agent of Hydra is surprisingly popular as a Woobie. A normal human somehow roped into being Deadpool's pet/minion and has gathered a surprisingly large fanbase.
  • That poor unnamed traveler from Richard Sala's Delphine. Seriously, all the guy wanted to do was to meet his old lover, the titular Delphine, again— and based on flashbacks with her, she may not have even loved him anymore. Instead, he's taken deeper into the woods by very creepy locals, who psychologically torture him as he goes along the way. Once he finally finds Delphine, she had already been put into a permanent coma by her pious Wicked Stepmother, and then she, along with many of her followers, murder the traveler without mercy.
  • Donald Duck, who slides between this trope and the jerkass one. He gets fired from whatever job he has once an episode, has to support three children whose real parents seem to have abandoned them for good, follows his uncle on adventure hunts which he never gets profit for, has a lucky bastard as a close relative and constantly gets abused by his girlfriend for stuff he's not responsible for. It's a miracle he's still well-functioned.
    • Donald is forever in debt to Uncle Scrooge, which is why he can't demand any profit from his adventures. On the other hand, Uncle Scrooge probably makes sure that Donald and the boys have enough money to survive...
  • Druuna is an Ethical Slut, but she's repeatedly being subjected to all sorts of horrible things, being attacked or molested by monsters, seeing everyone she's ever loved being killed off or horribly mutated in front of her, and eventually contracting Morbus Gravis herself and ruining her beauty.
  • Empowered is the eponymous woobie of her series. In the first book, her boyfriend as much remarks that it's his desire to comfort her (as well as "Tap that @$$") that attracts him to her. And oh boy, does she ever need to be comforted; every day of her life is a blur of pain, failure, humiliation, and body-image issues, and that's just what's going on now.
  • Fantastic Four: Ben Grimm, alias the Thing. His friends all get cool superpowers that they can control and become super-celebrities. He gets turned into a giant rock monster, and all because he volunteered to help out his best friend Reed. His Ultimate version in Ultimate Fantastic Four takes this even further: whereas mainstream Ben has long ago accepted his transformation and even embraced it, Ultimate Ben is so depressed by his transformation that he's attempted suicide. And each one fails because his body is nigh-invincible.
  • Pied Piper, of The Flash, especially in fandom. The poor guy's been put through the wringer. A gay supervillain turned good, he became BFFs with Wally, worked with the homeless, and was generally a Robin-Hood-esque guy. And then he was hypnotized into thinking he killed his parents. Then he was shot with Joker venom. Then he was put in Iron Heights, where the Warden had a special mad-on for him. Come to the Countdown storyline he rejoins the Rogues with the Trickster to infiltrate them. The Rogues accidentally kill the Flash, Piper is branded as a criminal, he and Trickster are handcuffed together and chased all across the country by heroes, villains, and assassins. Trickster is killed. Piper has to drag his friend's body through the desert for days before bringing himself to cut Trickster's hand off. As bad as it gets? No! Because then he goes to Apokolips! Everything's worse on Apokolips! And then he tries to bring down the Rogues, per Trickster's will, gets skewered through the shoulder and involved in the death of another (evil) speedster, then turns himself into the Police, so he's probably back in Iron Heights Seriously, somebody give this guy a hug.
    • Barry Allen's second wife, Fiona Webb. She moved from another city to Central City to escape a crime boss, confused Barry for said crime boss, and her first boyfriend turned out to have an evil split personality. Then, during The Trial of the Flash, she dated and almost married Barry... but he never showed up to her wedding because he was fighting the Reverse-Flash, who almost killed her. The shock and stress sent her into a nervous breakdown, and Barry's late night visit to her room made her go insane. The book ended before she could recover, and by that time Barry found out Iris wasn't quite dead and married her.
  • The Green Lantern
    • Guy Gardner can count as this, although it's not that obvious. This article outlines a lot of reasons to view him sympathetically. The poor guy didn't catch a break for a long time...
    • The membership of the Red Lantern Corps is full of these. According to Atrocitus himself, the specific rage powering the Red Lanterns stems from personal pain, "those whose lives were ravaged by greed, lust, and control." One really notable example of this would be Dex-Starr a.k.a. Ruffles the Rage Kitty who, as we learn, was once a simple house cat named Dexter that was rescued as a kitten by an impoverished woman in New York, and one of the few things that made her life bearable. One night, Dex-Starr wakes up his master when a burglar breaks into her apartment, which results in the burglar killing the woman and running off before the police arrive. When the police do arrive, they toss Dex-Starr away so that he doesn't contaminate the crime scene, forcing him to live as a stray. And then it goes From Bad to Worse. Some thugs stuff him into a bag and drop him from the Brooklyn Bridge to his almost certain demise, until the Red Ring looking for a recruit in Sector 2814 shows up and chooses Dex-Starr. At this point, he was the angriest thing in our sector of the universe. Think about that for a second. His first act of business is to incinerate the thugs that tried to kill him. The last few panels of his origin story are him sleeping on the streets, curled around a human skull, remembering his owner and promising revenge on the one who killed her, complete with actual tears of grief which should technically be impossible for a Red Lantern and a housecat.
    Dex-Starr: I find one who hurt you. I kill. I good kitty.
  • Cassie Hack of Hack/Slash. Abandoned by her father, relentlessly bullied, raised by an overbearing, somewhat unstable and possibly abusive mother who committed suicide in front of her when it was discovered she was a Serial Killer, with Cassie later being forced to personally kill her (by shooting her in the face) when she returned as an undead monster. Oh yeah, and when she finally does meet her father and learns Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You, he gets killed... by her resurrected mother... whom she is forced to kill again. Really, its no wonder she's a bit of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Bruce Banner has to be one of the most unfortunate people ever born, even before the gamma bomb accident. His father was a physically and verbally abusive alcoholic who was convinced that he was a "monster" just because he was so intelligent, from an early age, eventually murdered his mother right before his eyes by repeatedly smashing her head on the ground, and then browbeat him into not testifying against him in court otherwise he would go to hell; he repressed his emotions in order to avoid being like his father, which caused him to develop Multiple Personality Disorder; he was picked on and beaten up in school, he took his father in after he was released from a mental institution, only to end up accidentally killing him in self-defence when dear ol' dad reverted to type (he repressed the memory of this for years), and the father of the woman he was falling in love with considered him a milksop. Since becoming the Hulk, he's been constantly harassed and hounded by the military, superheroes, and supervillains, accused of treason, imprisoned, tortured, exploited, and had to spend years on the run from the authorities. Whenever things look like they're looking up for him, his world always gets ripped apart. Brutally. And people wonder what the Hulk's problem is...
  • Iron Man: Poor Tony Stark's never-ending train of life-suckitude is probably second only to that of Spider-Man, especially before the Modern Age, living through kidnapping, torture, heart problems, evil girlfriends, murderous ex-friends, alcoholism, brainwashing, terrible luck, and dozens of plots to make his life a living hell that would put Daredevil's iconic torment by the Kingpin to shame, all sprinkled with Survivor's Guilt. Oh, and once he was mind-controlled by Kang and forced to murder a whole bunch of innocent people and some Avengers teammates. And later he was mind-controlled and forced to blow up a commercial jet full of about 200 innocent people.

    It gets worse: Remember, Tony's a genius, so he knows the dangers of alcohol poisoning. You know what motivated him to drink? He hated himself that much he wanted to die, and tried to kill himself with booze. And, to make life worse, after one drink during the apparent end of the world during The Serpent's invasion, where he gave up everything he could to make Odin see that humanity wasn't worthless, he's now being blackmailed by the Mandarin-controlled American government, they've somehow managed to twist one drink during the end of the world into permission for them to attach a power limiter to Iron Man which can shut off his powers (when the General doing so in question deserted during fear itself...). Due to this, he's had to watch his best friend die just a few feet away from him.

    He also rarely, if ever, gets any real support from his "family" for any of the crap he goes through; even Steve Rogers, his best friend, has all but abandoned him at some of the worst parts of his life. The general consensus seems to be that he needs to just get over it. When he was homeless for a while and nearly died, they were nowhere to be found. He was canonically suicidal — as mentioned above, the alcoholism was a prolonged attempt at suicide, and not a very subtle one at that — and not a single one of them noticed. They only finally confronted him about his drinking when it started inconveniencing them. He's dragged himself up from rock bottom by pure willpower countless times, and the only reaction he ever gets is "Well, it's about damn time." And then they wonder why he's such a mess and why he tends to spiral into self-destructive behaviour.

    And after all of that trauma and pain, he never stops trying to be a good person. He's made a lot of mistakes, but he's always done what he thought was right regardless of what it might cost him personally. Which has also been the root cause of many of his screw-ups. Most people would have thrown in the towel by this point, but Tony keeps trying. The closest he gets to getting credit for this is when people stop giving him shit for the times he has screwed up. And unlike Peter Parker, Tony gets zero sympathy, possibly because he's rich, so clearly he's got it made.
    • It doesn't get much better for his Ultimate Marvel counterpart, who's got a lot of the same problems, but also lives in perpetual agony because of his mutant nature.
    • Tony may qualify as a Jerkass Woobie. While he's been put through an extraordinary amount of hardship, he's done some pretty horrible things such as putting his friends in a prison camp during Civil War and hiring supervillains to track Them down. This just plays into his character as someone who is well-intentioned but massively fucked up.
    • Even Tony's potential Jerkass Woobie nature manages to get played into his being a straight up Woobie — for example, Tony (long after becoming Iron Man) actually fires a hardworking employee on stage during a Stark International Keynote as a function of the app said employee wrote purely (and admittedly) to impress a girl he wanted to sleep with... which we learn when Tony, having lost everything (again) is putting together a new company with new goals and needs to hire that same former employee — and somehow it is Tony we want to comfort and give a hug during the situation.
  • Jimmy Corrigan from Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth is thirtyish and balding and fat, has no friends at all, calls his mom every day, grew up without his dad, hasn't got any charisma whatsoever, and isn't likeable at all even though he wants to be. The comic about him is extremely depressing, and once you've read through it you'll want to give him a huge hug. Or shoot yourself.
  • Kid!Loki from Journey into Mystery. As the author stated, Kid!Loki's story can be read as a comedy in thirty parts...or a tragedy in thirty-one.
  • Justice Society of America has Cyclone, granddaughter to the original Red Tornado, and DC's first Genki Girl. Her bubbly personality, high intelligence, and Motor Mouth causes people to alienate her, resulting in her having no friends until she joins the Society ever, she was abducted as a child and experimented on, and her first day in the team had someone die. It adds to her Moe appeal.
  • Helmut Grottrup in The Manhattan Projects. Constantly bullied by Wernher von Braun during their time on the V2 program, he was later turned into a science slave for the Russians and branded with a swastika on his head. When he found the breakthrough that would lead to putting a man in space, he was promised freedom by the then-top man at Star City... who died before he could make good on that promise. The replacement minister was Dmitry Ustinov, a tyrannical slavedriver whose first conversation with Grottrup ended with "Gird yourself for chains." And when the driving forces of Star City met with those of the Manhattan Projects, he saw his worst nightmare: von Braun and Ustinov working together. And it doesn't stop there.
  • In Mini Monsters, all characters have moments, but the most straight-up example is Gus. Despite his cuteness, he's treated like crap by most of the characters. Although it's Played for Laughs, the fact that GUS is the main Butt-Monkey (If we don’t count Victor) makes you feel sorry for him.
  • Rahne Sinclair, Wolfsbane of the New Mutants. Terminally shy, raised by the only parent she knew to believe that her powers were sinful (and who let her believe she was an orphan who had caused her mother's death during her birth), but her powers are so pleasurable for her to experience. Has not one, but two teammates save her life by substituting their own. And that doesn't even get into the arc where she was trapped in her hated werewolf form by the Genoshans, knowing that if she shifts back to human, she'll lose all intelligence. Then she must kill some anonymous terrorist (never being able to tell anyone), gets imprinted on a man who loves another, loses her adoptive mother, is shot and de-powered, mugged, re-powered while trying to re-start her life, loses her job as a teacher at Xavier's, falls out with her best friend and only person who loves her, is humiliated by Monet, sleeps with a suicidal Rictor, is shanghaied into a superteam of razor-wielding psychopaths (losing the respect of Rictor, who assumes she left him), is drugged, brainwashed, orphaned by her own hand and not involved in the New Mutants reunion book. Puir gel...
    • And it gets worse: She finally gets some happiness when she reunites with Hrimhari the Asgardian Wolf Prince. She becomes pregnant with his baby, becomes dangerously ill due to said pregnancy, and looses Hrimhari due to a deal made with Hela. Then, as she returns to X-Factor, she walks in on Rictor and his boyfriend about to share some alone time. She ends up fighting with Shatterstar because she thinks Rictor's been brainwashed. Then, due to all of her mental trauma and extreme religious background, she ends up telling Rictor that he's the father of her child. Yeah, someone has it out for her.
    • Rictor also counts here. First, at the age of six, he witnessed his father's death at the hands of a mysterious mutant. Once his powers manifested, the Right kidnapped him and used his already unstable ability to create earthquakes to their advantage. Luckily he was saved and taken in by the X-Men, but he still felt miserable enough to attempt suicide (for the first time). He was forced to leave his first girlfriend, Rahne, behind when she decided to stay back on Genosha, which was not by her choice at all. He did try to rescue her, but his attempt failed. He later joined X-Force for a bit, although serving under the man who looked exactly like the mutant who had killed his father caused him a lot of angst. He was forced to watch the (albeit short lived) death of his best friend and crush Shatterstar in in X-Force v1 #59-61. Next, probably the most woobie-ish moment of his life was the loss of his mutant powers, leaving him severely depressed and suicidal for a good part of X-Factor v3. He got a taste of his powers through Quicksilver's Terrigen crystals only to lose them, got back together with Rahne only for her to walk out on him.
      • Things seemed to be looking up for him after Shatterstar returned and they attempt a proper relationship, but with Star's philandering ways and Rahne telling him that he's the father of her baby when he's not, promise for some delayed angst in Ric's future. And then he was the first mutant to get his powers back when the penitent Scarlet Witch attempted to reverse her spell...
  • Runaways is what happens when you have a team of woobies. Parental Abandonment is sort of built into the premise - the original kids all found out their parents were supervillains, although most of them could at least pass as decent parents (except for the Steins). Later additions include the son of Ultron, an alien child soldier and a child abuse survivor from the early 1900s.
  • Delirium of The Sandman (1989), especially when we see hints of her original self through the babbling. Thankfully her big sis Death (and sometimes one of her brothers) is there to give her the hugs for us.
    • Just remember that after you have given her a hug and a hot chocca, she is just as likely to smile in gratitude as she is to turn you into a goldfish because she liked the colour of your spectacles.
    • Or (which seems at least as likely or more so as being physically transformed) break your mind and honestly believe it's a reward.
      Delirium: I met this little girl and she said she thought I was pretty. She was so nice. So I did something to her. Something so she'll always be happy. Always be happy for ever and ever and ever.
    • Despair has some woobie moments too, mostly in Brief Lives; it is her own fault that she didn't help Delirium look for Destruction, but a lot of readers probably wanted to give her a hug when she realised what she missed out on. Especially since Destruction seems to have been the only one who treated her warmly.
  • Jules Hedgehog from Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics). he had to stay a robot, and thus can not eat or sleep. Poor guy needs a hug..
    • NICOLE built an impenetrable city out of nanites for her friends, constructed a holographic body so she could interact with her friends more intimately, and went through the start of the whole Become a Real Boy process. And then she gets brainwashed by a Technopath, traps everyone inside the city, and starts converting everyone into cyborg slaves. She gets freed an issue later...but has to pretend nothing's changed, meaning she's fully conscious as more and more citizens get "Legionized." Once that's all over, every non-Freedom Fighter is terrified of her, which then gets manipulated into a full-on Hate Plague by another villain. By the time she's reduced to a sobbing mess in a server room, she's more than earned her place in the entry. Then Sally, her best friend and the person who was most likely to be able to help her was captured and Roboticized by Robotnik, with her possibly having been able to help and stop it from happening if the person who started the hate plague didn't intentionally interrupt her actions...
  • Spider-Man, pictured above, is the Unlucky Everydude king. He alternates between Woobie and The Chew Toy as Peter Parker, especially during his high school days. More recently, there's the problems his dual identity causes with his wife, and then there was the time he got turned into a grotesque spider-critter by a villain and then impregnated. Then, the greater angst like losing Gwen Stacy, or Aunt May's "death", or her being shot more recently, or the aftermath of the Clone Saga (infant daughter kidnapped, never to be seen again. Writers don't always agree on whether she's alive or not, but do agree that aging the character by adding a kid won't do. So worse in a way than a certain death is that Peter will never, ever know what happened to his daughter, who may be out there somewhere and just as likely may not. He gets to live the parent's worst nightmare for the rest of the foreseeable future.)
    • Nicely inverted in the Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane series, in which Mary Jane is the insecure woobie who can't seem to catch a break with her love life.
    • Though, MJ's pretty Woobie-ish too in the main universe. Her dad's an asshole, her mom's dead, her sister and her stopped speaking years ago, the only family that she gets on with is her elderly aunt, she's been blacklisted by jeallous agents many times, nearly raped or kidnapped by villains or common creeps, and was once kidnapped and believed dead while being mindraped. And, even though she's recieved training by Captain America himself amongst others, everyone seems to think of her as a danger magnet Damsel. Then, when she was married, she spent ages waiting for her husband to come home from his duty, once waiting a whole four days while the news stories claimed he was dead. And, add to the fact that all the people Peter has lost (minus Uncle Ben) she was quite close to as well and it was her baby that was kidnapped as well, meaning she too is living every parents worst nightmare. Also, she was guilt-tripped into selling her marriage to save her aunt-in-law, at the cost of the child she was carrying. After this, she's still in love with Peter, but still feels guilty for breaking up with him and has had to resort as being just his best friend.
    • Spider-Girl confirms that Woobiehood is genetic. Although May doesn't have it quite as bad as Pete, just the usual life-complicated-due-to-heroics deal... until she finds out she might be a clone and is forced to fight Norman Osborn in her father's body.
    • Speaking of clones, there's April Parker, who no one likes because she's the Dark Action Girl Annoying Younger Sibling. Peter's so bad about it that April once says NORMAN treated her more like a daughter.
    • Then there's Spidey's nephew, Darkdevil. Let's just say he wasn't lucky enough to live with nice relatives like Uncle Ben and Aunt May and it got worse.
    • Also Ben Reily, Peter's late clone, who was like a brother to him. Firstly, due to cloning magic, he has all of Peter's memories and experiences up to just after Gwen died. Secondly, he's forced to fight Peter, while not sure if he's even the real Peter or just a clone. Then, during the convulted plot, they go back and fourth between which is the real Peter. He eventually finds love himself, but that doesn't work out good, while also being framed for a series of murders. He eventually joins Peter as a super hero, and during the Clone Saga he even gets to become Spider-Man. However, he's then taken over by Carnage, gets toyed around with, before sacrificing himself to save his "brother" and finding out he's the clone after all. Now, take a look at Kaine...
    • It can also be confirmed that if you have "Spider" as your superpower moniker in the Marvel Universe, you're in for The Woobie train. The first "Distaff Counterpart" of Spidey, Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) suffers this as well. Let's see, early childhood, she is infected with radiation and thus must be injected with a serum that gives her super power and put in a tub, but separated from her parents and ages very quickly. When she woke up, she was raised by beastmen, had a first love, but then accidentally killed him, causing her to be branded heretic and witch, hunted down, and was given refugee in the HYDRA, which trains her to be a mindless killer, which she realizes and eventually spent her time being some sort of Anti-Hero. Oh, and she finds out her father is dead. Then, she got her soul and body separated, and when she came back, she lost her powers, but it slowly came back in a way of fluctuating. And the worst part? She is the first "lucky" superheroine to be captured by the Skrull and specifically impersonated by the Skrull Queen herself, spending a good chunk of five years imprisoned by the Skrull while the Queen took her identity and participates in events such as Civil War and World War Hulk. And when she was rescued, some of her old friends are still suspicious on her...
    • And the reason they choose Jessica? because, as is explicitly stated, no one would care if she went missing, or notice anything was wrong if the queen slipped up. Ouch
  • Zig-zagged with Superman, who got all the major, obvious sources of woobitude in his life removed when he was rebooted Post-Crisis, but dealt with issues in a more philosophical way than before over long stretches of time.
    • Previously, his perfect memory meant that he could remember Jor-El and Lara and Krypton very well even though he was only a toddler, and he mourned them deeply; Ma and Pa Kent died of a rare disease just as he went off to college, and he learned even his abilities have limits when for all his power, there was nothing he could do to cure them; one of his best friends became his worst enemy and to distract attention away from his Superman identity, he voluntarily spent his entire life since childhood as an awkward nerd, getting shunned and picked on for it. However, due to the constraints of the Silver Age he rarely angsted about any of it, and when he did it was generally in one-and-done tales.
    • After the Post-Crisis reboot, Krypton was revealed to have been a dystopia, Ma and Pa Kent were still alive and well, Luthor was still evil, but had no past connection to Clark, and Clark had now grown up as a popular football jock. However, Clark's wariness about hiding his identity from the world at large and wondering who was the "real" identity, angst about not being human, mementos of Krypton given to him by Jor-El and Lara, who sincerely loved him, and the potential for interactions with his parents, co-workers and relatives in a more human, down-to-earth fashion still made him relatable to readers.
  • Kid Devil of the newer Teen Titans. While his back story is not as overtly tragic as many other characters like Raven or Cyborg, he does have the most pitiful back story. To sum everything up, Eddie has had to deal with not being taken seriously by his hero Blue Devil, parental abandonment, the death of his only parent figure indirectly caused by his hero, fired from every job he's had and becoming broke and homeless when he tried to become a super hero. What's more, Eddie wasn't lucky enough to have been adopted and trained by a billionaire, have had a demon/Greek god/alien for a parent, or found a piece of alien tech to give him powers. He had to make a deal with Neron (a Satan Expy) to get super powers. Eddie got to keep his soul as long as he kept his trust in Blue Devil; otherwise he'd lose it when he turned 20. He then found out Blue Devil's hand in causing his aunt's death and ended up losing his trust. And after he joins the team, he still isn't taken seriously by anyone, but he still managed to keep and smile on his face and never gave up on the team. It also helps that he's a cute, geeky demon boy.
    • And then loses his powers and gains an inferiority complex due to being the only one without powers on the team, his possible love interest Ravager quits the team due to Wonder Girl's mistrust of her and sacrifices himself to stop the Fatal Five's metahuman bomb from destroying San Francisco.
  • The Tomb of Dracula:
    • Quincy. His wife commits suicide after a vampire attack that maims him and he has to raise his daughter alone and while dealing with his paraplegia. His loved ones are constantly menaced and endangered by Dracula and he has to Mercy Kill his infected daughter.
    • Rachel spends almost her entire life being menaced by Dracula, who kills her biological family. She outlives many friends and her efforts to kill Dracula constantly come to naught. And if you acknowledge the X-Men crossover after the original run, after she retires to live in peace she's turned into a vampire, forced to be Dracula's consort, and is left begging for a Mercy Kill due to the absence of a known cure.
  • Watchmen. Rorschach. One needn't be adorable to be a woobie, but he's such a pathological screw-up of a bastard it's hard to help feeling sorry for him. And the funny part is that this is exactly the opposite of what Alan Moore intended.
  • When the Wind Blows: In this 1982 graphic novel — as well as its subsequent animated film adaptation — the Bloggs, James (or Jim) and Hilda respectively — are an elderly couple living in Sussex, England. Having survived two world wars, the couple takes the news of an impending strike lightly, with James wasting no time constructing a crude bomb shelter. When the bomb is dropped onto Sussex, wiping out nearly everything in its path, the Bloggs survive and attempt to rebuild, unknowingly contracting radiation sickness for their efforts. Even as their health began to decline and the rations were becoming scarce, the Bloggs still firmly believed that their government would save them only to then succumb to despair as the acknowledgement of their oncoming deaths became evident. From their unwavering faith in the "Powers that Be" to their tragic ends, the Bloggs stand as a cautionary tale of the consequences a nuclear war has on society.
  • The backstory of Wolverine's Opposite-Sex Clone X-23 seems tailor made to outdo his. Created from samples stolen from the Weapon-X project and reared as an Assassin-for-rent? Bad. 'Disciplined' by an invulnerable sadist? Worse. One of the highest-ranking people at said project (the head of surgery to be exact) is the son of the guy who died swiping the original tissue samples and tends to take it out on her? Downright ugly. Chemically induced/scent-based Unstoppable Rage used to compel her to kill the only two people in that place who treated her like a human being (one of whom, the head of genetics at the project, gave birth to her and contributed her own D.N.A. to get a viable embryo... in short, HER MOTHER)? Just Plain Fucked Up. Not to mention this all happened by the time she hit thirteen (as opposed to Wolvie spreading his problems over a solid century plus). No wonder Wolverine had to talk her out of a Murder/Suicide, despite his willingness to die at her hands for his own sins.
    • Add to the fact that she almost has a normal happy life with her aunt and cousin...until it turns out that her aunt's boyfriend is an agent sent to find her. She very narrowly avoids killing her aunt and cousin mainly because they made it to the shower while she was hacking said agent (who spilled the 'trigger scent' on himself by sheer dumb luck) apart, and said disciplinary invulnerable sadist returns to recapture X-23 and kill the family slowly as an object lesson, forcing her to cut off her own hand and blow up their house to save them.
    • Later, a demon decides to torment her and try seducing her into his service by claiming that because she's a clone she doesn't have a soul (it was lying, but Laura didn't know that).
    • Then, just as her life seemed to be finally getting on track, she's shanghaied by Arcade to fight to the death in his latest Murderworld for his amusement.
    • After surviving and finally being rescued, she ends up being caught and tortured by Purifiers. Who also reveal to her that Arcade broadcast footage of her in a trigger scent-fueled murderous rage to the entire world, letting them watch her savagely attack her friends. The poor girl just can't catch a break.
  • To be a member of the X-Men, one must have 3 things: An X-Gene, a need to learn how to control their abilities and use them to better mankind, and a very depressing origin story. Name ONE character who's an X-Man but not a woobie, Name ONE! Hard, ain't it? Even the scrappies and Creators pets are woobies.
    • Proof in point, the first of the X-Men: Cyclops lost his parents in an accident and was seperated from his only family and grew up in a foster home where he was bullied by kids and staff alike because one mutant was obsessed with his genes. He also can't control his power either due to brain damage, psychological repression, or because someone made him unable to. This is worse since his power is to shoot a neverending, potentially unlimited ammount of destructive energy from his eyes, meaning he hasn't been able to look anyone in the eye since he was forteen. As the leader, he's had to repress every emotion he has, causing most to view him as cold or distant, which is followed by the woman he loved dying, his marriage breaking down (for which he's blamed for), before the love of his life to die AGAIN while everyone blames him for a psychic affair he didn't actually consent to. Oh, and everybody seems to hate him because he had to cross the line in order to save everyone, and since he's sacrificed everything in order to keep the few mutants left alive, its caused his best friend to abandon him, his rival to take moral superiority, all the children he worked to protect sided against him, his girlfriend and his only friend left only sided with him out of loyalty, and throughout all of this, he's constantly ignored in favour of a hairy Canadian bloke who heals fast.
    • Being part of the Summers family seems to automatically qualify one for this. Nate Grey, for instance, was a cloned living weapon aged to his late teens in the Age of Apocalypse dystopia, lost everyone he cared about, fell through into the main universe, was completely out of place with everyone being absolutely terrified of his Dark Phoenix level power. Oh, and then he got into a relationship with the only person who connected with him. She just happened to be, genetically speaking, his mother, not that either was aware of this. And, being Madelyne Pryor, she was alternately dead or insane most of the time. And now his powers have mostly burnt out after he was used as a battery for a machine that opened the barriers between realities.
    • In her earlier appearances, Rogue was one. Abandoned by her parents, she put her first love into a coma when she was maybe 13 when her powers activated, and then she was more-or-less kidnapped by a emotionally-manipulative woman who preyed on her desire for love to con her into joining a team of supervillains. She picked a fight with Ms. Marvel only to end up with split-personality syndrome and a raft of new powers. Then, Mastermind nudges her into defecting to Xavier as a means of revenge against Mystique. The X-Men are greatly ticked off by her showing up on their doorstep and deliver a Curb-Stomp Battle before Xavier gets them to calm down. She only finally gains the trust of the X-Men by risking her life by taking on a warped-and-frozen steel form so that Colossus can be healed. Then, after the X-Men return from Japan, she becomes completely unhinged and Ms. Marvel takes over to rescue an old boyfriend (of Ms. Marvel's, that is). And she's framed for a murder she didn't commit. There are numerous panels in her earliest appearances which show Rogue broken down in tears — really, you just wanna give her a big hug (as long as she's covered up). Chris Claremont seemed to have set Rogue up as the team woobie at least until after her and Wolverine's first visit to Genosha, when she starts to mature a bit in reaction to the horrific experience there.
    • Eliot, from issue 4 ("Between The Cracks") of volume 1 of Generation X... He isn't even a mutant, he's "just ugly" according to Synch, but that doesn't stop everyone from hating him.
    • The final issue of X-Men Legacy introduced us to the X-Man ForgetMeNot, whose power is that if someone didn't keep him in their mind, they'd forget he'd even existed. No one knew of his roles in many missions the X-Men had and the only one who could remember his existence was Charles Xavier, who used a mental alarm clock of sorts to remind him he existed. When Xavier died during Avengers vs. X-Men, he was so depressed, he decided to hunt down The Collector and Mimic to take away his powers... only for them to forget he existed after they beat him up! He even tells the girl he rescued from the security system she was trapped in that even it would forget about him before it would kill him.
  • Most of the Young Avengers get Woobie moments. But none of his teamates hit Wiccan level. First, he was beat up and bullied for being gay, then lost control of his newfound powers and almost killed someone. The founder of his team (whom he was friends with) turned evil, and he knows that said teamate will become the team's nemesis in the future. He refuses to register in Civil War, and gets kidnapped twice. During one of them, he had to watch his boyfriend be vivisected, while he was helpless to stop it, leaving his desperately trying to use his powers, while the guy ripping his boyfriend apart was taunting him. And then, there came Children's Crusade.

  • The Incredible Hercules: God, poor Hebe. Her husband leaves her, everyone (especially her mother) convinces her it's her fault, she spends eons trying to catch up to him, only to just keep missing him, all the while aware of his womanizing, then she ends up getting stuck working for the aforementioned mother, who later blasts her out of a thirtieth story window for trying to protect her husband, then she can't even contact the Avengers to try and convince them to help her meet with him, because they think she's just some insane groupie after she shows up at the ruins of the old mansion, and she ends up wandering off to join an enclave of homeless people. Things finally start looking up for her from there, but as this is Marvel, it can be expected for her to get chucked downhill (or off a cliff) again soon.
    • Her husband dies.
  • Knives Chau from Scott Pilgrim would've made this list from her incident in "The Infinite Sadness" story arc where she, Scott, Ramona and Scott's band Sex Bob-Omb meet Clash at the Demonhead and 2/3 members are the exes of Scott and Ramona. Knives, a big fan of Cat DH, tells them that she reads the band's blog and gets a cold glare. When Envy Adams (Scott's Ex) talks to Ramona about Scott, Knives screams "I've kissed the lips that kissed you!", she gets a response from the drummer, a bionic girl who punches her in the face so hard, her highlights fall out. When she and YN are at Tim Hortons later, he tries to comfort her and she's so despondent she refuses his comfort. And in the preceding story, "Scott Pilgrim VS The World", Scott breaks up with her to be with Ramona just as she announced she loves him.
  • The Question: Renee Montoya. She was a hard working cop in the Gotham Police Department, one of the few in the force who wasn't corrupt. In the span of the Gotham Central series, Two Face wreaks havoc on her life by revealing she's a lesbian (something that gets her disowned), she loses her police partner to a corrupt CSI, and when she tries to kill said CSI she gets disgusted with herself and quits the force. After that series, she becomes an alcoholic and drifts from woman to woman. She picks up a new mentor, who's dying of lung cancer as he trains her to be his replacement. When he dies she's left alone again, and later one of the people she cares most for is central to a prophecy which involves her death. Renee saves her with Nightwing's help, and for a little bit it looks as though she might get a happy ending. But then comes her part in the same prophecy, and she's got the Religion of Crime after her to lead them, and when she refuses they come after her to kill her. And let's not talk about what happened to her in her Final Crisis miniseries...
    • And now she's gotten the Mark of Cain on her face from Vandal Savage, causing those who see her to fear and distrust her. Poor Renee...