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Comics are usually referred to as "the funny pages." This is when the funniness sadly disappears.


Comics

  • The Spanish slapstick comic Mortadelo Y Filemon had tons of minor jokes in the background, but the most infamous is this panel of 1992 (the one showed in the Trope's main page), in which a plane is seen crashed in one of the Twin Towers.
  • Transmetropolitan ended with Spider Jerusalem degenerating under an incurable disease and about to end his life by putting a gun up under his chin. It was actually a cigarette lighter. As it turned out, he was fine. A few years after the end of the comics, Spider's real-life inspiration Hunter S. Thompson ended up doing pretty much the exact same thing...
  • Fifty Two had an early Running Gag that revolved around Renee Montoya's cigarette habit and her mentor's, Vic Sage, constant efforts to educate her about the harmful effects of smoking. At one point, she goes so far as to blow smoke in his face. Ha ha, funny joke. Then we learn that Sage is dying of lung cancer...
    • Not to mention Renee's line in week 14 that she swore by the end of it, she'd hold his dead body in her hands. Heck, most of Renee's early dialogue involving Charlie just reeks of this, intentionally.
  • In Justice League International, Booster Gold and Blue Beetle joke to each other about how Max Lord, their team's sponsor/boss, is going to "put a bullet in my head" for their latest Zany Scheme. Years later, the prologue to the Crisis Crossover Infinite Crisis has Max, with a fresh new Face Heel Turn, graphically executing Blue Beetle after (almost) preventing him from revealing his plans, complete with a huge bullet hole going right through his skull. The panel from the earlier JLI issue could be found on nearly every comic-book site within days.
    • There was a warmly received reunion mini-series of former JLI members featuring among others, Blue Beetle, Maxwell Lord, Elongated Man, and his wife Sue Dibny. The mini-series was so successful, the writers immediately wrote a sequel. But the artist couldn't keep up with the punishing schedule DC was trying to place on him, so the release of the sequel was delayed for a year so that DC could give us Identity Crisis instead, where Sue Dibny is murdered, burned, and autopsied, and it's also revealed that years earlier, she was raped by Dr. Light. All of which is depicted quite graphically, leaving little to the imagination. Oh, and it also turns out she was pregnant at the time of her murder. When that reunion sequel was finally released, it featured a Running Gag where everybody thinks Sue is pregnant and she angrily denies it. This gag is in Every. Single. Issue.
    • Given everything that's happened to them, Giffen's entire run of JLI could be seen as a Funny Aneurysm Moment. Nearly all of the members of one of the more light-hearted takes on the Justice League have suffered tragic fates.
  • Ultimate Marvel had a borderline example in Ultimate X-Men. After explaining to Beast the true nature of a project Nick Fury had him working on, Bishop says that Beast's work meant that Nick Fury wouldn't be executed for causing a mutant genocide. The "aneurysm" comes in the Ultimate Power miniseries, where Nick Fury is imprisoned on the Earth of the Squadron Supreme for the deaths of millions.
  • A deliberate example occurred during the 'Rainmaker' arc of PS238... While Tyler, Zodon and Guardian Angel are sent outside during the rain on flag-duty, Zodon riffs about how Tyler's 'mere human' immune defense system surely cannot withstand the rain and is likely to cause his imminent death. A short while later, The Rainmaker temporarily neutralizes Guardian Angel's powers in order to get past her; when she then proceeds to stand out in the rain for over an hour, she catches a multitude of opportunistic bugs... which her immune defense system is entirely unprepared to handle, since it had been completely protected by her 'Guardian' power until then. Since her powers return shortly after, they proceed to 'protect' her from syringes and inoculations that could've saved her. Less than a day later, she's dead. She got better.
  • In Preacher (Comic Book), Friendly Neighborhood Vampire Cassidy makes an It Tastes Like Feet remark about how gravy made from bacon grease tastes like semen (or so he'd assume). Then we find out that in the past, he'd resorted to prostituting himself and giving blowjobs to satisfy his addiction to heroin. Seems slightly less funny, except for those of us with sadistic senses of humor.
  • Issue #50 of the Marvel G.I. Joe comic (which came out in 1985) included the first issue of the spin-off title G.I. Joe: Special Missions. This first issue revolved around the hijacking of a jetliner by a radical Trotskyist group. Not a far-fetched premise, given the frequency of airline hijackings in the mid-1980s. They even go through the motions of claiming they'll release hostages if demands are met. Then you find out the terrorists' real plan: to use the airliner in a kamikaze attack on the Kremlin to avenge the assassination of Trotsky by Stalin...
  • There was a story from Paul Dini's run on Batman in which The Joker impersonated a stage magician with a vast teen following. The press revealed that the real magician was dead. The Joker uses a viral marketing campaign to tell his audience that they'll have one last show where they can see that he's not dead. Guess which actor passed away after this comic and printed and what his last two films are...
  • In The Dark Knight Returns, Two-Face threatens to blow up Gotham's twin towers. Then, later, a plane crashes into one of the towers.
  • There was a 1997 Wonder Woman comic whose cover showed a newspaper with prominent headlines saying that Wonder Woman (aka Princess Diana) had died. A couple days later, the real Princess Diana died.
  • Deadpool has expressed a love for both the incarnation of Death and Bea Arthur. Now it's a little easier to decide.
  • Much of what Marvel Comics printed before 9/11/2001 because so many of their stories are based in New York City. For example, early issues of the first iteration of X-Force has the Juggernaut deciding to knock over one of the (pre-evacuated) World Trade Center towers. It made little sense, but over it went. And earlier than X-Force, an ad for Damage Control: The Series had one of the towers about thirty feet off-kilter, but it was 'good enough'. In short, so many otherwise fine stories take place in, on, or around the towers.
  • During the Zero Hour event, the Post-Crisis Superboy (Kon-El) met the pocket-dimension Superboy (the one keeping Legion of Superheroes from imploding under its own continuity) in Smallville, and Clark-as-Superboy started attacking Kon, declaring himself the real Superboy, to which Kon replied that Clark would have to "Wait 'til I'm dead!" Amusing at the time; less so after Infinite Crisis.
  • Excalibur, issue 20: a giant interdimensional being ports in with a flash of light outside a town. Rachel and Kitty see the light and assume that the local nuclear power plant had a meltdown, resulting in this conversation:

 Kitty: "Wonder if I could phase the whole city."

Rachel: "Somehow, I doubt it."

Kitty: "Me too."

    • And then the events of Breakworld happened...
  • In The Ultimates 3, Blob threatens to eat Wasp. At the time, this was just "witty" combat banter. (even if the joke amounted to "Ha ha! Get it? He eats a lot! Fatty.") Then Ultimatum arrived, and... Linkara put it this way.

 Blob: Wasp! Gonna eat you up!

Linkara (With a disgusted look on his face): The people who have read Ultimatum have this same expression. And you will too when we finally get to it.

  • There's an early X-Men comic in which a stealth jet is going to be flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Fortunately, Wolverine gets on top of the plane, carves his way in, and pulls it up at the very last second. Reading this post 9/11 made it less of a fun action scene and more a harsh reminder that we don't have super-heroes in the real world.
  • An early cover of Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog called it darker and grittier and made Sonic covered in soot. It really became darker and gritter later on. Much darker.
  • The character Hazmat in Avengers Academy is an ethnically-Japanese girl with radioactivity based powers who has been described as a "walking Chernobyl". Less than a year after she was introduced, the Sendai earthquake happened, which caused radioactive material to escape from the Fukushima nuclear powerplant.
  • In Wonder Woman (vol. 3) #14, a character echoes most of the fandom's sentiments by saying "The last thing we want is Amazons Attack: The Sequel". Solicitations for DC's upcoming Flashpoint crossover seem to indicate that we will get Amazons Attack: The Sequel.
    • Hey, at least they have a better reason. Time was changed, and apparently they HAVE a reason to invade in the new timeline.
  • In an 80s issue of New Warriors, Speedball and Night Thrasher have this conversation about Speedball's powers. This side of Civil War and "Bleedball," it's not so funny:

 Night Thrasher: "Robbie, the purpose of this session is to find ways of effectively using your Speedball powers in combat."

Speedball: "Well, Dwayne... how 'bout attaching humongous spikes to my spandex? That way I could totally impale all the bad guys!"

Night Thrasher: "Spikes, huh?" [Walks away, looking contemplative]

Speedball: "Uh, that's a joke, Thrash...""

  • As a tie-in to the second Spider-Man, in the Ultimate Universe Peter saves a stunt double for the Movie!Spider-Man from Doctor Octopus. When the stunt double took off his mask and revealed he was black Peter worried he got Revamped for a moment.
  • In one Batman comic, Scarecrow sprays Batman with fear-removing gas and kidnaps Robin. At the end of the comic, Batman reveals that he managed to combat his fearlessness-induced recklessness by thinking of a new fear to motivate him - and it's further revealed to the audience that his fear was that the Scarecrow would murder Robin. The Robin at the time? Jason Todd.
  • The title speaks for itself

 Kyle: "I just want you to be extra careful. That's all I'm saying. Alex was murdered and so was Donna and I think you--

Jade: "Kyle-- Kyle. I'll be fine. I promise."

  • Another X-Men example: In the 1990s, longtime couple Cyclops and Jean Grey finally tied the knot. Marvel released a one-shot special, The Wedding Album and included random autolog messages from the reception. One message comes from Shatterstar, who predicts the marriage won't last. Fast-forward about a decade, and Marvel dropping a bridge on Jean in favor of Cyclops leaving his wife for her old rival, Emma Frost.

 Shatterstar: Personally, I cannot think of anything less appealing than committing the rest of your air time to a single individual. I give the marriage three seasons, max. Look for early strong ratings, but an early cancellation. I do, of course, wish you two the best of luck, however. May you have many spinoffs.

  • In the editorial for a 2005 issue of the 2000AD stablemate Judge Dredd Megazine detailed the difficulty the editor (then Alan Barnes) had on deciding whether or not to run a reprint of a 1970s strip Charleys War, a strip about the First World War. The first page of the re-run started with a full page spread of a Zeppelin Raid on London, with frightened citizens running into a Tube Station yelling "It'll be safe down there." To make matters worse the Editor recounted how this dilemma arose on the last day before the deadline, the 8th of July 2005. Ouch. He did, however, decide to run the strip.
  • In All-Star Batman and Robin, we overheard Jim Gordon complaining that he's afraid his son might end up an earring-wearing hippie. Given that his son is a Complete Monster sociopath now, that really should have been the least of his worries. Might be Hilarious in Hindsight depending on your outlook.
  • There's a small example in a late-80s issue of The Flash in which Captain Cold has finished his term in the Suicide Squad and the Rogues are attending a party in his honor. Cold brings along a cheery letter from Dr. Light which he reads aloud to laughter and comments like "Arthur's always a card!" Wally and his girlfriend "crash" the party later, and they end up getting along pretty well despite the initial resentment of him for replacing Barry Allen. Some fifteen years later it turns out that these Friendly Enemies were "chums" with a rapist.
  • Inevitable when reading back issues of Mad Magazine. Such as a feature from the late 70s, guessing where celebrities would be by 1996. Particularly painful examples from that feature include John Lennon in his 50s and discussing Frank Cosell, who died in 1995.
  • In a flashback issue of Martian Manhunter, Maxwell Lord is one of the members of Justice League International briefly possessed by the manifestation of J'onn's Choco addiction:

 I want... I want everyone to just do as I say... all the time! I want Superman to do my errands and Batman to respect me and Wonder Woman to... I want Wonder Woman to... oh, how I want Wonder Woman to!

Newspaper Comics

  • One Pearls Before Swine strip featured one of the crocs being disappointed that Steve Irwin's head has never been bitten off. This was published mere months before his death from a stingray attack.
    • There was an entire series of strips about Rat running for city council against a dead guy that got spiked because they were due to be published right when Senator Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash (even though they were written more than a year in advance).
  • Similar to the Desmond Llewellyn incident, Charles Schulz's last Peanuts strip - which consisted of his announcement of his retirement and an amiable, grateful farewell to his fans - was written four weeks in advance (like most comic strips)... and printed the morning of his death.
  • One late 90s FoxTrot strip has Roger and Andy sitting on the couch. When Andy asks what they're listening to, Roger informs her that some guy went into the wild and recorded the ambient sounds of different environments. "So far, it's pretty relaxing." The third panel has them both looking up as the 'guy' says "Hey, get away from that equipmen-" followed by growls, ripping noises, and screaming. The final panel of the strip has Andy reading the title of the CD over the sound of a burp and birdsong; "In the Midst of Grizzlies". Guess what documentary filmmaker Timothy Treadwell, immortalized in the film Grizzly Man, was doing with his girlfriend when he died. Go on, guess. What's more, his camera captured an audio recoding of his death, but it has never been made public.
    • Treadwell is moaning at the beginning, but his girlfriend is still alive and shrieking in pain and horror, which one commentator compared to a recording of wounded game used by hunters to attract predators. Considering that the bears returned to finish eating her and Treadwell...
    • In another strip, Roger has a nightmare about being forced to give stock certificates for his retirement that he had in place for retirement to a Salvation Army bin, to which it is heavily implied that they are even more worthless than nickels and dimes. Concerning what ultimately is happening now, that dream is so real.
  • Speaking of those pirates... it should be noted first of all that due to newspaper comics being written weeks in advance of publication, sometimes they'll wind up pulling a Funny Aneurysm after the event in question. Such as April 13, 2008's Bizarro panel.
  • In a series of Doonesbury strips from the early 70s, Duke Harris, who's based on Hunter S. Thompson, accidentally shoots his assistant. Nearly thirty years later, Thompson accidentally shot his assistant.
  • Another Doonesbury example...during the early stages of the Tiananmen Square protests, Trudeau ran some strips in which the character "Honey" Huan returns to China for a class reunion, only to be caught up, befuddled, in the midst of the protests. This story arc was dropped once the protests were quelled with a tragic massacre.
  • Bloom County featured several comics making jokes about the marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles (specifically, an arc depicting them spending their honeymoon in New York). This isn't quite as funny after you consider their divorce and her death...
  • Several Italian Disney comics featured Uncle Scrooge as the owner of a newspaper that always seemed to be teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. This was always played for laughs. It doesn't become so funny once you consider the present situation of print media. It gets even worse by the fact that some writers portray the paper as a normal functioning respected news source, giving a reader that reads the stories in a certain order the idea that the paper was a successful venture that started spiraling into the abyss.
    • While we're on Scrooge: a Don Rosa story has a floating money bin (It's a Long Story, involving alien phlebotinum) flying through twin towers... as you can see in the image (one of the balloons has an asterisk), a recent reprint has a footnote saying the comic was made before 9/11 (1997, to be precise).
  • A literal example occurred in The Far Side: a strip involving Dick Clark aging 200 years in 30 seconds on national TV. That's a pretty accurate description of what has happened to him since his stroke back in 2004. And now that he's dead at 82, it's even worse.
  • Take a look at this political cartoon from 1870, using anthromorphisised countries to depict the situation of Europe before World War One. Now, notice how Germany's hand is resting on Belgium...
  • In an early Zits strip Jeremy bemoans the that his generation doesn't have an epic, "where were you?" moment like the Kennedy assassination. Then came September 11th...
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