A few years ago, while working in a nearby college town, I happened to discover that their library had an amazing array of graphic novels and comic trade paperbacks.  Since my job allowed for reading time, on occasion, I made great use of their collections, including one collection of Will Eisner’s Spirit comic strips that was one of the most heartbreaking experiences of my life.  It’s been nearly ten years since that job ended, and I’ve never been able to locate that particular volume again, even on auction sites, which proved to me that it was as powerful to others as it was to me.  I’ve long maintained that experiencing sad stories, songs or movies (or, really, media that evoke ANY emotional response) is critical to maintaining your humanity, reminding you how good you have it and wallowing in the base physicality of being a wandering sack of meat with shoes and a 401k.  In short, if the death of Hoban Washburn doesn’t get you right in the gut and leave you a little heart-broken, I don’t know what to do with you, which leads us to today’s minor-key query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) should probably mention for those who are curious that I’ve found the story in question, and that it will be this week’s Retro Review, asking: What’s the most emotional experience you’ve ever had with your pop culture?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Brian Talbot’s Tale of One Bad Rat caused me to shed a single manly tear, or blub like a little girl depending on who I’m telling the story to.

  2. Stark's Scraps on

    The death of peter parker in the ultimate u. There is a scene where aunt may is walking to the church and she is stopped by this little girl. It tore the still beating heart from my chest.

  3. I still cry almost as hard as I did as a little girl whenever I watch “Transformers: The Movie” (the original animated one, not the Michael Bay one) and Optimus Prime dies. What made it even more devastating was that my local channels stopped playing any new episodes of Transformers around that time so I didn’t know he came back to life in G1 continuity until I was in my mid/late teens.

    I also feel some pretty intense emotions (hate, disgust, sadness, anger, pity and so on) at what Jack Harkness did at the end of “Torchwood: Children of Earth”. I do realize that yes, he did it for the greater good, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

    In a different way, there are certain songs I can no longer listen to because they remind me of my late partner. Some were simply her favorites, but the ones that evoke the most potent emotions are the ones that were played at her visitation. It has been almost 15 years, but just one of those songs can make me feel like it is that day all over again.

  4. Probably when Sai faded away in Hikaru no Go. It’s totally the way things go in real life. You aren’t paying attention to someone and then they slip away, and you don’t get a chance to tell them goodbye. :(

  5. I would have to go with When David Tennant regenerated into Matt Smith. The final line “I don’t want to go” just tore right through me, I actually called out to the TV saying “we don’t want you to go either.”

    • On later viewings of the episode with my teenage goddaughter, particularly those On Demand or otherwise able to be resumed from where we left off, she’ll shut it off after he says that and say “And suddenly he didn’t turn into Matt Smith and stayed The Doctor forever. The end.”.

      The sad part is she’s doing this more for my benefit because it still makes me teary eyed to rewatch it even now that we’re (almost) at another new Doctor.

      • When they had him say that line in the 50th anniversary episode, Matt’s Doctor says “He always says that”, it was kind of a nice fun way to joke about it, but it still made me teary eyed. I really like Matt, but so far, David is definitely my Doctor.

  6. I’ve been a big fan of Sailor Moon since the dub came over to the US in the mid 90s. I feel like “big fan” doesn’t quite capture how I feel about Sailor Moon, but lets stick with that. Finally, after 13 years of collecting and scrounging, I’ve finally finished the original manga last year. I’ve known for years how the series ends. It always chokes me up, but after reading the copy that took me 13 years to get and closing it and putting it on my bookshelf, I burst into tears for a good 10 minutes.

    These characters were my friends when I had none. Provided context when the world of adolescences was painful and confusing. Taught me about loving people regardless of who and what they are, and how to be brave, even when all you want to do is cry. It was really overwhelming, even now as an adult. Even now these characters still provide me comfort when being an adult gets hard and confusing. Finally having closure, and owning the entire series felt like I had finally come home after a really long, sometimes unforgiving trip. Knowing, now, that I can just walk to my bookshelf and re-live that epic story of girls fighting evil by moonlight and saving the world still fills me with joy.

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