Comics: Once Upon a Trope

Tragic Backstory


A hero points their laser gun at a villain. The villain has big teary eyes and holds out a photo of a small child.

Hero: You will never again bomb an orphanage!

Villain: Wait – did you know that I was an innocent child once?

The hero takes the photo, and the villain holds up a book titled My Life as an Orphan.

Hero: Well, yes, everyone has been an innocent child…

Villain: But as you’ll read, my suffering as a tiny orphan made me bitter, putting me on the dark path to revenge against all orphanages.

The hero lowers their gun, tearing up.

Hero: That’s so tragic.

Hero: Alright, I’ll let you go if you promise you won’t bomb any more orphanages.

Villain: Could I do just one?



  1. Thomas

    Weeell, if it’s just one more…

  2. Dave L

    Villain: My tragic backstory is that I’m an orphan

    Hero: But you yourself killed your own parents!

    Villain: Sometimes you have to make your own tragic backstory

    Also, aren’t MOST heroes and villains orphans anyway?

    • Cay Reet

      Orphaned heroes are a little more commong – because that means that the ‘chosen one’ types doesn’t know who they really are and assume they’re really just the children of farmers or other salt-of-the-earth type. That way, they get the whole ‘humility’ part done.

      A lot of orphaned villains actually have killed parents who were already villains to get their job. Or they use it to argue that ‘the world never showed me any mercy and so I don’t either.’

    • Erynus

      Living long enough everyone will be an orphan.

  3. Kenneth Mackay

    I have a theory that somewhere in Fantasyland the local ruler realised that there was a need for adventurers to keep the monster population down and bring hidden treasures back into the economy, but adventuring was a high-risk occupation, and therefore set up an orphanage so that children without families to miss them could be trained in the adventuring arts. This orphanage quickly became a dumping ground for unwanted heirs and children who manifested wierd talents…

    It’s the only explanation for all those adventurers with no living relatives who have apparently spent their entire lives training for their first adventure!

    • AlgaeNymph

      And there’s your story premise! : )

      I’m gonna show it to my sweetheart for their next NaNo (maybe). ; )

    • Rivers

      Honestly, I would read this. No more questions ask. I want this.

  4. Star of Hope

    I know this is all supposed to joke about tragic backstories, but am I the only one, who sympathizes with the Orphan billion? I do it, because am similarly bitter about high school and actually desire this school to be destroyed, even after I long left it?

  5. AK Nephtali

    Well, if it’s just ONE orphanage I suppose that’s alright

  6. Rivers

    I do love this logic, because I’ve had bullies and abusive people genuinely try to use this on me assuming that the rest of my life has been sunshine and rainbows. It’s kind of the worst.

  7. captain chameleon

    Hahahahaha I love this one. The villain’s face in the last panel is excellent!

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