• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths, the single biggest wham episode in all of comics history. Was the ultimate Nothing Is the Same Anymore for the DC universe.
  • Many big comic events, such as a Crisis Crossover or a Retcon may qualify, assuming they last.
  • Marvel Comics managed to do this with the very first issue of Thunderbolts. The Reveal is considered one of the best in the industry. In case you're wondering: The Thunderbolts were a team who first showed up in Incredible Hulk after the whole Onslaught thing (long story short, the Fantastic Four and The Avengers are missing and no one knows how the rest of the superhero community can fill the vacuum), and made various miscellaneous appearances. They got their own book and their public debut by restoring order to the ruined Manhattan, defeat the Wrecking Crew and receive public approval even greater than even the Avengers themselves had after went public. And then we get to see Citizen V, the team leader, without his mask. And, perhaps more significantly, we get to see him with his real mask. The Thunderbolts are the Masters of Evil, the nemeses to the Avengers, led by Baron Zemo. Holy shit.
    • What really makes it impressive is how Marvel averted Tonight Someone Dies. There was no idea that there even was a secret to give away; Peter David even had the solicitation rewritten for the team's first appearance in Incredible Hulk to keep it quiet.
      • Actually, this troper does remember one solicitation that hinted at a "Dark Secret" that the team possessed. But what that secret was was left up in the air. Making the twist at the end of the first issue all the more surprising.
  • The "Death of Gwen Stacy" storyline might qualify as a Wham Issue IF the cover had not had Tonight Someone Dies in large letters on it. It was still pretty whammy, though, because no one really thought they would kill her.
    • Blame the Comics Code Authority - "If a major character lacking power and unconnected to the antagonist dies in the issue (back then) the death must be listed on the cover." - listing a whole BUNCH of people was an awesome cover for it. It's also universally regarded as the single GREATEST Wham moment in comicdom. Ever.
    • Spidey has his share of whams. In Clone Saga it's death of Aunt May. First issue of the JMS run does another wham with Ezekiel asking a simple question - what if Peter's powers don't come from radioactivity? - and another one when Aunt May finds out he is Spider-Man. Brand New Day does that with the beginning of The Gauntlet arc - Electro destroys Daily Bugle.
  • In an issue of Ultimate Spider-Man, Marvel uses one of the most infamous events of Spider-Man to pull a massive wham episode. They parallel the Death of Gwen Stacy exactly with the minor detail of switching her out for Mary Jane Watson, the visual is so exact, even down to the way she bends as she falls, that when her head snaps back as Spidey's webline hits her, no reader of the original comic is left with even the slightest doubt that they just killed off Peter's most recognizable love interest, the flame headed Mary Jane (but they didn't).
    • Later on, the Ultimatum event was a big WHAM for the entire Ultimate Marvel line. We knew that a huge disaster would prompt a line-wide Retool, but we didn't know how bad it would get. Half the X-Men died. B-list heroes (in this 'verse) Daredevil and Dr. Strange died. Spider-Man... looked like he died. Xavier and Magneto died. Dr. Doom died. Wolverine, whose mainstream version is patron saint of From a Single Cell, died. And the Fantastic Four and surviving X-Men disbanded.
  • Superman's Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
  • Action Comics 662, where Clark Kent finally revealed in canon to Lois Lane that he was also Superman.
  • The Death of Superman
  • Captain America #25 by Ed Brubaker - the death of Captain America.
  • The Walking Dead, issues 45-50. 9/10's of the cast die, including several main characters and a newborn baby. The few that survive are scattered by the Governor's attack, and forced out of the relative safety of the prison they had been using as a home.
  • Ever since Frank Miller graced the pages of Daredevil with his presence, this trope has become a defining element of the series and made Nothing Is the Same Anymore a recurring theme.
  • The concluding issue of the War in the Sun Story Arc in Preacher (Comic Book), the gravity of which was ominously foreshadowed in an early conversation with the Duke:

 Duke: Ya know ya got a... hard time aheada ya, don't ya?

Jesse: I know somethin's comin'. I got a feelin' like... I dunno. Like nothin's ever going to be the same again. How bad you figure it'll get?

Duke: As bad as it can.

  • Invincible Issue 11 reveals that Omni-Man's origin from issue 2 is carefully-crafted bullshit. Nolan Grayson is a lie. Omni-Man is a lie. The Viltrumite sent to Earth to gather information for its conquest is the truth -- and he wants Mark's help in doing it. When Mark refuses, he beats him half to death and when confronted with his unconditional love ("YOU, Dad. I'd still have you."), flies off into space with no sign that he's ever coming back.
  • Watchmen: Chapter 3. And arguably 9, and, of course, 11.
  • The first volume of Runaways ended with Alex revealing himself to be the mole. Immediately after that, he got himself killed. And immediately after that, all twelve members of the Pride got blown up, taking the series in a completely new direction. The end of the second volume was in some ways even more shocking, as a major character who wasn't evil got Killed Off for Real.
  • Doonesbury is known for throwing emotional curveballs every now and again. Among the most memorable were Dick Davenport's death-by-heart-attack (in the middle of bird-watching, with the Wham panel suggesting that he got the picture he was looking for) and original cast member BD losing his trademark helmet (and his left leg) after getting hit by an insurgent IED.
    • Don't forget Andy Lippincott contracting then dying of AIDS, which also forces Mark to come out of the closet. Andy's came up out of nowhere during a storyline where Lacy Davenport looked up her former staff who had AIDS, and the extent was shocking. But a few months after Andy's tragic death, his spirit came to Mark and informed him that he was gay. Both Mark and the audience were shocked by this.
    • Duke's death. While temporary (He was zombified...long story), it was still pretty shocking.
  • Farley's death in For Better or For Worse, after rescuing April from a flooded creek.
  • Li'l Abner. The marriage between Tiny Yokum and Daisy Mae.
  • Peanuts had the first major Wham in newspaper comics when Charlie Brown went to the hospital. As the rest of the characters fretted about Charlie's life, around the country, readers sent "get well" cards to him as well.
  • Blackest Night #5: the White Light only serves to make Nekron stronger, and he sends a Black ring to cause "Bruce Wayne" to rise, and 10 black rings are sent out, which then place themselves on the fingers of Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Ice, Animal Man, Donna Troy, Kid Flash, and Superboy, turning them into Black Lanterns, with Hal Jordan and Barry Allen being pursued by the remaining two.
  • The culmination of the infamous Judas Arc of Teen Titans. Terra, who saved them from Slade and has fought beside them for ages, is The Mole. She's always been The Mole. She's Slade's weapon and lover, and she's spent her entire time setting them up.
  • The first time Alan Moore became famous in the US, it was for a one-issue one of these in a comic that was all but canceled; word of mouth alone made it one of the most famous single issues that year. By the time of the Anatomy Lesson, Swamp Thing had spent nearly ten years trying to reverse the accident that transformed him so he could be plain ol' Alec Holland again. He never will be Alec Holland. He isn't Alec Holland. He never was Alec Holland.
    • His Youngblood Judgment Day was this for Youngblood - Knightstrike is acussed of killing Riptide, team is disbanded and entire Universe turns out to be plunged into Darker and Edgier setting by magic book. Same with his Supreme - the very first issue is this for the previous series, revealing that Supreme is only one of many versions of Superman-esque character and now reality rewrites itself, giving him new life and new memories.
  • For the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series, the appropriately titled "Endgame" storyline was a four-part string of wham episodes. Starting in issue 47, during another routine Robotropolis invasion, Sally took a near-fatal fall from a high ledge, which was done by a Sonic look-a-like. Things got very bad really fast for the real Sonic when he returned to Knothole. Sally was presumed dead from the fall, Sonic was arrested for treason, murder, and was transported to the Alcatraz-like Devil's Gulag. Sonic was not happy with any of this. Meanwhile, Robotnik plotted to take over Knothole (which he finally discovered) and use his Ultimate Annihilator device over the place (which would phase the village out of existence instead of merely destroying it). Needless to say, the stakes were raised to a level unparalleled to even the SatAM cartoon. In the end, Sonic managed to stop Robotnik's plan with mixed results. While Robotnik was killed by his own doomsday device, it also permanently jumped Knothole three hours ahead in time from the rest of Mobius, and Sonic almost died himself, trying to save everyone. But at least for consolation, Sally didn't die. She was stuck in a coma, and in a nice homage to Sleeping Beauty, Sonic kissed Sally to wake her up. Robotnik's demise certainly changed things, but whether it was for the better...let's not even discuss it.
    • For those who stuck with the comic after "EndGame", current head writer Ian Flynn likes to do these. At first, it was for "cleaning house" (Killing Tommy Turtle, fusing all the Chaos Emeralds in the universe into a set of seven, etc.) then, came the Destruction of Knothole arc, arguably one of the defining arcs of his run. Robotnik gets dead serious for possibly the first time since the EndGame, sics a FLEET of floating fortresses on the Kingdom of Knothole, destroying it effortlessly, confronts Sonic one on one (again, for the first time since EndGame), and OWNS him. Brutally. For better or worse, THIS is the arc to base your opinion of Ian Flynn around.
    • And Flynn's had a few other wham episodes since then. The "Enerjak Reborn" arc had Doctor Finitevus brainwash Knuckles into becoming the new Enerjak, which leads to the destruction of the Dingo Regime, the death of Knuckles' father Locke, and the remnants of the Dark Legion joining with Eggman. And then a little while after that, we get issue 200 - Sonic defeats Eggman so epically, the doctor has a huge Villainous Breakdown, which allows his position as Big Bad to be usurped by the Iron Dominion, who spend the next dozen or so issues curb stomping the heroes all over the place.
    • Issue 225 features the Death Egg, the return of Silver Sonic, and reality-warping combined with Sally's apparent death via gun turret..
      • Come to think of it, every twenty-fifth issue (that is to say, every milestone issue), is a wham, though some of them are more subtle than others.
    • Issue 230 probably would have been a Wham, if not for leaked preview images ruining the wham moment (Sally being roboticized).
    • And now issue 234 -- by the end, Antoine's very nearly been Killed Off for Real, with his survival in doubt.
  • Volume 9 of Hellboy, "The Wild Hunt". It starts off looking like a fairly simple "Hellboy beats people up" arc, as the last volume was. By the end, it turns out that Hellboy is the heir to the crown of England.
  • Volume 5 of Empowered. Willy Pete kills eight and a half super heroes, and blows up the Superhomeys space station. Mind F***, one of the very few decent supers in the world, dies in the process.
  • The second-to-last issue of Buffy Season Eight. The Seed of Wonder is destroyed, all the magic in the world disappears, and Giles dies.
  • Even relative to the overall aura of Total Mind Screw surrounding Grant Morrison's run of Doom Patrol, the Candlemaker arc was made of WHAM.
  • Scott Pilgrim Vs. The Universe. After the previous volume ended on such a happy note, Scott and Ramona's relationship shows signs of getting stale, Knives reveals Ramona that Scott cheated on both of them, Ramona abandons Scott and Kim leaves Toronto. Also Sex Bob-Omb ends.
  • In the Luna Brothers' The Sword: First when Malia rips out Dara's womb and stomps on it; then after an epic Roaring Road Of Rampage Dara discovers that the whiny tag-along Justin is Phaistos and the whole thing was a plot to get revenge himself after a millennia of realizing what a prick he was, and then he kills himself with the sword; and when Dara throws the sword in the volcano and goes home and dies(?) after ALL her injuries return.
  • Not content with ending the Democracy arc in Judge Dredd with Dredd's resignation and exile into the Cursed Earth, 2000AD then went on to top it not long afterwards when they revealed who The Dead Man was.
  • Grant Morrison's Animal Man issue 19 - Buddy breaks the fourth wall and his familly gets killed.
  • Grant Morrison's X-Men run, second issue - Genosha is destroyed by a new breed of Sentinels, millions of mutants die.
  • The Astounding Wolf-Man: Issue #7, mainly for its ending where Gary's wife is accidentally and brutally murdered by his then-mentor Zechariah. The entire premise of the series changes completely after this issue, focusing on Gary on the run and trying to prove his innocence, while Zechariah has a Heel Face Turn and becomes a primary antagonist, and Gary's daughter Chloe becomes a Heel Face Revolving Door for the rest of the series. This is also the moment things get Darker and Edgier.
  • G.I. Joe: Cobra #12 in which Chuckles shoots Cobra Commander dead and then blows the body, the base and himself up with a nuke.
  • The X-Men storyline "Fatal Attractions" had Wham Moment after Wham Moment. Including:
    • X-Force #25 - Cable returns, only for new foe Exodus to beat him senseless!
    • Uncanny X-Men #304 - Magneto returns and a disillusioned Colossus joins the Acolytes!
    • X-Men vol. 2 #25 - Magneto rips out Wolverine's adamantium and Xavier mindwipes Magneto!
    • Wolverine vol. 2 #75 - Wolverine discovers that there's more to his claws than the adamantium!
  • Cerebus has several. Most notably in issue 76 when Weisshaupt tells Cerebus that there are two other Aardvarks.
    • Also, issue 193. Cerebus talks to Dave.
    • The end of Form & Void.