Jason Todd, while not without reason, was the main antagonist in BattleForTheCowl. While some may disagree with writer Tony Daniel's reasoning behind it, some are going as far to say he should have been Batman while Dick Grayson shouldn't. This despite the fact he was a Gun Toting Batman in the mini series and he willingly killed before that. The very thing the original would never have stood for. The fact that he was voiced by Jensen Ackles in the Batman: Under the Red Hood movie likely playing a part in it too. Many, many fangirls are completely willing to overlook or "justify" the fact that he has brutally murdered people by saying that his victims deserved it or that he just needs a hug because he's just so cute and troubled! Fans get outraged whenever it's suggested, in-universe or out, that he should maybe be punished for his crimes. Because it's totally not his fault he picked that gun up and put a bullet in that dude's skull. It's played Up to Eleven in the New 52, where even the writers attempt to portray him as a troubled anti-hero, despite his complete murderous past being intact.
Damian has undergone character development but some of the fanart draws too much attention to the fact that he is ten and not that he gotTraining from Hell. He has killed a man and even very nearly killed Tim Drake before becoming Robin.
There are way too many fangirls out there who claim that they want to be Harley Quinn for the Joker, a number that has only grown with the release of The Dark Knight. Harley was originally created as a parody of this, then became a Possession Sue for a surprising number of people. And while there are certainly good reasons to feel sorry for her, she's still a murderer in her own right and very much fixated on the Joker - a fixation which he himself has gone to some efforts to maintain.
Really Batman's Rogues Gallery gets this treatment (arguably) more then any other Rogues Gallery in comic history. Besides Harley and Joker as previously mentioned other candidates include Poison Ivy, Two-Face, Mister Freeze, really it would be easier to list the members that don't get this treatment. And while many of them are Tragic Villains or Anti-Villains that do show standards from time to time that's ignoring that even the most sympathetic villains (such as the aforementioned Mister Freeze) are often unrepentant murderers who do terrible things for selfish reasons.
In the story "Mad Love," Harley Quinn was obviously believing this in-story about The Joker before her own descent into madness.
Doctor Doom has received treatment of this nature from the fans. He is a complex Evil Overlord with a strong (if warped) sense of nobility and a tendency towards frequent badass Awesome Moments, but he is still a villain. For example; the image of 'Doom as benevolent dictator' partially stems from a one-off book, Emperor Doom, in which Doom manages to conquer the Earth and begins to make numerous improvements in how things are run; this book is often used to reinforce the impression that Doom would be a great and benevolent leader if he managed to take over. However, he manages this largely by brainwashing the entire planet into accepting his rule (goodbye, freedom of thought and dissent); and he ultimately gives it up and lets the heroes defeat him because he gets bored, suggesting that he's ultimately not as interested in 'making the world a better place for all' as many would like to think. And yet some create an exaggerated ideal of how noble and benevolent . His vanity, insecurity, egomania, and brutality tend to be underplayed or ignored and writers who attempt to stress Doom's less-attractive qualities can be rejected vitriolically. Doom so embodies this characteristic that people actually brush off his actions in Avengers: The Children's Crusade where he kills the teenage Cassie Lang and takes the credit for Avengers Disassembled and House of M or the story Unthinkable where he murders his ex-love for demonic power and again attacks the Richards family, including possessing Valeria - just to hurt the patriarch.
Doom is also an enormous beneficiary of this thanks to fans of his Running the Asylum who greatly emphasize his few positive traits while massively downplaying his many negative ones and portraying him as a sort of enlightened tyrant who would have brought peace and prosperity to the world a long time ago if not for that meddling Reed Richards. Stories portraying Doom in this way are almost too numerous to count (there have been novels!)
Willy Pete from Empowered becomes an in-universe example of this after a video of him massacring (and in some cases raping) nearly a dozen superheroes leaks to the internet. People begin drawing yaoi doujinshi of him and the heroes he either injured, raped, or killed. Even another female superhero speaks well of him and adoringly downloads the doujinshi, brushing off his atrocities by saying that she didn't like the personalities of those he raped and killed anyway.
Larfleeze the Orange Lantern is a murderer who makes slaves of those he kills - but to comics fans, he's also a misunderstood softie who would almost certainly give up his greedy ways and totally be your friend if given the chance! The comics' art slightly reflects this, with Larfleeze getting cuter and less monstrous as time goes by, and his own comic reveals that he's had a Hilariously Abusive Childhood.
Sinestro is an occasional beneficiary of this when writers Running the Asylum try playing up the "enlightened tyrant" angle played to much greater Leather Pants success with Doom above and Magneto below. Still, there are a few readers (and writers) who believe that Sinestro is a Necessarily Evil ruler than the space Hitler Expy that the character has been very unsubtly coded as for most of history. His Ho Yay with Hal Jordan in recent years has not helped matters.
Ironically, ever since Civil War and House of M, Tony Stark's popularity has exploded among the fangirls. Granted, this may have something to do with the release of The Movie, but the seemingly insane fannishness predates even that...but not by much, since while he was always popular before Civil War, he was a relatively obscure figure compared to the household names of the X-Men and Spider-Man, so, yeah. What makes Tony's ascension so amusing is how he was crafted from the very start to have this effect on readers, being an Arms Dealer sold to readers during the arms dealer-hating The '60s as a hero.
Jhonen Vasquez seems to have an accidental habit of making these. His first creation Johnny C has an insane amount of fangirls who claim that he's just misunderstood and lonely. It's true: most of Nny's prominent victims are assholes, the world is decidedly Crapsack, and he does get a few Pet the Dog moments (notably with Squee). Yet this overlooks that Johnny is schizophrenic, psychotic, sociopathic, and Ax-Crazy; that he killed an entire restaurant full of people because someone said he "looked wacky"; he has entire torture chambers in his Torture Cellar that contain who-knows-how-many people; he tried to murder the one girl who really liked him and drove her to become a recluse and hide in her apartment almost 24/7 out of paranoia; and he has killed numerous people for various insane reasons.
To get into even weirder territory, one-shot character Jimmy has a surprising number of fans who adore him (and some pair him up with Nny). They ignore that Jimmy killed people to imitate Johnny's "murderous style" and to get his attention. Not only that, but he was the person who brutally raped and killed a cheerleader, which crime Johnny was accused of in an earlier issue. And there's also Johnny's distaste for Jimmy and what he's done:
"You fucking idiot!! Admire me?!! You shit!!! I'm the villain in this fucking story!"
Ragamuffin gets this treatment from fangirls who claim that he's so cute when he's a rag doll and that he is hot when he's in his human-vampire form. The first animated episode in which he appears features him eating a girl alive. Probably the Heel–Face Turn he does for Lenore convinced the fans to consider him one of the most likeable characters in the comics.
Imagine you have a teddy bear or a cute plushie that you carry around all day. Now, what if that plushie has a life on its own, and it's a mysterious young guy who protects you from bad things? What if that guy is a good-lookingVampire? For some, this may be terrifying; for others, this is pure fetish fuel.
A very...unusual form of this happens with Loki. While he certainly has a lot of fangirls, a lot of people tend to ignore his more heinous acts in the comics by the fact that he's not nearly that much of an asshole in the original mythology, and was basically turned into a villain by years of translations and adaptations that ignored his positive traits and played up his negative ones. There's a large number of people who dislike this, and complain about the fact Loki is sometimes depicted as being a Card-Carrying Villain. Ironically, Stan and Jack did write some issues based on actual stories which had Loki in a much more positive light, being based before he turned on Thor. Note also that Loki has been receiving a lot more of this in recent years as a byproduct of his successful adaptation to the silver screen.
Lampshaded with the "Bateses", a subculture that identifies itself with the supervillain Kid Miracleman/Johnny Bates. This idolization occurs after Bates personally murders most of London and the surrounding countryside in grotesque and grisly fashion. We're talking grade-A horrific here, easily. This is likely a parody of real-life skinheads and Neo-Nazis, who became popular in Britain and greater Europe a generation or so after WWII.
In the New 52 reboot, The Joker becomes an in-universe example after he disappears leaving only his face behind while Batman suffers in-universe Ron the Death Eater treatment. Suddenly Gothamites think Joker is a sympathetic murder victim and Batman is a heartless murderer who needs to be brought to justice. Somewhat retconned, in that it's later revealed that a significant amount of the protest in question was made up of people who usually either form his henchmen, or use his sprees as an excuse to go Axe-Crazy.
Brian Azzarello was surprised and disturbed to find that the violent, amoral homicidal rapist and torturer Lono had a devoted fan following. There are Lono fangirls. That's right: Lono. Fangirls.
Venom. The alien symbiotes' "costumes" are emotionally striking in very different ways to different people and it's not fully certain whether they are Draco in Leather Pants, in which the characters' brutal acts are handwaved or rationalized, or Evil Is Sexy. Venom's (Eddie Brock's) Never Hurt an Innocentvow helps with the leather pants-ing. Though that still ignores that Brock HAS killed innocent people if they were in his way.
Carnage, however, there is no excuse for. He was even a serial killer before getting the symbiote.
Peter's Mean Boss at The Daily Bugle J. Jonah Jameson is an odd case. Fans usually side with Spidey whenever he acts like an Ungrateful Bastard and unfairly makes accusations against the hero. (Usually.) However, if there is even a hint that Jonah has been kidnapped, hurt, conned, or - God forbid - killed, fans never fail to send in mail showing support, concern, or outrage, whichever is appropriate. (It seems that Jonah is a thorn in the hero's side that fans just don't want to see go away.)
Norman Osborn has his fair share of, hum, "enthusiastic" fans; raging from writers trying to excuse his crimes and despicable attitude by giving him a tragic backstory, or the kinky fans who fantasize about him and his random rendevouz (see "Sins Past", or how he seems to have gotten a little more...active with the ladies ever since he returned from the dead).
Lex Luthor has gotten some love ever since Lex Luthor: Man of Steel (well, mostly since), which tells a Superman story from his point of view and sees him rationalise his actions as Beware the Superman, with Lex seeing himself as the Only Sane Man on Earth who sees that humanity is becoming dependant on an untrustworthy, godlike alien whose mere presence will ultimately result in a stagnating and static civilization as nothing innovators like him create would be worth a jot next to the hero. Adding to the contrast is Superman rescuing the Toyman from an angry mob after he blew up a daycare centre and doing other things that were making him a Hero with Bad Publicity. However, the fans who side with him on this for his apparent humanist sympathies tend to overlook the fact that everything that happened in the story - including the daycare centre bombing - was secretly his doing and part of a grander plan to discredit and humiliate Superman; that he really does believe himself to be the hero doesn't make him good, it just makes him batshit insane. Not to mention that, for all his supposed humanism, he is ultimately a bigger threat to humanity than Superman ever would be — he certainly has a lot more of them killed throughout the story.
More than a few have gone so far as to claim that, if not for Superman, Luthor would have created a utopia on Earth. This is ignoring the stories that show him pre-Superman as a full-on Corrupt Corporate Executive, or 52, where Superman being depowered for a year led to some of Luthor's worst acts ever. The character of Leo Quintum, a scientist who based revolutionary research on Superman's biology, was even created to counter this argument, showing that if Luthor really did want to advance humanity, Superman certainly wouldn't be stopping him.
Eric Forrester, an "emotional vampire" type of villain in a late '80s arc who preyed on women and would drain them of their souls for power, after making them sleep with him. While even the story states that he didn't really love Raven and was only using her as his next victim, it hasn't stopped a group of fans from portraying Eric as just a misunderstood, nice young man who would be cured by having Raven as his girlfriend.
The original Terra gets this as well. Part of it is due to Unfortunate Implications of her being portrayed as sociopathic and promiscuous at her young age to show how "evil" she was (enough to sleep with the middle-aged Deathstroke), while another part is due to some fans holding the idea that she could have been rehabilitated and redeemed of her hate by the Titans. A retcon by Brad Meltzer also cast Terra as a victim of circumstance, driven to insanity by Deathstroke drugging her. Even keeping that in mind, there are fans that will ignore that Terra quite possibly murdered Beast Boy's first adoptive father (King Tawaba)note Deathstroke mentions that she did it off-panel, but it's never brought up again afterward, and that she was also a dangerous manipulator before she'd even met Deathstroke.
Speaking of Deathstroke, he himself has also had this applied to him by fans. Much of it came because after George Perez left the series, Marv Wolfman himself applied it to Deathstroke, treating him as legitimate Anti-Villain with a code of honor who was just caught in a bad situation and didn't truly want to kill the Titans, allowing him to become an Anti-Hero and friendly ally of theirs even though none of this jived well with his previous characterization from when Perez was still on board, in which he was a ruthless and greedy assassin who would stoop to taking innocent hostages and being psychologically manipulative, who created the whole treachery plan that Terra executed, and who very clearly wanted to kill the Titans since he blamed the Titans for the death of his oldest son rather than take responsibility for it himself. Even after he eventually was turned back into a villain who has done even more terrible things, there are still many fans (and writers) who cling to the idea of him being an honorable and moral person.
Many fans prefer to focus on Cheshire as being the mother to Arsenal's daughter Lian Harper, as well as to focus on the idea that there was some love shared between her and Arsenal when they were in a relationship. This has caused many arguments to spring up about her ability to love her children (including the son she had by Catman in Secret Six). This occurs while said fans tend to downplay or ignore the fact that she gleefully wiped out anentire Middle Eastern countrywith a stolen nuke, that she once purposefully got out of a blackmail arrangement by conceiving a replacement child in case Lian actually was killed off, and that she's generally a sadistic Psycho for Hire with a love of poisoning her enemies. Said arguments are not helped by her backstory including that she was sold into slavery as a child and that the Young Justice TV show gave her more characterization and redeeming qualities.
Dark Reign gave Bullseye and Mac Gargan (Venom III) fangirls, thanks to the Ho Yay they had with Daken (you can read more on him below). For that matter, the Dark Avengers as a whole got this treatment from fans and Dark Avengers was a popular book. Hell, some fans say Norman Osborn did a better job as "top cop" than Iron Man.
Also, Moonstone. Even though she's a therapist who used to make her patients off themselves for fun and stole her superpowers from another patient, a lot of fans like her Manipulative Bastard nature, and because, well, they find herdamn sexy. These fans tend to brush off or otherwise ignore that, unlike other characters who are all but endorsed as Leather Pants wearers by the writers themselves, Moonstone is consistently portrayed as a Smug Snake who greatly overestimates her own competence and becomes a one-trick pony with no cards to play when her usual Manipulative Bastard gambits fail.
Baron Zemo, like Dr. Doom above, is an example of a Draco caused by writers Running the Asylum who fell in love with the character and genuinely began to buy his own sell. The original Baron, Heinrich Zemo was a stock Nazi Nobleman archetype, while the Zemo of Thunderbolts was Heinrich's son Helmut, a Legacy Character whose original goal was Avenging the Villain. He originally created the Thunderbolts for this purpose, until he and his team all began Becoming the Mask and liking the idea of being heroes. Since that series Zemo has become much more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist who, like Doom above, is written as being so enlightened that he probably could bring about a peaceful era if only the heroes of the Marvel Universe (and his own ego) would stop getting in his way.
Second long-running main villain Negan is arguably the comic's most loved character mostly driven simply by his charisma and intelligence. It doesn't take long on a website dedicated to the comics side of the franchise to spot numerous fans of Negan, even if the character's introduction already sees him brutally murdering fan-favorite Glenn, a character that has been with the readers since the very beginning of the series.
Rorschach gets some of this from the fandom despite being a seriously disturbed hero rather than a villain to begin with, and it doesn't help that it actually is seriously suggested by his canon that he could have turned out differently had his life been better. That doesn't make it any less strange that a short, homely, brutal, canonically smelly vigilante has been made into a cute little innocent tsundere. This tendency was parodied in How Do You See Rorschach?
This also happens to Ozymandias a lot. Due to his noble intentions, there are some people who willing to rationalize his deeds even after his mass murder of millions via psychic squid/Manhattan bomb.
Wolverine's son Daken gets a lot of this, even though he kills his lovers (both men and women) for shits and giggles. Doesn't help that his justification is his father'sabsence from his life. Fans who identify with his misplaced rage against said father, or the position said father fills on his team, or maybe just like the idea of an explicitly bisexualversion of their favorite badass, flock to him in throngs. In the first issue of his 2010 ongoing it's strongly suggested that Daken raped a female assassin sent to kill him. Fandom has broken into three parts - those who deny it saying he just mocked her before delivering the killing blow, those who are disgusted by it and... some really sick individuals saying that she deserved it. This article argues convincingly that Daken is a deliberate deconstruction of this character trope: he's the dark romantic hero without a wounded soul to protect.
The Juggernaut has been the victim of this since Chuck Austen got a hold of him. Despite being a mass-murderer, a terrorist (he did destroy one of the WTC towers) and a sociopath who cares nothing for all the death and destruction he has caused and mainly concerns himself with his own gratification. You get one writer who portrays him as not having killed anyone on purpose and is just a misunderstood bully. Then people come out of the wood work to explain his actions, going so far as to say him not actively doing something evil is proof of his heroic qualities that were there the whole time.
Without a doubt, though, the archetypal X-Men Draco is Magneto, largely thanks to Chris Claremont transforming him from standard ranting Ax-CrazySuper Villain into a sane, polite, eloquent and culturedWell-Intentioned Extremist, as well as a Holocaust survivor determined to prevent mutants from suffering the same fate as the Jews, who regretted having to fight the X-Men and even joined them for a while. He was also rendered Progressively Prettier, with a deaging incident or two, that turned him from typically villainously ugly to a Silver Fox (he even has a six-pack), even ultimately getting a white-haired attractive pretty-boy clone (believed for a time to be a deaged and innocently amnesiac Magneto) called Joseph who ended up hooking up with Rogue. As a result, Claremont's characterisation became the predominant one for Magneto, with more classically villainous moments being retconned as his powers driving him insane, outside influence, etcetera. He even joined the X-Men following House of M.
However, as of Magneto: Not A Hero revealed in his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the resurrected Joseph, a) just because he's changed his methods does not mean he has changed his goals, b) he doesn't give a damn about 'hero' or 'villain' - "There is just what I want and how I'll get it." In other words, he's not gone soft, as such - he's just more of a hardcore Anti-Hero/Anti-Villain these days.