A Drug-Addled Hank Pym makes his "career-defining" move.
Pictured at the right: The many-monikeredDr. Hank Pym, a founding member of The Avengers, who once hit his wife Janet Van Dyne (The Wasp) during a mental-breakdown-inducedFace–Heel Turn. (This storyline also included attacking the Avengers with a giant robot, just so that he could look like a hero when he stopped it. The whole thing would be a Dork Age if it didn't end with Pym recovering, then single-handedly beating the Masters of Evil.) Writers have explored the issue with various levels of grace since then, but more than once, his hitting Wasp has devolved into a crude running gag which still colors newer depictions of him. In particular, the Ultimate version of Hank Pymis an outright wife-beater. The real kicker? In truth, Janet's the true villain of the story for (without having the excuse of oh, having a drug-fueled psychotic break) taking advantage of his severe mental health issues to trick him into a marriage. Of course, virtually no one remembers this clear case of emotional abuse and betrayal of trust only focusing on that one panel and nothing else. In-Universe, Hank considers creating Ultron a real example of this Trope.
Jean Grey is the most visible subject of this trope in regards to her tendency to die and come back to life. Her reputation is as queen of Comic Book Death so you'd expect her to have died, what, dozens of times over the decades? In actuality she's died twice:
Her famous death at the end of the Dark Phoenix Saga was even retconned to (technically) not be her at all but entirely the Phoenix Force copying her so she'd be whitewashed of murdering an inhabited star system. No writer seems to remember or care about that.
Her second death is at the conclusion of Grant Morrison's New X-men run and saw her merged with the Phoenix Force in the White Hot Room where she has stayed ever since. The Marvel NOW! event brought her back... from the past via Time Travel. Put together this means (again technically) Jean Grey has died only once and stayed dead.
In a related example, Jean's entire pop culture identity has been consumed by the Dark Phoenix Saga, to the point that writers and editors have started just plain writing Phoenix stories for her every so often on account of there doesn't seem to be much else some people are interested in. This trope, in fact, used to be called "Jean Grey Escalation". It was changed before the purge of Character Named Tropes because tropers kept proving the point; it was used pretty much exclusively to refer to characters who got new powers or died more than once.
For Rogue and Gambit: Antarctica. Neither character will ever live that down. As the story tells it, he was hired by Mr. Sinister to get the Marauders together and lead them into the Morlock Tunnels. He wasn't even told what they were there for. As part of said "trial," Rogue was compelled to kiss him, and absorbed his memories of the incident, as well as the nearly suicidal self-loathing and guilt he was feeling over it at the time. End result? The base collapses and everyone has to make an emergency exit. Rogue grabs Gambit, flies him out of the base... and then dumps him into the snow and leaves him there. Despite Rogue being clearlynot herself, and Gambit having justifiable Angst over this, fans have been crying foul over it for thirteen years as of the time of this edit... when they haven't been using it as an excuse to write mountains of Hurt/Comfort Fic that pushes Gambit into the arms of Wolverine, or Storm, or some other partner of their choice.
There are also entirely too many people, a decent number on the writing staff, who think of Gambit as borderline-evil for the revelations of his role in the Marauders' actions, even though, as stated, getting some guys together and saying "tunnels, that way" while having absolutely no idea that anything like the Mutant Massacre was about to happen was the full extent of his involvement, and it's his greatest regret. On top of that, it was retconned into his history after his having been a good guy for as long as we'd known him, and only having been a thief when he was at his worst.
Magneto is an extreme example. You know him, the ultra-evil arch-nemesis of the X-Men, right? In fact, while that's how he debuted in The '60s, he's spent most of his time in the Heel–Face Revolving Door on the Face side. While his villainous career is a lot to live down, he's been mostly reformed for a very long time now (being very Anti-Hero-ish, he went rogue once in The '90s.) He's led the New Mutants, the X-Men, and a whole country, all non-evilly, and has been a member of the X-Men for the last decade - not for the first time. However, all over and even on this very wiki, you'll see much talk of Big Bad Magneto, perennial Arch-Enemy and most dangerous villain of the X-Men, as if nothing had changed within the last 35 years. It doesn't help that every single adaption of the character outside the comics has depicted Magneto as a Well-Intentioned ExtremistBig Bad arch-nemesis to the X-Men either while either ignoring or just never getting around to giving him the Character Development he got in the comics.
One of Lucy's personality-cementing moments in Peanuts is the famous trick of pulling a football away from Charlie Brown optimistically trying to kick it (He managed it once...with hilarious results.). The actual frequency of this gag has more to do with the sheer length of the strip; Schultz specifically commented he only did these strips once a year at most to make sure the joke stayed fresh and keep Lucy from appearing too nasty. So she did it 48 times in 17,000+ strips.
Of course, doing it at the worst possible moment and getting away with it in the Animated Adaptation might have helped worsen things...
Put the previous two together, by the way, and you get X-Nuts◊.
Fun fact: the very first football pull was actually performed by Violet, not Lucy; she pulls the ball away because she's afraid he'll kick her hand, not out of malice. And in the last one, Rerun replaced Lucy - we never find out whether Charlie Brown kicked it or not.
John Jameson is most well known being an astronaut, even though he has spent most of his time as Captain America's personal pilot. He's also known for his superpowered alter-ego that sometimes emerges, Man-Wolf.
The second part is subverted in The Spectacular Spider-Man - when John gets powers, he becomes Colonel Jupiter, following one of the comics from the pre-Man-Wolf period.
Tony Stark / Iron Man's alcoholism has generally been worked into his story with both respect and ridicule. Like Hank Pym, Tony has suffered lately for the sins of his Ultimate incarnation (Ultimate Tony Stark is a drunk, plain and simple).
It doesn't help that Tony is a self-destructive sort of fuck-up, as opposed to Hank Pym, who seems to start with lashing out. Tony, on the whole, manages to keep his severe personal issues internalized until he finally falls apart, so no one seems to notice (or care) if he's on the verge of suicidal breakdown (his alcoholism was canonically an attempt to drink himself to death) until it starts becoming inconvenient for other people.
This is also the one aspect of the character that is ever seen in parodies like Twisted Toyfare Theater. Even the TTT version of Civil War started when a newly-sober Iron Man enforced prohibition on Megoville.
In his reviews, Atop the Fourth Wall's Linkara almost always portrays Iron Man as drunk, even in comics set before "Demon in a Bottle"; this stems partly from a scene in The Ultimates where even a robot duplicate of Tony is asking for liquor, and partly because when he portrayed Tony as sober in one review, the fans asked him to bring back "Iron Drunk" because it was hilarious.
Roy Harper, a.k.a. Speedy/Arsenal/Red Arrow, has narrowly skirted the edges of this trope. His most memorable moment was his 1971 battle with heroin addiction◊. While he hasn't lapsed back into addiction, the fact that he's a former junkie is a significant part of his backstory, and comes up regularly — almost to the point of being a Disability Superpower ("That was tough, but nothing compared to giving up drugs!"). An issue of Titans established that this actually wasn't the last time he did heroin, though, partially justifying the fact that it's constantly mentioned.
It's worth noting that Roy's battle with drugs only lasted two issues. Compare to Iron Man's alcoholism, which lasted much longer and was portrayed more realistically.
He lapsed back into addiction after his daughter was killed and he lost an arm. When people talk about Roy post-Lian's death people always tend to mention how he hallucinated a dead kitten was his daughter while on drugs.
In one issue of The Outsiders, Dick Grayson, his best friend, used his past as a junkie against him when the two were having a really ugly argument. That's when the fists started flying.
His addiction may no longer be in-continuity as of the New 52 — though he's indicated to be a recovering alcoholic.
In Titans, Roy's mention of "that wasn't the last time I did heroin" may have been a reference to the Arsenal Special from the mid 90s. In that story, Roy had traveled to China and was briefly held captive by a mob boss who injected him with heroin before having him locked up. Roy had since tried to keep that incident secret because he was afraid people would think he took the heroin willingly.
Robin often skirts along this trope. Many people have made arguments as to why Robin does not belong in the Batman mythos and that Batman should go back to his days being a solo crimefighter. But it is rather interesting to note that Robin has existed in the mythos for almost as long as Batman himself, with there being only an 11 month difference between their introductions. In fact, Robin has been around longer than Alfred! It doesn't seem to matter that Robin is no longer even remotely similar to the 1960s Batman series, and has evolved from being the plucky sidekick in underwear to a character that has at times, been as dark as Batman himself. Some people love pointing out the flaws of his 1960s costume discarding how it has evolved over the years. Also, lets not forget that Robin has saved Batman enough times to no longer warrant the nickname "boy hostage" (a nickname given to him because of how often he was kidnapped in the Silver Age).
Note that this refers to the Dick Grayson Robin, who gets much more respect as Nightwing. In fact, a lot of people would gladly see him in adaptations as Nightwing rather than as Robin. Though most of the people who hold this against him haven't actually read any comics, and are usually unaware, and surprised, that there's been five Robins. Though, they all have their baggage too.
On the subject of Nightwing, he gets a rather unfair reputation as being a womanizer, despite having been involved in two different healthy and monogamous relationships at two different times in his life. It was in the second Nightwing Annual in which (in a flashback retcon) he slept with Barbara Gordon (after seeing her for the first time since her injury), and then proceeded to invite her to his wedding with Starfire. Prior to that, he was honest and committed in his relationships, and the notorious Dick-Kory-Babs love triangle was never a realization until that Annual.
Jason Todd was killed by The Joker. He's also got the time he killed a rapist, and his general impulsive Jerk Ass demeanor that made him solid Scrappy.
Tim Drake has people he cares about dying, since it happened so much. Seriously; he lost his mom, he lost his best friend, his other best friend, his girlfriend, his dad, his step mom, some other friends, and his adopted father. Sure, all of them -except mom, dad, and step mom- came back, but the fact that it made him very broody made for something he'd never live down. Of all the Robins now, he's 'the emo one' or 'Batman Jr'.
Stephanie Brown was killed by Black Mask (like Jason, a Never Live It Down moment for both), and her being regarded as 'incompetent'. Generally for most of her career, Steph was actually surprisingly competent, given her state and conditions. Her costume was, originally, VERY practical, especially compared to most female costumes at the time (So much so that Tim thought she was a dude when he first saw her), she could handle herself well in a fight despite being completely hand made on a shoe-string budget, and while she lacked Tim's experience and training, she was roughly on his level physically and was a fast thinker in a fight. However her best friend was Cassandra Cain, and her goofy nature meant that she was often depicted as comically out classed around her. Add in War Games, where the entire plot is basically 'Steph's an idiot and she screws up big time' (and ignore the fact that the main reason Steph screwed up was because Batman didn't even trust her enough as Robin to tell her about his Matches Malone identity, among other massive details), she's pretty much left looking 'incompetent'.
Oh yeah, and her recent benching following Flashpoint and New 52, she's probably not going to live down being 'the one whose fans sent waffles to DC's offices'.
And Damian Wayne: Being a brat. Yeah, Damian's still new so there's not much else besides how much of a brat he was at first, not helped by the fact that, while Character Development has made him more soft and likeable, he's still a massive Jerk Ass, making his brattiness the main thing people remember.
Eventually people started depicting him as a cat lover, albeit an embarrassed and secretive one. This is due to Batman #666 depicting a future version of Damian Wayne as Batman, wherein he has a pet cat named Alfred. Fans took this and ran with it.
Thanks to Internet memes, it's now pretty hard to forget that Batman himself once slapped Robin in a moment of anguishnote And that was a "What If" story, or that he once threatened to spank a woman.
Not to mention Jordan's run as the Supervillain Parallax, in universe and out.
Guy Gardner, "One Punch!", and his '80s "complete pig" behavior tend to overshadow his current Boisterous Bruiser status. That, and the fact that he used to be a milquetoast schoolteacher, a lawyer, and a grating pantywaist at various points in his life. On top of that, there's nothing at all unusual about a single well-placed strike ending the fight. It happens in MMA all the time. Batman knew what he was doing and didn't want the conflict to escalate any further, is all. Plus, it was Batman, probably the strongest normal human on Earth and a master of hand-to-hand combat who specializes in beating superhumans unconscious and fought and killed a god. More than once. But honestly... if Gardner had been on his guard and hadn't idiotically taken his ring off first, Batman would never have been able to lay a finger on him.
Kyle Rayner's first girlfriend Alex was the trope-namer for Stuffed into the Fridge (she even appeared as a Black Lantern inside a fridge construct in Blackest Night!) and since then, things have not gone well for his love life. Since he lost the position of the star of Green Lantern, many writers and fans seem to remember him only for this, and the list of his loved ones killed has gone on to include Jade, Donna Troy (although both have gotten better - and Jade has moved on), and his mother. His latest girlfriend, Soranik Natu, escaped being killed, but her fate was hardly better - Kyle put his foot in his mouth and broke her heart, and last we saw she's now a bitter ex.
There's also the time Mary Marvel used his unconscious body as a club.
It seems as though John Stewart will always be remembered for either being the Angry Black Man in his first few years or for causing a planet to blow up due to his cockiness. His character development is almost always tied back to at least one of those two things even though they occurred over some 20 plus years ago.
Frank Miller is usually remembered for writing prostitutes and "The Goddamn Batman." Thankfully, there are no plans to write a Goddamn prostitute Batman. The fact that Frank Miller used to write stories that could be low-key, poignant, or even tongue-in-cheek seems to have been forgotten by everyone, seemingly including Miller himself.
In addition, his fight against Superman is often one of the most cited examples of "Batman always defeating Superman", never mind the measures that Batman had to take just to hold him down for periods, the fact that Superman was constantly holding back, and that he had outside help.
Marvel's Captain Mar-Vell is best known for dying of cancer - something he didn't like finding out when he "came back" (read: arrived in the present day via Timey-Wimey Ball). Though we ultimately find out that he's not the real Captain Mar-Vell and there was no Timey-Wimey Ball.
DC Comics supervillain Doctor Light was a largely unused character who gained some relevance when it was revealed that he had raped the wife of a superhero. Since then, the fact that he's a rapist has become such an integral part of his character that he could very well be renamed Doctor Rape. To quote Plastic Man, "It's like that's his power now."
This was basically a calculated use of this trope by DC writers, which turned Light into a major villain overnight (albeit one whose major goal seems to be raping women instead of world domination). Note that before the rape revelation, he'd never been portrayed as possessing any sort of sexual deviancy. Even when he was killed off, he was in the middle of an orgy with a bunch of hookers dressed as superheroines.
The way he keeps mentioning it over and over makes him seem more of a joke character: a Harmless Villain by The Verse's standards constantly reminding us of the one time that he managed to do something nasty in a failed attempt to assure heroes that he's evil, no, really, he is!
Gwendolyn "Gwen" Stacy from started out as a dominating vixen who combined Alpha Bitch, the Tsundere, and the Yandere, and was furious that a dork like Peter wasn't interested in her (in fact, it was the thing that got her to ever pay attention to him. Someone who dared have concerns other than the fact that she was in the room bore further investigation. It was an Establishing Character Moment — her selfish "why doesn't he fawn over me like everyone's supposed to" type thoughts juxtaposed with his "super villains, having to let civilian friends down again, sick aunt, etc." thoughts). After John Romita replaced Steve Ditko as head artist, her character was softened considerably and she became the Betty in a Betty and VeronicaLove Triangle. Her death led to her being remembered entirely for her later, sweeter era, as a Girl Next Door and Proper Lady. Eventually, this evolved into her being seen as a saintly martyr, Peter's one true love who was Too Good for This Sinful Earth.
Also from Spider-Man, there's Flash Thompson, who was a Jerk Jock for the first few years of the comic book. He later joined the army, and had matured considerably by the time he got back. Since then, he's been a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, at worst, and quite often a Boisterous Bruiser. Throughout the seventies and eighties, he was one of Peter Parker's best friends (and the best man at his wedding, even!). He even became the new (heroic) Venom and joined The Avengers, and yet he's still just remembered as a teenage Jerk Jock. Mostly because of Adaptation Distillation: most fans are first introduced to Spider-Man in a high school context, usually whatever film or animated adaptation is running at the time, and the same Silver Age stories are re-imagined and updated, including resident Jerk Jock Flash.
The 2012 The Amazing Spider-Man film played him less Jerk Jock, especially as he's the first one in the film to console Parker about Uncle Ben's death. Peter doesn't take it well, but eventually forgives him for the bullying. By the end of the film, he's Peter's only male friend (that we see), and the two can at least hold a conversation. He also is established as a Spidey fan, even wearing a Spidey shirt, with his excuse being it's to get girls.
Speaking of Spidey and ignored Character Development, try asking anyone who doesn't support the Spidey Marriage their reasons for such, and most will cite that MJ left him "tons of times". MJ's left by her own free will (not counting OMD) approximately once. And it was before they were even dating. But, she left while turning down his initial proposal of marriage and did so in a very shallow manner which out of context makes her look like a total bitch... Of course, like Flash, this was before she grew out of her shallow party girl phase. When she came back after some growing up, she apologized and sought out a relationship with him.
While we're on the subject of Mary Jane, most people seem to think she's the only girlfriend Spidey ever had. Despite how Peter didn't even think she had feelings until after Gwen's death. Yet almost everysinglefreakingadaptation pretty much ignores any other girl he's ever dated.
Spider-Man himself will never live down the entire One More Day storyline where he sold his marriage to Memphisto to save his aunt (who was okay with dying, and, let's face it, doesn't have too many years left anyway) even when the One-Above-All's objection - who is, you know, the Marvel equavalent of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Judeo-Christian God, no matter what editorial says. Even with the Retcon that Mary Jane actually agreed to that deal, many fan still not convince and perceived that as an Ass Pull due to the dialogue of what she said to Memphisto is completely different. The Secret Wars series Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows seems to exist to appeal to people that really didn't like the change.
An in-universe example: The Trapster, a B-list Marvel supervillain. Charter member of the Frightful Four, wields fairly dangerous adhesive-based weaponry. He also debuted calling himself "Paste-Pot Pete" and had a string of humiliating defeats at the hands of the Human Torch and Spider-Man. And the Marvel heroes never let him forget it - to the point where just calling him "Pete" while he's in costume has become his Berserk Button.
The Scarlet Witch depowering most of the mutant population. There are still readers who will not forgive her for it. She has amassed quite a Hatedom due to not only the act itself, but also because of how Easily Forgiven some readers think she was and especially due to her calling out Scott Summers for his actions in Avengers vs. X-Men, which were an attempt to fix what she did in the first place.
Basically, she's long been a Power Creep, Power Seep case and sometimes she has something called "Chaos Magic" that can be quite impressive, and sometimes Chaos Magic is only an extension of her inborn Winds of Destiny, Change powers. It's easy to imagine the ultimate expression of a probability-altering power being "increase the probability of anything you can imagine to one hundred percent." However, this is not in fact her usual power level, even on a good day.
A number of adaptations also place both her and her brother Quicksilver as part of the Brotherhood of Mutants, despite the fact that they were only ever X-Men villains for a handful of issues. Casual fans who are more familiar with X-Men: Evolution and Wolverine and the X-Men are usually shocked to learn that the two have been members of the Avengers for most of their history. This has even lead to a bizarre licensing issue where both Fox and Marvel Studios have film rights to the characters. Quicksilver is appears in both X-Men: Days of Future Past and Avengers: Age of Ultron (as an Avenger), which should only serve to make things even more confusing for the general audience.
Surprisingly, the one thing everybody does let her live down is the time she molested Wonder Man during her Face–Heel Turn in West Coast Avengers. Keep in mind this was over a decade before she destroyed the Avengers or depowered most of the mutant population, but no one, in or out of universe, ever brings it up when discussing Wanda's horrible actions.
The Comedian of Watchmen attempts to rape Sally Jupiter once, and is stopped by Hooded Justice. Now, Attempted Rape is bad all by its lonesome, and we do not know where he would have stopped if he had managed to get through with it, but it is still a singular event that he never even managed to accomplish. Lots of people, including a number of contributors to This Very Wiki, refer to him as a serial rapist. The misunderstanding is exacerbated by the events in Vietnam, where he kills the mother of his unborn child, but there the implication is that he fathered the child consensually and later backed out of supporting the mother or committing to a relationship. Again, not a sign of good character, but not rape, either. What makes it so ironic is that the Comedian is a person you can hate for several legitimate reasons (like the aforementioned murdering of a pregnant woman, or the implication that he assassinated John F. Kennedynote or that in his Before Watchman mini, he actually outright KILLED both Marylin Monroe and Bobby Kennedy, but wasn't even in the same state when JFK was gunned down)), but readers seem focused on the one thing we never actually saw him do (and that Sally forgave him for In-Universe).
Bane, Batman's foe, received a number of augmentations, such as subcutaneous shields, and the "Venom" drug that increased his already formidable strength. He beat Batman mostly through simple intelligence, and was captured by "AzBats" pulling the Venom tube out of his head (but he was still far from helpless). In the comics, he weaned himself off the drug while in prison, has allied himself with and fought Batman on several occasions without any chemical assistance, and is established as a Batman-level strategist. Most interpretations of him in other media (up until the past few years) are of a thug who goes down the second he's deprived of Venom, and is often Dumb Muscle to boot.
Batman: Arkham Asylum is... a bit mixed on this. Although it portrays him as still a Venom addict, and has him almost completely paralyzed when Dr. Young removes all traces of it from his body, merely being unhooked from his Venom pump barely slows him down. The roof collapsing on him manages to buy enough time for Batman and Commissioner Gordon to get out... but he turns out to have been feigning defeat to try to catch Batman off guard. Unfortunately for him, Batman actually anticipated this, and knocks him into the river with the Batmobile when he tries to ambush them. Not quite "Batman-level strategist without chemical dependencies", but a step in the right direction. And, his mannerisms and speech also show that he's anything butDumb Muscle.
The prequel game Batman: Arkham Origins offers an explanation for Bane's being a mountain of muscle in Asylum, as well as a potential explanation for his not being as clever as in the comics. The game initially portrays him close to the comics, with a bulky but still realistic physique and smart enough to figure out Batman's Secret Identity, which he uses to attack the Batcave and kill Alfred (Bruce manages to revive him). Then in the final battle Bane injects himself with TN-1, an experimental "upgrade" of Venom (and the precursor to the Titan drug from Asylum), which makes him grow into a giant but also damages his brain, especially his memory center.
This was also averted in the most unlikely place of all: Lego Batmanthe Video Game where Bane is calmly reading a book while he beats Killer Croc at arm wrestling. Amazing how a dialogue-less video game shows his intelligence better than most cartoons.
In Batman: The Animated Series, Bane only uses Venom at a strategic point of the decisive fight, and is defeated when Batman opens the valve to his tank, severely overdosing him with the drug.
It seems to be played straight in Batman Beyond, where Bane is a cripple on life support due to the Venom use, but once you take into account that he's in his eighties and the condition of other users after mere weeks...
Young Justice shows Bane to be a cunning tactician without the use of Venom. In his normal human form, he is even able to use his knowledge of martial arts to briefly overpower Superboy during a struggle. However, he does go down rather easy once Superboy and Miss Martian work together to beat him up, making it a bit of an inversion of the other examples; he's extremely intelligent, and is a Badass Normal, but he's obviously outclassed by the two super-powered aliens. But the fact that it took both of them says something about his durabilty.
The Dark Knight Rises actually portrays Bane's tactical skill and physical strength, and omits the Venom completely (instead, he's hooked up to anesthesia to dull the pain from an old injury).
Christopher Nolan: Bane, to me, is something we haven't dealt with in the films. We wanted to do something very different in this film. He's a primarily physical villain, he's a classic movie monster in a way - but with a terrific brain.
An earlier film incarnation of Bane, in Batman & Robin, is a 98 pound weakling before the Venom, and is dumbed down to the point that most of his dialogue consists of him shouting his own name. Though it's doubtful anyone considers this a canon representation of the character, since just about everyone wants to pretend Batman & Robin never happened.
The time that Doctor Doom was defeated by Squirrel Girl, when the ultimate scheming badass of the Marvel Universe got owned by someone who was essentially a joke—-GAK!SILENCE TROPER! IT WAS A DOOMBOT. A DOOMBOOOOOOOOOOOT!!
For that matter, Thanos will always have a defeat at the hands of Squirrel Girl on his record forever. Yes, the guy who killed half the universe in one stroke.
Superboy-Prime had become an immature whiny sociopath in Infinite Crisis, but still had some motives that made him slip near Well-Intentioned Extremist. But in Countdown to Final Crisis, he said one line, after which fans forgot about that and marked him as an complete idiot and nobody could treat him seriously after that. This line was:
Prime:I'LL KILL YOU! I'LL KILL YOU TO DEATH!
Considering it was in Countdown it seems Superboy-Prime's unforgivable crime was being in Countdown.
Ironic in that previous to his International days, he had just come off of the "Detroit" League, which was one of the lowest points in the Justice League of America's history. One would think he would be more ashamed of that.
The rape of Carol Danvers from The Avengers #200. It wasn't supposed to be a rape, it was just bad writing that made it into one, but the fan backlash pretty much ensured that neither Marvel Comics nor the character would ever live it down, and it remains one of the biggest elements of her backstory to this day. Avengers Annual #10 (itself best known today only as "the one where Rogue had her first appearance") allowed Carol to deliver a well-deserved What the Hell, Hero? speech to the assembled Avengers for their non-chalant attitudes towards what had happened to her. note Apparently, the storyline in Avengers #200 did not sit well with Chris Claremont — he had created Ms. Marvel, and felt that her actions were out of character — and he took the opportunity to put an Author Filibuster to it in the story. Tropes Are Not Bad, true believers! If you don't know the story, the short version is that Ms. Marvel was basically allowed to cheerfully run off with her extradimensional kidnapper Love Interest despite mind control being involved. The rest of the team really, really should have been concerned, but the writers of the story where it happened seemed to see it as her leaving with her one true love. Under Claremont, Danvers returned to the team after his death and was very much not happy with them thinking nothing of the whole matter.
In-Universe Example: Guy Gardner will never live down the time Superman almost stole his girlfriend Ice from him, even though it wasn't Supes' fault. Ice just said that she thought Superman was cute.
The Juggernaut suffers from this occasionally in that some think he has made his sole purpose in life to kill his stepbrother Charles Xavier. Even an extended run as a hero didn't seem to change that. But, that was written by Chuck Austen, so you can see why some will ignore that.
Whether as a Shout-Out, coincidence, or someone involved in the comic actually having something to do with the site, Witch Girls had two characters named Denora DeSade and Claudia who are quite similar to characters with the same names from the long-defunct transformation fetish site "The Shrinking Sorceress." Cue detractors of the recent, better-known RPG spinoff Witch Girls Adventures (which features the same characters and a rather large amount of artwork dedicated to witches transforming helpless victims into various objects) ranting about how it's a Bleached Underpants version of the site and nearly every adult character is lifted from it.
MANGA GRAPHIX, the company that publishes Witch Girls, is mentioned in the copyright blurb on Shrinking Sorceress. Malcolm Harris, the author of Witch Girls and the owner of Channel M (which owns WGA), lists himself as a writer for MANGA GRAPHIX in his resume.
For many, Cyclops abandoning his wife Madelyne and son Nathan as soon as he heard that Jean Grey was alive in X-Factor #1 defined his personality forevernote in actuality, he didn't even abandon her, he wanted to see if Jean was really alive, she got mad and told him not to come back, and he ended up geting busy with X-Factor, a team he wasn't even planning on co-founding and didn't want to be on at first, then when he did go back to her, she'd already left thanks to a supervillain attack. He's by no means unblamable, but he's not the deadbeat dad people often claim him to be, Marvel's later attempts at damage control - which included stating he was under Mister Sinister's influence, and retconning Madelyne into a manipulative witch - notwithstanding. That Grant Morrison later had him turn away from Jean for telepathic adultery with Emma Frost made matters worse.note Bear in mind, Jean herself contemplated having an affair herself at the time while he was currently in the middle of an emotional breakdown that Emma took advantage of.
Following Avengers vs. X-Men, Cyclops now has becoming Dark Phoenix himself, and killing Charles Xavier while under its influence. The Marvel fandom is split between if he's really to blame or not, but one thing's for sure, he'll never live this down.
For that matter, Emma Frost will (understandably) never live down the fact that she manipulates and essentially rapes Scott and got away with it. This bad start stained the relationship forever and they eventually broke up in the AvX event.
In issue #134 of Sonic the Hedgehog, Princess Sally slapped Sonic across the face. Since then, some fans have used it as "evidence" that Sally has always been a bitch. However, that one instance was terribly out of character (per editorial order), and since then she's been restored to her old self. More than a few call backs have been made to this moment in universe in the comic (usually with Sally shown to be highly remorseful about it) something that is almost certainly an attempt to fix this treatment with fans.
What makes it funnier is that she had already shown worse acts of dickery in the past. Take for instance that issue in which Sonic fell under mind control by Robotnik. Her reaction when she realized Sonic was under mind control? Ordering without hesitation to have him fucking drowned. Granted, the stakes were high as Robotnik ordered him to show him Knothole's location, but you would think that she would try to come up with a better solution than murdering Knothole's champion.
And while we're on that subject, former head writer Ken Penders, despite being on the title for over 15 years and creating some memorable (and not-so-memorable) characters and stories, will forever be remembered as the man who decided to try to take back each and every one, then declare that he was going to make better stories with them from his own company. Despite, y'know... each and every one being derivatives of our heroes and villains?
And things have hit critical when their cases were dismissed and Ken proclaimed victory, fans demanding his head for taking away characters they loved and hoping his new series bombs.
Sonic: Remember your old yellow streak? Antoine: Oui. I recall it all too well. Sonic: Because I totally could bring it up right now. Antoine: I know. Sonic: I've got a list. Antoine: Stop eet.
In the first issue of the All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batman has a team-up with Superman. Superman claims that Krypton believes in invisible crooks. After solving the mystery in Kandor, Batman mentions the invisible crooks. Superman quotes the trope line as in question form. Batman's answer is "no."
In-universe example: Batman will never let Huntress live down her body count of mobsters.
Another in-universe example: The Sentry once threw the Void into the sun. Subsequently, whenever a team he's on are dealing with a particularly powerful foe, someone will always suggest that they just have Sentry throw them into the sun.
Sentry: I don't throw everything into the sun...
To make it funnier, after his death, Thor threw his body into the sun.
Aquaman has still to live down his portrayal on the Superfriends, and comics writers frequently show people mocking him for his abilities just before he proves them wrong. There's really no reason people in the DC universe don't take him seriously except for carryover from Superfriends. As far as the mainstream goes, no matter what DC tries, parodies of Aquaman in shows like Spongebob Squarepants and The Aquabats! Super Show! will continue to perpetuate his reputation.
This is on full display in the New 52's first issue of Aquaman. Criminals and police alike are confused by Aquaman intervening in a non-water related crime. Patrons of a seafood restaurant are concerned to see him ordering fish. People confusing his ability to command sea creatures as 'talking to fish' is starting to wear on him too.
Subverted: Susan Storm-Richards of the Fantastic Four's long-running romantic interest in Namor the Sub-Mariner throughout her 40+ year marriage to Reed Richards gets thrown around a lot from fans, but isn't treated too seriously by the characters. The reason is probably the fact that a lot of fans think she had an out-and-out affair with Namor (not true), but also think that the attraction between them is all in the past (also not true). The Fantastic Four are just fucked up that way.
This leads to Morrison's NLTD moment. Grant Morrison's made a big name for himself in DC, but to a lot of X-Men fans, and likely Marvel fans in general, he's best remembered as either the guy who turned Magneto into a 'mad old terrorist twat', or for the above referenced Cyclops/Frost telepathic affair.
While Novas Aventuras De Megamandid have rampant nakedness, that only started with issue 12 of 16. The comic is now mostly known for this.
George Tuska will always be remembered for giving the Iron Man armor a nose.
Writer Ron Marz will never live down killing neophyte Green Lantern Kyle Rayner's girlfriend Alex and having her body the original Stuffed In The Fridge. Even though the death of a loved one, male or female to give a hero's backstory more tragedy was already an old trope when he did it in the early Nineties.
It was in no small part due to Gail Simone and her website "Women In Refrigerators" that was used as a rallying cry against what was percieved as sexism in comic books. Then later, Simone & Marz met and actually became somewhat good friends... and now some people will never let Simone live down the fact that she railed against Marz & the character death. Not only supporters of Marz, but those who felt that Simone betrayed her past actions by associating herself with a man who would do such a thing and sold out.
Lori will always be remembered as the bitch who lets down her husband and cheated on him with his best friend.
The Joker and, well any writer who portrays him as a poor fighter who goes down with one hit. Some have actually written him as a very capable fighter, due to his unpredictable nature and high pain tolerance. In "Mad Love" he even held his own against Batman. But the fandom seems completely blind to this.
Raven can't really live down her '90s Dork Age in which Marv Wolfman killed her off, then had her return as an evil sexual dominatrix who ruined Nightwing and Starfire's wedding, made out with Starfire and implanted her with a "demon seed" (later revealed to be her actual good soul), and attacked and made out with other Titans to turn them into her servants. Especially controversial among one group of fans is the implication that she might have sexually abused Changeling when he was under her thrall, and had him either rape or cannibalize another woman in his madness. Although Wolfman would have "Dark Raven" and the good Raven confirmed and established as separate personalities and entities by the end of the run (with the Dark Raven persona having taken another woman's similar body in order to do her evil bidding and unknowingly transferring the purified Raven's soul into Starfire), there are a number of fans enraged that Raven was easily forgiven by her fellow Titans and will never forget this arc, Continuity Reboot aside. This especially gets brought up in "Raven vs. Terra" arguments, where those on Terra's side will argue that Raven was not any better than the teenage sociopath for these actions, as well as citing her early actions of mind-controlling Wally West (into loving her) as a way to get him to rejoin the Titans. Then there's the period where she tried to seduce Nightwing, even though it was resolved and Raven gave up on her feelings after being convinced that it was only platonic love that she felt.
As if that weren't enough, a Marv Wolfman-penned "Raven" miniseries during the run of Teen Titans volume 3 had the tagline on the first cover: "Now in her own EMO series". Fans still snark of it many years later, as well as the incomprehensible art style that seemed to clash with the writing.
It was difficult for Cassie Sandsmark to live down the period of volume 3 where Geoff Johns and every writer after seemed to turn her into an increasingly catty, abrasive and overbearing team member who was supposedly powerful and leader material, but condescending and demanding to her teammates and who took up screentime from other characters. Then there was the time that she and Supergirl hijacked that plane during "Amazons Attack" and kidnapped a president...
Bryan Q. Miller had Aquagirl attempt to seduce Blue Beetle in volume 3 and make him stray away from his girlfriend (Traci 13). Despite a completely different characterization beforehand by other writers, Aquagirl was now deemed the homewrecker and team slut by a vocal group of fans with many cries for her to be killed off. JT Krul didn't exactly kill her, but swiftly wrote her and Bombshell off the team in an offhand remark when it came to his run (Cassie had fired the two for a lack of experience).
Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle, had a bit of a weight problem towards the end of the Giffen/DeMatthies run on Justice League International, and then there was a story in Justice League Quarterly #8 (March 1992) where he went on a diet and exercise regime and looked set to stick to it. And in the comics, that was that. In fandom he was "the Fat Slob superhero" right up until he died (although some used his weight issues to make him more of The Woobie).
This weight problem is not forgotten by some authors either, as it was referenced in Chuck Dixon's run on "Birds of Prey" and in "Countdown to Infinite Crisis" when Ted reflects on his past.
Lois Lane often gets mocked for being a supposedly brilliant journalist who can't tell that Clark Kent and Superman are one in the same. Leaving aside the two decades or so Post-Crisis in which she was Clark's Secret Keeper, stories about Lois strongly suspecting (but being unable to prove) the truth date all the way back to 1942.
Superlópez: In-universe example. In Los Alienígenas (The Aliens), one of the alien invaders (who have the ability to shapeshift at will) takes early in the story the form of a heater for a while to disguise himself. Later, when Superlopez is tracking down another of the aliens, he finds another heater, identical to the one used previously by the alien. Superlopez mistakenly thinks the alien has become again a heater (actually, the alien had taken the shape of a woman), and for the rest of the story, everyone seems to believe the aliens like taking the shape of heaters.
Grant Morrison: I was reading some Alan Moore Marvelman for some reason today. I found one in the back there and I couldn't believe. I pick it up and there are fucking two rapes in it and I suddenly think how many times has somebody been raped in an Alan Moore story? And I couldn't find a single one where someone wasn't raped except for Tom Strong, which I believe was a pastiche. We know Alan Moore isn't a misogynist but fuck, he's obsessed with rape.
The aforementioned The Killing Joke is the cause of a character example of this as well, with many Barbara Gordon fans being upset that broader DC fans and some creators still seem to consider the defining incident of her life to be that time the Joker paralysed, tortured, and sexually humiliated her solely to troll her father and Batman, both in-universe and in storytelling terms. It got particular backlash when an alternate cover for the relatively light-hearted Stewart/Fletcher/Tarr run on her solo title showed her tied up and crying while the Joker pointed a gun directly at her crotch.
Sharon Carter, who had a long and storied history as a major figure in Captain America's mythos as well as becoming director of SHIELD for a time, is mostly remembered for being the woman who killed Captain America. She was brainwashed, and later lead the charge to bring him back to life, neither fact is as well remembered.
In a suprising display of self-awareness, writer Denis Hopeless seemed to realize that Arcade will never live down his role in Avengers Arena, so in his next book, he had the character admit that now either he can go back to being a complete joke, only constantly reminding people how he once did something really evil, like the abovementioned Doctor Light, or let killing kids become the only thing he does. Right after that Arcade is killed.
Hopeless himself may never live down writing this book, not in the eyes of Runaways,Sentinel, and Avengers Academy fans.
People will probably never forget the time that New 52 Harley Quinn slaughtered hundreds of innocent adults and children by having bombs hidden in handheld video game machines. It was so deplorable and so beyond the lighter tone and characterisation of Harley's solo title that began soon afterwards, that it became Fanon Discontinuity almost immediately. However, it is still constantly brought up, right down to the story being included in the character's "best of" TPB in 2015.
Karen Page will be forever remembered as the girl who sold out Matt for a drug fix and got killed off that kick start the famous Daredevil: Born Again storyline. This got so bad that she instantly got some hate in the Netflix TV series for this storyline, even though it hasn't been adapted yet. Her actress even had to make a statement that she'd been promised the MCU's Karen would never do it, and in fact the Broad Strokes of the story involving her drug use and criminal actions have been moved into her past.
Remender would win back some fans by making Sam WilsonCaptain America and taking a number of potshots at racism while he was at it, most notably retconning the infamous story where the Sam was revealed to have formerly been a pimp and drug dealer, often considered the single most racist thing published by Marvel, into false memories implanted by the Red Skull. Remender left Marvel to focus on his own projects the following year; it's presently unknown what if any role the controversy played in this decision.
In-Universe, Doom considers the experiment this, especially being blamed for it.
In-Universe, a comical version is Reed being a Giver of Lame Names which gets a lot of riffing the first time, and the second time he's made something he gets asked "So what's this one called, the Wonderbus?"
Chaykin: I'm on record everywhere regarding this – I'd like to think that had I known it was going to be that big a deal, I would have done a better job. That work will haunt me to my grave, diminishing the value of the actually good and true work I've produced in the past forty odd years. I figure my NYT obit will read "HOWARD CHAYKIN DIES; FUCKED UP STAR WARS COMICS – AND REALLY NOW, WHO GIVES A SHIT ABOUT EVERYTHING ELSE HE DID, RIGHT?"