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Never Live It Down: Comic Books
A Drug-Addled Hank Pym makes his "career-defining" move.

  • Pictured at the right: The many-monikered Dr. Hank Pym, a founding member of The Avengers, who once hit his wife Janet Van Dyne (The Wasp) during a mental-breakdown-induced Face-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 Pym is an outright wife-beater — and since The Ultimates is so popular, this has made things even worse for the "real" Pym.note 
    • Also, keep in mind that on Janet's side, this is the woman who deliberately used his unstable mental state to force him into marriage with her, and continued to manipulate and abuse his illness in order to maintain their lifestyle. Not to mention that we're in a genre where heroes are regularly made to pummel each other for ridiculous reasons. It's somewhat unreasonable to single this one incident out as the only unforgivable act in comics.
    • What's particularly frustrating is that Jan and the other Avengers forgave Hank long ago — it's the writers (and Hank himself, really) who won't. Every time the incident is laid to rest, someone comes along to dig it up again. Most recently, Chuck Austen, in his brief Avengers run, wrote Hank as a misogynist, Jan as a pinball, and Hawkeye as a jerk who's held a grudge against Hank since the '80s (in fact, they've always been close friends, and Clint's support was a big factor in Hank's redemption). Hank and Jan have a profoundly messed-up relationship, but this was no more than a caricature of it.
    • This is shown to be a part of his character in-universe, too, as a consequence of the fact that this is all writers ever do with him; in The Initiative, Trauma loses control of his powers and Hank witnesses his greatest fear: a battered Jan telling him that no one will ever forget how he lost control exactly one time.
    • An earlier scene in The Initiative shows former Slingers hero Prodigy calling Pym a wife-beater under his breath. Apparently, Hank's wife-beating past is common knowledge amongst the superhero set, and not just the Avengers.
    • Extending to the supervillain set too, in Dark Reign, we have Norman Osborn ribbing on him about this. Hank just counters with his killing Gwen Stacy.
    • Perhaps the most extreme form came in Marvel Zombies, where the local Hank Pym bit Jan's head off - to his disgust (zombies hate the taste of zombies) and to little effect (zombie, anyone?). Well, that was because they were arguing over how he was keeping Black Panther as a secret living food supply, but still.
    • The Ant-Man & The Wasp mini-series brings up the incident but in a more positive light, with Hank opening up a center for battered women.
    • Then more recently in Avengers Academy, Striker claimed that he would not allow himself to be judged by Hank, whom he considers to be little more than a filthy wife-beater.
    • What's worse is that in the earliest days, they show Reed Richards hitting Sue far more often then Hank had ever hit Jan, but never got called out.
    • In addition to that, Spider-Man hit Mary Jane in the Clone Saga after being told he was a fake, and nobody cares. But, after all, he's Spider-Man, nobody respects him anyway.
    • Familiar Faces even parodied it as the reason he wasn't in The Avengers.
    Tony: Hank? The wifebeater? Nah-ah, fuck that guy.
    The End
    • Another thing Pym is unable to live down is that he created Ultron, a Killer Robot who rebelled against him and attempted to destroy the human race. It's less joked about than the wifebeater stuff, but it still pops up here and there and Pym is having a hard time not to live that down.
    • Likewise, the frequency with which Hank Pym has changed identities (from Dr. Pym to Ant-Man to Giant-Man to Goliath to Yellowjacket, then back through several of these again, then to Wasp and then back to Giant-Man) has become a running gag as well.
  • Jean Grey is the most visible subject of this trope in regards to her tendency to come back to life. Officially she's only come Back from the Dead once, but fake-outs, clones, androids, and shapeshifters among others have been employed to turn "Dead FOR REALLY REAL THIS TIME, YOU GUYS!" into Only Mostly Dead.
    • There's even been less of that than people think. There really is no reason to believe she dies a lot. Once the X-Men were split into two groups by an incident and each half thought the other was dead but we knew none of them were, and another time, between her death and resurrection, Kitty posed as Dark Phoenix to scare some Shi'ar and buy some time, but the cover made it look like Jean had returned - apparently, some people have seen it but don't know the story.
    • And it's not just the resurrection. As awesome as the last two issues of the Dark Phoenix Saga are, writers of every comic book story involving her in the past decade, as well as Wolverine and the X-Men and even two out of three movies, seem to think it's the only story she was ever in. 40 years of going through as much as any other character, and the world seems to forget that there's more to Jean Grey that "Goes Phoenix, goes nuts, dies, gets better." (It's also unfortunate that the many issues between "goes Phoenix" and "goes nuts" are forgotten. Non-dark Phoenix is Made of Win, but nobody even remembers it happened). There's one fortunate exception: the X-Men: Evolution animated series. There is no Dark Phoenix in it, except for a couple of seconds in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue (and even those seconds may be open to interpretation).
    • The writers themselves believe it. Many characters use Jean Grey as a comparison for people always coming back from the dead. In Phoenix: Endsong, Wolverine lampshaded it, claiming he was tired of killing her! (maybe meta-humor, counting the film).
    • This trope, in fact, used to be called "Jean Grey Escalation".
    • And when it was, many examples of people gaining cosmic powers, or dying and getting better, had to be removed.
  • In the '90s-era cartoon, Angel gets this too: his time as Archangel is the only aspect of him we see. There isn't a single episode in the series that he's in that doesn't either feature Apocalypse, or remind us of Angel's stint as his herald apart from his introductory episode (He first meets Apocalypse in his second appearance).
  • An odd example in the case of Rogue and Gambit: Antarctica. Neither character will ever live that down. To sum up: After a long and convoluted series of events, the X-Men found themselves in an old base of Magneto's in Antarctica, where Gambit was put on trial for his complicity in the Morlock Massacre. 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 clearly not 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 who think of Gambit as borderline-evil for the Mutant Massacre thing, even though, as stated, Gambit leading the Marauders to the tunnel having no idea that anything like the Massacre was about to happen was retconned into his history after having been a good guy for as long as we've known him, and only having been a thief when he was at his worst.
    • Magneto. You know him, right, the ultra-evil arch-nemesis of the X-Men, right? Well, maybe around the Gerald Ford administration and before. Now, his villainous career is a lot to live down, but still, he's been mostlynote  reformed for a very long time now and was actually the mentor of the New Mutants for some time. There has even been conflict between Magneto and other mutants who wanted to join the team of the guy who was going to bring down those rotten humans and Take Over the World for the mutant race only to be told that That Man Is Dead. For a few years now he's been an X-Men team member on Utopia, and before that he and Professor X were the main heroes of Excalibur volume 2, helping rebuild and fighting opportunistic villains after Cassandra Nova's attack and greatly increasing the length of the X-Men franchise's Ho Yay page. Since the villain of Planet X was retconned not to be him after much outcry for his Out of Character actionsnote  and apparent Final Deathnote , we actually last saw the real Erik before that as the decent-but-don't-screw-with-him leader of Genosha. This means his history can be described as "bad in the 60s, bad but with regrets in the 70s, an X-Man in the 80s, a Wild Card in the 90s, and an X-Man in the 2000s." However, all over and even on this very wiki, you'll see much talk of Big Bad Magneto, Arch-Enemy and most dangerous villain of the X-Men as if no one has picked up a comic book this side of the days of Gilligan's Island and Woodstock.
  • 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.
    • Of course, she has never been explicitly shown not pulling the ball. Offscreen Inertia doesn't play in her favor.
  • 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.
    • In fairness, John Jameson was introduced as J. Jonah's astronaut son.
    • And of course the fact that an astronaut and a werewolf are both infinitely more interesting than Captain America's personal pilot.
  • 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).
    • In Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, this is the one thing that Steve Rogers, of all people, mocks and throws back in Tony's face in one particularly gut-wrenching scene.
    • 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 all fairness, any addiction (making this apply to the Roy Harper example below) is a lifelong battle. Relapses, unfortunately, are a significant and all too frequent occurrence. And he has had his relapses; we see in The Order that the stress of running the Initiative has taken its toll and resurrected old habits.
    • The casting of Robert Downey, Jr. as Stark in the movie may be a nod to this as well, as Downey also battled alcoholism.
    • 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.
    • 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). Basically, Robin has proved his worth in the mythos yet there will always be people who don't want them there, however, its not really fair to use the Golden or Silver Age as support for that opinion since the character like Batman, has evolved dramatically since then.
    • 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:
    • Jason Todd was killed by The Joker. He's also got the time he killed a rapist, and his general impulsive Jerk Ass demeanour 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 anguish, or that he once threatened to spank a woman.
  • Green Lantern:
    • Hal Jordan once slept with a teenager.
    • 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 have needed his utility belt before the punch, inasmuch as Bats needed it to defeat The Hulk.
    • 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.
  • Frank Miller is usually remembered for writing prostitutes and The Goddamn Batman. Thankfully, there are no plans to write a Goddamn prostitute Batman.
    • 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 Marvel 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!
  • Green Arrow and Black Canary had a twenty-year-long romantic relationship, during which time GA's total non-Dinah activity consisted of a) being raped and b) kissing another woman (once). Somehow, both writers and fans take from this that Oliver is a total slut who constantly sleeps around on the long-suffering Dinah. To justify this, writers added him sleeping with Black Lightning's niece, and later Manitou Raven's wife, to make his 'total manwhore' status valid.
  • Transmetropolitan has a variation on an old joke about goats and names, delivered by a character known as Bill Chimpfucker.
  • Gwendolyn "Gwen" Stacy from Spider-Man 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 Veronica Love 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.
    • Dying is also a NLID Moment, since almost every fan introduced by something other than reading the Silver Age stories only know her as 'the blond haired love interest that died'. Hell, some fanfic rewrites of the mythos tend to introduce her with the explicit intent of killing her off.
    • It probably doesn't help that every new adaptation changes her personality and character completely, from becoming a tough punk-rock bad girl, to a nerd with a temper and occasional snark tendency, to basically Mary Jane with science smarts; the only tying factor between every character is romantic feelings towards Peter (some more than others), and being the daughter of a Reasonable Authority Figure police Captain.
    • Interestingly, in Ultimate Spider-Man, Gwen's not the one who dies - in that 'verse, it's Peter.
  • 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.
  • 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) aproximately 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 every single freaking adaptation pretty much ignores any other girl he's ever dated.
  • 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.
    • Also, although her power level in House of M was completely different from anything she had been able to do in 40 years of comics, and has since been explained away as the result of her absorbing a cosmic magical source that possessed her, the popularity of House of M means that many readers think of her as an omnipotent Reality Warper rather than the much less outlandish powers she generally has.
    • 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 set to appear in both X-Men: Days of Future Past (as a member of the Brotherhood) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (as an Avenger), which should only serve to make things even more confusing for the general audience.
  • 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 ), but readers seem focused on the one thing we never actually saw him do.
    • This gets even more ironic when one considers that the Comedian's driving force is precisely that he believes he IS about as bad as it can get. Between his aforementioned crimes and his allusions to other ones ("I did terrible things...") he believes that he is on par with the worst scum of his day, and suffers an extreme BSOD when he believes that there is someone or something even WORSE than himself.
    • It's also relevant that he and Sally Jupiter had consensual sex with him before and after the fact; she forgave him, even if the fans didn't.
    • On the other hand, somebody who chooses to rape another person absolutely deserves to be referred to as a rapist for the rest of their life. It is also strongly implied that Sally was not the first woman he tried that with.
      • Full relevant quote: "I mean, I done some bad things. I did bad things to women. I shot kids! In 'nam I shot kids..."
  • 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. Every single interpretation of him in other media is 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 but Dumb 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.
    • 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 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, but not very strong.
    • 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.
  • The time that Doctor Doom was defeated by Squirrel Girl, when the ultimate scheming badass of the Marvel Universe got owned by somewhone 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!
  • Jimmy Olsen will never live down turning into the Giant Turtle Man. Out of all the things he's turned into, that seems to be the one people are most determined to remind him of.
  • This is often how J'onn J'onzz feels about his time with the Justice League International.
    • 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 
  • 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 , 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 
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • Some fans, especially those who hated the character, will never live down the fact that Antoine used to be a Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey, completely ignoring that he Took a Level in Badass. It doesn't help that some Sonic fans only watched the Sonic Sat Am cartoon, where he didn't get any Character Development.
      • Sonic himself invokes this in Issue 204.
      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. Which is especially hard for her, because she is getting better and, despite her claims to the contrary, his approval does matter to her. Of course, this makes it all the more awesome and heartwarming when Batman praises her efforts.
    • It's also overused by writers as well. It's hard to keep track of all the stories that involve her nearly killing a criminal, only to be talked out of it at the last second by one of her companions.
  • 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 Superfiends.
    • 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.
  • Magneto's hatred of humanity is explained by his having been a victim of persecution for being different before. But in many variants, he seems to have a problem with all humans. (Of course, this goes back and forth. Sometimes he hates just the bad ones but will do what he thinks he has to do, and on a day that's not something nasty, he's one of the good guys. Sometimes he thinks the whole human race is irredeemable and anything goes. However, Grant Morrison's Magneto was very much Out of Character even compared to his next-most-evil portrayal, and Retcon has long since taken it from Fanon Discontinuity to Canon Discontinuity.)
    • 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 Megaman did have rampant nakedness, that only started with issue 12 of 16. The comic is now mostly known for this.
  • This Cracked article is an example of how the reputations of comic book characters who make Out of Character Moments will forever be ruined for it.
  • 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.
  • Supergirl is never going to live down dating her horse, Comet. Whether the constant ignorance of the fact that he was actually a centaur when they dated is ignorance or just Rule of Funny is unknown.
    • Given that the differences between a centaur and a horse are strictly limited to what's going on above the horse bits' scapulae, many of the same jokes would still apply.
  • 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.
  • Umar was always pretty intimidating enemy of Doctor Strange and first to make him consider rejecting his Thou Shalt Not Kill principle, back in the middle of The Silver Age of Comic Books, no less and later was often important player in struggle between Strange and Dormammu. However, she will never live down the fact she once raped The Incredible Hulk.
  • Mephisto, closest thing Marvel Universe has to Satan, enemy of Ghost Rider, Silver Surfer and Doctor Strange among the others, will probably never live down the fact he destroyed Spider-Man's marriage.
  • Alan Moore supposedly including rape or some kind of extreme sexual atrocity in almost all of his stories. There's a reason he had to tell people that no, Joker didn't rape Barbara Gordon.
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