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Ungrateful Bastard / Comic Books

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  • The X-Men. They can save the world over and over again, and the public of the Marvel universe will still hate and fear them. This is particularly notable during any origin arc, most all of which can be summarized as "Hey, those mutants saved us from that rampaging robot/alien/supervillain/whatever, let's throw rocks at them!
  • Spider-Man can save J. Jonah Jameson, JJJ's family, and indeed the whole city of New York all day long if he likes; next morning, the Daily Bugle headlines are still going to be reading "Threat or Menace?"
    • There's the occasional hint that Jameson actually does like Spider-Man, but that he puts on the horse and pony show to sell newspapers. And far more regular hints that JJ can't stand him. Actually, JJJ clearly stated that he was jealous of Spider-Man, all the way back in the tenth issue.
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    • Ultimate JJJ, on the other hand, got a clue after a storyline event with the Chameleon caused him to learn Spider-Man's secret identity and Spider-Man's aid kept him from dying when he got shot in the head: this JJJ refused to reveal his identity and vowed to do a complete 180 and "fight the world for him". Under most circumstances, this would likely be Ret Conned as brain damage, or washing, or reversed quickly or eventually, but having only one single writer scripting the entire series helps avoid such problems.
    • There's also enough evidence that New Yorkers, even if such mass consumers of Accentuate the Negative to make the Daily Bugle the number one paper, aren't as pliable to the mass media message, and will rally behind Spider-Man. This also pisses off J.J., but the only thing he likes more than subscription numbers is to be pissed off, so everyone's happy.
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    • Spidey can deliver a quick dose of Laser-Guided Karma to any asshole who starts Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like, namely by shutting their traps with a gag of webbing.
    • Some of the New York City Cops are also more on the ball than their colleagues, and will cut the wall-crawler some slack when he makes their lives easier. On rare occasions, more belligerent cops will be called out by their partners, who point out that Spider-Man didn't actually do anything wrong.
      • Spider-Man once did have a close ally in the NYPD: Captain Jean DeWolff. Sadly, she was murdered by Stanley Carter, the original Sin-Eater, her ex-lover. (Jean may have even had feelings for Spider-Man that were warmer than he had originally thought, as evidenced from a collection of photographs he found of the two of them together that she kept; one of them, that had included the Black Cat, was altered so that the Cat was removed.)
      • Subverted in one older issue when on patrol, Spidey notices an old woman being mugged; he stops the mugger and returns her purse. She thanks him sincerely, promises to never read or believe JJJ's editorials from then on, and wishes him good luck in the future as he swings away.
  • The whole Marvel Universe as a whole is filled with ungrateful bastards, quick to turn on the heroes for no good reason or if they make a mistake despite getting their asses saved from Galactus, Magneto, Doctor Doom, etc., Civil War demonstrating that behavior. Then again, Marvel citizens are dumbasses so it's not really surprising. That said, the occasional moments when ordinary people actually show gratitude to the heroes are all the more satisfying, and can serve as Pet the Dog moments to make them likable to the readers.
    • The assholishness of the Marvel Universe inhabitants is so pronounced that, when The Avengers hopped to The DCU in JLA/Avengers, they were flabbergasted when cheering civilians mobbed them with grateful thanks (and autograph requests) for saving them from a disaster, and upon seeing how much positive media attention the JLA got for their heroics, Captain America became suspicious that the DC superheroes were tyrants demanding worship from humans.
    • To further home what a Crapsack World full of Jerkasses and dragon bulliers and other morons the Marvel Universe is, upon seeing how the Marvel Universe treats its superheroes, Superman accuses them of not doing enough to help people, claiming this is the only reason why they could be so hated by the people they are supposed to protect. The comic eventually explains Supes and Cap's Jerkass behavior by saying the differing natures of their universes (and their own strong ties to their home universes) were making them belligerent, and they make peace by the end of the story.
    • The second half of the miniseries Marvels deals heavily with point of view character Phil Sheldon's increasing cynicism over how little respect the superheroes get despite them selflessly saving them all several times over.
  • Superman can save the whole universe over and over again, and the government will still create Cape Busters to attack him. Even his supporting characters get hit with this. General Zod's heroic son, Chris Kent (Nightwing), and his girlfriend, Thara Ak-Var (Flamebird), almost always get attacked the second after they finish a rescue.
    • Was even worse in the beginning of Superman. From time to time he would lose his powers for a few days or so and would get a replacement. In this time, everyone simply forgets all his deeds he has done, there would be parades for the replacement for things Superman did every day and sometimes people would even insult him for becoming useless.
    • And on occasions when it would even only slightly seem as if Superman would do something evil, everyone would consider it the truth (maybe except Lois and Jimmy, and sometimes not even them) and think he was evil or abandoned the city.
    • However, perhaps as a way to distinguish it from Marvel, this quality was reduced considerably (though inconsistently) in DC humans over time to the point where hurting Superman is a Berserk Button for the city of Metropolis.
    • One specific example is Cat Grant's bratty little son Adam. When watching The Death of Superman on the news, Jose Delgado (Gangbuster) was appropriately horrified, but Adam got bored and changed the channel. Jose ordered him to show some respect as the hero who saved all their lives, the city, and the world so many times had just died, but Adam flat out said he didn't care.
    • Taken to its logical extreme in Superman: Truth. Superman has saved the world countless times, and when his secret identity is revealed, how does the world thank him? The police has ordered his arrest, the banks have cancelled his credit cards and several lawyers are suing for property damage. Even Perry White fired him from the Daily Planet, and behaves like he swapped personalities with J. Jonah Jameson.
    • In Kryptonite Nevermore, Superman has lost most of his power and cannot prevent a skyscraper from toppling down. The following day everyone laugh at him and Superman is distraught because people turns on him as soon as he makes one mistake.
      Superman: Ridicule... Laughter! So soon, they've forgotten all I've done... My years of service... of sacrifice! I guess I'm being bitter — and I don't care! I've a right to bitterness... No man has a better right! I've denied myself the comforts of home... family... to continue helping these... ingrates! I thought they admired me... for myself! I've lived in a fool's paradise!
  • Supergirl :
    • In Action Comics #286, Supergirl saved Lex Luthor's life. He yelled he hated her and he tried to kill her again. It didn't help that Supergirl informed him that she saved him because she wants him to pay for his crimes. He declared "[He] loathed [her] more than Superman."
    • In Supergirl Vol 1 #9, Supergirl saves a man from dying... and he complains about it.
    • In Supergirl Vol 5, when she and Powerboy quelled a hurricane in Mexico, a general threatens them, saying it is illegal for metahumans to interfere with Mexican affairs. Powerboy threatens to bring the hurricane back, and the general shuts up.
    • Supergirl, again, dealt with this with Cat Grant after saving her life (and accidentally breaking Cat's arm in the process). This led Cat to go on a surprisingly effective smear campaign against the Girl of Steel. In the end, Supergirl merely left a note on her desk promising never to rescue her again.
    • In Supergirl #34 Kara fights Silver Banshee in a baseball field. Several spectators throw their cups at her and shout that she ruined the game and trashed the field (disregarding that Silver Banshee also destroyed the place and Supergirl saved their lives). They scream that they don't need her and want her to go away until she flies away... and then they demand that she cleans the mess up. So... they say they don't need her and want her gone until she goes away.... and then they want her stay to help?
    • In Action Comics #285, Superman reveals his cousin's existence to the world, showing footage of Kara helping him save people dozens of times. At the beginning the public praises her, but as soon as she has -temporary- trouble dealing with an Eldritch Abomination, people complain about her being overrated and worse than her cousin.
    • Back in the late Silver Age Supergirl could save Nasthalthia 'Nasty' Luthor over and over again, and 'Nasty' kept mocking her and attempting to expose her Secret Identity. In Demon Spawn she tries to out Supergirl as Kara is getting her out of a burning building.
    • In Supergirl (Rebirth): The Girl of No Tomorrow, the denizens of National City swiftly and completely forget about any and all Supergirl's good actions as soon as they find out her father is a murderer whom she was trying to rehabilitate.
  • The Punisher, being a cynical, dark sociopathic antihero who is utterly determined to rid the living world of criminals is almost always this trope, even in cases when the criminal (even one as small-time as a retired thief!) in question helped him. He's not only this to his enemies, but his allies as well. Even for the innocent, getting even a thank you out of Frank requires you to go above and beyond the call of duty.
  • In one story in Tales of the Slayers, a medieval Slayer saves her town from a horrific vampire attack.. and is burned as a witch for it. Her stricken Watcher, Forced to Watch as she burned, goes to the city gates and lets the vampires in.
  • Think the Fantastic Four is immune to this? Think again. After numerous supervillain attacks on the Baxter Building, Child Protective Services accused Reed and Sue of being bad parents towards Franklin and Valeria. After much protest, they agreed to relinquish custody of their children; however, less than four hours after the officials publicly announced they were moving the two children to a safehouse, the safehouse was attacked by an unknown enemy and it - along with everything in a half-mile radius - was reduced to a smoldering crater. Fortunately, Reed had thought ahead of time - it had been a "dummy" safehouse, a condition he insisted on before he agreed to the terms, and miraculously, there were no casualties. Humiliated, the officials rescinded their decision. Unfortunately for the Fantastic Four, no-one ever found out just who had attacked the decoy safehouse, and many accused them of doing it themselves in a ploy to get their children back.
  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog isn't even immune to this.
    • The Dork Age was quite bad at this, with at least two instances of the Freedom Fighters being disbanded in favor of Geoffery St. John's team, despite the fact that they've been fighting much longer than his group.note 
    • When Snively pulls a We Can Rule Together on his half-sister Hope, she furiously disowns him and vows to take him down. A hurt and livid Snively believes she is just this trope and dares her to show what "an ungrateful, second rate brat" can do against his forces. She answers with her own invented artillery, a flaming shield, making clear he's char unless he gets the hell away from her now.
  • The vice-minister and the princess of Electropolis in Convergence: Green Lantern - Parallax #2. Kyle offers his help to stop Hal/Parallax in exchange for them not attacking Metropolis. But they launch the attack anyway, taking advantage of the fighting between Kyle and Hal.
  • Sonic X: Milan Ramada. When Sonic saves her and several other people from missiles shot by Eggman, she berates Sonic for letting Eggman take advantage of the distraction to steal her limousine.
  • In the Disney Ducks Comic Universe, Donald got hit with this so often that in the sixties the fans demanded he was given a way to get back at the other characters, resulting in the creation of his superhero/antihero alter ego Paperinik the Devilish Avenger.
    • As Donald can't exactly get too much of a break, Paperinik gets hit with this once in a while, with the citizens of Duckburg being prone to turn on him at the flimsiest frame-up or celebrating new heroes whenever they appear (never mind that, aside for Paperinika, whose Straw Feminist ways made her unpopular with the male half of Duckburg, and the Red Bat, who's an immense klutz and isn't too respected when paired with Paperinik, said heroes invariably reveal themselves as criminals trying to replace our hero to have free reign to rob the city blind). This, however, has a good reason: in the early stories Paperinik was an outright criminal, one that by the third story had earned such infamy that him (or rather a robot looking like him) flying over the city caused a mass-panic, and the citizens of Duckburg have not forgotten. Then there's those who expect Paperinik to just be their servant even when they know the Devilish Avenger's past...
  • Ultimate Marvel
    • Ultimate X-Men: Beast told Wolverine that he shouldn't be insulting the guys that are setting him free from Weapon X's jail. Wolverine insisted in the insults when the cage was opened, and escaped. Getting revenge on Wraith was above all else.
    • All-New Ultimates
      • Crossbones tried to kill Spider-Man, right after he saved him from falling debris.
      • Scourge saved Spider-Man from Crossbones. Spider-Man webs him and leaves him for the police.
      • The watchdogs made a military operation to liberate Scourge. He shot all of them as soon as he had a weapon.
  • Preemptively shut down in Beast Wars: Uprising; when a group of Resistance troopers consider arresting or killing Snapper even though he just helped save their lives, Rampage very sternly informs them that if they want to do that, they’ll have to go through him. Rampage is an immortal Blood Knight with super strength and a powerful healing factor, feared across Cybertron for the sheer number of enemies he’s horrifically slaughtered. Needless to say, the troopers decide to let Snapper go free in a show of appreciation.
    • In the backstory, once the Confederacy came into power, humanity showed nothing but ingratitude to the Autobots for saving them from the Decepticons on numerous occasions. The events of the series came about because the Confederacy forced the Transformers to all squat on Cybertron and stole or destroyed most of their colony worlds in response to a failed attack by Galvatron. They did that almost immediately after Optimus Prime and hundreds of other Transformers sacrificed their lives to save Earth from an Eldritch Abomination.
  • DC's Hercules Unbound has been doing whatever he can to earn that Jerkules monkier from the Disney adaptation since long before that adaptation came out:
    • He elbowed Superman in the face for saving him from Gog, the Godslayer.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Hercules keeps betraying and sometimes trying to sexually assault Wonder Woman, the same woman who freed him from his punishment after he enslaved and raped her mother and her people.


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