People seeking parental approval in webcomics.
- The plot of the "So What IS a McNinja?" arc in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: Dan and Mitzi McNinja are very disappointed in their son for becoming a Doctor rather than an assassin. Interestingly, the Doctor realizes that gaining his parents' respect with his medical skills is a hopeless task, so he decides to show them that he's "a damn good ninja!" as well.
- Meanwhile, his younger brother Sean still has "Well Done, Son!" Guy as a major motivation, hiding his technical wizardry behind a mask of misused slang. When a ghost wizard puts Sean in his ultimate fantasy world, his Dad is hugging him, saying, "Computers are pretty cool, son. They are pretty cool." He's brought to tears.
- In DDG Zip, it turns out, feels this way towards 'Netta since she sees 'Netta as a surrogate mother and could never get validation from her own mum.
- In Endstone, Cole stole her mother's Endstone to attempt to win her father's love.
- Gilgamesh Wulfenbach in Girl Genius spends his every waking moment (when not obsessing over Agatha) trying to live up to his Machiavellian father's expectations (who pushes Gil to the breaking point so that Gil won't go through what he did). Klaus does praise Gil upon completing difficult tasks, but the poor kid is usually too annoyed by the circumstances to really appreciate it. Klaus is rarely visibly impressed and thus easily comes across as dismissive. He was really enthusiastic only when saw Gil defeating a mechanized army, single-handed.
- Though, eventually, Klaus spells it out. Ironically, it's a mistake (he thinks Gil intentionally sent to catch Agatha someone guaranteed to kill her, rather than doing so by accident).Klaus: It seems I have misjudged you. Well done, son.
Gil: [suspicious] Is this another test?
Klaus: Erk. Please, don't make me laugh. Owch. No. No more tests, my son. The time for such things is over.
- Gil made it to the age of ten or so completely ignorant of his heritage, and Klaus only revealed it when he broke into his own records and found the embarrassing decoy story. This was probably primarily to keep him safe, but combined with all the tests later, it instilled in Gil the conviction that he had to earn the right to be Gilgamesh Wulfenbach.
- Which conveniently averted the "spoiled second-generation conqueror" problem. Take that, Ibn Khaldun!
- That said, they have a strong mutual affection and Gil never seems to doubt that his father cares, or even that he wants him... it's just that he can't be completely sure Klaus won't kill him or set him aside if he has to for the good of Europa. On the other hand, Klaus frequently looks down on the kid, but hasn't tried to shape his personality for anything but generic 'strength;' his lab at the beginning of the story contained no weapons whatsoever. (Subsequent events have required him to develop a more militant bent. Klaus seems to have been relying on the Spark to bring those qualities out when they were actually needed.) The closest to a healthy version of this trope you can get, considering there's an empire involved and both parties are congenitally insane.
- Though, eventually, Klaus spells it out. Ironically, it's a mistake (he thinks Gil intentionally sent to catch Agatha someone guaranteed to kill her, rather than doing so by accident).
- The Order of the Stick:
- The reason Roy Greenhilt took on the story's main quest was to prove his worth to his egocentric, self-centered father. He eventually comes to realize that his father simply isn't worth it and that nothing he can say will ever make him change. He gives up on him entirely, not even bothering with Calling the Old Man Out, and goes so far as to make his father promise not to ever visit his family from the afterlife — which his father does easily and casually without a single worry — to have the privilege of helping Roy.
- Nale also feels this way to his Evil Overlord father. Nale wants to prove that he can be even better Big Bad material than the old man, and he wants him to acknowledge that. Of course, in this case, it's less "I want your approval" and more "I can take care of myself, get out of my life." This ends up biting him in the butt as he kills Tarquin's best friend out of the belief that said friend planned to kill him, gloated about it to Tarquin, and said for the last time that he didn't want anything from Tarquin. Tarquin decides Offing the Offspring was the proper response, with his last words confirming that Nale was only alive because of Tarquin's protection in the first place.
- An indirect version comes from Haley's father in this strip:Ian Starshine: Not bad, kid. Maybe you're not a diabolical sleeper agent out to infiltrate my family and destroy all I've worked for.
Elan: [non-sarcastically] Truly, that's all any man can hope to hear from his girlfriend's father.
- Kazuo of Red String wants his father's approval so badly that he dumps his girlfriend that he loves dearly, resigns himself to an arranged marriage with a childhood friend he doesn't love that way, works at a job he hates, stops doing any of his hobbies—including cooking, which he actually wants to do as a career—and seems to be developing a drug problem to cope. Even when Kazuo shows some weak defiance, he always goes back to groveling for his father's love soon after. As of this writing, all his father's done in response is slap him repetitively, call him worthless, and point-blank tell the boy he's only good as a bargaining chip. And driven Kazuo to attempt suicide. Luckily, he survives.
- In The Specialists, Henry. He's a jerk, a bigot and a Casanova Wannabe — but you still feel sorry for him.
- It isn't something that Dave Strider of Homestuck likes to talk about, but he's clearly very deeply invested in following in his Aloof Older Brother (who turns out to be his genetic father) and father-figure's example.
- Uniquely, Dave sort of gets both of the typical resolutions to this plotline. Eventually, he comes to recognize that his Bro was a terrible person who never deserved his respect. But later on, he also gets to meet an alternate universe version of Bro who is actually a decent person, and who is able to give him the praise and validation and affection he always wanted but never got from his real Bro.
- Inverted with his best friend John; John resents his father's doting on him, although given that John unconsciously covers his room in graffiti referring to himself as stupid, it's rather understandable.
- Kaff Tagon from Schlock Mercenary looks like that when we first hear about his father. But a later flashback shows that there's more to their story: each blames the other one and himself for not saving the rest of their family from assassination a couple of decades ago.
- Hurmiz from Harbourmaster already has its progenitor Kema's respect. What it doesn't have is Kema's love—an understandable lack, since Kema still hasn't mastered the idea of love in general. This means Hurmiz is supportive of Gilou's efforts to force Kema to question its old habits more thoroughly.