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Old 2013-09-19, 19:58   Link #81
ArchmageXin
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Anyway, Mary Sue or Gary Stu, I think in the end all test litmus test is how much your prospective audience is turned off by him/her/it. A well written, decent character wouldn't invite the need for the author to defend an MS/GT attack.

But it certainly helps when you formulate an obstacle/villain for the character to take on, the answer is "How would the hero defend the zombie king." Not "How would I make the zombie Queen credible enough as a thread to the hero"

The first question would be meant for Batman. The second question, Superman. See the difference?
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Old 2013-09-20, 08:52   Link #82
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Although Batman and Superman can be somewhat sueish. The Dark Knight's Revenge was complete nonsense with Batman being basically omniscient and Superman being a complete tool.
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Old 2013-09-20, 09:16   Link #83
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Is it really okay to think that the Mary Sue factor has something to do with the "what" rather than the "why"?

I'll try to explain what I mean. Let's take a typical Mary Sue character which is perfect in any way, beautiful, loved, powerful, intelligent and so on. In other words I just described "what" this particular Mary Sue character is.

Then people by extension conclude that another character that has the same qualities is automatically a Mary Sue, because the "what" is the same.

But I feel that this is missing the point. I think that what makes a character a Mary Sue are not her peculiarities but the "why" she is portrayed with those peculiarities.

And the "why" a Mary Sue character is perfect in any way is, of course, because it serves as nothing but a petty self-fulfillment of the author and that's what really grates on the readers not the superpowers and superqualities themselves.
The story of a typical Mary Sue in other words serves no other purpose but to show how fantastic and perfect and lovable the character is. And by that I don't mean a simple portrayal of a character, which is perfectly fine as the focus of a story, but an overly flattering portrayal.

Let's take Doctor Manhattan from the Watchmen for example. Is he a Gary Stu simply because he is by far more powerful than any other hero in the story and even one among the most powerful superheroes in the universe of superheroes comics? I think not, because the portrayal that is given to us of him isn't flattering at all.
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Old 2013-09-20, 11:24   Link #84
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Let's take Doctor Manhattan from the Watchmen for example. Is he a Gary Stu simply because he is by far more powerful than any other hero in the story and even one among the most powerful superheroes in the universe of superheroes comics? I think not, because the portrayal that is given to us of him isn't flattering at all.
Which also means he doesn't fit the criteria of everyone loving him, so...
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Old 2013-09-20, 11:31   Link #85
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"Overpowered" is its own distinct criticism. A character can be "overpowered" without being a Mary Sue/Gary Stu.

On comic book boards, I frequently see Superman called "overpowered", but it's very rare to see someone call him a "Gary Stu". That's because as powerful as Superman is, quite a few things don't go his way (dying at the hands of Doomsday, anything having to do with Krypton causing him loads of grief, Lex Luthor being elected President, Batman insulting him, very nearly killing Wonder Woman while mind-controlled, etc...)

Superman hasn't lived a charmed existence since the Silver Age. No comic book super-hero has, really. Heck, DC's recent editorial mandates make DC superheroes almost as pitiable as a Puella Magi is.
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Old 2013-09-20, 12:44   Link #86
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Although Batman and Superman can be somewhat sueish. The Dark Knight's Revenge was complete nonsense with Batman being basically omniscient and Superman being a complete tool.
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Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
"Overpowered" is its own distinct criticism. A character can be "overpowered" without being a Mary Sue/Gary Stu.

On comic book boards, I frequently see Superman called "overpowered", but it's very rare to see someone call him a "Gary Stu". That's because as powerful as Superman is, quite a few things don't go his way (dying at the hands of Doomsday, anything having to do with Krypton causing him loads of grief, Lex Luthor being elected President, Batman insulting him, very nearly killing Wonder Woman while mind-controlled, etc...)

Superman hasn't lived a charmed existence since the Silver Age. No comic book super-hero has, really. Heck, DC's recent editorial mandates make DC superheroes almost as pitiable as a Puella Magi is.
Superheroes cannot be assigned a blanket sue status simply because different writers write the characters different, and while some of them in some story arcs are definitely sues, in another arc by another writer they're a really good character.

Even Superman, the 'boyscout' of the capes has really compelling stories in its Elseworld books, like Kingdom Come, Red Son, etc, where despite being ridiculously overpowered in them (in Kingdom Come, he's not affected by Kryptonite anymore, and in Red Son, he is by far the strongest) he is totally not a sue.

Even in the more mainstream lines, different incarnations are really different. The Nolan Batman movies portray a VERY different Batman than some of the comics where Batman can do no wrong.
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Old 2013-09-20, 13:03   Link #87
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Wasn't the older version of a Mary Sue basically an author insert-like character within an existing story or series that became more or less the hero over the actual heros? Loved by all the existing characters. Saves the day unexpectedly. Sometimes has a random tragic event in their lives or died at the end in a way that everyone will mourn their passing.

I seem to recall it was originally a Star Trek fan fiction term from the 1970s.

However such things can be done right to a point were you don't care if it is a Mary Sue or not. The Star Trek novels "Dreadnought" and "Battlestations!" are likely Mary Sue novels, but they are fun, and at the time, were some of the few official novels that didn't focus on the main cast for most of the story. (they aren't quite Mary Sue-ish since Captain Kirk nor Spock don't go for what would be the "Mary Sue" like character Ensign Piper).
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Old 2013-09-20, 13:52   Link #88
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Which also means he doesn't fit the criteria of everyone loving him, so...
He still gets the girls falling for him, with almost no effort from his part.

Anyway if not being loved by everyone regardless of everything else automatically dismiss any Gary Stu accusations then why is there even a discussion about Batman?
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Old 2013-09-20, 14:03   Link #89
GDB
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He still gets the girls falling for him, with almost no effort from his part.
Isn't it only one or two girls? One of which he had to put effort in for, and the other had Elektra issues or something so went after the same guy her mom did? Been a while since I read it.
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Old 2013-09-20, 15:32   Link #90
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He still gets the girls falling for him, with almost no effort from his part.
Doctor Manhattan only had 2 women in his life, Janie and then later Laurie. His relationship with Janie ended terribly after she caught him with Laurie. His relationship with Laurie also fell apart during the events of the comic and she eventually left him for Nite Owl.

I don't think this is sue-ish at all.
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Old 2013-09-20, 20:18   Link #91
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Isn't it only one or two girls? One of which he had to put effort in for, and the other had Elektra issues or something so went after the same guy her mom did? Been a while since I read it.
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Doctor Manhattan only had 2 women in his life, Janie and then later Laurie. His relationship with Janie ended terribly after she caught him with Laurie. His relationship with Laurie also fell apart during the events of the comic and she eventually left him for Nite Owl.

I don't think this is sue-ish at all.
You guys do realize that my point is that Doc Manhattan isn't a Mary Sue? And that you can only think that if you examine the situation superficially just as in the case of Batman?

Everything that you said could be applied to Batman too and to some minor extent even to Superman.
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Old 2013-09-20, 20:29   Link #92
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You guys do realize that my point is that Doc Manhattan isn't a Mary Sue? And that you can only think that if you examine the situation superficially just as in the case of Batman?

Everything that you said could be applied to Batman too and to some minor extent even to Superman.
I said earlier that you cannot assign blanket sue/non-sue status to characters written in the Marvel/DC system because the different versions of the characters in different lines/universes/by different writers are really separate characters. Ie, Nolan Batman is a completely different Batman than JLU Batman or The Dark Knight Returns Batman. There are some runs of Batman where he is very much written like a Mary Sue, and many where he is not.
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Old 2013-09-20, 20:37   Link #93
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I said earlier that you cannot assign blanket sue/non-sue status to characters written in the Marvel/DC system because the different versions of the characters in different lines/universes/by different writers are really separate characters. Ie, Nolan Batman is a completely different Batman than JLU Batman or The Dark Knight Returns Batman. There are some runs of Batman where he is very much written like a Mary Sue, and many where he is not.
I invite you to read my initial post earlier above on this page and then tell me if I'm really off the mark in your opinion.


The various Batman as they are portrayed are different, as you say, but are their "what" they are, their objective statuses, actually different from the various versions?
Then isn't the "why" and "how" what really makes them different on the Mary-sue scale?
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Old 2013-09-20, 23:31   Link #94
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Wasn't the older version of a Mary Sue basically an author insert-like character within an existing story or series that became more or less the hero over the actual heros? Loved by all the existing characters. Saves the day unexpectedly. Sometimes has a random tragic event in their lives or died at the end in a way that everyone will mourn their passing.

I seem to recall it was originally a Star Trek fan fiction term from the 1970s.
Yeah, this is a comment I made earlier in the thread. The original context of the term was talking about fanfiction characters who were written to dwarf all the original characters in the story, just for the satisfaction of the fanfiction writer and to the detriment of the personalities of the canon characters (whose established traits are overshadowed/overruled by this new fanfiction character becoming the star). And when you consider it in those terms, it makes sense.

What people generally complain about today using that term is subtly different. It's more about an over-powered or overly-perfect character being at the center of a narrative, and not having to struggle enough to solve the problems set before them, perhaps to the point where it threatens the believability/"relate-ability" of the character. It's sort of taking the character traits that were applied to the original fanfiction example, and applying it to fiction at large and saying "there are characters that are annoying for similar reasons".

That being said, there are works of fiction where the whole point of the story is to watch an over-powered character kick butt and save the day. So complaining that this sort of character is a "Sue/Stu" could be sort of missing the point of the work (which could very well be simple "wish fulfilment" in some cases; that isn't necessarily the epitome of evil some make it out to be, even if some people don't enjoy it). That doesn't mean you can't not enjoy the work because of the characters and the way they're portrayed... but it's not necessarily the same problem as the original use of the term, where someone's overpowered fan character was messing with canon and making the whole fanfiction hard for anyone else to appreciate due to established "story universe" expectations.
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Old 2013-12-18, 12:05   Link #95
amaterasu4
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It's amazing how after years of reading I still don't get well what is a Mary Sue. XD

Anyway, I remember a Fullmetal Alchemist website that made a fake translation about a video game chapter. When seeing the video game character the Elrics were like this:
Quote:
Ed: God not another Mary Sue...
Al: Just don't stare at her
Ed: But she is so pure!
I guess the translators had a point considering the story turned around that character and was kind of perfect.
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Old 2014-03-06, 22:09   Link #96
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If the main character is a Mary-Sue I think that can possibly be a bad thing. After all, the main character is the one taking us through a story. What better way to isolate us than by giving us a perfect character. I think it's safe to say that hardly anyone can relate to a perfect character. We need flawed characters to sympathize for. If a character is perfect, why should I care about them?
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Old 2014-03-06, 23:15   Link #97
Marcus H.
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What people generally complain about today using that term is subtly different. It's more about an over-powered or overly-perfect character being at the center of a narrative, and not having to struggle enough to solve the problems set before them, perhaps to the point where it threatens the believability/"relate-ability" of the character. It's sort of taking the character traits that were applied to the original fanfiction example, and applying it to fiction at large and saying "there are characters that are annoying for similar reasons".
When used in a non-fanfiction sense, Mary Sues are "characters that are written like bad fanfiction". Simple as that.
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Old 2014-03-07, 01:51   Link #98
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When used in a non-fanfiction sense, Mary Sues are "characters that are written like bad fanfiction". Simple as that.
But my entire point (when I wrote that comment 5+ months ago) was that this is a completely different thing that is way more nebulous and subjective than the stricter definition that applies to fanfiction. With fanfiction, you have the original work as a basis for comparison, but you have to judge an original work in its own context in considering its intent and message. Truthfully, I've seen people make these sorts of accusations against characters in original stories a number of times wilfully ignoring entire aspects of the characterization and plot because certain other aspects bother them so damn much that they apply the Mary/Gary Sue label to lambaste the writing without a deeper look. So even if you say that it's as "simple" as "characters that are written like bad fanfiction", that's about as clear as mud and can mean almost whatever anyone wants it to mean when they make the pronouncement. (How much good and bad fanfiction have they read to make an accurate comparison?) In my experience, it's typically a sort of "slur" used by lazy and inarticulate critics who just have some vague idea that the character writing seems flawed and it sounds sort of like this term they've heard before that sort of applies to the situation. I'd much rather see the term be used precisely and judiciously when it truly applies rather than in the near-useless way it's typically used these days. Of course, it's not like I can control this, so it's my own rant/opinion.
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Old 2014-03-07, 02:23   Link #99
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When used in a non-fanfiction sense, Mary Sues are "characters that are written like bad fanfiction". Simple as that.
That's the problem though. If you assess a character in an original work as being written like bad fanfiction, it's really a hyperbole for "this sucks".

In these cases though, I don't really need to use the term, personally.

I do remember Gene Roddenberry had a pretty whacked out concept for his show Star Trek: The Next Generation, where he mandated that there be no interpersonal conflict, the ideals of their organization (The Federation) were infallible, and if anyone were to act, basically uncivilized, to be the cause of aliens. Basically he wanted a cast of clean, infallible characters. Hell, even the technology was supposed to be infallible to (yea, right) It's quite humorous because that's like deliberately invoking Marty/Mary Sue and funny enough the term comes from Star Trek fanfiction. (Then again many people think, so does slash (yaoi/yuri fanfiction) comes from too)

In the context of that particular work, the creator was trying to create idealized characters for the future. You know, humanity would advance and become better people, and I suppose a few hundred years from now, people would find our vices and prejudices to be irrational and such. Makes sense on paper but... you ended up with characters like Wesley Crusher. Don't ever mention his name to a Star Trek fan.

Unfortunately, the result was really dull and boring storylines with a bunch of elitist-sounding and out of touch characters and eventually they retooled the show to not be so sterile and it became more of a hit than a bomb that it initially was. So the boring bald headed Captain Picard that would always lecture the Aliens of the Week about humanity's superior morality (wait, but your organization isn't just humans... fucking racists) would become more of a layered characters and actually show anger. Later shows would show more morally ambiguous characters that committed actions that were almost indisputably evil that sparked tons of debate on whether or not they belong in this franchise.

I don't necessarily think it's needed to make a character you can relate to, but at the same time you can create a character so out of touch that it's pretty much impossible to rationalize or even care about their actions.
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Old 2014-03-07, 02:36   Link #100
Marcus H.
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That's the problem though. If you assess a character in an original work as being written like bad fanfiction, it's really a hyperbole for "this sucks".
Well, that's the point. It's the only reason why Mary Sues and Gary Stus exist outside of fanfiction. If not for those "lazy and inarticulate critics", the Mary Sue litmus would only be used for things that do not exist in official media. (It's rather obvious that I've given up on trying to say that their opinions are wrong because there will always be people who would misuse the term for their own opinions. Talking them out of this habit is like talking to a school of piranhas.)

Quote:
I don't necessarily think it's needed to make a character you can relate to, but at the same time you can create a character so out of touch that it's pretty much impossible to rationalize or even care about their actions.
Now this happens a lot in anime, although that element of being relatable is also objective.
There are some who would find a multifaceted character as boring, but it's often not the fault of the story.

Rhetorical question: Is it possible that there are very few light novels depicting life past high school because there are few people who can relate to it?
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