The term “Mary Sue” became a lot more mainstream a few years ago - but around comic book websites like ours, and circles that were into writing and deeper fandom have been well versed with this for much longer.
The Mary Sue is a character who has abilities or positive qualities that seem greater than the universe of the story around him or her.
It had its origin back in the 1970's I think, in a Star Trek fanfiction where Ensign Mary Sue was assigned to the Enterprise and outshone all the regular series characters, and I believe won the loyalty and love of Captain Kirk, and maybe Spock and McCoy as well; I haven't read the story.
Anyway, a year or two back we had a little Mary Sue submission and it made for a fun little comic.
I'd like to do that again for anyone who's interested.
Watch this space for submission dates, and let me know below if you're interested in submitting something (just one page) to a little 2023 Mary Sue collection here on the Duck.
Here's last year's Mary Sue Comic: https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Mary_Sue_The_Comic/
Our friend HippyVan did this before me, so credit to that notable for the idea!
Anyone interested in submitting to this, maybe in the next month or so? What are your thoughts on Mary Sues?
See you next time!
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MarisuBanes at 12:00AM, March 9, 2023
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Banes at 4:33PM, March 10, 2023
@Chickfighter - Ha! That sounds like a good template actually!
Chickfighter at 6:18AM, March 10, 2023
Tehehe... I like to think of my Chickfighter character as a Mary Sue who keeps running into reality. Ouch.
Banes at 2:54PM, March 9, 2023
@DylanTale Comics - a crossover could be a blast! And a hoot!
DylanTale Comics at 2:31PM, March 9, 2023
Seeing the examples of a Mary Sue, I think I might have one or two characters who have this kind of outshining personality (I'm thinking Lany would fit this role like a glove). I'll see what ideas I can come up with for a page. I might even reach out to a few people on here to see if I can feature some kind of a crossover!
Banes at 11:26AM, March 9, 2023
@J_Scarbrough - The term has probably evolved a little bit over the decades. I think the essential characterization is the idealized abilities of the character, no matter what the gender. Paul Eberhardt points out that these are not necessarily bad characters, and are quite beloved, especially the "Parody Sues". By the way, this Mary Sue comic is not done in the spirit of judging or criticizing characters or their writers - it's supposed to be fun. tvtropes.org has a whole article for the various types of Mary Sues too.
J_Scarbrough at 9:01AM, March 9, 2023
I thought the "Mary Sue" was a character who was just so bland and devoid of any kind of distinct character or personality, while also possessing a lack of any kind of flaws or imperfections that would otherwise give such a character any kind of depth. Similarly, there also seems to be some contention as to what the male equivalent of such a character is, as I've seen the terms "Marty Stu" and "Gary Stu" used sort of interchangably.
Banes at 7:07AM, March 9, 2023
@Amelius - Ah, yes! All of that sounds familiar; I guess I could've looked up the Wikipedia article at least before writing this article. haha. But for the entertainment of it, i'll read it now!
Banes at 7:05AM, March 9, 2023
@PaulEberhardt - I'd love to see what you do; i'm sure it'll be most excellent! You're probably right about the fact that the non-ironic Mary Sue is less common these days, and the comedic Sues are a LOT of fun!
Banes at 7:04AM, March 9, 2023
@MOrgan - The impulse to write something that way is a very natural one for any writer, I'd say! Captain Kirk does enter the region of Mary Suedom once in awhile himself...xD
Amelius at 5:10AM, March 9, 2023
The origin is from a parody called "A Trekkie's Tale" written in 1973 for the fanzine Menagerie, penned by one of the Zine publishers Paula Smith, poking good-natured fun and satirizing the familiar "theme" of the fanfic submissions they got. The other publisher, Sharon Ferraro, wrote about "Mary Sue" as a character archetype in the Zine in '76. The full story (it's very short and very funny) is on the Wikipedia article for Mary Sue. So two lady fans of Trek came up with the term, not script writers in the industry.
PaulEberhardt at 4:47AM, March 9, 2023
I hope I can get anything drawn at all, because I'm really itching to do a submission for this. As for my thoughts on Mary Sues, I'm not at all sure if actual, accidental, non-ironic Mary Sues still exist. They're a pretty rather familiar concept by now, so in order not to notice an aspiring writer/artist really has to fail to do their homework (or be a honey badger in disguise and therefore don't care). However, it's tons of fun to do the tongue-in-cheek kind, and everything that unleashes so much creativity must be good. So the bottom line is I love Mary Sues. Everyone does. ;)
MOrgan at 3:12AM, March 9, 2023
I believe the term actually originated among the people who were reading script proposals for Star Trek, as they would receive a lot of submissions basically featuring self-insert characters who were beloved by the crew and particularly the character the writer had a crush on (usually Kirk or Spock). I'd say that a rare Mary Sue script that slipped through was The Lights Of Zetar where the writer (puppeteer Shari Lewis) was originally intended to play Mira Romaine.