Episode 526 A return to Mary Sue!

Apr 12, 2021

Mary Sues are always a fun topic! There are some misconceptions about them though… Mary Sues aren't all female, they can be any gender. Being super powerful or super popular or super pretty etc doesn't equal a Mary Sue, not even if your character super stands out next to all the others, those things ONLY indicate they might possibly be one. What equals a Mary Sue is a character that doesn't have to struggle very hard for anything, a character that is almost universally admired, and or loved (even by the enemy), a character that masters hard skills with ease and ends up teaching the teachers and beating the masters, a character that's destined to succeed and does in spite of internal story logic… All these things and more can add up to make a Mary Sue.

Topics and Show Notes

It's why Batman and Superman are NOT automatically Mary Sues even though they stand out and have super powers/abilities/skills. They have a million stories about how they face challenges, how they get people killed, how they lose powers, how people hate them etc. They could be Mary Sues only if they had bad writers.

Rei from the new Star Wars movies is a classic Mary Sue, although very well acted by the awesome Daisy Ridley, she doesn't face any serious struggles in her straight line trajectory to success, she defeats all enemies with ease, masters every skill better than all masters, and is destined to win. So even though she doesn't stand out aesthetically or physically, she qualifies. Similarly, Rick from Rick and Morty can be a bit of a Mary Sue in some stories in that he rarely faces real challenges because he's worked out everything beforehand. Whenever things seem to be going wrong for him you realise he's already engineered the situation so he can win, this makes him less compelling as a character, less immersive and believable.. You find out that even the social challenges he seems to face in some episodes were actually pre-engineered by him to reach exactly the conclusion they did.

The important point there is that it's only in SOME stories. Any character than be a Mary Sue if the writing fails them. but that doesn't mean that's what they always are! The classic story characters from the late 19th century Sherlock Holmes the super detective and Raffles the gentleman thief can be Mary Sues: over-powered and working to imbalance their story environments, but only at times.

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Last Child of Gluttony: White lines flash past as your knee comes close to the road… your bike roars as you lean into the curve. The road is a blur of speedlines. Red lights flash bright in front of you, tailing off behind as you whip past them. You’re king of the road, no one can catch you. This music evokes speed, night, racing, roads and heat!

Topics and shownotes

Banes' Mary Sue newspost - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/apr/06/the-bestest-evar/

Our old Mary Sue Quackcast - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/quackcast/episode-211-how-mary-sure-are-you/

Featured comic:
Hierarchy - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/apr/06/featured-comic-hierarchy/

Featured Music:
Last Child of Gluttony - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Last_Child_Of_Gluttony_/ - by Cdmalcolm1, rated M.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Pitface - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes

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Episode 509 - Saltcast

Dec 13, 2020

4 likes, 0 comments

Escapist fiction Vs Gritty and real style fiction… Furwerk-Studio made an interesting post about this subject. They were annoyed at people who dismiss escapism as something lessor or inferior to more gritty and realistic work, so we decided to tackle both sides and take some extreme views on the subject, both for and against! A few years ago Simon Peg made some comments related to this very subject and got a bit of backlash (links in the notes). The idea is that escapist stuff keeps us infantile and malleable… It's actually a really old idea anything that isn't realistic is childish and bad for you while things that are heavier and more adult in tone (whether escapist or not), are far more worthy.

Episode 498 - Your culture is MINE now!

Sep 28, 2020

4 likes, 5 comments

This week we're talking about cultural appropriation, cultural adaption and adoption, also stereotypes and all sorts of related stuff. It was inspired by a newspost from Tantz discussing the recent live action Mulan movie by Disney. Cultural appropriation is when you take an aspect that is sacred or important to one culture and own it yourself: decontextualising it, stripping it off it's meaning, making a cartoon version of it, commodifying it, commercialising or cheapening it in some other way.

Episode 495 - A fan of fanfiction?

Sep 7, 2020

3 likes, 0 comments

Fanfiction is a massive subject, there are so many aspects to it, from the bad stuff with the Mary Sues, rampant shipping, author inserts and wish fulfilment etc to homages and great works that extend the story and characters beyond what they were in the original and add interesting and fun aspects to fan favourites. There are many good reasons to do fanfiction: It's fun, you're inspired and want to use that inspiration, all the characteristics of the story are readymade so you don't have to do world building or character development, the work has a built in audience so you're going to have readers no matter what and hopefully some feedback, it can help make you more popular as a creator because of the fans of the original work, and you get to experiment because you can't sell the work or do anything serious with it so you may as well have fun and enjoy it!

Episode 481 - Fun with history?

May 31, 2020

4 likes, 0 comments

Today we're chatting about using historical stuff in your story and knowing how to use it right! Sometimes it's good to change stuff and sometimes it's not. The thing is that you should ONLY change it if you know what you're doing and why you're doing it. A good example is A Knight's Tale- It has a historical setting and there are a lot of deliberate historical anachronisms in it, and they're all very obvious, they do not pretend to be anything but what they are.

Episode 466 - And then What?

Feb 16, 2020

2 likes, 0 comments

What happens to characters after the big action scene or climactic moment? This could be anywhere in the story but it's usually close to the end. Do they process any of the things that have happened to them to lead them up to that point or do they just forget about everything and simply act as if nothing except the last 4 seconds matter? The later seems to be the trend in a lot of badly written fiction, and it's a notable trope in 80s style action films. Death of family members or lovers are irrelevant when you have a hot action star standing next to you!

Episode 459 - 2019 Year in review!

Dec 30, 2019

6 likes, 4 comments

It's been a great year! DD has continued to grow bit by bit, we've been stable and a great host for many many webcomics. DD is one of the only truly independent community focused webcomic hosting sites left. Most of the rest are commercial hubs that are not community centered. Part of our commitment to the community on DD is showcasing our best webcomics every week, which we've been doing for 17 years now, and I've personally been doing that for about 13.

Episode 431 - Political messages in your work

Jun 17, 2019

4 likes, 0 comments

This Quackcast is about having political agendas in your work and expressing them well! We're talking about deliberately putting in ideas that you want to get across to people, NOT the idea that all work has agendas and ideas no matter what. That's not relevant to this discussion. When you want to want to get your ideas across there are good ways to do it and poor ways. When you do it poorly your work either has the opposite effect (people will laugh at your agenda or despise it), or it becomes propaganda. Propaganda is for preaching to the converted, it's terrible for changing minds. The only thing it's good for is motivating people who are already on-board with you.


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