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 499 - Life's worth?!

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5 likes, 0 comments

What is the worth of human life in your stories? This isn't something people often consider, we just tend to have a fairly accurate guess based on our experience of the real world, but sometimes stories get it really wrong and that can harm suspension of disbelief.

Episode 428 - Expectations of Male and female audiences

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3 likes, 3 comments

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Episode 286 - Offence, walking on eggshells

Aug 29, 2016

4 likes, 6 comments

Do you worry about offending specific people with your writing? Where's your line between honest expression and regard for other people's feelings? This was Bane's brilliant idea for a Quackcast. We touch a little on the idea of a “culture of offence”, where it seems that people look for things to be offended by, perhaps on behalf of others, but also about things that really CAN cause offence and how to avoid that. On one hand you have people complaining that everything is too “PC” these days, but on the other it's really not OK to be a dick to people just because you like to cling to the old days when it was fine to put down people on the basis of ethnicity, skin-colour, gender, or sexuality… But we can also cause offence accidentally, unintentionally, unknowingly… Should you compromise your vision to appease people, or should you forge ahead regardless? Keep in mind that some things that are fine for SOME audiences are offensive to others, so rather than fight with your audience or appease them perhaps it's better to try and actively direct your work at the CORRECT audience it's intended for? - speaking in terms of sex scenes, politics, etc. Listen to the theme Gunwallace concocted for us THIS time! Geminni: Get down to the bad sounds of this classic funk rock tune! Danceable!

Episode 254 - Sexism in your OWN work?k

Jan 18, 2016

2 likes, 0 comments

OMFG you sexist PIG! Heh… today we talk about trying to recognise sexism in your OWN work, what to do about it, and WHY. It turns out it can be very hard to do, and if you DO acknowledged it the instinct is to rationalise it away, justify it, or just try and brazen it out in some kind of old fashioned, largely embarrassing, display. I frequently do all three. How do we spot it? Well the Bechdel test isn't that useful, that's better for looking at broad trends not giving specific works a pass/fail - sexy outfits is one thing, if females are dressed minimally or in tight gear in CONTRAST to the males or vice versa - females ONLY having old stereotype roles (maiden/mother/whore archetypes, secretary, nurse, victim, maid etc), though this is context sensitive, i.e. it's more forgiveable if you're doing a historical story or something stylised like a fairytale or a noire story - Gender balance is another thing, it's context sensitive because certain stories will naturally have more of one gender (WW2 submarine crew, Girl's school, a prison story etc), and you don't have to have an exact balance anyway but it's definitely something to THINK about because there is no reason most stories should feature a majority of male characters and a minority of females. WHY should you think about it? Why should you care? Well the audience for almost ALL types of stories, be they action adventure, romance, Scifi, fantasy, historical, even porn, is getting close to 50/50 between men and women these days (maybe it always was?), it really doesn't make sense to alienate or belittle half your audience just because you like to cling to older ways of doing stuff. Gunwallace's theme this week reminds me of a cross between the Knightrider theme and Gunship- it's VERY retro-future. It's the theme to DDSR, a comic with cool custom “sprites”, AKA pixel-art.

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5 likes, 7 comments

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Episode 65 - Men and Women in Tights

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10 likes, 11 comments

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Episode 50 - Enhanced, Exposed and Erect, Adult Webcomics

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7 likes, 7 comments

A broad yet tasteful, classy and highly discrete discussion about the wonderful and disturbing world of lewd, lascivious adult webcomics.


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