Created By: fleb on June 6, 2008

Why Marty Su?

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Marty Stu seems like a pointless split-off of Mary Sue. Like it says in the latter: "Not everybody bothers with that distinction [with Marty Stu], though. Far and away more frequently the character type is called a Mary Sue without regard to gender."

Anyone else think so?

ETA: Should probably cross-reference the triple-Sue cleanup. linky
Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • June 6, 2008
    Mary Sue itself seems to cover canon examples way too much, veering into Canon Sue territory.
  • June 6, 2008
    I already moved all of the straight canon examples I saw in both Mary Sue and Marty Stu over to Canon Sue. The way I view it, Mary Sue and Marty Stu represent the character type itself, so it's the proper place to put parodies and deconstructions within canon works (since the characters used in that fashion usually fail the litmus test of being both the center of attention and overwhelming the rest of the story). Canon Sue represents pretty much those two character types.

    Also, while the article needs this written into it, Marty Stu tends to have some deviances from Mary Sue as far as the tell-tale superficial traits go. You almost never see any male character made out to be a Friend To All Living Things, have total purity that causes everyone to respect them, or the general "get things done exclusively by presence alone" that comes up exceedingly often in female ones. In fact, I think the biggest difference between them is that whereas the textbook Mary Sue is meant to be the ideal female figure (with emphasis placed on perfection in form and spirit), the male version tends to basically be the Rule Of Cool taken to the extreeeeeeeme. Obviously, neither are exclusive to each other (there are plenty of God Mode females out there and it's probably not unheard of for a total purity male), but those are the general trends I've noticed.
  • June 6, 2008
    I've heard that Marty Stu has a marked tendency to be more angsty and whiny. Not that Mary Sue is free from angst, but apparently Marty Stu fanfics are more likely to dwell on it. I don't know if this is actually true (I don't read a massive amount of fanfic) but I'm sure I read somewhere.
  • June 6, 2008
    Yeah, there is a noticeable Double Standard in what writers think would make their wish-fulfillment characters 'totally awesome.' But the fact that Mary Sue gets used not infrequently as the gender-neutral term, while the Fan Speak cabal can't even agree on any definitive male-specific Chekhovs Pun, makes it seems very lumpable.
  • June 6, 2008
    I agree. Lump them.
  • June 6, 2008
    I don't think a merge is in order so much as the Marty Stu article needs to be expanded upon. There's enough difference outside of gender in their common traits and while there is quite a bit of overlap, there are plenty of male/female split articles that have even less to distinguish themselves from each other (i.e. Genki Girl vs. Keet). I'll work on expanding Marty Stu in a little.
  • June 7, 2008
    I'm for lumping it all under Mary Sue, with a brief description of the differences between Sues and Stus.
  • June 7, 2008
    I prefer lumping. I know it makes the article bigger, but honestly, that's not a good reason to split the same trope into male and female. Especially since many people just call them "Mary Sue" regardless of whether they're male or female. You could just have a small note: "Male Mary Sues are sometimes called 'Marty Stu,' and have a greater tendency to have an angsty backstory and be EXTREME! badasses, and are much less likely to be a Friend To All Living Things," etc.

    Since the angsty and impossibly cool version is still a Mary Sue, I'd rather see the definition all handled neatly in one article rather than spread arbitrarily across two (meaning I have to visit both articles before I get the full definition). It is arbitrary, because they don't necessarily fall neatly into their gender-roles -- I've seen female Mary Sues who fit the "angsty and impossibly cool" type, and were no less Mary Sue-ish.

    Remember, as hard as it may be for some of us to fathom, some people are going to come here not knowing what a Mary Sue is, so it'd be nice if the Mary Sue article was complete.
  • June 7, 2008
    The problem with lumping it is that Mary Sue is already an elephantine article that sort of misses the underlying point (i.e. that it's a flat character given total idyllic focus) in favor of listing all the most generic traits that pop up in the most amateur writings. If anything, the article should be rewritten to focus exclusively on the underlying basics of the character type, with the tell-tale signs being split into their own article(s). In fact, here's how I can see this being done:

    • Mary Sue - The basic mechanics of what makes a Mary Sue regardless of the superficial traits. No examples, with the below getting them.
    • Purity Sue (or Mary Sue Classic) - The Friend To All Living Things that is Too Good For This Sinful Earth.
    • Angst Sue - The wangsty Sue with a tragic past and bleak outlook.
    • God Mode Sue - The Minnesota Fats that comes in, displays way more aptitude than the other characters, and is just so much better in every single way. The more ridiculous ones are practically A God Am I.
    • Tsundere Sue (or Tsuedere, or Feminist Sue) - The type that is confrontational of everybody and generally acts like an (unintentional) Straw Feminist without anybody calling her out. Gets everybody to respect her for her "spunkiness" and fixes everybody's problems with firmness. Almost always ends up melting in the arms of the hero (or author's preferred male character). Doesn't show up as a male character very often because of the Double Standard (female confrontation is endearing; male confrontation is hostile).
    • Relationship Sue - The Sue that exists solely to be the author stand-in for a relationship with such and such character. Could also be used to refer to when an opposite gender Mary Sue is made, with the author either using a canon character or a more toned down original character as their avatar. Overlaps with Magical Girlfriend, but that doesn't automatically make a Magical Girlfriend one of these because they can still be fleshed out characters.
    • Parody Sue - Analysis of the huge amount of parody/deconstruction done to these character types while also serving as the place for all the listings of such.
    • Marty Stu - Analysis of the traits of the above and how they tend to mutate with the Y chromosome.
  • June 7, 2008
    Black Charizard
    I support Die Hard's suggestion. The only obstacle I could see is that most Mary Sues have several traits at the same time, so it could be difficult to sort each case onto the appropiate article. Then again, most cases have some trait that stands more than the others, so it should be doable.

    Adding to that classification, The Other Wiki adds some more categories such as:

    • The Anti-Sue: This Sue is basically making a You Suck character so overdosed with flaws that it becomes as annoying as a flawless classical Mary Sue.
    • The Villain Sue: Mary Sue on the villains' side. For all purposes this Sue can be as angsty (or even more, as she's been forced to be a villain and do Bad Things) and have the same traits as a more heroic Mary Sue, with the difference that this Sue is involved with the baddies instead of the main characters.
    • The Self Insertion Sue: Usually the most blatant trait of a Mary Sue. The author stand-in, this Sue acts and thinks like the writer (and probably likes the same things, too), and can even share the same name, or pseudonym. Doesn't include things like overidealization and asskickery, as those are separate traits, but is probably the root cause for them, which is why this trait is seldom found alone.

    Also, not only does the body of the article need a rewrite, but the examples need some cleanup, too. I don't know if Dagny Taggart from Atlas Shrugged is an example, but if it is, it should go into Canon Sue, not here.
  • June 7, 2008
    Die Hard: I'd disagree about there not being many male Tsundere Sues - it seems one of the classic warning signs of a Stu is a character who's an exaggeratedly Bad Ass Heroic Sociopath who has a Freudian Excuse for his attitude and disagreements with his "allies", but just prefers to be a Jerkass. Besides, it's not like they can lay a finger on him (see Posession Sue!Ranma from the "Just Won't Die" series - "Yeah, but can you kick my ass?!?").

    Black Charizard: There's another type of Villain Sue who actively revels in their villainy, although there tends to be much Draco In Leather Pants and Freudian Excuses with a lack of Rape The Dog moments.
  • June 7, 2008
    Actually, the "male Tsundere Sue" you described doesn't really sound like what I had in mind, but is definitely its own type. Might even be something that's actually a (nearly) male only type.

    • Badass Stu - An exaggeratedly Bad Ass Heroic Sociopath who has a Freudian Excuse for his Jerkass attitude and disagreements with his "allies" (who he treats only slightly better than his enemies in that he's not stabbing them). In spite of his highly abrasive nature, they still react to him in a way that can be summarized as "wow... what a badass". The Double Standard makes this more of a male thing because whereas the Tsundere Sue usually has a sensitive side that shines through and she genuinely cares about her allies in the end, the male version is just a Jerkass because he simply can be. It's not like anybody can touch him, anyway.
  • June 7, 2008
    Lump 'em. The main article will require rewriting to underscore the basic elements of Mary Sue-dom. I personally thought the Mary Sue article was overtly large anyway.
  • June 7, 2008
    Relationship Sue II: a Mary Sue whose role in the story it is to not have a relationship with a character herself, but to fix up the relationships between whichever characters the author thinks should be together but aren't getting along well.

    And "Possession Sue" is an awful term which nobody uses. If you make it a separate article, I suppose you have no choice to give it a separate name, but it should be "Canon Sue" if that's at all possible (i.e. if you lump them).
  • June 8, 2008
    Oooo, I like the idea of the main Mary Sue article serving as explanation for all types, and moving the examples to sub-pages. I support it.
  • June 8, 2008
    I'm thinking this is a lot like Porn Tropes; there are a lot of them, but do we need (or want) to catalogue every single one into its own page? or even a million and one different possible variations?

    I say Mary Sue is definitively a Fan Fic trope, with Marty Stu as a redirect. Canon Sue is about actual media works with the unfortunate traits. Make Mary Sue into the the very basic article, a fan writer implanting themselves as a thinly veiled character in the canon universe. Then say that it usually falls into an annoying wish-fulfillment character and then make a list of the most common variations, with a note that many overlap. If you want, make it with gender specific differences. (Badass Stu and Angelic Sue, etc.) No need for thirty pages to cover something that is supposed to be such a flat character.
  • June 8, 2008
    @arromdee: I've seen that kind of Sue referred to as Yenta Sue (yenta = Yiddish for matchmaker).
  • June 8, 2008
    Just as a way to prevent there from being a hundred Sue pages with things such as Goth Sue, perhaps there should be a page for the generic traits. Call it Mary Sue Traits. Reserve the Whatever Sue pages for types of roles in the story.

    Also, in response to KJ Mackley, Mary Sue is popular to pick apart because of Snark Bait. It's also a fun social experiment because the character type represent the unconscious wishes of a great many people. Flat Character doesn't automatically make it disinteresting, after all.
  • June 8, 2008
    The main reason I see to keep Marty Stu -- and it's a good one -- is that it's a term that pre-dates this site, and has a long history in fandom.
  • June 8, 2008
    I'm ready to write all of this. Here's how I'd personally organize it:

    • Mary Sue - Just the gender neutral inner mechanics of Mary Sue. No specific examples or superficial traits. Also include the history and origins of the female Mary Sue.
    • Mary Sue Traits - The superficial traits kept absent from the main Mary Sue article. Detail all the most common appearance traits, personality quirks, and plot elements in both Mary's backstory and her actions within the main plot. Gender neutral or female.
    • Marty Stu - Analyze the whole Mary Sue phenomenon from the male perspective. Also detail traits that tend to come up more or less often with Marty. No specific characer examples.

    Mary Sue types - All of these will have both male and female examples, where applicable. While There Is No Such Thing As Notability, it should probably be mentioned that people should only post examples of decently well developed or particularly exceptional ones (i.e. don't post a link to the horribly spelled 700 word entry of some freshly joined 13 year old girl unless there's something worth talking about in it). This probably isn't really a problem, since it seems people are apprehensive about linking examples in the first place due to the semi-personal insulting nature of it.

    • Purity Sue (or Mary Sue Classic) - See previous posts.
    • God Mode Sue - See previous posts. The litmus test for if a character is this as opposed to one of the others is whereas God Mode is used as a means to an end with the others, this character's God Mode simply is the end and serves to allow the author to imagine having exceptional powers for their own sake.
    • Tsundere Sue (or Feminist Sue, if it's deemed that male examples just don't exist) - See previous posts. Tends to be female only due to the Double Standard.
    • Jerkass Stu - See "Badass Stu" above. Tends to be male only because All Girls Want Bad Boys, after all, and women don't expect to be completely unrelenting bitches without also driving away everybody.
    • Fixer Sue - Whether it be Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends (perhaps enforcing an OTP in the process), resurrecting dead characters, or just "fixing" the plot, this is the character that is just a means to a particular outcome the author wants within the canon itself. One of the few types that isn't guaranteed to stay a black hole at the end of the story.
    • Relationship Sue - See previous posts.
    • Villain Sue - Mary Sue as a villain. Can be either due to the author favoring a heel or just out of a distaste for the protagonists. Often also shows up when the author wants his or her character to kick a couple dogs (perhaps even kill a character or two) before getting a conveniant Heroic Redemption.
    • Anti Sue - See previous posts.
    • Parody Sue - See previous posts.

    Also, there's no need for a Self Insert Sue because 1) there's already Self Insert Fic, which covers it decently well and 2) it's redundant due to the fact that nearly all non-ironic Mary Sues are self-inserts (perhaps with traits the author wish he or she had, but still technically them).
  • June 9, 2008
    Also, while Angst Sue is a bit too specific, the following is worthy of note:

    • Sympathy Sue (or Pity Sue) - The type of character that basically serves as an emotional output of the author's feelings of sadness, loneliness, rejection, and/or any number of other negative emotions. The idea behind the character is to make people sympathetic of the author character. Usually done in a very Anvilicious manner, often either overplaying elements ("Why won't that guy I like pay attention to me? This is horrible!") or severely underplaying them (usually rape... have the character get casually raped with nobody offering any sympathy as part of a list of other bad things in his or her life, but without exploring it any deeper than two sentences).
  • June 9, 2008
    Black Charizard
    So, Mary Sue Traits would be a page describing Mary Sue's common physical traits and common personality quirks? But several of those quirks are already covered in some types of Mary Sue, such as being pure and good (covered in Purity Sue), or at the contrary, being confrontational and "spunky" (covered in Tsundere Sue), or wangsting about her tragic Back Story (covered in Angst Sue)...

    Maybe we could have Mary Sue Traits with only the physical traits, and have the personality traits listed in the types of Mary Sue? Therefore, the Mary Sue main article would describe the gender neutral inner mechanics of Mary Sue as well as the history and origins of the female Mary Sue, but it would also include links to:

    • The common physical traits article. Could be called Mary Sue Traits, Mary Sue Appearance, or a different name.
    • Each personality quirk/type of Mary Sue article. Each link would describe in better detail the personality quirk, the type of Sue defined by that quirk, and the relation with the other quirks/types (a Purity Sue gets on well with the Fixer Sue, a Purity Sue and a Tsundere Sue tend to be mutually exclusive but could be mixed, a Villain Sue could be an Angst Sue depending on whether she revels being a villain or not...). Here would go the specific examples.

    Also, I think it would be a good idea to have each link on the main article with a very brief description of what is it about. That way, a user who has never heard of a Mary Sue doesn't have to follow a dozen links to get a good picture of what defines him/her.
  • June 9, 2008
    While a lot of the overarching personality types will be their own articles, I disagree that Mary Sue Traits shouldn't have personality traits as well. There are plenty of things that tend to pop up on Mary Sue, but isn't worthy of its own page. For example, would their tendency towards having a love of flowers be worthy of making a Flower Sue page? It's a personality quirk as opposed to a physical trait. Also, the skills that end to pop up on them wouldn't really fit physical characteristics, either. Anyway, to sort of illustrate what I have in mind, some sample examples:
    (Insert introduction here). It should be noted that these traits, by themselves, are not automatic Mary Sue qualifiers, but just simply tell-tale signs of potential Mary Sue territory. It's possible to use any of these in a fairly discreet manner with decent enough planning.



    • Regardless what skill level the main characters have established, she might just simply be better than them. See also: God Mode Sue.
    • A perfect singing voice. Most often shows up on Purity Sue. No doubt inspired in part by the Disney Princesses.
      • She might also have proficiency with a random musical instrument. Usually guitar, flute, or harp, with her having a skill so high, she would smash Yngwie Malmsteen in a guitar battle.

    Physical Appearence

    • Perky Goth. Something about goths seem to appeal to Mary Sue creators.
    • Have unusual hair and/or eye color relative to the rest of the canon. In more "realistic" settings, this tends to pop up as red hair and/or green/hazel eyes. See: Anime Hair and Technicolor Eyes.



    • Be The Chosen One. Even if the canon hero is already that, she either "shares" the position or just steals it away from him/her.
      • Or she might be part of the same specialized species/organization as the hero. See: Sailor Earth.
    • Have an unusually large amount of tragedy in her past. Usually doesn't get explored too in depth, with it just being casually dropped into the narrative to emphasize just how special she is to have lived through it all. Sympathy Sue takes this to its extreme, but it can pop up in any of them.
    • Turn out to be an offspring of one of the canon characters. Especially bad if there's no way said character could have offspring (or, perhaps, is simply too young to have a teenaged kid).
  • June 9, 2008
    Actually, I'm going to make that last post its own YKTTW.