Mary-Sue vs. Art Thievery

6 min read

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HatedLove6's avatar
If you've ever read my Mary-Sue guides (… and…), then you know how I define them: "overly-underdeveloped characters who don't give off any feeling of three-dimensional depth or believability to the audience, who doesn't change in any way throughout the story, and somehow has a major influence over the other characters without doing much, or doing something that would be impossible for the character or the universe, time-period, or species."  

To me, Mary-Sues don't depend on cliches or certain physical traits, or even have to be good-looking.  They are also not part in tracing or art thievery!

As a member of the :iconanti-sue-and-stu: group, I have received messages of submissions made by people, and frankly, I don't think they have any relevance to the group, and it just looks like bullying.  I'll say it again, just because someone traces to make his or her character, does not make the character a Mary-Sue.  

Let's say her character is a fusion of two well-known characters in different published shows/comics/stories.  

Is it unoriginal?  Yes.  
Is it considered Mary-Sue?  No, since Mary-Sues don't depend solely on looks; however it might be considered copyright infringement.

Her character is also paired with many different characters, and is related to a canon character.  It seems as if a lot of people find this a problem, but if anyone was smart, they would have asked this person, "Is all of this happening within a SINGLE fanfiction/story/comic?"  Sometimes there are people who use the same character for multiple stories because they do not want to think up of more characters, or they want people to know it's their character.  

So is it considered "whoring" their character?  If each story is well developed instead of just one story, no.  
Is it considered less artistic?  If the character wasn't an obvious combination of well-known characters in the first place, no, I don't consider it any less artistic.  It just means that person doesn't want to create the looks or another name or personality for different characters.  To them, getting the story out is more important.  
Is it considered Mary-Sueish?  Again, if each story is well thought out, and the character is well developed, and the other characters are in character, no.  

If this person hasn't written or made a full comic of each story, I can't fully determine if the character is a Mary-Sue or not, especially if the only thing in their gallery are separate pieces of fanart with nothing connecting them to a single story besides that it's from the same fandom.  Again, it might be for different stories within a single fandom.

The only thing that would anger so many people at once, is because the person obviously traces and recolors.  And since the only thing that spreads just as fast anywhere on the internet as art-thief is Mary-Sue, doubling the chances of gaining people's attention, and bashing her for her character instead of just her traced stuff.  Normally, people just ignore "drawn" Mary-Sues, or let the creator know that it seems Sueish, but if you use it for art thievery, the term "Mary-Sue" turns into illegal copyright infringement, and any character on that was tacked Mary-Sue will come into legal question, spreading more hate than Mary-Sues should.

Please note, I wouldn't like her character because of its obviousness in the combination of two well-known characters, and a lot of her art would be obvious thefts, but not because of her using one character for everything, and not because of that one character with multiple other characters, which is the main cause for mistaking her character for a Mary-Sue when we don't know the entire story.  Frankly, until we know the entire plot and development of each story, we won't know if her character is a Mary-Sue or not.  

So what should you do about art thieves?  Here's what you shouldn't do:
DON'T rant about it in a journal, specifically naming this person.
DON'T screenshot it and compare it to the original on here, making you yourself a thief too, and breaking the rules of Deviant art with or without permission from both members.  That's making you a hypocrit and a bully.
DON'T favorite the person's work in a anti-sue group.  There's no relevence unless you can prove it is a Mary-Sue.
DON'T yell at this person without knowing their situation (read this:  A lot of the time a person, especially a newbie, doesn't know the rules or even if he or she is stealing.  

Here's what you should do:
DO let this person know that he or she is stealing, and quote Deviant art faqs, showing them that what they are doing is not allowed.
DO tell the original owner whether or not this person takes down the traced work.
DO copy and past the original artwork somewhere to keep track, in case there is more than one and this person doesn't look like they'll take down their theft work.
DO screenshot the original and the stolen work to keep records.
DO use the copy and paste links, and attach the screenshots to report on the art theft ticket if they do not take down their work.  Third party or not, that should be enough proof.  

In conclusion, not all traces for OCs (or FCs) are considered Mary-Sues, and stop posting art theft screenshots in Sue groups because they don't belong there, unless you can prove that the traced character is a Mary-Sue.  I'll say it again, just for it to sink in, traced work does not equate to Mary-Sueism.

Now, let's just say that the character is proven to be a Mary-Sue, stolen or not, what can you do?  The DON'Ts still apply including favoriting the picture into a Mary-Sue group.  It's embarrassing for the creator as it is to be told that her character is a Mary-Sue, but it's terrifyingly humiliating when her art is just dumped without warning into a group featuring Mary-Sues where people can openly bash her for her character she could have changed with a bit of help.  People get antsy just when someone puts someone's character into their collection called "The Mary-Sue Collection."  Unless the creator agrees to it, and wants suggestions from a number of people (no bashing), then putting their character in a Sue group would be allowed.  If they don't give you permission, the most you can do is create your own "fanart" with your interpretation of why the character is a Mary-Sue.  You drew it on your own, and as long as you give credit to the original owner of the character, it should be good; although the original owner might be peeved that her fanart would be in a Sue group.

I'll make this an article here when I'm not mad, and when I formally edit this, because I just know it's riddled with errors.

EDIT:  I'm now the founder of the group, and have made changes.  The anti-sue-and-stu group is no longer going to be a part of the bullying problem.
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ZetaRESP's avatar
I agre. Good thing you posted it on the group.