Mary-Sue vs. Art Thievery

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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.
HatedLove6's avatar
ZetaRESP's avatar
LetaDarnell's avatar
The problem is, she uses bases, which are pictures stripped down to the bodies. I'm not sure if they are legal or not, but she uses them instead of directly stealing from a picture.

When she puts in a middle man, legal or not, things get kind of muddy.
HatedLove6's avatar
If the bases were created specifically for people to use them as long as credit is given, it's fine I think; however if that base was taken from a picture, it's still copyright infringement and for everyone that used that base I would think. Bases, if they aren't stealing from pictures in the first place, are perfectly legal as long as the proper credit is given. If she uses a lot of bases, she probably doesn't check around to see if the base itself is stolen.

The point is, traced/stolen or not, these characters shouldn't be submitted into Sue groups unless proven that the character is a Mary-Sue in the first place. I'm going t edit this in now: and even if the character is a sue the only thing anyone can do is tell the person that their character is a sue, or draw their character from scratch and call it "fanart" since the character isn't theirs.
aviariu5's avatar
I seriously agree with you there. Back when it was first made known, the 1970s or even earlier than that, a Mary Sue was a lot easier to know because of the many traits. However that meaning just became rather lost over time and it ends up being just like you said, it's true meaning got rather lost so people will assume ANYTHING to be Mary Sueish. Nowadays it's just ridiculous.

There's also no need to villainize the authors. Most of them are quite young and truly don't know that the way they write their characters are considered Mary Sueish. I talk from experience. At least in my case some people kindly told me what a Mary Sue was and that allowed me to repolish my characters in a much better way. I don't see why that shouldn't be done for these new guys. Some will be thankful while others will see you as a cyberbully. It happens.

All in all I agree with you.
HatedLove6's avatar
I agree with you that it's gotten ridiculous. Thank you for your indepth comment, it basically just summarized it. :)
pinklemonadepirate's avatar
Arggghhhh that was beautiful ;-; this needs to be preached, And, hmm, you're right, I'm kind of sick of seeing "TRACING PROOFS!!!111" in my inbox a billion times. :c

I Know Where You Sleep is such an awesome song c:
HatedLove6's avatar
I'm glad you agree, now I'm preparing myself for all the hate messages I'm bound to receive. Those tracing proof messages have gone too far in the sue groups :( It actually makes me feel sorry for some people who are accused of theft AND Mary-Sues.

And yes, Emilie Autumn's I Know Where You Sleep is such an awesome song. I'm glad to meet another fan!
pinklemonadepirate's avatar
Yeah, it's pretty annoying. I like Sue groups for things like parody sues and guides on how not to make them, but so many of them are too stuffed with the same regurgitated pictures of the same two or three Sues (I think we all know who they are.) Then there's the people who actually go out and make side accounts just to track down and harass these Suethors. It was funny to me when I first learned of the world of Mary Sue, but now it's suffocating. Besides, it's not like some of them are really even doing anything wrong (yes, there are the ones who steal, but then there's the ones who just need help on their characters and get attacked for it.) I'm all for critique but making accounts with usernames like "THE-SUE-HUNTER-DESTROYER00294" is a bit much, no?
Hey, hopefully you won't get much hate c:

I haven't heard all of her stuff, but that is definitely one of the songs I really like. c:
HatedLove6's avatar
Ugh, I hate those separate account people too. I just call them all Mary-Sue Killers, or MSK. When I first heard Mary-Sue, and finally learned what all the hubbub was about, I laughed. "This is what I was getting harrassed for? Because my character looked like this, has a twin, etc.?" I agree, it was stupid and so limiting.

My favorite is between "Miss Lucy Had Some Leeches", "How Strange", and "Opheliac".
pinklemonadepirate's avatar
MSK, that's a pretty good name for them I suppose. Up until now I've just been calling them "angry people." Because, you know, that is what they seem like. Someone will be all "I have a rainbow character that loves [insert random emo kid] and has powers! LOVE ME!"

*Examples have been over-dramatized to show texture.

Miss Lucy is so good too (I actually can't remember the original song to that tune anymore :c) I like Shalott the best, personally, but then again my favourite songs tend to change a lot.
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