- That man was me, Spidey3000. On Earth you may have heard that name on SciFi investigates. You may have heard of the mysterious Spidey3000, the dude that kicks ass online, and kills terrorist, the rumors that I am a secret agent armed with top secret weapons. Well, I don't, though I do kick lots of terrorist ass, and I have some pretty cool powers (and weapons).
- —Introduction of Spidey3000
Gary Stu, also called Marty Stu, Marty Sam, or Tom Sue, is the male counterpart of Mary Sue. Largely due to the fact that fanfic writers are more often female than male, Gary Stu is far less common than Mary Sue. It has also been suggested that readers are more forgiving of a male character that has kick-ass skills and are therefore less likely to call a male original character a Stu.
There are two basic types of Stu: the first is his own character, built in the same way as a Sue to be the extra-special focus of the story, to the detriment of all else. This type is usually the Badass!Stu, the most common Stu of all. The second is any male character who has been unrealistically idealized in order to be the perfect mate/friend/sibling/whatever in relation to someone else. The "mate" is usually a Stu'd version of a canon character, but not necessarily.
The Badass!Stu as Compared to Mary Sue
Men and women are different. While Stus share the self-centered and speshul nature of Sues, they may show it in different ways. The Badass!Stu in particular is aggressively masculine, for a very limited definition of masculinity that includes physical perfection, unbeatable abilities, and goal-oriented behavior. This definition allows little room for other traits, such as emotions besides confidence or righteous anger, or such as a fondness for gardening. Anything "soft" or "weak" is right out. As far as a Badass!Stu is concerned, there is only one way to be a real man, and nothing else will do.
Where Sues focus on beauty, Stus will often focus on physique instead. The average Stu is preternaturally buff, or at least stronger than he looks, and he is never overweight. He may or may not bother to train (Stus don't merely exercise; they train) daily to keep himself so fit, but if he does, it will be for ridiculously long hours, with obscure or super-normal methods.
A Stu's description, if he provides one, often includes one or more scars. This shows that he is a badass. It will not disfigure or disable him, but will in fact make him even more ruggedly handsome. Chicks dig scars, after all. It may also provide an opportunity to angst about the horrible thing that happened when he got it, but he'll never show it, because he is too much of a badass.
Sues and Stus both want to be the best, but Badass!Stu is less subtle about it. He may be the best fighter, or the smartest genius, or the greatest lover, etc., but regardless of type, he will not suffer anyone else to exceed him, and he will say so. His arrogance and braggadocio should annoy others, but due to his Aura of Smooth, the
main characters supporting cast generally accept it. He may allow someone to pick a fight with him, but this is only so that he can defeat them and prove what he's said all along: he's the top dog. A Sue may at least pretend that she only wants to be accepted as she is. A Stu will stop at nothing short of complete dominance. He is a fan of exotic (or made up) weapons and fighting styles that he can use to confound his opponents, and he may be the last surviving owner or practitioner for added badassery.
The Badass!Stu is prone to power creep if his story goes on long enough. Each challenge he overcomes makes him more powerful and grants him access to bigger and better weapons and abilities. Thus, each new opponent must scale up ridiculously in power to provide him with a challenge, and the Stu scales up ridiculously in power to match them, until nothing short of a god can threaten him. And once he beats the god, he'll need to face something even bigger. (Certain fighting animes are famous for this.)
Goal and Methods
Sues usually want to win a man. Stus just want to win. Twu Wuv is not a hallmark of the badass, so he will usually eschew it in favor of kicking the living crud out of whatever he's chosen to oppose. Coupled with his need to be the best in any situation, this may be one reason it's less likely to see a Stu joining the Fellowship or becoming Harry Potter's new best friend. His goal isn't to be part of the group or make friends, but to beat up the bad guys. Thus, he tends to appear mostly in action-based continua, particularly video games, where there are plenty of things to shoot or outwit. If he is part of a team, he's either the leader or the guy who shows up the previous leader's incompetence (real or imagined) and takes over. He may have a significant other if he needs someone to protect with his awesome skills. She (or he, but don't hold your breath) might end up dead if he needs to wreak his unholy vengeance on the bad guys. This is particularly convenient if he is supposed to be a moral person otherwise: he can claim grief and rage as an excuse for being a complete jerkass.
Stus and the PPC
When encountered on missions, Stus are to be got rid of with the same prejudice as Sues. They may put up more of a fight than the average Sue, so agents are advised to be prepared with deception and trickery, and to take full advantage of how full of himself the Stu is. He may overlook even the most obvious threat if he decides it's beneath him.
Male agents may be predisposed to becoming Badass!Stus due to the availability of a wide range of special equipment and the task-based nature of missions, particularly if they're already something inherently above average, like a lycanthrope, Vulcan, Jedi, etc. It may be tempting to use the biggest gun or fanciest technology possible to eliminate Sues without breaking a sweat, but this behavior should be avoided unless one wants to end up in FicPsych or forcibly retired.
Examples of Slain Stus
Given in alphabetical order:
- Adam "Terrordactyl" Squall (The Incredibles x Jurassic Park x nearly a dozen other things), slain by Falchion (DF) with trainee Sarah Katherine Squall
- Androch Deathblade (Warhammer 40,000 x The Hobbit), slain by Thoth and Tom Andrews (DF) with Derik (DMS)
- Archir the Emerald (The Lord of the Rings x Harry Potter), slain by Ilraen and Nume (DIC), Suicide and Diocletian (DMS)
- Bob (Left 4 Dead), slain twice by Danny and Laura (DMS - Video Games)
- Charlie (The Lord of the Rings), slain by Jay and Acacia (DMS - LotR)
- Jack the Wolf (Spyro the Dragon x Assassin's Creed), slain by Aster and Lore (DMS - Video Games)
- Jackson Earl Simon (Over the Hedge), slain (NSFW) by Laburnum and Foxglove (DMS)
- James Martin (Stargate SG-1), slain by Orken 7861 and Thomas Greenwall (DMS - Sci-Fi)
- Jayson (Discworld), slain by Dafydd and Vemi (DOGA)
- John Tsai (Mo Dao Zu Shi), de-Glittered by Eledhwen and Christianne (DMS, retired) and Liu Siyuan (DBS)
- Kana (Dragons in Our Midst), slain by Tawaki and Dustin (DTO)
- Kivan Silverblade (The Lord of the Rings), slain by Jay and Acacia (DMS - LotR)
- Matrix (The Lord of the Rings x Star Wars), slain by Jay and Acacia (DIC)
- Spidey3000 (Super Smash Bros.), slain by Derik and Earwig (DMS)
- Steven St. Wolf (Buffy the Vampire Slayer x Highlander x The X-Files), slain by Annie and The Lovely Beta (DMS - BtVS)
- Zain (Redwall), slain by Redd and Jill (DMS)