She ain’t ugly

Like I said about Carol Danvers especially at this point is that while she’s arguably not as good looking as she’s before, she’s not that awful looking either and her current character/costume design has lent itself to not only real life skiiers (I’ve seen one in a Comic Book Resources thread) but also animated productions, video games (the latest Capcom vs Marvel, though it’s unsuccessful) and a forthcoming movie.

Definitely not the best looking but still not as bad as others make her out to be especially if her new look’s appealing enough to lend itself to other media. It’s popularising but successful enough to be useful in other media without being modified much. In fact by the time the movie comes out, many more people would recognise Carol Danvers more in a more modest outfit than in any of the skimpier ones she wore before.

Actually there were early attempts to have her dress more modestly, most notably as Warbird if I’m not mistaken. This design’s however more successful though I think because it’s like a Superman outfit in terms of colour scheme without trying and unconsciously so. Sort of works given that her own name’s reminiscent of DC’s Supergirl/Kara Danvers.

I actually see Marvel’s Carol Danvers as a female Superman without even trying. Even if she’s not one of the best characters, she’s also got one of the more successful redesigns ever and one of the better overhauls that I can think of.

Reinventing Caitlin as a werewolf

Should the Flash risk reinventing Caitlin Snow as a werewolf, not only would it feel like it came out of the blue but risk plagiarising a similar character from either Marvel’s Rahne Sinclair or Killing Bites. I mean that’s going to hurt for those franchises’ fans, should it ever occur at all. Not to mention if this occurred ahead of either two of them especially onscreen (whatever that means) even if they had those before in comics, that’s going to hurt even more.

Not to mention Caitlin’s successful reinvention as a werewolf could help popularise concepts and designs as already set by these two. Though there’ve been repeated attempts to make Tigra look more animalistic, this time it’s going to be permanent. I mean that could really happen if the Flash accidentally popularises some of the things Killing Bites through controversy and a consistently bestial looking Tigra occurs.

Moreso for Caitlin and Felicity should they get reinvented as wolf and hyena respectively. Even though Firestorm comics already had a Hyena character before, since Felicity too was one (and so is Caitlin) that’s modernising the latter more effectively. Though I think werewolf Caitlin’ll come first before hyena Felicity, leopard Kitty Pryde and a more animalistic looking Tigra.

Doing bad things for the greater good

I suspect part of the reason why writers don’t take Kitty Pryde to logically where she’d go often’s because they fear it makes her look bad even if it makes her less of a Mary Sue. In this scenario she won’t have issues with murder, kidnapping, rape, theft and assault considering her training and upbringing though that makes her look less positive when you think about it.

Even though fiction’s home to such characters who achieve suspicious acts for the greater good. There are always the likes of Arsene Lupin, Robin Hood, Reynard the Fox and Sun Wukong doing such acts and still manage to be popular. It’s not stopping the Punisher from existing. But that for some, especially those who are close to the intended nerdy audience like Kitty Pryde, there’s often fear of making the character look worse.

A genuinely murderous Kitty Pryde occurred rarely though realistically she’d have more in common with the folkloric Robin Hood. Again that makes her look bad even if that’s what she’d realistically do given her upbringing and nature. DC writers have no issues with making Phantom Girl (who predated her and has her power) into a spy fairly often.

They also have no issues with making the shapeshifting Yera into an actress either. But that’ll mean looking Kitty Pryde and the like more objectively with what they could do, even if it’s not nice or cool.

Thinking through characters

I suspect thinking through characters, especially to de-Mary Sue them, could have weird consequences. It’s like imagining Kitty Pryde being more comfortable with committing crimes for the greater good though that would also mean she’s far less idealistic than one would’ve intended her to and could be messed up.

Like she spends a lot of time hanging out of maladjusted characters like Rachel and Wolverine as well as being abused a lot and her parents being divorced that even if she does change her act, she’d still be suffering from the scars of such abuse and that children learn from their peers for better or worse.

A murderous Kitty Pryde’s been possible though not very often though one wonders whether if writers are comforting with her stealing, kidnapping (though she could’ve done that) or even raping to retaliate against enemies. That’s also showing feats, albeit not in a way that makes the character look good.

Even if it’s always possible in fiction.

Sueing those without personalities

That’s tricky to tell but I get the odd impression that while Barry Allen and Tim Drake (to some extent) don’t lack personalities, the problem is what keeps them from developing real personalities’s that writers keep projecting a somewhat idealised version of their target demographics onto them. People have been writing semi-idealised author surrogates for years.

The major difference is that Barry Allen and Tim Drake have been written by different authors over time that it’s that hard giving them a definitive direction and personality. Let one a personality outside of the idealised target audience. Self-insert characters are inevitable as many written works are autobiographical to some extent.

Though I think real Canon Sues are more likely to be supporting characters that resemble a certain target demographic if Arrow’s Felicity Smoak’s any indication. Tim Drake fits squarely into my take on Canon Sues. Barry Allen deviates it somewhat by being the main character.

Canon Sues are paradoxical in that they’re supposed to be normal even though they only closely resemble the target audience and it’s not that they’re flawless but there aren’t that many lasting or profound consequences for what they do. JJBA’s Rohan Kishibe (and Josuke to some extent) have consequences for what they do.

Both of them are based on the author to varying degrees. Rohan loses his cool and literally writes on peoples’ faces whilst Josuke loses his cool from being taunted and nearly beat Rohan to death as well as things going awry whenever his familiar tries to fix them when Josuke himself gets pissed.

That isn’t to say there isn’t any for Marvel’s Kitty Pryde and DC’s Tim Drake and Barry Allen. With Barry Allen, especially with him trying to undo his parent’s death there are consequences but the setup’s treated as nothing more than a plot device. Kitty Pryde’s got a bad temper but it seems whatever flaws she has don’t have profound or lasting consequences.

In fact they’re immediately undone though I could be misremembering about JJBA. But the point here’s that author surrogates can always evade being/becoming Canon Sues. Rohan Kishibe being a Mary Sue’s up to anybody’s guess but I think the real defining factor for a true Canon Sue’s being readily appropriately by fans.

Authorial surrogates usually don’t count much as many fictions do have semi-autobiographical elements. (Kishibe’s in a grey area.) True Canon Sues by contrast have a lot of similarities with target demographics, especially if they’re specific ones at that if Buffy’s Willow’s any indication. That got averted in canon where Willow becomes evil.

Tim Drake, Kitty Pryde and Felicity Smoak are way better examples of Canon Sues in that they not only have a lot of similarities with niche audiences but also where either writers have come to pander to them a lot (Felicity, Tim and Kitty to some extent) or where fans get to write about them (James Tynion to Tim, Joss Whedon to Kitty).

Barry Allen’s in a grey area where he’s somewhat idealised version of his target niche (superhero nerds) and got written by them, especially Geoff Johns. Yet he has flaws like tardiness and there are profound consequences for whenever he does try to undo his parent’s murder. Often messing up timelines.

I’ve come to regard both Barry Allen and Rohan Kishibe as ‘Grey Area Sues’ where they’re both semi-idealised versions of both audience and author(s) yet have also have profound consequences for what they do (Rohan gets beaten up by Josuke for taunting him) though with Barry, it comes off as a bit of a plot device at times.

Be careful for what you wish for

In terms of realism or reality, if Barry Allen ever existed let’s not forget that some people can do things very quickly and that there are actually very fast athletes too such as Usain Bolt. In fact if Barry existed he’d actually have more in common with athletes than with most of his fans as stereotypes go. (Like I said, athletes do¬† get bullied a lot especially those on team sports.)

Realistic in the sense of it actually existing just as David Bowie and Prince do. That and McDonald’s pizza. Truth’s weirder than fiction anyways. Reality can have its ups and downs but let’s not forget that it can be and get really weird. Nobody knows what really happened to Amelia Earhart (and she even had her own clothing line).

Or that Orlan’s the closest thing to Marvel’s Mystique when you think about it (in terms of surgery though Tilda Swinton comes close however without it). Ad infinitum for whatever reason but that’s what you get for finding out about such characters’ real life counterparts.

Not that there’s anything wrong

I do know somebody named Jabroniville who can’t stand really short hair on women but in Rachel Summers’s case, as she’s Jean Grey’s daughter and since cartoonists never bother differentiating mother and daughter short hair’s often used to differentiate Rachel from Jean. Whatever the length is but for most of the part it’s there to differentiate them. Also if Rachel had longer hair, she’d risk being mistaken for her mum.

Such is the curse of making her look like her mum. As for what Jean Grey and Rachel Summers would be like in real life, the closest ones would be Shari Lewis (the puppeteer behind Lamb Chop) who’s survived by her daughter Mallory Lewis. Logically, DC’s Arsenal has a real life counterpart in Danny Bonaduce, which’s remarkably coincidental at times given their trajectories.