Episode 375 - Categories, genres and rants

May 21, 2018

In this Quackcast we chat about the categorisation of work by specific genres and how it makes it easier to promote your work to people, while for fans it makes it easier to find what you're into, but it can also be a bad thing when people categorise too specifically and narrow their audience to nothing or just pointlessly confuse the crap out of people. I came to this topic because I saw a post on Facebook which was very badly explaining “Steampunk” and “Dieselpunk” while introducing the two utterly superfluous sub-genre names of “Ray-punk” and Atom-punk“.

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Topics and Show Notes

Let me explain…
First there was ”Cyberpunk“. A sub-genre of SciFi that really started in the early 1980s, famously championed by William Gibson among others. The ”punk“ suffix originally referred to it's gritty nature and the fact that it focussed on young people and the technology of the streets. The characters also wore the punk fashions popular in the early 1980s, it tended to feature cybernetic body modification and focus heavily on computers and ”cyberspace“. It was largely inspired by things like Blade Runner and Tron. Obviously there was a need for this sub-genre categorisation because nothing like it had really existed before.

”Steampunk“ is mainly 19th century but can be set at any time. Steam and clockwork are the basis for all technology, the aesthetic is usually based in the 19th century with modern touches. It takes some inspiration from the works of Jules Verne and HG Wells. Again, this was a totally new style and needed a name.
”Dieselpunk“ is from about 1900 onwards and encompasses the time of the birth of the internal combustion engine which is used as a basis for high technology, just like Steampunk does with steam. Movies like Mad Max 2 among others can be seen as inspiration. Once again it was a new style.
Steampunk and Dieselpunk stole the style of their names from cyberpunk. They use ”punk“ to refer to the unusual hybrid nature of being pre-hightech SciFi as well as the fact they often include punk type fashions and body augmentation which was a popular feature in Cyberpunk.

Then we have ”Atom-punk“ and ”Ray-punk“, both of which are describe work that is already fully encompassed by conventional mainstream SciFi from the 1920s onwards. ALL Scifi including fantasy space Operas like Star Wars can be included in these (Apart from the original aforementioned ”punk“ styles), even retro post apocalyptic alternative history like fallout or Bioshock. I feel that this type of categorisation is very, very pretentious, ignorant and counter-productive: since it dilutes and trivialises the ”punk" brand; imagines it does something novel while ignoring all the millions of works on the same theme; and confuses audiences precisely because it IS so dilute and superfluous. Dieselpunk and Steampunk by contrast are weird, they don't fit at all with normal SciFi and so need to be described in an unusual way.

Our guest Emma Clare offers up a spirited defence, so it's not all one sided and I don't have it all my own way on this! Listen to the Quackcast to see what she says.

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to The Adventures of Tildie and Chewie. We’re greeted by the imposing strains of the Imperial march on heavy bass guitar… before we’re rocketed off into a pink heavenly dream cloud filled with rainbows and Teletubbies!

Topics and shownotes

Featured comic:
Tethered from Dusk to Dawn - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2018/may/15/featured-comic-tethered-from-dusk-to-dawn/

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Tantz Aerine - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Banes - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/
Emma Clare - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Emma_Clare/
Pitface - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Ozoneocean - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean

Featured music:
The Adventures of Tildie and Chewie - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com /The_Adventures_of_Tildie_and_Chewie/, by Patricklind, rated E.

Episode 374 - Selling yourself

May 14, 2018

4 likes, 0 comments

In this Quackcast we have a chat about some ways to promote your comics and sell yourself. Emma Clare and Tantz have been doing cool stuff with the DD Twitter account. Hash tags are an important part of that, help them come up with a hash tag for DD! Who understands hash-tags on Facebook? Covers are one of my favourite ways to promote your work. They're tricky to get right but you need them to properly encompass your work and promote it, the form they take can depend on where your work is: Amazon, Drunk Duck, a convention, targeted ads etc. But be careful not to disappoint your audience with false advertising. This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Coward of Valor. It's a Modern yet medieval, this tune strides in with great pomposity and deigns to dance for us. It pirouettes and swoops in all its beauty and extravagance then exits stage left with just as much flare.

Episode 373 - Stupid millennials, greedy baby-boomers and lazy Gen Xers!

May 7, 2018

4 likes, 5 comments

Millennials are so dumb, Gen Xers are SO lazy, and those Baby-boomers are just greedy as hell aren't they? But seriously, in THIS Quackcast we chat about the different generations of webcomicers and what's changed and what we have to learn from each other. The first generation of real webcomics came in with Sluggy Freelance, 8 bit theatre and a few others. Webcomics started out in the mid 90s as the web version of “Zines”: independent creator driven personal projects. The second generation came about in the 2000s. Sites like Drunk Duck and Keen Space were a huge part of that. It made it easier for creators to make the jump online. We'd seen what those first guys did and now it was OUR turn, there were a lot of copy-cats in this generation, but a lot of experimentation and creativity too, with sound, animation, interactivity and infinite canvas being a mainstay. Later there was an explosion in hosting sites like DD and comicers moved on to other formats like Tumbler and Twitter etc. The pro comic publishers saw how things were going and tried to get in on the act with online comics too. I think the 3rd generation saw a lot of commercial focussed projects. Comicers saw it as a way to make money so we had a lot of slick, pro work flooding in. In the 4th generation I think we have people doing comics for mobile devices or ON mobile devices. A lot of the comic hosting sites have far more limitations on work than they used to in terms of content and format, a lot of stuff has a bit of a pre-packaged feel, you see almost no experimentation with format now. On the upside though quality is a lot higher and comic sites will reliably work a lot better than they used to. Styles have changed over the generations: In the old days most comics were fully drawn and scanned. Tablets were rare and very expensive and so were graphics programs. If you saw a fully digital comic back then you knew the artist was either a pro or they were at university with access to high level equipment - or it was dodgy work done with a mouse and Windows Paint. Those tools have become far more accessible now and the barriers have come right down. Most work is digital. What generation are you? This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to DreamcomicbookDOTcom! Journey into a claustrophobically narrow electronic service tunnel, filled with high voltage wires humming with unimaginable power and mysterious cables running off endlessly into the dim, dark shadows in the distance. The creepy patterings and low hum of this music will take you there!

Episode 372 - Marvel heroes and an infinity war against greyness

Apr 30, 2018

4 likes, 6 comments

In this Quackcast we use the movie Avengers: Infinity War as an excuse to chat about grey characters and how that applies in the Marvel universe. In truth we don't touch much on that movie but we do chat about a few of the other marvel superhero movies and “grey” characters in general, Tantz is of the opinion that “grey” characters are rarely truly grey.. My favourite quote from Tantz was “It's hard to punch the bad-guy while you're punching yourself”. Do the Marvel movies follow the comics or do the comics follow the movies? We'd love to know! This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Alienated: This is as if Joni Mitchell wrote a classical adventure anthem. This tune urges you on into the vastness and glory of nature. You are Caspar David Friedrich, A Wanderer Over A sea Of Fog, with the world in all its awesomeness spread out far below you.

Episode 371 - PC GORN MAD!!

Apr 23, 2018

5 likes, 0 comments

Everyone tends to have a strong opinion on Political Correctness so I thought why don't we try and have a chat about that and ask what people think. Can it be a problem in comics and other creative works? I was inspired by a video by Youtuber Metaron. He was talking about the decision to put a black actor in the role of Greek mythical figure Achilles in a BBC series about the fall of Troy and questioning the reasoning for it given that being a blonde haired incarnation of the sun-god Apollo is a huge part of the character. My main issue is that the actor is as bald as an egg! At least give him a blonde wig, I don't care how silly it looks. To be fair Achilles has rarely been portrayed well on the big screen, there was Brad Pitt's petulant version in Troy and an even balder Joe Montana in Helen of Troy! Do we spoil creative works by trying to be too inclusive or not being inclusive enough? This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Wanted dead or dead: Welcome to a much cooler version of the old west… we open on a widescreen panorama shot of a dry, dusty desert scene and a lone cowboy all in black, kicking his toe in the dirt. This music is as warm as the hot desert breeze, the guitar is as hard as gunmetal.

Episode 370 - deadlines Vs taking time and the good the bad and grey

Apr 16, 2018

3 likes, 2 comments

In today's Quackcast we talk about a couple of subjects: Doing things at the last minute VS doing them slowly, over time. Sometimes you get that wonderful last minute energy caused by a deadline, your work can be inspired, or at least fresh and full of vibrancy. Other times it's rough and unfinished looking, amateurish. Work done over a long time can be honed to a diamond edge, exquisitely put together like a Faberge egg, a work of art! Other times it can be like a warmed over mess, redone and redone till any spark of originality and freshness is washed out of the grey goop you're left with. We chat about Tantz's Saturday newspost subject of Black and White Vs Grey: bad guys can be totally bad without humanising them and good guys can be totally good, without stain or tarnish and yet both can be interesting and the story can be great. Grey isn't always better. This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Empress Mother Earths Handmaiden: A dark, intense foreboding and forbidding intro leads you deep into a beautiful rose coloured cave of glowing wonder and joy. We finish up with a lovely lilt on a harp!

Episode 364 - JUST DO IT!

Mar 5, 2018

6 likes, 7 comments

All the planning and set up in the world will never count for anything if you never start your webcomic, so just put your own to paper and begin! “Getting started on a webcomic” is what we chat about here. I was inspired by PitFace's newspost about a crappy horror film and how the creators just went for it. As a webcomicer that is what you HAVE to do! You can plan, research and gather resources for years, but the reality is that it just makes you more and more scared to take the plunge. You'll develop a LOT faster as a webcomicer if you throw caution to the wind and go for it. I'm not saying that research and planning are uneeded, it's just that most if it can be done while you're actually working. Do not worry about putting out a perfect piece of genius work from the getgo- your comic WILL get there regardless if you're dedicated and put the work in AS you work, but the first few pages or chapters don't have to be there. Your audience will appreciate the chance to grow with you a lot more than if you put out a polished gem to begin with. Starting out at a place like Drunk Duck is your best bet. It's a nurturing, easy to use, creator run platform, focussed around promoting webcomics. So what are you waiting for? This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Flesh and Wires: Dirty and distorted electric guitar and determined fuzzy bass, weaving together over a haunting synthesized Melodica. Portentous and evocative, this music tells a story in it’s own runtime! The main riff reminds me a little of my fave part for We don’t Need Another Hero from Tina Turner.

Episode 362 - Triumph der Ente

Feb 19, 2018

7 likes, 7 comments

In this Quackcast we chat about all the different options for hosting your webcomic. At the moment it seems the fashionable new young kiddies on the block are Webtoons and Tapastic, but they're certainly NOT the only choices for webcomic hosts out there and certainly not the best choices. I think we make a good case here for why Drunk Duck is a better choice in many ways, but we also bring up other host sites like twitter, comic fury, comic Genesis (used to be Keenspace), Tumblr, Deviant Art, Smack Jeeves, Fur Affinity, self hosting on a Word Press site etc. In the early days of the millennium there were just two hosts for your comic: Drunk Duck and Keenspace. Drunk Duck was a better choice for most since it was a lot easier to customise and it had a friendlier, smaller community. Keenspace had a two tier system: the picked comics with all the best stuff were in their “keenspot” site while the rabble were stuck with the slower hosting and slower updates. The main thing they had going was a gigantic member base. But they even changed the site's name from “keenspace” to “comic genesis” to further separate KeenSpot from the rabble, which left a sour taste in the mouth. By contrast Drunk Duck was always dedicated to being fully egalitarian. One of our main strengths is that we accept all without stigma: manga, furry, adult comic, sprites, American style, superhero, slice of life comedy, photocomics, professional published comics or stick figure amateur work and we welcome them all the same with the same level of enthusiasm. The big young Webtoons and Tapastic have some of the same issues Keenspace used to have: a big community where you will be lost in the crowd. And no site has as solid and safe programming and hosting as Drunk Duck does. Plus we're community run so you're same from corporate oversight and interference in the content you're allowed to post. You can read more about comic hosting sites in Emma Clare's news posts linked bellow. This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Odd Days. Sometimes you just have one of those days… or many of them in a row! Odd days. The sound here has a positive, optimistic theme overlayed with a harsh zigzag of electric guitar. This tune does well to illustrate the twisted euni, the off-balance and askew takes on everyday life and situations dealt with in this slice of life, humorous comic.


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