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 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 369 - Propaganda and agendas

Apr 9, 2018

5 likes, 2 comments

This week's Quackcast was inspired by a newspost that Banes made about propaganda. We used that as a jumping off point to talk about political messages and social agendas in creative works- when it's deliberate and when it's not. Tantz Aerine made a great point that the world of the Federation in Star Trek is like showing us the world from the perspective of a fascist regime. It's certainly NOT intended that way but that IS an unintentional message. You'll have to listen to the Quackcast to hear her argument for that idea. A movie like Starship Troopers is brilliant at subverting the whole propaganda thing. :) This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Coga nito: Slide into some retro 1970s classic disco, with a modern twist! You’ll feel like your wearing shiny white polyester stretch flares with high white leather platform shoes, then rocket back into the present with the cool techno dance feel of the synthesised beats. Get onto the dance floor and strut your stuff!

Episode 368 - the Blahcast!

Apr 2, 2018

5 likes, 0 comments

Welcome to another Quackcast! in this “blahcast” we talk about a lot of different subjects. This Quackcast also sees the arival of a NEW feature! It's the Princess January Show, by VinoMas! Where all the hot gos about popularity on DD is covered. Pitface tells us that Fury is the greatest tank movie ever, I correctly state that Tankgirl owns that honour. We chat about mistaken criticism of a movie or webcomic based on what we WANTED it to be rather than what it was, Suckerpunch being a prime example, but also the Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Bad promotion also sinks projects especially films like John Carter on Mars. We chat about Star Wars The Force Awakens AGAIN! Which leads us to badly written female characters: a strong character is a well defined character that drives a story, not characters that are physically strong, they CAN be, but it has nothing to do with being a “strong” character. It's like the famous “survival of the fittest”: “fittest” does not mean “strongest”, it means the best “fit” for a situation. So those are some of the pop-culture things we “blah” about. We have a university student doing a study on webcomics. Please consider filling out her survey, linked in our links section! This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Project Prince. The simple plucked wire chords introduce us to a dark future scene. Synthesised organ and gentle patter of brushes on cymbals tip us off to the action to come. Loud distorted electric guitars give us the feel of a late night 1980s SciFi action movie

Episode Quackcast 367 - reply notifications And titles!

Mar 26, 2018

2 likes, 0 comments

In this Quackcast we discuss a couple of things. First we chat about the prototype comment reply notification system that Alexey our programmer has just now come up with and people like Albino Ginger helped to pay for! And we talk about ways to make it more user-friendly, like having the first line of a comment show up on the comment notification pages… We'd LOVE more feedback on that! So please consider testing out the system and giving us your take on it. Then we chatted about the art of the TITLE! Why do things have the titles they do? What are some good or bad titles? Why did you choose YOUR title? Star Wars is an example of a good title for a movie: it told people exactly what to expect in a time when there weren't many other films like it, this is why it was never called “A New Hope” or “Episode 4” the way we mistakenly call it today, because no one in 1977 would have gone to see it ;) Happy birthday!!!!!!! Mr Banes! Banes Had his birthday DURING the Quackcast! Woot! Please show some love for this amazing guy ^_^ This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Holy Bible the Albino Ginger Version: Wonder into the giant cathedral of our lord, the revered and sacred Albino Ginger, watch the dust motes dance in the multicoloured sunbeams, tinted into rainbow shades by stained glass windows depicting the mighty feats of the Albino Ginger god as he was creating our world… This is techno trance church music for a new age!

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 361 - Primordial Creations

Feb 12, 2018

5 likes, 2 comments

Today we talk about where our characters began, not their origin stories or why we started writing them but rather what they used to look like! Pitface was inspired to create a thread based on this idea by Emma Clare's newspost series of origin stories. So we just HAD to have Emma Clare along with us to discus this too! Pit, Tantz, and Emma discuss their bishie origins and talk about maybe doing a bishie DD calendar… We HAVE to make them do that! Emma Clare of course does our Friday newsposts as well as the comic Puppets and Strings and is the artist on Constellation Chronicles. What did your character look like when you first started? This week Gunwallace has given us the theme Wolf Moon - A slow, rich acoustic beginning lulls you calmly, then we roar into a rough, electric feast, a veritable tidal wave of sound washes over you and carries you out to sea.

Episode 360 - How did you start in webcomics?

Feb 4, 2018

2 likes, 0 comments

In this Quackcast I thought we'd chat about Emma Clare's great and thoughtful topic of webcomic origin stories: Basically, what was happening to make you start your webcomic on DD, all that stuff in your life back when you first began posting… Emma's newsposts are a great read and they made us all think back to how we began. Pit, Tantz and I have a long talk about our comicing origins. What were YOU doing when you started webcomics? What made you begin? This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to NanoCritters. It's a minimalist white expanse, dotted with mysterious little marks of sound. What do they mean, what do they represent, is it code? Read NanoCritters to find out! Also included in the Quackcast are extracts from a lovely Starwars themed rap that Tantz's Greek students performed in English.


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