Comic Talk and General Discussion *

Copying the 80's, but never understanding it.
Furwerk studio at 8:20AM, June 19, 2020
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I wanted to talk about a subject I wrote about here https://www.furaffinity.net/view/36837143/ and I'll re-post what I said here in case there is some who don't like FA.
I loved horror moves, or rather “horror” movies that feature fun and delightful creatures and monsters that stalk the world of video cinema. I watch them as a kid, and I mean little kid, and thing was no horror movie scared me because I knew they weren't real. And because of that lack of fear “slashers” never interested me, unless they had something cool like a neat mask, a gimmick or some kind of supernatural power.

And things never changed, because I still go back to those movies featuring demons leaping off the screen, video games that kill (Brainscan, Arcade, that segment in Nightmare), murderous yogurt, and Joan Crawford rises from the grave. It was a great time to be alive and into the fun, “stupid” and off the wall monster stuff in the 80's and 90's. They had a visual language of their own, with special effect artists even on the lowest budget productions schlock movie pushing their craft of monsters. Sure there is a lot of crap, but remember 10 percent of a million is 10,000 so the more there is out there the more cool stuff there is.

I'm getting off topic. During the mid to late 90's I fell out of horror movies when Scream became a hit, and with that out went the dragon hiding in the closet with a taste for women and in came with the killer best friend despite the dozens of red herrings through out the movie. I knew the landscape was changing, and just admit when something was not for me and moved onto other genres and media.

Post 2010's after a constant influx of “grounded” horror, a lot of people who still love those Trouma productions and try to make their own. Which is great, because of great movies of my favorite decade was taking ques from the 1950's science fiction and making it their own.

Thing is, a lot of times while on the surface everything was very chic 80's with vhs scan lines, quirky one line slinging villains, wacky monsters and “funny” characters. But that's it, it's all surface, hell it's not even proper 80's surface but rather Gold Key comics of Star Trek version of it. Taking a bad shot on shideo found footage film and spray painting everything in bright colors to “emulate” the 80's look without it's feel.

The thing about the 80's is while it is presented as this happy, go-go wonderful era everything was scary as shit. Pollution, urban decay, civil unrest, and two super powers ready to end the world in nuclear hell fire at a moments notice. People just filter out that stuff for the toys, the cartoons and neat music.

I wish I had more of a point here, but I'm getting tired and running out of steam to bitch.

TL;DR A lot of film makers try to bolt on the “80's aesthetic” to hide a bad movie, or they misunderstood how it worked. Ether or.


There is something I wanted to add in after thinking about it since posting the original thought is, yeah, one CAN create an 80's feeling movie successfully but it requires to go beyond the surface level and understand the actual mechanics beneath it, mold it with stuff happening now and all the changes over the years. Kind of like how the Thing is it's own thing while being a homage/remake of The Thing from Another world.
ozoneocean at 2:12AM, June 20, 2020
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I'm not at all into horror but I think I know what you mean with work that badly apes the style.
That said, for a very true 1980s horror feel I would recommend The Nun and the rest of the films in the Conjuring franchise based on the bulshit stories of the Warrens.


They were “paranormal investigator” con-artists who came to their success by piggybacking on the Exorcist horror movie and with that inspiration came up with their own horror fantasy (Amityville) and pretended it was real with the help of the home owner- successfully sold the rights and made a lot of money.
The rest of their career was spent trying to repeat that success, and living off scamming the poor idiots who thought they had hauntings.

The reason I mention this is that the horror movies based on them and their stuff have a solid 1980s pedigree and it really shows! they're pretty 1980s in feel, and the Nun was 100% 80's monster movie fun. Not superficial or fake, it could have been made in the 1980s and you wouldn't know the difference.
 
bravo1102 at 4:23AM, June 23, 2020
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As someone who was a young adult in the 1980s, it's pretty funny seeing younger creators get it so wrong. It's my decade, I remember all this stuff and lived through it.

Somehow the 1970s penchant for all things '50s was more credible.
kawaiidaigakusei at 7:43PM, June 23, 2020
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Go to any high school and the kids are dressed like it is 1980-1997, but I thought they were all born after the 2000s?

It is the same as people emulating the 1960s in the 1990s.
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bravo1102 at 4:36AM, June 24, 2020
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But as the original poster says, they're all missing the point.

It's nostalgic emulation because designers are out of original ideas. Manbuns and beards aren't 1980's. The archetypes and tropes are totally different.
kawaiidaigakusei at 7:07AM, June 24, 2020
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I was born in the 80s, so fashion was always so RAD and topsy-turvy ever since I was a baby.

I just did the easy thing and look back at the 1910s and 1930-1945 for clothing inspiration. There is nothing wrong with classic looks and linen-cotton blends feel so amazing, there is no going back (to the future) at this point.
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Peipei at 9:05PM, June 25, 2020
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I was a tiny kid in the late 80s so I don't remember a lot about it outside of the commercials and cartoons I watched, the Barbie cereal I used to eat and the kids my sister went to school with. I know what you mean when you mention the forms of media that try to emulate the 80s from the surface level and it's just dead wrong every time. As for the 80s being a scary decade, I can tell you first hand that the neighborhood we used to live in back then was being terrorized by the Crips back then, which was why we ended up leaving in 1990!

ozoneocean at 7:11AM, June 30, 2020
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bravo1102 wrote:
Manbuns and beards aren't 1980's. The archetypes and tropes are totally different.
Very true.
I mean, manbuns did exist then but pretty much only on Sikhs, or dirty feral hippies.
Beards were around but only on certain types of guy: Older men or very masculine men. They were VERY uncommon.
So was baldness too actually- full baldness that is. People DID NOT shave their heads commonly. Either you were a Buddhist, had cancer, a biker, a badarse tough guy, or some sort of alternative person.
It wasn't a fashion thing for balding men. It was a very specific statement about who you were, same with beards.

Now baldness and beards are basically meaningless.
 
BearinOz at 2:42AM, July 1, 2020
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ozoneocean Very true.
I mean, manbuns did exist then but pretty much only on Sikhs, or dirty feral hippies.
Beards were around but only on certain types of guy: Older men or very masculine men. They were VERY uncommon.
So was baldness too actually- full baldness that is. People DID NOT shave their heads commonly. Either you were a Buddhist, had cancer, a biker, a badarse tough guy, or some sort of alternative person.
It wasn't a fashion thing for balding men. It was a very specific statement about who you were, same with beards.

Now baldness and beards are basically meaningless.
Oy ! Some of my best friends were hippies B-)
Yeah, “man buns” definitely didn't exist back then, but pony tails were quite common - especially among ‘coked-up’ Sydney advertising types and others (and 2 I.T.professional guys I knew). I had a beard - I'd had it since the mid ‘70s (my mid-late 20s), and so did quite a few of my mates - all surfers, of course, so maybe ’subculture' applies ? Not “very masculine men” especially. Haha. Virtually NO-one had the “eaten a bear and left the arse hanging out” type though, except for bikies, as you say . Certainly not the return-to-Edwardian-England manicured look of the current “hipster” gen. (but good luck to ‘em) The ’70s “porn star” moustache was on its way out too…
My much younger bro-in-laws began going bald early, so one had long hair, but going thin, the other kept his short but both had shaved heads by e.o.'80s because of it. Thankfully the horrible “comb-over” had all but disappeared, I think even the “little Aussie bleeder” Norman Gunston's had gone by '80 B-)

 
last edited on July 1, 2020 2:52AM
fallopiancrusader at 2:23PM, July 1, 2020
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I was in my 20s during the 80s, so most of my young adulthood took place in that time. This isn't intended as a shameless plug, but my comic GirlsquadX
was deliberately intended as a psychedelic spoof of what I had seen going on around me in the 80s: It was a decade of sadistic greed, empty celebrity, vicious superficiality, and weaponized apathy. I'm sure that other people had different experiences of those years, but that was the impression that I was left with.
usedbooks at 6:02PM, July 1, 2020
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I feel like it's very hard to capture a former time. Because “cutting edge” of that time is nostalgic or campy now. Nothing will ever have the same feel as it did in the moment.

The earlier steps into CGI were mind-blowing at the time. It was a marvel. I recall my dad being amazed at Super Mario 64 on display in a Radio Shack. Every cutting age new thing captures that feeling in its own way.

In current times, you can capture either the look of past works or the feeling that the effects/style generated, but you can't really do both.

In terms of writing, however, I find many things capture my childhood joys and feeling without actually aiming for it. Stardust became my favorite fantasy movie many years after I felt that tone/mood of fantasy was a thing of the past. It was original. It was not trying to be Princess Bride or Willow. But it made me feel the way I did when viewing the “classics” of my youth.

Steven Universe also makes me happy and nostalgic in a way that is hard to describe. It has a positivity and brightness that speaks to my childhood memories somehow – despite me not really remembering anything quite like it.
hushicho at 10:26PM, Aug. 7, 2020
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I want to say that I love and completely understand the “Gold Key” comparison. That is probably the best way I have ever heard it put.

Nostalgia and “retro” enjoyment is probably the most pleasant (and often fairly superficial) way to distill a decade down to an ensemble or an aesthetic, but people rarely ever think about the fact that so many decades are basically so complex that all you can do is dumb it down. I tend to find that there's always a decade from the middle of the previous decade to about halfway through the new one with every decade.

For example, with the 80s, there's the “70s-80s” and the “80s-90s”. Starting about midway through the 70s, they seemed to find their own identity, and that extended into almost the middle of the 80s in a lot of ways. You can see it in films, especially. If you watch a film from, say, 1982, it's often going to have a completely different feel from a film made in 1988.

I also grew up with a love for horror that persists to this day. It's especially noteworthy, with the topic, to note that horror often pushes the boundaries and tends to be more inclusive in a lot of ways. Most mainstream stuff doesn't dare to deal with the things that horror does, because there's a lot of range in horror, from existential horror and the horror of a society that shuts you out…to just some crazy guy in a mask, killing people.

It is a shame that most people really don't do the reading necessary to understand or appreciate a time better. Though I will say that, in the case of the 80s, leave the social crap alone! It's better left to fade into the past, even if we take the things we like, shallow as they may be, and continue toward the future.

But I digress a bit too, here, and I wanted to say that a lot of people just try way too hard in providing extremely superficial qualities to present something as a period piece. While there isn't so much of the zeitgeist now as there was in style, fashion, and aesthetics in general prior to ubiquitous internet, it's just lazy to throw in a few things and think that does it. They're sometimes cute touches, but they don't tend to show a comprehensive setting; it's often just shorthand, and the reader or viewer has to do the heavy lifting.

One thing many people forget is that just because something is popular or “the look”, it doesn't mean those things are everywhere. It's especially worth noting in cars, which are one thing a lot of people get wrong! Everyone's not going to have a 1971-produced car in 1971. Just like not everyone is going to like or wear the latest styles, in fashion or home decor, and there will be plenty of people who are perfectly happy to keep enjoying whatever stylistic movement they appreciated from years past. It's why we still see, even today, older women with big hair that you'd only see in the 50s and 60s on anyone under 50.

last edited on Aug. 7, 2020 10:34PM
ozoneocean at 9:43PM, Aug. 10, 2020
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Some bad retro:



Why?
The artist had no understanding of the period they were working with. That shitty grid background was mid to late 80s and really only used for commercial mass-produced cheap design work, like backgrounds for photos in teen magazine, cheap hits compilations, computer game cover fill in backgrounds.
While the art style of the image is from the late 1970s/early 1980s. It's the style of Moebius. It's alternative and not hyper commercial.

So it comes out as a bad pastiche by a designer who is ignorant of the era they're trying to copy.
 
hushicho at 12:14AM, Aug. 11, 2020
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There's an irony there, since DC of all people should be aware that José Luis García-López was doing iconic work in the 80s and was, point in fact, the artist who illustrated perhaps DC's most iconic character bible during that time! He established “on model” for all of DC's most prominent characters during the 80s! All they had to do was get him to do a new cover for them – he is still alive and working in the industry – or have someone influenced by his style to do a pastiche or homage.

It's really bizarre to me when it's the same industry, even sometimes down to the same titles, and yet they don't look back on the actual books they have from the time. If they wanted authentic Wonder Woman 1984, why the hell didn't they just get José Luis García-López?!

And it's not like they don't get his designs for various merchandise they put out, even recently. They know his designs and they know who he is. He's one of the most prominent artists with DC. It's staggering to see things done like this, and you know they're all patting themselves on the back for something that's frankly, as stated, rather lazy.
last edited on Aug. 11, 2020 12:15AM
bravo1102 at 1:43AM, Aug. 11, 2020
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Oh great, so they turned Wonder Woman into the girl who had a crush on me in 1982.

If I wanted pictures like that I'd dig out my High School yearbook, not buy a DC comic.

And on the cover of one of those Trapper keeper notebooks kids carried because back packs hadn't filtered down to HS kids yet and were still mostly a college thing.
kawaiidaigakusei at 2:54AM, Aug. 11, 2020
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I Laughed Out Loud at @bravo1102’s comment.

The “pseudo-retro” 1984’s Wonder Woman looks more like Gaia from Captain Planet with her magical, save the Earth vibe.

@Oz, I recently was looking up 80s style clothing on ebay and GLAM ROCK was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much more stylized and exciting. Thank you for posting that lackluster example! I am surprised because I am positive the world has a ton of contemporary graphic designers who are well aware of the decade and experienced the 1980s first hand for them to have someone make it seem like a toned-down Saturday morning cartoon.

Also, yes! @bravo1102 that drawing looks like it would be perfect for a Trapper Keeper binder cover. 😆🤣😆
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dpat57 at 6:04AM, Aug. 11, 2020
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Re WW pic: maybe it's bad retro but it's also a lovely piece of art.
Ironscarf at 5:41PM, Aug. 11, 2020
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I can see that the background is supposed to represent the eighties, but Wonder Woman doesn't have the slightest hint of eighties about her. I mean, I have no problem with this depiction at all, but this is how I would expect her to look if she was guesting on Adventure Time. She's fixin' to whip up a batch of bacon pancakes.
 
last edited on Aug. 11, 2020 5:44PM
ozoneocean at 7:38PM, Aug. 17, 2020
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It's funny… On Facebook where I saw it all these people are defending the image because they want to be seen as being body positive or something… It's impossible for them to accept criticism of it on the basis of it not being good retro.
So it falls into that partisan pop-culture war bullshit, in that if something aligns with a popular issue in same way then it's above any criticism and can only be looked at in terms of that popular issue.

@Scarf- YES, Adventure time!
 

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