Episode 583 - Why is it bad?
May 16, 2022
Spoiler- we don't actually talk much about Yu-Gi-Oh! But I feel it's a good example of a pretty bad a so-bad-it's-good story, but bad nevertheless. The idea we're talking about here is that it's useful to look at bad stories and stick with them because they can really help you write better. They're a lot more useful than good stories because you'd rather just enjoy those and it's a bit harder to examine them for technical details, but with “bad” stories the faults stand out strongly. Instead of simply dismissing a bad story or making fun of it, it's more useful and valuable to try and “fix” it: try and work out why it seems bad and think about what would be needed to make it better, then think about how that applies to your own work. Maybe you're actually making many of the same mistakes?
Topics and Show Notes
Yu-Gi-Oh! is a little too much work to use as an example, but something like the Marvel movie Eternals is good because it only had a few flaws. Big ones, but also very good parts as well:
- Lots of telling rather than showing. A text dump at the beginning was just the start of that. It wasn't stylistic choice like in Star Wars, but rather something we need to understand what is happening. All through the film characters tell us about things rather than the story properly depicting them.
- Revealing the solution to mysteries too early and so it undercuts built up tension. Mysteries are really interesting and intriguing to the audience, even when they think they've solved them, it still feels very rewarding to have them revealed nearer to the end of the story. Revealing them far too early feels like you're being cheated and wastes a valuable resource. Eternals does this twice with very significant mysteries about halfway through.
- Having generic, cannon-fodder bad guys. This is true of many action stories especially from Marvel films, but it's particularly bad here. Saying any more would be a spoiler. But this is something that Yu-Gi-Oh! does far better.
- Leaving out information that would better make sense of story elements. We have the character Icarus refereed to frequently as “the Pilot” by another character who's never met him before, but we have no idea why. A deleted scene reveals why, but without that it makes no sense, you're just left to feel it's a pointless joke about the Icarus myth, which it's not.
- Not solving logic errors. The characters are supposed to be the basis for mythical figures in earth cultures but most are of different ethnicities to the cultures that worship them. This could have been easily solved in two ways: 1. the character “Sprite” could have been shown to have created illusions around them to make them seem like the characters of myth. 2. The character Druig could have been shown to manipulate people's minds to think they were seeing the mythical characters. The story does neither.
Despite all this and more there are many good points to this story and it would be possible to fix it through re-editing. I found it more rewarding and interesting to work out what exactly made this not such a good film and it helped to better highlight the good parts for me. It also helps me see what to avoid in my own writing and what I'm doing wrong. Try it yourself? Maybe you can tackle Yu-Gi-Oh! and let us know how that could be fixed?
I'm not brave enough.
This week Gunwallace has given us a theme to - Malefic Demonic Apocalypse - A creepy red garden filled with writhing demonic monstrosities and horror! This electronic piece grinds and roars, sounding like an acidic, burning harpsichord spewing fury and vitriol in a crimson torrent.
Topics and shownotes
Our movie critique thread does this somewhat - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/forum/topic/177412/?page=36
Oni Streamer Builds a Mech - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2022/may/10/featured-comic-oni-streamer-builds-a-mech/
Malefic Demonic Apocalypse - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Malefic_Demonic_Apocalypse/ - by Genejoke, rated M.
Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
PitFace - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
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Episode 581 - David's always right
May 2, 2022
David's always right - Introducing Hpkomic! Hpkomic has been with DD since the earliest days, he's a comic artist, writer, English teacher, and podcaster. He even participated in the second comicbook challenge that Platinum held way back in the day when they controlled DD, and came second! He was part of many community events, like the Drunk Duck Civil War (the DD answer to the comic book Marvel Civil War) and DD VS Comic Genesis, which was the DC Vs Marvel of Webcomics! In fact he has the oldest post on this version of the DD forums! After the site was fully deleted at the end of 2005, he was the first person back who commented with an offer of help to get things back online again. Bonus points if you can find it.
Episode 576 - Retro Adventure heroes
Mar 28, 2022
Retro adventure heroes are an interesting and unique sort of hero. The trope was revived and crystallised by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg with Indiana Jones, but it had existed long before then and continues to persist now in many forms. They're not without their problems But I like these characters. I love their outfits, their competency, intelligence, self sufficiency, and their penchant for exploration and discovery.
Episode 566 - feeling the vibe!
Jan 16, 2022
Let's talk about total immersion… When consuming media rather than creating it, if you're lucky you become immersed: the struggles and fears of the character become your own. You feel for them, you care, their pain, their hunger, even their shivers and sweats, you care about the world in which they live… That can be an amazing feeling and it's pretty much WHY we really enjoy and keep consuming media. Themes, great visuals, intellectual explorations of ideas and concepts are all very well but nothing compels and excites you as much as when you really CARE what's happening. So that's what we're chatting about! Join us on Discord - https://discordapp.com/invite/7NpJ8GS
Episode 560 - When Fiction Meets Reality
Dec 5, 2021
We all know that fiction and reality are separate things, but fiction mirrors reality and we suspend disbelief to ignore the parts that are unrealistic so that we often treat fiction the same way AS reality. But there are many tropes and aspects of fiction that ONLY work in fiction and can't work in reality. I was inspired to examine this idea because of our Fetish-cast with Fallopian Crusader and his idea that certain fetishes can only exist in comics.
Episode 553 - Out of date humour?
Oct 18, 2021
I was reading an article the other day about the comedy of Sacha Baron Cohen and how that style of comedy is now out of date, along with The Hangover and Hot Tub Time Machine. The idea is that the day for this sort of masculine, bawdy, sleazy humour has been and gone and that we're more advanced, sophisticated and enlightened now. Personally I took issue with this, I think this style of comedy is extremely relatable and eternal because of it. You can see examples of it going back thousands of years across all cultures because many factors of it are universal to the human cultural experience.
Episode 551 - Tropes we LOVE to hate...
Oct 4, 2021
Tantz explains why she really hates a bunch of tropes that are super commonly used in things, stuff like very obvious plot armour for the protagonist so that you KNOW nothing can seriously hurt them so you stop caring what happens to them and in the story in general, child-led stories where the adults are all useless and ineffectual because it takes away your suspension of disbelief, and amnesia where a huge bunch of the story is erased so the writers can just repeat stuff over and over. Banes and I join it to talk about stuff we hate too!
Episode 547 - Franchise fail
Sep 2, 2021
There seemed to be a lull for a while after the 1990s and the massive sequel craze of the 80s, but nowadays we're back in full swing again with sequels, reboots and reinvisioning of film and TV franchises. Banes noticed a distinct pattern of behaviour that occurred around bad or failed franchises: The makers would chose to go against what existing fans liked about the property in the fist place, usually in order to appeal to new fans. When both new fans and old ones dislike what they do, they attack the fans and blame the fans for failure of their version. Then they'll search and find a new franchise to mess up. It's rare that people own up to or admit to failures anymore, it's usually always the fault of the fans for being too “toxic”.