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.

Topics and Show Notes

What is a retro adventure hero? Typically they're an adventurer, a member and representative of a powerful Western country, they like exploring, they're self sufficient, they can survive by themselves in the wild, they can fight, understand many languages, have arcane knowledge of and respect for native peoples and different exotic cultures, they tend to be very worldly and highly educated. This trope was inspired by real life examples, typically explorers from the 19th century, foremost among them was Sir Richard Francis Burton. He was highly educated, a soldier, an explorer, a swordsman and a shameless self promoter. With the explorations of Burton we have the romantic idea of a representative of the British Empire and Western civilisation delving into the hidden worlds of the Arab east and darkest Africa.

A partial influence for Indiana Jones was the story of GE Kinkaid and his 1909 find of the remains of a fabulous city accessed through a cave in the Grand Canyon… all sponsored by the Smithsonian institute. Of course nothing about the story was true and GE Kinkaid never existed, but it was quite inspiring nonetheless. My own character, Ace Kinkaid, from my comic Pinky TA was based on GE Kinkaid. Instead of going in the Indiana Jones direction of a “true hero” I decided to take a different tack- since the story was clearly made up and quite stupid (obviously designed to fool people), I made Ace Kinkaid someone who wanted to look like a hero but was in reality a con-man, only out for himself.

The most important fictional retro adventure hero is H. Rider Haggard's “Allan Quatermain” (I wrongly say he was Edgar Rice Burroughs' character in the Quackcast). He's another huge influence for Indiana Jones. There are many other popular fictional retro adventure heroes though: Brenden Frasier's character in The Mummy, Romancing the Stone, Lara Croft, El Borak, Steve Canyon, Biggles, Bulldog Drummond, John Carter, Dirk Pitt in Sahara, Flashman (though more of an antihero) and many more, even The Rock's character from the recent Jungle Cruise.

Why “retro” though and how can contemporary characters like Lara Croft and Dirk Pit be retro? Well there are a few reasons; number one is that they follow the clothing conventions of a lot of brown, leather, and straps; number two is that they have all the right competencies with fighting ability, self sufficiency, a penchant for adventure and exploration, visiting ruins etc, a good education…; number three is that they come from a retro world view of imperialism, so they can be a representative of the “enlightened modern world” going off to “discover” and explore exotic places - which of course aren't exotic or in need of discovery from the point of view of the locals.
This trope can still work just as well in a modern setting because we still continue to think like this, but it works best in the 1920s/30s for a couple of reasons: The aesthetic then is perfect, but this was also the end of the old imperial era. It marked the end of the time when we could still imagine representatives from “western civilisation” exploring unknown places, technology was at the highest point for characters of this trope (aeroplanes, machine guns, trains, steamships…), and many of the original adventure heroes were created in this period because we were romantisising the idea of adventure and empire while it was ending.

After the second world war scoured the entire globe and the last gasp of the dream of empire was shattered, the far reaches of the earth no longer seemed exotic anymore or to hold the same mystery. Retro adventure heroes had their hey-day in the transition from colonialism to post colonialism. We like them now for the romanticism of the image of what they were and the spirit of adventure and exploration, that's what we emulate rather than the distasteful idea of a colonialist imperial cultural ambassador, tourist, and thief.

Do you have a fave retro Adventure hero? If so, who? Do you even like the trope?


This week Gunwallace gave us a musical theme to Caveston - Authoritative violin pronounces and directs. A four stringed general deciding the course of action, laying out the battleplan. Electric guitar listens well and leads the squad on a furious audio assault! Storming forth and prevailing in a mighty show of shock and awe.


Topics and shownotes

Links


Featured comic:
Caveston - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2022/mar/22/featured-comic-caveston/

Featured music:
Caveston - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Caveston/ - by Caveston, rated T.


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/
Kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/

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Episode 575 - Fave fantasy creatures?

Mar 20, 2022

5 likes, 2 comments

Fantasy creatures are cool and we're here to talk about our faves. One of mine is elves. I love them… Being quite elfy myself. Fantasy is pretty fun to play around with, you have the freedom to create anything but even so there are a few recognised and agreed on fantasy creatures that people stick with.

Episode 574 - Odd-ball, norm-ball, every ball!

Mar 14, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

I consider Drunk Duck (or the Duck Webcomics) to be the Heavy Metal of webcomic hosting sites, because like that excellent anthology comic publication we celebrate the oddballs. On DD we have comics of all different styles, many that would find it hard or even impossible to promote themselves anywhere else. We're open to all skill levels and all styles. We only promote things we consider to have high quality or high potential in our features, but we don't have a particular style prejudice, we don't only feature things that give us a homogeneous, unified look. We're proud of our variety! We don't gate keep or block anyone from access to our site and we feel that's one of our greatest strengths.

Episode 573 - Join the cult?

Mar 7, 2022

5 likes, 1 comment

Cults are weird. Unlike normal religions (from which many cults stem), cults are usually based more around charismatic individuals rather than simple doctrine. Which means the followers of cults can often get a little crazy because they're following the whims of an individual rather than boring old text from a book. And this is why religious groups with charismatic leaders (i.e evangelical Televangelists and hardline Imams), become crazy and cultish too.

Episode 572 - Myths of fiction part 2

Feb 28, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

Last week we did a thing of the persistent myths of fiction- fictional conventions that we all just accept, and are repeated over and over and even influence real life- for example: that people are blasted back in reaction to being shot. It started as a way of making shooting scenes more dramatic and obvious on film, but became a convention and we all believe it so much that it influences reality- it's part of the famous JFK conspiracy about a “second shooter” because people foolishly think JFK's head rocking “back and to the left” indicated the direction of a gunshot. The kinetic energy of a bullet is imparted to the medium it strikes, typically through heat and destruction when it hits a soft target like a human.

Episode 571 - Myths of fiction

Feb 21, 2022

5 likes, 1 comment

There are so many really silly cliché myths from fiction that we all just tend to accept. They're objectively stupid but they get repeated so often that we don't bat an eye when we see them and we can even start to believe them in reality. I thought it'd be fun to dig into them in a Quackcast. I made a thread in the forum for people to contribute to. Unfortunately we didn't get to many in the Quackcast but there's always time to do another!

Episode 570 - Hair!

Feb 14, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

Time to chat about character hairstyles. Tantz did a newspost about them a few weeks ago and I spun the topic off into a fashion subject for a Quackcast, but something really basic and simple like hair has a lot of potential in its own right. There are lots of things you can consider…

Episode 569 - Everything old is new again

Feb 7, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

He might not be in the Quackcast right now but he's in our hearts and in this topic! Banes did a newspost about Nostalgia the other day because so much popculture these days is openly recycled: from reboots and remakes, to stuff done in 80s styles etc. This sort of thing has always existed of course, nothing is new not even nostalgia ironically, but today there is more of it and less totally new stuff.


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