Episode 401 - Stan Lee, a stupid comedian, and the new prudes

Nov 19, 2018

This is Quackcast 401! Error, error! Pitface and Tantz were absent so Banes and myself were left to go quietly off the rails and expostulate all sorts of radical, half formed, badly articulated thoughts. This is an interesting one! We cover the death of the great Stan Lee, titan of the comics and superhero world. Then we sidestream into talking about comedians trying to be political commentators (re: Bill Maher)… I must apologise for my Ad Hominems. And lastly our focus is on a “new puritanism” in some aspects of pop-culture. It all ties together, if a little awkwardly.

Topics and Show Notes

Stan Lee was instrumental in creating a unified fantasy universe populated by a pantheon of godlike superheroes with very human thoughts and failings. Not only that but he helped elevate comics as a medium to the mainstream. No longer are comics seen as something just for children. Cartoons, fantasy, Scifi, and comics have been rightfully elevated to the mainstream where they belong as valid forms of artistic expression. People no longer have to apologise for or feel ashamed of liking them either. You're free to consume or create the media of your choice and Stan Lee was a massive part of that.

This is why the remarks by Mr Maher about Stan Lee are problematic and ill-judged. He said that the veneration shown for a creator of comics, which are “only meant for children”, shows how the US has been dumbed down and why someone like Donald Trump could have been elected.
I'd contend that the reason for “Trump” and people's idea of politics being dumbed down is that we now get most of our political commentary through comedians. They have helped turn complex subjects into simplistic black and white caricatures because that's how comedy works. It's great for breaking down ideas and giving you a simple primer to understand them, but when comedians and partisan talking heads are your main sources then things are going very, very wrong. Bill Maher IS the problem, not people liking comics. If anything, Stan Lee worked to do the opposite; his characters weren't simple 2D cut-outs (like Maher's version of political figures), they were complicated and human. These were A-political characters who strived to do what was right outside of mere party affiliations.

Then we transition into my idea of the “new puritans”.
There's a slow tide of people coming out against sexuality in art. It comes from both the left and right so there's no real political platform. I feel it's very much related to the same point of view that Bill Maher has about comics: this is media for children and we must protect them from anything grown up. When in reality all we end up doing is insulting and infantilising adults when we attack sexuality in media, whether in games, cartoons, books, comics or movies.
This is no more clearly shown than in the word these people use most often: “Sexualise”
They claim that characters are “sexualised”. You cannot sexualise an adult or teen. By biological, physical definition we are ALL sexual past puberty. That doesn't mean we have or even want sex, it means we have sexual traits and that's all it means. You can “sexualise” a non-sexual thing like a toaster or a car but it's impossible to do that to a teen or adult. Sexual traits in adult characters are healthy and normal. I contend that the need to remove them is a perversion.

This is NOT to say that sexual traits in characters should be over-emphasised. What these people really mean when they focus on sexuality is “EROTICISM”, and that is a very important distinction. It has little to do with sexuality though so it's NOT a mistake that should be overlooked. There is a time and place for eroticism and we should never foist erotic depictions where they don't belong or onto audiences that should not be exposed to them. But we should also guard against hyper-vigilance or start attacking any depiction that shows sexual traits.
Ask yourself: Is the character sexual? If yes, then is the depiction erotic? Then is eroticism appropriate for the context of the work, its audience and where it is sold? Those are the questions to ask, not weather or not a male has a bulge or a girl has prominent breasts.

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Quixote Coyote… Let’s get a little chaotic with this quixotic jazz jam for Quixote Coyote! Let the organs fill your body (no, not those sorts of organs), let the drums be your heartbeat, and the trumpet will chase the electric, eclectic thoughts in your brain.

Topics and shownotes

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Featured comic:
Belle Starr - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2018/nov/12/featured-comic-belle-starr/

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean

Featured music:
Quixote Coyote - - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Quixote_Coyote/, by cjoe1377, rated E.

Episode 387 - History and Pastiche

Aug 7, 2018

6 likes, 1 comment

In this Quackcast Tantz and I chat about the differences between working with historical settings and the different approaches we take. Tantz's comics (Without Moonlight and Brave Resistance), are both set in a real period of history: Nazi occupied Greece during WW2. Pinky TA is set in the 1920s in an alternative version of history, with Pinky coming from the fictional “Crimean Empire”. Tantz has to keep times, places, and details close to real history while with Pinky TA I can pick and choose the things from history I like the best and create my own idealised pastiche. The advantage of Tantz's approach is that everything is there, nothing has to be invented, just researched and reproduced, whereas my approach involves a lot of creation which slows things down and makes it harder. On the upside Pinky TA is much more flexible, I can easily fit whatever I want into the story, whereas Tantz's comics are bound by the rules of the history she's presenting.

Episode 382 - Suspension of disbelief

Jul 9, 2018

4 likes, 0 comments

This week we talk about maintaining suspension of disbelief: the way you have to convince people of the world your story is set in and keep them there. Everything you do is done for that, to convince them your characters make sense and the world works. There's a very mistaken idea that this ONLY applies to fantasy or SciFi. No, it applies to ALL fiction and even non-fiction in the case of stories and jokes from your friends, biographies and autobiographies. You have to maintain a suspension of disbelief in all these things in order to fully enjoy and be a part of the story.

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 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 349 - Bad Gods

Nov 20, 2017

3 likes, 4 comments

This is the Quackcast where I get things wrong! Haha, I DO love to imagine that I know everything but fortunately Tantz and Pit are there to correct me! For this Quackcast I was thinking about the way we assign villains when there's a religious theme or anything influenced by mythology really. You know the way Hel in Thor Ragnarok and Hades in the Disney movie Hercules are cast as villains just because they're in charge of death, even though in the mythology they're not supposed to be bad guys at all. Perhaps it's our modern Christian influenced culture that makes us wrongly associate death with the bad guys…? Our topic meanders a little but it's mainly about how our interpretation of mythology and legend in modern pop-culture is influenced by our modern ways of thinking, which causes things to be quite drastically changed. This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to Puppets and strings - a sepulchral, hollow, sombre theme, yet also grand and portentous! Stirring, melancholic, epic.

Episode 318 - Maintaining enthusiasm!

Apr 10, 2017

4 likes, 0 comments

The most important thing when doing your comic is to maintain your enthusiasm- THIS is what helps you keep working, not feedback, not praise, not fans, but your own internal passion. Feedback is great, but you can become addicted to it and when it's not there or there's not enough of it your work can die. In order to be able to keep creating your passion for your work should be internal, not external, you need to be self sustaining: A readership is nice and feedback is great, but you really have to do your comic for yourself, not for other people. But there's more to it than that. Bored by doing your webcomic? Why is that? What do you need to change to make it interesting to do once more? What is holding you back? Those are some of the things we talk about in this Quackcast! The music for this week by Gunwallace is for the previously featured comic Numb. This is the sound of a long road trip under the burning sun in the hot, dry, dusty, desert air, and on into a cold night through a desolate city lit by retreating streetlights. Progression, but where to?

Episode 315 - Creepy Pasta

Mar 20, 2017

4 likes, 2 comments

This week we decided to all read out Creepypastas, just because! I's a popular thing on the net and people like that sort of thing… Well Banes and Pit do anyway. So what ARE Creepypastas? Well they're not the rotten spaghetti that had Banes blasting from both barrels just before the Quackcast, no, the name comes from “copy and paste”, simple as that. Creepypasta are just scary stories that writers have made up and copy and pasted to sites on the net, usually on things like Reddit. Often the writer pretends that it's a true story, but not many, if any at all, are based on real events. Today we're reading a few that we found at random. Hope you enjoy! The music of Gunwallace this week is My Pet Succubus. It’s party time down here! Bouncing, rolling piano notes, tapping drums and ebullient synth strings exemplify the happy go lucky personality of the irrepressible protagonist of this comic.


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