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 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 567 - Fairies, the Darkmatter of the supernatural

Jan 24, 2022

3 likes, 1 comment

Pit and Tantz join me to talk about about fairies, fae, Faery, Fair folk, Yokai, and all that good stuff. They're like the dark-matter of the supernatural world: they're not really gods, demons, monsters, or ghosts (though sometimes they are al of those sort off…), they generally fill the spaces between. They exist in a lot of cultures all over the place. They can be naughty spirits, elemental creatures, or animalistic, but generally they're quite alien and unknowable. This discussion comes from Tantz's newspost on Saturday.

Episode 537 - Historicity

Jun 28, 2021

4 likes, 0 comments

We have a chat about historicity in this Quackcast. What IS historicity? It's historical authenticity basically but a nicer way of saying it! It's pretty important for a lot of reasons to make the best effort you can with historical authenticity- it increases immersion of the audience, gives you a better understanding of the story and the world you're looking at (because things will make sense), and leads you to better understanding of your own history and where we came from. BUT, that doesn't mean you always have to be strict. As long as you as a creator properly understand historical context then you've got a lot more leeway to play without creating something stupid. Playing fast and loose with history is ok as long as you know what you're doing, not just being a moron and faking it (hey, many of us are guilty of that). Historical fantasy, myth, classics, fiction, biography etc are all different classes of story where it's more or less forgiveable to mess around.

Episode 526 A return to Mary Sue!

Apr 12, 2021

5 likes, 3 comments

Mary Sues are always a fun topic! There are some misconceptions about them though… Mary Sues aren't all female, they can be any gender. Being super powerful or super popular or super pretty etc doesn't equal a Mary Sue, not even if your character super stands out next to all the others, those things ONLY indicate they might possibly be one. What equals a Mary Sue is a character that doesn't have to struggle very hard for anything, a character that is almost universally admired, and or loved (even by the enemy), a character that masters hard skills with ease and ends up teaching the teachers and beating the masters, a character that's destined to succeed and does in spite of internal story logic… All these things and more can add up to make a Mary Sue.

Episode 489 - Continuity

Jul 26, 2020

3 likes, 0 comments

It's just Banes, Tantz and me today, chatting about the important topic of continuity! How do you maintain it, what continuity errors have you made, what continuity errors have you noticed in media? What's the difference between character continuity, story continuity and chronological continuity? - Something you notice when you watch or read a series in chronological order that was were NOT produced or meant to be viewed that way.

Episode 375 - Categories, genres and rants

May 21, 2018

3 likes, 5 comments

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“.

Episode 343 - sexy Drawings

Oct 9, 2017

4 likes, 4 comments

How do YOU feel when drawing or writing about something sexy? That was the question put to the erotically charged ladies and guys of DD, who answered in a full frontal, frank and unashamed manner! It's a harrrrd question to answer but we were wiiiide open about it. ;) Does writing sexy stories and doing sexy art make you feel erotically charged, leave you feeling cold, or a little pervy? I contend that if you're doing it right then it should turn you on just as much as you intend to turn on the viewer! Pit, Tantz and Banes agreed with me… but many DDers did not and we read out their comments on the subject. *A few new comments were posted after we'd already done the Quackcast so we couldn't get to them. This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to 9th Life: A warm symphony of interlacing guitars, weaving their riffs ecstatically in and out and around each other into a self supporting tower of pure cool.


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