Episode 451 - Fans who criticise are are good fans

Nov 4, 2019

“Toxic fans” is a bit of a catch cry now and that has seemed to turn into the idea that any fan who is critical of something or doesn't like it isn't a “true fan”, fans must should love everything. I find this a dangerously silly notion and one clearly driven by business interests with only a limited relationship to reality. It's quite similar to the idea that you're “either for us or against us”, the twisted idea of “patriotism” that says you must agree with and love everything your country and your leader does no matter what or you're a traitor.

Topics and Show Notes

The truth is that trolls have always been a minority force. They exist and they are nasty, often sexist, racist pigs, but they're certainly not fans and don't characterise real critical voices. Using the existence of trolls to justify shutting down criticism is silly. In reference to this Tantz and Banes bring up big budget mass media productions like Star Wars, Game of Thrones and Ghost Busters, but I was thinking along more general lines: Good fans are people that love something but also care enough about it to think about storylines, characters and deeper aspects of that thing (it doesn't matter what it is), to have constructive opinions or to be upset when they see their characters misused etc.

People who are not fans and who really shouldn't get involved in the discussion are the “it's not for you” or “it's just a movie” crowd. Everyone knows it's not real life, and a creative product is “for” anyone that cares enough about it to consume it and form an opinion.

As Vickie Boutwell said “the opposite of love isn't hate, it's apathy”.

Fans who care are the best fans: it's these people who become creators in their own right while others simply consume. The greatest minds in pop-culture all started out as critical, thinking, fans. Name any successful, big series in any format (TV, movies, books, comics, games), and you're likely to uncover a fan that cared enough to let their opinions of their fandom show and then get in and have a go for themselves. By encouraging criticism and involvement we encourage creativity, by shutting that down all we get are consumers -which gives you a clue where that pressure is mainly coming from. ;)

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Ripping off King Arthur: We’re all preparing for the big event here with this theme. It’s a weird mixture of a Rocky theme, fantasy epic, and 8 bit video game music… as if were were about to see a pixelated, medieval fantasy themed version of Mortal Kombat! The fight showdown to end all fight showdowns!

Topics and shownotes

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Game of Thrones writer gossip - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-rCuVtj7GA

Featured comic:
The jacket Comic - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/oct/29/featured-comic-the-jacket-comic/

Featured music:
Ripping off King Arthur - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Ripping_Off_King_Arthur/, by Arspitzer, rated M.

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

Episode 426 - Sidekicking

May 13, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

Inspired by Emma Clare's Friday newspost about supporting characters, today we're discussing sidekicks! Sidekicks are a useful character type that are used in so many different ways. They can be a specialised type of supporting character that are also a main character or they can be the main protagonist in some cases. In comics sidekicks came in during the early days as a way of giving juvenile readers their own insert character who they could identify with… Bucky Barnes, Jimmy Olsen, Robin etc. They had other functions like giving the hero someone to save, providing commentary, reaction and exposition. Later when that kind of sidekick fell out of favour they became superheroes in their own right.

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 320 - Making the reader believe

Apr 24, 2017

4 likes, 2 comments

In this Quackcast I wanted to talk about the magic of authorship: how the creator of a story sets up the whole situation so that they can convince the reader of anything. You can write a story about the smartest man in the world, and the reader will believe that they are, within the story, because you set it up that way: not just by having other characters reacting to them and forming that impression, but also independently convincing the audience of it as well by having them solving riddles and such or knowing lots of languages, quoting literary texts etc, but the creator doesn't have to be a very smart person themselves… Like Sherlock Holmes is seen as super smart because he's meant to, but Arthur Conan Doyle wasn't a super genius himself. You can write about a Casanova type charmer who's fantastic with the opposite sex and readers will believe, but only if you set the stage well enough. You as the creator set the parameters for anything to happen. Without having certain abilities or skills yourself, you can create a character with totally convincing skills far outside of yourself. The music for this week by Gunwallace is for The Gloom, it's creepy, ghostly, unsettling, uneven. This one gets under your skin and keeps you off-balance.

Episode 297 - fandoms

Nov 14, 2016

4 likes, 2 comments

In this Quackcast we tackle the topic of fandom. Fandoms can be interesting, fun, helpful, fascinating, inspiring, or even bizarre and disturbing. Fandoms are frequently great resources for information about their subject and can really enrich your experience of whatever you're into. Fandoms are also a hotbed of creative energy- some of our most iconic literature was written by people who started out as ardent fans- even the great H.P. Lovecraft was part of a fandom of Gothic horror fiction along with fellow writers Robert Bloch, Clark Ashton Smith, and Robert E. Howard. These highly influential writers were influenced by such greats as Arthur Machen, Robert W. Chambers, Edgar Allen Poe, and Lord Dunsany to name a few. And of course Lovecraft and his group went to to influence legions of fans who changed the face of 20th century pop culture. Looking at fandoms gives a cultural roadmap so we can follow influences, where ideas originated, how they changed, how pop-culture was created, and more importantly: they give us great clues about what other stuff we might like to read! No music this week I'm afraid. Mr Gunwallace is dealing with the fallout from a huge earthquake in his native New Zealand.


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