Aug 10, 2020
DD member Furwerk Studios posted in our forum about how annoying it was that movies try and do an 80s retro thing often get things totally wrong and end up looking dumb because of it: Not just superficial looks-wise but stylistically too in terms of the kinds of shots they do, lighting and story structure. I thought that'd make an interesting topic for a cast! Why do people often mess up retro stuff? We're not talking about historical accuracy here, that's slightly different, what we're talking about is setting something in an era and getting the “feel” of that era right. It pays off hugely when it works, but when it doesn't it comes off as superficial, disappointing and ignorant.
Topics and Show Notes
This happened a LOT recently with stuff set in the 80s because 80s fashions came back and people thought it'd be fun to capitalize on the nostalgia. Some do it right and some do it wrong. The important thing to remember when going for a retro feel is NOT to treat an entire decade as a “thing”. Decades are made up of many different fashions across many different countries! During the 1980s for example the styles at the start of the decade were much more like the late 70s and at the end they were similar to the early 90s, and in places further away from the fashion capitals older fashions lasted for longer. The 1980s weren't a decade of pink hoodies with loud patterns, shoulder-pads, big hair, denim jackets, and “momjeans”, it was a lot more varied than that and not all those things were done at the same time. Jeans are a good example: They changed shape a LOT during the 1980s, from flares at the start, straight legs, boot-legs, skinny jeans, stonewash jeans, tapered jeans with slim waists baggy legs and slim ankles, and baggy 501s. All of those cropped up at different times in the decade.
Aside from compressing entire decades just down to one “look” the other issue people run into is projecting modern styles onto the past: Mullet hairstyles in the 1980s are nothing like what they are now for example: you didn't typically shave the sides of your head or have a crewcut with long hair at the back for a mullet. Mullets existed previously, even in the 1970s, but only started to become an 80s thing in the mid 80s. Hair would be slightly longer at the back. if you wanted to highlight that you'd use gel or hairspray or something to slick down the sides of your hair to make them flat. Towards the end of the 80s mullets grew longer at the back and shorter at the front, but shaving the sides wasn't popular. Tattoos, baldness, body piercings, and facial hair were not as common in the decade either, all of them had heavy symbolism and said something about the person who had them, while today they're mainly just aesthetic choices of the individual. Tattoos meant a person was tough or had a rough life or profession. Beards were hyper masculine. Baldness meant you were tough or had an alternative lifestyle. Multiple piercings was much the same.
That said, you don't always have to go for authenticity, as long as you understand what you're doing and know how to have fun with it. Kung Fury is a good example of this. It sardonically uses an 80s retro feel while winking at the audience with its tongue in planted in its cheek. Napoleon Dynamite has a weird indeterminate 1980s feel to it while NOT actually being set in the 1980s.
Do you know any examples of retro done wrong?
This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Gumshoe - Groove on into this black and white world of cool. Lazy coiling blue smoke floats out and leads the way down to this underground world of jazz and sophisticated glitz. Let the bass walk you through, take a twirl with the glittering piano keys, high-five those highhats, and take your place at the bar in the coffee lounge. Make your’s black, no sugar. You’re staying up all night for this one!
Topics and shownotes
Forum thread about bad retro attempts - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/forum/topic/178445/
Fave retro comic on DD, Satan Ninja 19X https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Satan_Ninja_198X/
Hel's Ferrywomen - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2020/aug/04/featured-comic-hels-ferrywomen/
Gumshoe - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Gumshoe/, by Pencilz, 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/
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/
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Apr 20, 2020
Certain tropes or stylistic ways of telling a story can get really, really popular and trendy very quickly and it seems like they're everywhere! Suddenly many story are all told with the same sort of stylistic flourishes. The first few times it's done that way it's clever and meaningful but after that people just use the same thing without understanding it properly and consequently usually do a really crappy job!
Dec 16, 2019
2 weeks ago we discussed the topic of religion in fiction: basicaly how we use real world religions to inform the perspectives of our characters and make the worlds more real, how we use religion in fiction, and how we make up religions for our worlds. We had so many great responses to this in the forum and about the Quackcast that we thought it'd be great to feature and chat about them! DD is a community after all and we love our community members to be a part of the Quackcast!
Aug 21, 2017
Romances don't always have to be the main focus of a story, infact you can have richer, more interesting romances if they occur in support of a bigger plot issue. It can lend them and the story more weight if they're in a secondary position. Characters can form natural, less forced relationships with each other, and this can give the wider plot of the story more urgency or meaning because it has a direct bearing on the health of their union. You can reward fans with a wished for or unexpected blossoming of love between two favourite characters without having the same inevitability that a straight out romance has. Really, there are so many things you can do! This was inspired by Tantz's Saturday newspost. Gunwallace's theme for the week was for Mindfold: A tune that fits very well with its title! You can feel your mind folding with this gorgeous, echoing, evocative multicultural influenced sound, featuring all manner of crystalline ringing synths, soaring violins, drums and so much more. This would fit well with a high concept cyberpunk anime.
Jul 17, 2017
In this Quast we talk about immortality, which is a common trope in literature. Who seeks immortality in stories? It's usually bad guys, and it usually has some sort of extreme price,catch or dark side, so much so that people actually believe that if immortality WAS real that it would somehow be an evil thing. The fact is that most of the possible downsides are cultural constructions or justifications for our own mortality, if immortality WAS a real thing we don't really know what the down sides would be… But this means that the trope of immortality is not as limited as we've come to believe; it's wide open to be re-written and redefined. And a not, the story mentioned in the Quackcast was The Trouble With Lichen and it was by John Wyndham, not Roald Dahl. Gunwallace's theme for the week was for The Beard. This one is creepy and magical, just the type of music you’d associate with alien hair follicles, it brings to mind strange activity on a microscopic level inside the skin… unsettling!
Jun 26, 2017
Welcome to the the yungle Characters make or break a story. In this quackcast Tantz Aerine brings all her skills as a head-shrink to bear and gives us the low-down on Jungian character archetypes! Jung was a clever Swiss bloke, a contemporary of that strange fellow Sigmund Freud, together they're credited as being the fathers of psychology. What we're chatting about here is a little system Jung thought up to evaluate people's personalities. People just like characters in books can be thought of a mixtures of particular character traits, to whit: The Innocent, The Orphan, The Innocent, The Orphan, The Hero, The Caregiver, The Explorer, The Rebel, The Lover, The Jester, The Sage, The Magician, The Ruler. These are the titles of the traits, the full descriptions can be found on Tantz's newspost, just follow the link bellow in the notes. We had a bit of fun trying to work out what traits define our own characters and then trying to do the same for major pop-culture comic and cartoon characters like Daffy Duck, Superman, Captain America and Batman. Gunwallace's theme for the week was The Dark Crusader: The sun rises on the vast metropolis, slowly sliding up a gleaming skyscraper, and standing heroically upon the very top, his cape blowing in the wind, is THE DARK CRUSADER!
May 8, 2017
Banes has been doing a series of very intelligent newsposts focusing on the mechanics of comedy over the past few weeks. Today in this Quackcast we go over the first three parts of these reports: Comedic Premise, Comedic Characters, and Good and Bad character traits! This one is just Banes and I… stripped down and simple, which is how people know us in these parts, which is embarrassing but we're used to it. If you want to get a better idea of the stuff we talk about then click on the links to Banes' newsposts bellow. The music for this week by Gunwallace is for the Silhouette Chronicles. It's somber, yet intriguing and somehow invigorating. A lovely duet of cello and violin!
Jun 13, 2016
The topic this week was ALL Banes' idea! We talk about page layout: techniques to make a good, readable layout, and stuff to avoid. We have Tantz Aerine (greetings), Banes, and myself, Ozoneocean, chatting about how best to do page layouts, at least from our own limited perspectives. None of us are pros in this regard, but we've been doing comics for many years now and we've all developed some pretty decent ideas about how best to do it, in our own ways. Banes is mostly influenced by American style comics, which have more interesting layouts. Tantz and I were manly influenced by European comics, which tend to have a more conservative by very constantly readable style of “box” layout. On Pinky TA and Bottomless Waitress the majority of my pages are in a fairly standard box format, but every now and again I experiment with crazy shapes, overlapping panels, no panels at all, and even “infinite canvas” pages that work with the scroll function. Speaking of which we briefly mention Scott McCloud and the comic Heart of Keol, which uses vertically scrolling large pages. The music this week by Gunwallace was Wastelanders Anonymous, an epic classic rock tune with a lovely repeating upward base rhythm, soaring guitars and authoritative keyboard.