Episode 610 - Beauty!

Nov 21, 2022

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, so the saying goes but it's absolutely true. There is a layered subjectivity to it based on personal preference, the cultural standards of your community, the ethnic traits of you and your peers, prevailing global fashions in appearance, the dominant archetypes in the media and so on. All these things combine to form our personal subjective ideas of beauty. You can see this yourself if you look at paintings, statues, masks, frescoes and other artifacts that have been produced by all the diverse cultures on earth over thousands of years: there IS no standard, eternal, objective of beauty.

Topics and Show Notes

Years ago a plastic surgeon thought he'd cracked the secret. He wrote a book about the idea of a mathematical, objective beauty model based on symmetry. Of course any artist could have told him it was absolute nonsense for any number of reasons, but popular books based of pseudo-science gain a lot of traction among the majority of people that don't tend to be able to think too hard about these questions and crave easy solutions.

There are two competing, rudimentary forces at the base of the idea of beauty:
One part is based on conformity: becoming the most generic, simplistic, ordinary, average version of something. Symmetry is a big part of that. This is what that sort of cosmetic surgeon specialises in. We can surmise this comes from the drive to find things that look like us (i.e. our tribe), and is the best representation of “us”.
The second part is based on novelty: What makes this person stand out, what makes them different and unusual.
And then cultural standards, popculture, fashion and many other factors add layers of complexity to these.

*A note on symmetry:
Part of the mistaken notion that inflated its role in “beauty” was the idea that it's an indicator of health or “good genes”, which is false. The reason for symmetry in bodies is just to make the coding simpler. Recent studies have confirmed this: just like when an artist wants to save time by using a mirror or copy, pasting and flipping to make a face or body, nature does it for the same reason.

We talk about it in much greater detail in the Quackcast! Who do you find beautiful?

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Phineus Teen Wizard - Thrumming 80s groove. Synthesised neon soft pink glow in the midnight blue fuzz. We’re going back in time… roll up the sleeves on your red leather jacket, slip on your fingerless gloves, lace up your hightops, get on your BMX bike and peddle back through the decades to 1983!


Topics and shownotes

Featured comic:
The Faceless Comics Set 1 - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2022/nov/15/featured-comic-the-faceless-comics-set-1/

Featured music:
Phineus Teen Wizard - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Phineus_Teen_Wizard/ - by Phinmagic, rated E.

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

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Episode 604 - Stylised reality

Oct 10, 2022

4 likes, 3 comments

When creating fiction we always have to stylise experience in many and various ways in order to communicate with the viewer in a way that's meaningful to them because it's usually impossible to simply show them the exact reality of something and expect that same meaning to carry through.

Episode 600 - AI is bad at art

Sep 12, 2022

3 likes, 6 comments

here's a lot of buzz about so called AI generated art at the moment using programs like Dall-E, Neural blender, Dream studio lite and so on. People use text prompts, i.e. “flying clockwork fish balloon” and the AI generates “art” based upon that. It usually does this by using actual art and photography created by real people, and visually mixing them to create a new image. Some results are much better than others.

Episode 599 - Badaptations

Sep 5, 2022

2 likes, 0 comments

Source material is something that we can love and respect, but it's just as often disregarded, degenerated, and denigrated, especially these days where it seems like everything you see is an adaptation or even an adaptation OF an adaptation or worse. I think it's important to go back to the sources so you can see what was truly great about the original to begin with. It can help you see what was lost in the adaptations and to discover new and important meanings and ideas that you never would have guessed at.

Episode 594 - Grow up! Or don't...

Jul 31, 2022

5 likes, 1 comment

The Manchild can be a fun character or they can be pathetic. They're a staple of comedies because they're an adult that gets to act immature and childish, without the restraint and responsibilities imposed by adulthood. This can make a great contrast; “The adult man acting like an immature child”, John C Riley and Will Farrel have always done that extremely well, as did Chris Farley back in the 90s. It can be be portrayed as pathetic and sad when the person can't seem to be able grow up or take on any responsibilities. They're often characterised by people with “childish” interests, like the cast of the Big Bang Theory, or with a childlike love of something like sports like Kevin in Kevin can F Himself.

Episode 585 - Adaptation

May 30, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

Adaptations of one thing into another is an interesting process. What's lost, what's gained, what modifications do you have to do to make it happen? As webcomicers we do it all the time in many ways, we have to adapt our influences into ideas, adapt those to stories, and adapt those to images and comics, which isn't trivial! It's often quite difficult to transform the written word into narrative sequential art- what portion of the writing gets directly turned into images, what's cut, and what becomes dialogue? For me about 20% is cut, 78% becomes art and 2% becomes dialogue or captions.

Episode 583 - Why is it bad?

May 16, 2022

2 likes, 0 comments

Spoiler- we don't actually talk much about Yu-Gi-Oh! But I feel it's a good example of a pretty bad a so-bad-it's-good story, but bad nevertheless. The idea we're talking about here is that it's useful to look at bad stories and stick with them because they can really help you write better. They're a lot more useful than good stories because you'd rather just enjoy those and it's a bit harder to examine them for technical details, but with “bad” stories the faults stand out strongly. Instead of simply dismissing a bad story or making fun of it, it's more useful and valuable to try and “fix” it: try and work out why it seems bad and think about what would be needed to make it better, then think about how that applies to your own work. Maybe you're actually making many of the same mistakes?

Episode 578 - Punching toys in the boobs

Apr 11, 2022

5 likes, 5 comments

BANES RETURNS! …to talk about boobs with the rest of us. The topic of the discussion this week was brought to us by Tantz's newspost on the 2nd of April about bosoms and how their shape and size doesn't matter. In the crusade against “sexualisation” in comics people tend to focus too much on big or “unnaturally shaped” boobs, but the truth is that any type of boobs can be fetishized and by reacting against one type you just cause a new form of exclusion.


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