Episode 604 - Stylised reality

Oct 10, 2022

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.

Topics and Show Notes

A great example is a fight scene: when you're involved in a fight or close to it, it can be pretty affecting. Your body releases adrenaline, your pupils widen to take in as much as possible, your brain is on high alert so it narrows in on just the action and notices everything that it can, this makes time seem to slow and fight last much longer than it actually does. To the person involved or the close spectator everything is more dangerous, epic, and impactful. However, to a more distant viewer the fight is over in seconds, it probably seemed silly, stupid, even embarrassing and pathetic. So as a creator we have a whole bag of tricks available to us to convey the feelings of the participant or close observer to the audience- we slow down the action a LOT by making the fight last 10x times longer, we zoom in on the fighters, we zoom in on the fist that's doing the punching, we add SFX, VFX, tone and colour and a million other things.

That's just one example, most of reality has to be stylised in various ways in order for it to translate to a viewer in the way the creator intends. And we have many ways of doing this, some more extreme than others. Musicals for example are highly stylised but the singing and dancing is generally not just for show, it communicates meaning just like the rest of the less flamboyant parts of the story. Even something like a documentary, reality TV or a sports broadcast have to stylise reality in a way to more effectively communicate and engage with viewers; through camera angles, clever editing, cutting etc. Pretty much nothing is simply presented as is.

This is the reason I defend the art of Rob Liefeld: objectively it does not depict reality, he puts giant shoulder-pads on characters, too many pouches in silly places, too many teeth in grins, broken backed bum-popping women, huge nonsense guns that are just random assemblages of tubes with a handle and trigger, anatomy that has only a passing acquaintance with the human form- And yet it's not what the art shows, it's about what it evokes in its communication with the viewer. The bum-popping women mean “sex appeal”, huge guns mean destructive potential, giant should-pads equal power and strength, pouches equal action, toothy grins mean determination of purpose. All these things communicate directly with the viewer without having to be spelled out, and in the 1990s that was very successful for him!

I think it's very important to understand the stylisations we have to learn to use in order to properly translate our meanings to our audiences. Not just for comics but for books, movies, plays etc. Reality is never presented directly, not even in news broadcasts or 3D VR, or security footage, it's always stylised and modified in some way.

This week Gunwallace has given us a theme to AGENCY - High up in a helicopter, swooping in over a vast metropolis. Endless rows of buildings fly by underneath. Sophistication, towering glass skyscrapers, vast canyons of concrete and steel… It’s music for the big, cold city. Pulsing 80s synth tracks.


Topics and shownotes

Featured comic:
Drunk Duck Awards 2022 - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2022/oct/04/featured-comic-drunk-duck-awards-2022/

Featured music:
AGENCY - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/AGENCY/. - by JediAnn Solo, rated T.

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

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Episode 557 - Fetishes in comics

Nov 15, 2021

5 likes, 9 comments

Fallopiancrusader joined us as a very special guest to chat about fetishes in comics! It's really interesting and he brings his expertise with adult comics and his wide ranging knowledge of comics in general to bear on the subject. So what are fetishes? Well they're often things that people have sort of a sexual interest in but aren't always associated with sex themselves, they're peripheral to sex. Because of that they're often enjoyed and appreciated in their own right for their own sake! Think of things like body piercings, tight laced corsets, wearing fursuits, spanking, wearing S&M leather and PVC gear, shoe appreciation etc. all things associated with sex that people can also enjoy and appreciate outside of sex.

Episode 550 - Gaming

Sep 27, 2021

3 likes, 0 comments

We decided to chat about games. Video game and computer games. They're now a huge part of pop-culture entertainment and they've influenced us in many ways creatively throughout our lives. There are many different kinds of games out there, but one of the really cool things about them is that they're able to deliver a kind of interactive narrative experience that takes things further than Film or comics can easily do. Games were also instrumental in the early days of the first big popular wave of webcomics with gamer comics (PVP, Ctrl Alt Dlt, and Penny Arcade) and sprite comics (8 bit fantasy), being some of the most popular.

Episode 545 - tipping point to become a fan?

Aug 22, 2021

3 likes, 0 comments

We're all fans of something, but when does that happen? When do we transition from just following and liking something into being full on fans and is there even a difference? I think there definitely IS a difference. I became a fan of Star Wars after watching the first film but I'm not a fan of The Witcher even after watching the entire show. Henry Cavill as Geralt is super amazing but the show itself is just blah to me. I've seen about 200 or so episodes of One Piece but I don't think of myself as a fan. I became a fan of Ghost in the Shell after seeing a poster from the Manga. I became a fan of Farscape after watching reruns of the series over and over.

Episode 534 - Biting off more than you can chew

Jun 7, 2021

4 likes, 2 comments

Taking on more than you can handle - i.e. James Cameron and JJ Abrams are good directors and writers but neither could handle the demands of a complex Sci-Fi project that needs full world building and internally consistent logic etc (Avatar and Star Wars). They're great with more simple SciFi that's based on 21st century earth and simpler stories, but epic SciFi was clearly a long way beyond the capabilities of either. We're talking about when WE have been caught taking on stuff we couldn't handle, how we dealt with that and also how other creators dealt with it too.

Episode 530 - What is SciFi?

May 10, 2021

4 likes, 0 comments

So what IS SciFi? Well it's a pretty wide umbrella term and contains a lot of different things. In some senses it's just an imaginative fiction story where science replaces magic. SciFi can simply be a sciencey setting where genre stories take place (romance, adventure, nior, horror). It can be a magical fantasy space opera with a futuristic skin (Star Wars), it can be “hard SciFi” where the story is set in the future but the science is completely plausible, it can be written with strong themes that examine philosophical questions and make interesting points about the nature of humanity, and it can be so many more things too. It's a broad church!

Episode 488 - DD Anthology details!

Jul 20, 2020

5 likes, 0 comments

This week the brilliant Damehelsing (aka Agiebun), comes on to tell us the details of the DD anthology! Last week Boundbun gave us a general overview but now we're having a look at exactly HOW it's going to be done and how YOU can contribute to it. We'll have details and discussion on the DD Discord server as well as in our Twitter and on the forums. Currently there are 5 themes that we're deciding between: Urban fantasy, Noir, Community, Horror and Halloween. We'll have to decide which of those we like best to tie together the whole thing!

Episode 470 - What stirred your creative juices?

Mar 15, 2020

3 likes, 0 comments

For this cast I'd thought we'd go through with our promise of last week and talk about things that have made us have a reaction as a creator. This expands on “The Cartoons that Date us” from last week. So today we're talking the creative media that gave you a reaction: Books, movies, comics, TV shows… Not what specifically inspired the comics you do now, but what drove you to create and why.


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