Episode 537 - Historicity

Jun 28, 2021

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.

Topics and Show Notes

Asterix is a great example of a series made by creators who know their stuff. They've set it in a real historical period, used real historical figures and events. But it's fiction and silly comedy and because they know the subject so well they can screw with it, compress history, put Vikings in a time period hundreds of years before they existed, and tell modern satirical stories using a historical stetting. The musical Hamilton is another example of creators who know their subject intimately, so they re-frame the story of a US founding father with a cast of black Americans and create a work of intelligent social commentary that still has historical veracity.

Bad examples typically have an a-historical character who for no reasons at all has fully modern attitudes despite their historical setting- often typified by a lady character who chafes at her “constrictive” corset - this has become a cliché and now a meme for people who are bad at history.

An interesting example to me is the British horror series Penny Dreadful where they did an excellent job of creating a convincing historical setting and environment. They had characters with more “modern” ideas but they had very good reasons to have them in that setting, they had a more modern demographic to the cast and also made that fit perfectly as well: history is often “whitewashed”, especially 19th century London, but they worked around that beautifully and gave us a realistically diverse cast. And yet despite all the effort they'd done to make things fit and work across several seasons, they really undermined it by introducing a kick-arse kungfu-fighting lady doctor in lovely tailored suits in the final few episodes when they knew they were cancelled and couldn't finish the season. The character sort of trod on and peed all over the work the others had done to set themselves up and round themselves off.

Though, as I've said: historical fantasy, myth, classics, fiction, biography etc all have different amounts of leeway for what they are. In the case of Penny Dreadful it's a horror fantasy with a historical setting so it had a LOT of leeway. The trouble was that they set a solid precedent by creating their own style with excellent historicity, even though they didn't have to, which was why it hurt when they broke it. It was a betrayal of the other characters, especially Eva Green's character Vanessa Ives, a woman who struggled for her place in the world and built her strength from within, brick by brick, only to be shown up by an unimaginative standard trope Buffy the Vampire Slayer type character.

This wouldn't be complete of course without a mention of Blackadder: a brilliant historical comedy that knows its stuff enough to break it beautifully! What are your fave “historical” things to enjoy and what are your least fave?

This week Gunwallace has given us a theme to Chatterbox - Starting off down home, country bluegrass, playing the mouthorgan as you cruise around the back roads on your whumptruck… developing into a rollicking, rolling, joyous, fun roadhouse concert, complete with trumpets, piano, bass guitar, lead, old style electric organs, the whole deal! Get up and dance!

Topics and shownotes

Links

Featured comic:
Patchwork and Lace - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/jun/22/featured-comic-patchwork-and-lace/

Featured music:
Chatterbox - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Chatterbox/ - by Banes, rated M.

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

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Episode 535 - the teachcast

Jun 14, 2021

4 likes, 0 comments

Webcomicers need to learn to draw and write in order to become webcomicers. There are many other skills and also different ways to make webcomics, BUT most of us draw and or write. Here Tantz and I talk about terrible teachers of these skills and better ways to learn :) (Also, Jason from Friday the 13t is a big fat buttface)

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 533 - Can Mary Sues be likeable?

May 30, 2021

5 likes, 0 comments

We've done a few Quackcasts about how terrible Mary Sues are… well this is the opposite! Tantz postulated that they can be likable and GOOD for a story and then won us over easily by telling us why during our Patreon video. In the Quackcast Banes and I join in, having been convinced of the idea. We talk about how if the Mary Sue is a likable, good person, genuinely humble or altruistic and helpful then that can mitigate their Mary Sueness. Whereas if they're selfish, take their status for granted, take advantage of others or are just there to be marvelled and worshiped by the astonished onlookers (re: Rey), they can be unpleasant.

Episode 528 - How tall are your characters?

Apr 26, 2021

3 likes, 0 comments

Character height is not something we think about too much but it's actually a fairly big deal: in terms of what the height means, what it means contextually, how the character fits into their world, how they relate to others around them, and how it's like to draw them! A character can loom, they can shrink down, they can appear bigger than they are due to force of personality or smaller due to being shy and retiring, Largeness can equal power and strength, stupid docility, threat, potential, or it can be used to highlight the strength of a much smaller character that beats them as in many animes.

Episode 527 - Evil superheroes unneeded

Apr 19, 2021

4 likes, 1 comment

Evil superheroes are a stupid fad, that's my contention. My opinion. They've been around for a long time but now they're so popular it's becoming a bit of a fad and might turn into its own genre. I suppose Marvel and others have saturated the superhero market so to stay relevant other companies are doing “twists” on that traditional genre, hence the evil superheroes.

Episode 517 - money in Scifi Utopia

Feb 8, 2021

3 likes, 3 comments

Weird one this week! A monneyless system in a working Scifi utopia. This was based on an idea Banes came up with talking about Star Trek and how the federation has “evolved beyond money”, We discuss if this is possible, why it is and how it is. That means no need for money substitutes like credit or barter either. It's a really interesting topic and a brave choice for a world setting. The most common type of scifi world by FAR is a dystopia so the fact that Star Trek is a working utopia (at least in the original and 1990s series) is a very brave and unique choice and the idea that it functions without money is even more clever and interesting.

Episode 507 - Say my name again!

Nov 30, 2020

4 likes, 1 comment

Coming up with character names isn't easy. It can actually be really, really hard! Tantz did a couple helpful Newsposts about it and we decided to spin that into a fun Quackcast about naming and names! The names behind stuff often has interesting stories, the Quackcast itself is no exception. When Wowio told us we had to do a podcast back in the day we tossed around a few names and the one they came up with was “Quackcast”, because of the whole “duck” theme we have going here. I protested because there was a highly regarded skeptical medical podcast with that name already run by Dr Mark Crislip, but I didn't have any real say and so the name stuck! When I DID have the power to change it, it was already way too entrenched.


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