May 10, 2021
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!
Topics and Show Notes
Where did SciFi begin? Basically it all started in the 1920s. The “pulp” magazines were super popular. People just couldn't get enough of them. Publisher Hugo Gernsback found a niche re-publishing old speculative fiction stories ( Jules Verne, HG Wells, Mary Shelly etc), in some of his publications, and single handedly created the “Science Fiction” genre as a way to sell them. Pretty soon a new crop of writers was producing new stories specially to be a part of this genre and to go in his magazines, these were the first SciFi writers… Among them EE Doc Smith, Isaac Asimov etc. And the genre was born.
It's currently popular to say that Mary Shelly was “the first SciFi writer”, I'd counter that and say not really… It was a big step on the road but what her Frankenstein character was most influential with was monster fiction, she created the “mad scientist” subgenre that has been hugely influential in horror fiction. But when you're talking about the “first” of something the problem is that you can ALWAYS come up with earlier examples, which is why I list Gernsback in the 1920s as the true creator of the genre.
For example, the stories of E. T. A. Hoffmann pre-date Mary Shelly's Frankenstein and out of them we have stories of a scientist creating a lifelike clockwork robot, becoming Operas and the famous ballet Coppélia. And if we want to go back to the earliest primordial SciFi origins what comes to my mind is many of the Greek myths: the famous Scientist Daedalus who created wearable flying wings, animated toys, the Labyrinth, even the ability for a woman to mate with a bull! Then there's Archimedes (a real person) with SciFi stories of his accomplishments like the creation of a sun-powered ray to destroy warships or a giant claw machine that plucked them out of the water… Or the stories of the ships built by the Phaeacians (in Homer's Odyssey), they're able to travel as fast as a falcon to any destination you can think of since they know all the cities of the world and can navigate automatically. SciFi has a LONG history for something that wasn't codified till the early 20th century.
This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Starlights, Gunwallace says: “Had some time this morning. Here's a theme for Starlights. In my head I'm imagining you with your new guitar dressed in the white dandy costume playing the solo.”
My description: A dandy gent in bright white frock coat and tricorn hat festooned with giant ostrich feathers stands outlined against the stormy grey sky… He shoulders a cream coloured stratocaster, and shreds, ripping out a soaring solo against the growing winds of the coming storm -
Topics and shownotes
Kawaii's newspost on the Beauty of SciFi - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/may/02/the-beauty-of-science-fiction/
Cupcake War Machine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/may/04/featured-comic-cupcake-war-machine/
Starlights - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Starlights/ - by Kawaii Triangle, rated M.
Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Pitface - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes
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Jan 10, 2021
The Mandalorian is pretty unique in that he keeps his face hidden almost the whole time. This is very rare in TV and movies, the rule is that we HAVE to see the actor's face, so they rarely even keep on hats let alone remain fully masked! Yes, there are examples of it but they're few and far between. It's very cool that they've allowed the character to remain hidden for most of the show and he's much cooler for it because it allows the audience to fill in what he really looks like or just imagine him as a cool faceless avatar of awesome.
Aug 7, 2018
In this Quackcast Tantz and I chat about the differences between working with historical settings and the different approaches we take. Tantz's comics (Without Moonlight and Brave Resistance), are both set in a real period of history: Nazi occupied Greece during WW2. Pinky TA is set in the 1920s in an alternative version of history, with Pinky coming from the fictional “Crimean Empire”. Tantz has to keep times, places, and details close to real history while with Pinky TA I can pick and choose the things from history I like the best and create my own idealised pastiche. The advantage of Tantz's approach is that everything is there, nothing has to be invented, just researched and reproduced, whereas my approach involves a lot of creation which slows things down and makes it harder. On the upside Pinky TA is much more flexible, I can easily fit whatever I want into the story, whereas Tantz's comics are bound by the rules of the history she's presenting.
Apr 23, 2018
Everyone tends to have a strong opinion on Political Correctness so I thought why don't we try and have a chat about that and ask what people think. Can it be a problem in comics and other creative works? I was inspired by a video by Youtuber Metaron. He was talking about the decision to put a black actor in the role of Greek mythical figure Achilles in a BBC series about the fall of Troy and questioning the reasoning for it given that being a blonde haired incarnation of the sun-god Apollo is a huge part of the character. My main issue is that the actor is as bald as an egg! At least give him a blonde wig, I don't care how silly it looks. To be fair Achilles has rarely been portrayed well on the big screen, there was Brad Pitt's petulant version in Troy and an even balder Joe Montana in Helen of Troy! Do we spoil creative works by trying to be too inclusive or not being inclusive enough? This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Wanted dead or dead: Welcome to a much cooler version of the old west… we open on a widescreen panorama shot of a dry, dusty desert scene and a lone cowboy all in black, kicking his toe in the dirt. This music is as warm as the hot desert breeze, the guitar is as hard as gunmetal.
Feb 4, 2018
In this Quackcast I thought we'd chat about Emma Clare's great and thoughtful topic of webcomic origin stories: Basically, what was happening to make you start your webcomic on DD, all that stuff in your life back when you first began posting… Emma's newsposts are a great read and they made us all think back to how we began. Pit, Tantz and I have a long talk about our comicing origins. What were YOU doing when you started webcomics? What made you begin? This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to NanoCritters. It's a minimalist white expanse, dotted with mysterious little marks of sound. What do they mean, what do they represent, is it code? Read NanoCritters to find out! Also included in the Quackcast are extracts from a lovely Starwars themed rap that Tantz's Greek students performed in English.
May 22, 2017
In this Quackcast we discuss the interesting notion that censorship can actually be a positive force for creation. Sometimes working WITHIN restrictions of censorship can make you more creative and your work a lot more individual, special and more interesting. I came to this subject after reading a review of how Canadian standards forced very specific and particular changes on the TV show Reboot. Had it been made without the censorship restrictions then it would have been more of a generic show, because the methods they had to use to get around or appease the censors helped to differentiate it from similar children's shows. We also discuss how metaphor in song lyrics and symbolism in art and movies are used to talk about restricted subjects like sex, drugs, politics, and religion and how this is another example of how censorship has given rise to interesting creations. Great examples of obvious coded messages about sex are the song lyrics of AC/DC, Led Zeppelin. We also talk about howl ove songs with secret political messages were used in Greece to foment political revolution. And lastly we mention Heintai and ecchi in Japanese comics and anime and the Drunkduck ratings standards. The music for this week by Gunwallace is for Silly Sweetie, it's a dreamlike tour through clouds and wide heavenly vistas, this in turn leaves you feeling warm and refreshed!
Mar 27, 2017
For this Quackcast we decided to chat about quirks- the things that stand out about a character, help you remember them, get interested in them, traits that pick them out as individuals and can ALSO be used to point at deeper character traits! These are so useful in so many ways and really help to define a character as well as giving them a handle for the audience to latch on to. The idea was nicked from a newspost where Tantz goes into it with a lot more depth, so check that out too if you can! the cover image is from the Nazi General sketch by Smith a Jones- it's all based on quirks. This was Tantz's fantastic idea for a newspost. Speaking of Tantz, this newspost was recorded around the time of Greek independence day! Happy independence day to Greece!
Nov 9, 2015
This week's Quackcast marks the end of the Halloweencasts! Late, I know, but we recorded these all in advance. We dressed in costume again, which you can see in our VIDEO. Banes as the arctic death wolf, Pitface as the evil Nancy Regan, Tantz as a fierce Greek pirate rebel, revolutionary warrior, and myself as a horrible, horrible glam metal rocker. The topic of discussion was inspired by another newspost by Banes, this time the subject was “your horror playlist”, so we chat about all the scary, horror themed stuff we enjoy around this time of year. Gunwallace's theme was for BARBARIAN ADVENTURE, I LOVE this track! It's heavy and bluesy, reminiscent of Lenny Kravitz or Cream.