Jul 11, 2021
Schemers can be part of some great stories when they're done well! When they're done badly though they're very annoying! Schemers, plotters and planers have become a super annoying trope in anime: at the end of the first or second episode a person will show up in the shadows and say that they're amused how things are all going as predicted and planned…. They'll appear again at the half way mark of the series and again 3 episodes before the end in the run up to their climactic battle with the protagonist. It's a trope and a formula. Sometimes it works, often it doesn't.
Topics and Show Notes
REAL attempts at schemers can be found in things like Yes Minister, House of Cards, The Usual Suspects, Dune and many more examples where you get to marvel at the plotting, planning and behind the scenes manipulation that leads to results that really ARE exactly as predicted. But how do you show that? The theatrical approach in anime is bad, unless you have the results to really back it up (which they rarely do), Telling us about the scheming after the the fact as in (the movie) Watchman is anticlimactic and unimpressive. Not even letting us in on the scheming and just mainly showing the results as in DUNE also leaves us out of the cleverness of that part of the story.
The best approach seems to be in House of Cards (at least the original, I haven't seen the remake), where Francis Urquhart schemes and plots to destroy his enemies and rise to the top in his own beautiful game of manipulation. We see the setup AND the result.
The king of schemers is seen as the 15th century Italian renaissance man Niccolò Machiavelli because of his famous work “The Prince”, which details all the different ways to govern for a 15th century Prince of a small Italian province. However, if you're looking for the holy bible of evil and deviousness you won't find it there. Machiavelli is actually extremely straight forward and open, even simplistic, but it's worth reading none-the-less.
Who're you favourite schemers?
This week Gunwallace has given us a theme to The Magister Records: Cool jazz, a quiet, smokey room, calm, a fine groove, warm sounds, relaxed… then utter chaos! Random jazz attack, fire, electricity, interrupting trumpet! Then right back down to the calm grove, smooth sailing into the sunset on a honey coloured ocean.
Topics and shownotes
Tantz's newspost on Intruige and Schemers - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/jul/02/intrigue-and-scheming/
Quantum Festival - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/jul/05/featured-comic-quantum-festival/
The Magister Records - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/The_Magister_Records/ - by Grotesquerie Queen, rated E.
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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Jun 21, 2021
There was ALL sorts of kerfuffle on the internet centred around the phrase “Heroes don't do that”. It began with an interview of two people involved in the production of the Harley Quinn TV animated series. According to them there was a sex scene between Batman and Cat Woman, including a scene of cunnalingus. They claim that a representative from DC told them to cut that scene, saying “Heroes don't do that”... But what is the REAL story?
Jun 14, 2021
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)
Jun 7, 2021
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.
May 30, 2021
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.
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!
Apr 12, 2021
Mary Sues are always a fun topic! There are some misconceptions about them though… Mary Sues aren't all female, they can be any gender. Being super powerful or super popular or super pretty etc doesn't equal a Mary Sue, not even if your character super stands out next to all the others, those things ONLY indicate they might possibly be one. What equals a Mary Sue is a character that doesn't have to struggle very hard for anything, a character that is almost universally admired, and or loved (even by the enemy), a character that masters hard skills with ease and ends up teaching the teachers and beating the masters, a character that's destined to succeed and does in spite of internal story logic… All these things and more can add up to make a Mary Sue.
Apr 5, 2021
Sexual tension between characters is a great way to augment the conflict that drives a story. The audience really wants that to resolve into a relationship or at least an assignation of some sort… The longer it goes on though, the bigger they want the coming together to be, which can be dangerous for the creator because it's so easy to disappoint. it's usually better to resolve the tension earlier than later, OR keep it going forever but keep it interesting and don't ever sour it or make it turn stale.