Apr 20, 2020
Certain tropes or stylistic ways of telling a story can get really, really popular and trendy very quickly and it seems like they're everywhere! Suddenly many story are all told with the same sort of stylistic flourishes. The first few times it's done that way it's clever and meaningful but after that people just use the same thing without understanding it properly and consequently usually do a really crappy job!
Topics and Show Notes
My biggest bugbear currently is the stories that are split across multiple timelines: So we show concurrent storylines but one or a few of them are actually set in the past and they're interspersed with a storyline from the present as if all events are happening at the SAME time. The Witcher handled that very badly because it had no context clues about where you were at the “time”. The Medici series is another example. In that they DO give you context clues however because the characters actually look different but it's still annoying because they switch back and fourth far too regularly.
When this style of fast temporal storyline switching was first introduced in novels (in the 80s) it was reasonably clever and interesting because it was new at the time. But it is something that has to be handled carefully in order to work well. It doesn't lend itself to overuse! Unless there's a good reason and you REALLY know what you're doing, either tell your story in a linear fashion or give us extended scenes that take a full chapter/episode to complete
Banes made a post about love triangles. That's another trope that can be terrible if overused but great if used with a bit of tact and skill. Other examples are subverted character types (evil angels/good demons), subverted humanised villains (good Maleficent), bad heroes (rapist knight in shining armour)- these things are ONLY interesting because they're a twist on a standard trope and a variation from the norm, but when they BECOME the norm there's no reason for them to exist: they self invalidate.
What are some you've noticed?
This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Space Daddy Adventures - A big dose of early 70s prog concept mixed with 1960s beat poetry. It reminds me of the music of the British prog band Jade Warrior from their eponymous 1971 album. Breathy flute, percussion, and a spare, jungle sound with creepy British vocals… Slip into your tight black polo-neck and black beret, sip on an espresso and flick your fingers in appreciation of this coooool retro piece!
Topics and shownotes
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Banes' newspost about love triangles - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2020/apr/15/we-three/
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Cragwater - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2020/apr/14/featured-comic-cragwater/
Space Daddy Adventures - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Space_Daddy_Adventures/, by Hushicho, rated M.
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Jul 29, 2019
Today we cover the interesting trope of the “old warrior”. This was based upon a newspost Banes came up with last week. He was thinking of Captain Picard in the latest Star Trek series and he also brought up Luke Skywalker from the latest Star Wars movie. The “Old Warrior” makes a really cool protagonist, in this Quackcast we try and discover why that is…
May 27, 2019
What are the different expectations for female and male audiences? This almost entirely a culture based thing, it changes depending on where and WHEN you are from as well as your age and experience… but some obvious things are determined by our physiology: sex sells, but there are slight differences based on gender. I wasn't interested in the “why” (genetic predeterminisim or evolutionary psychology), just the “what”.
Apr 22, 2019
What's your favourite weapon in fiction? Mine are ridiculously giant swords, huge anti-tank rifles, and mecha. There are a lot of complex reasons for weapon choices in fiction, a Kalashnikov assault rifles for example signals certain things about the person carrying it: They're usually a bad guy for a start. This originated during the cold war, with certain types of bad guys using AKs. First it was Soviet Bloc soldiers, then it was Viet Con and rebels from South East Asia, then it became the “terrorist” weapon. The sub machine gun is the weapon of the bad guy. Terrorists used to use Uzis (before they turned to AKs), bank robbers used to use Mac 10s, now it's the HK MP5. Good guys carry an M-16 or AR-15 rifle. In historical fiction traditionally the bad guys carries curved swords while the good guys had straight swords, this came from crusades. Minor characters carry spears and heroes carry swords. Women, weaker characters and rebels carry bows. Giant swords and guns are often given to smaller characters in anime (usually female), as an obvious contrast with their small size. It's meant to emphasis the fact they're sort of a “mighty mouse”.
Mar 11, 2019
What is Social Marketing? Basically its word-of-mouth and viral marketing smashed together and weaponised: Marketing companies hijack hot-button social issues and hitch their client's brand to them in clever campaigns (“We can be better”, etc). The purpose isn't really to make a brand seem progressive, modern or new, rather it's another way of getting it trending on social media that's guaranteed to work, unlike the legion of hit or miss but mostly failed “Viral” campaigns. Whether people say negative or positive things about this issue is irrelevant to the marketer, as long as people are talking about the brand is all that matters. Free advertising is the goal, but it has a social cost.
Dec 10, 2018
We mined Tantz's Saturday newspost for our discussion topic: Strong characters and how to write GOOD ones! What is a strong character? Well it has nothing to do with physical ability, power, command, or anything so obvious and trite. Strong characters are well rounded and well realised, they're often active and opposed to reactive, they make things happen, the story hinges on them. Failed attempts at “strong” characters or obvious and often result in Mary Sues, whether male or female. People hand them traits that they THINK will make the character strong: make them a general, make them a great fighter, make them royalty etc. The problem comes when none of that is ever logically backed up in the story. You can't just title a character something or have other characters talk about how great they are without having them demonstrate a reason for it, or else all you have is a pathetic paper tiger and a really shizzy failed part of your story.
Nov 19, 2018
This is Quackcast 401! Error, error! Pitface and Tantz were absent so Banes and myself were left to go quietly off the rails and expostulate all sorts of radical, half formed, badly articulated thoughts. This is an interesting one! We cover the death of the great Stan Lee, titan of the comics and superhero world. Then we sidestream into talking about comedians trying to be political commentators (re: Bill Maher)… I must apologise for my Ad Hominems. And lastly our focus is on a “new puritanism” in some aspects of pop-culture. It all ties together, if a little awkwardly.
Oct 8, 2018
Fighting ladies, female bad-ass characters… There are a lot more of them around now, but once upon a time they were pretty thin on the ground. I love a good badarse lady, my own comic character Pinky TA exemplifies that character type. There's something about a tough lady who can kick butt with the best of them that's especially compelling. They evolved from something a little more exploitative, ladies fighting in bikinis basically, then we had ladies that were just the female version of a male character (Batwoman, Supergirl etc), which is something we're starting to see a little more of unfortunately, but on the good side of things we ARE actually getting fighting ladies who're their OWN women: Original characters. In this Quackcast we talk about some of our faves and some of the earlier incarnations of the character type, from Robert E Howard's Red Sonya and Valeria, to Catherine L Moore's Jirel of Joiry, to Wonder woman, then later characters like Red Sonja (from the comics), She-Hulk, Sarah Conner, Ripley, Buffy, Xena, Aeon Flux… What are some of YOUR faves? Mine are Tank Girl, Lara Croft, Motoko Kusanagi, Garnet and many more :) This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Dolphin Bros: Jump, jump, jump up and down to this mad dolphin party scene. It’s all over the place but all it wants you to do is MOVE!