Episode 654 - tropes vs character growth

Sep 25, 2023

Today we're chatting about characters who're mainly based on tropes VS those that grow. You see this difference quite clearly in a lot of British comedy VS American comedy where characters are set up in certain ways, e.g. the nerd, the sassy one, the mature one etc- in British stuff they tend to revert to type, which is their most important trait, while in American stuff they tend to change and grow based on interactions and experiences. There are MANY exceptions though and one way isn't inherently better than the other.

Topics and Show Notes

There seems to be a few reasons for that: a huge established history of it in Britain and the BBC being a massively influential engine of creation that people emulate without even thinking, but mainly I think it's because most British stuff always used to have a single writer or a pair of writers working on something at a time and often changing them episode to episode, while American stuff often tends to be written by team. This means there's more continuity on American projects because when part of the team leaves they're replaced by others who join the existing team, while with British stuff you'll often have a full replacement. This means that with the single writer approach it's much easier to simply rely on tropes rather than keep track of what all the previous people who worked on it were thinking, but when you have a team people will remember from episode to episode so it's easier to build on characters and change them.

The original British Office Vs the American adaptation is a good illustration of the tendency of tropes VS change. Both sets of characters were based on certain tropes but over the course of the 2 seasons and the special episodes the characters in the original didn't really change or grow at all (Gareth is still a knob, David Brent never changes from being a sad wanker, Tim always thinks he's better than everyone despite hating himself), while as soon as the US episodes stopped directly copying the originals the characters began to grow (way before it went off into its multi season run). The British version had the same two writers, but they were following the popular British style. Both versions are great in their own very different ways and despite being trope based the British version is more serious and realistic, while the growing characters of the US version are cartoony and stylised.

There are other factors though and a lot of exceptions - show-runners can make sure things go in certain ways, The Simpsons have been going for a million years with many different writers and barely change, and things made with the same one or two writers episode to episode can still change and grow because you have creative continuity. Then you have creators who simply force characters to reset and revert to type regardless of the growth and experiences they've had,which is a terrible betrayal of the audience, but that's how bad writers roll. Related to that is the opposite version; where characters score unearned growth that just comes out of nowhere, which is another betrayal of the audience.

Do your characters grow and change or are they informed by the way they were originally setup? Which style do you prefer?

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Beg - Platforming pixels in the deep, dark, scream haunted depths of a magical video game dungeon where only the bravest are able to carefully creep.

Topics and shownotes


Featured comic:
Lauren Ipsum - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2023/sep/19/featured-comic-lauren-ipsum/

Featured music:
Beg - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Beg/ - by BettyTeaHorse, rated M.

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

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Episode 653 - Star Treken

Sep 18, 2023

5 likes, 4 comments

Today we're talking about STAR TREK! Star Trek is a pretty influential piece of pop-culture. Most interesting to me is that it's a future that is NOT a dystopia. It's a large scale vision of a future world where everything is NOT terrible and collapsing in on itself. You can count those on one hand. It's worth talking about just because of that. Instead of taking the boring, tried and true dystopia route the creators of this world decided to explore a premise of “what happens when a world actually works?”.

Episode 652 - Physical traits that set characters apart

Sep 11, 2023

2 likes, 0 comments

Our topic this week is making your characters individual, distinct and setting them apart through physical traits. In many mainstream superhero comics or manga the only difference between most characters is their outfit, hair, and skin tone. There are a few reasons for that but a big one is that it saves time if the artist doesn't have to change to much when they're drawing different characters. Professional arts work hard and have to work fast so things that make work faster and easier are needed.

Episode 651 - Strong characters of any gender and DD awards stuff

Sep 3, 2023

2 likes, 3 comments

We're chatting about a couple of things today: the DD 2023 Awards which are in their completion faze now, and “strong” characters of any gender.

Episode 650 - Fake things that only exist in pop-culture

Aug 28, 2023

2 likes, 0 comments

There are a lot of things that only exist in fiction and really don't have any basis in reality and yet we THINK they do! It's just that fiction has done such a great job of making us believe this stuff and setting it up that it pretty much replaces reality. We focused on spies for our Patreon only video, and how the version we know from popculture in Kingsmen, Mission Impossible, James Bond, Chuck, and many other things is complete fiction.

Episode 649 - Gendered clothing

Aug 21, 2023

3 likes, 2 comments

When you're drawing people in a webcomic one of the common ways to indicate gender is by outfits, but why are clothes gendered at all and is that a constant?

Episode 647 - characters screwed over by adapters

Aug 7, 2023

3 likes, 0 comments

We're having a chat about characters that differ from the source material and turn out crap because of it. Characters where the people adapting them didn't care, understand, or even take time to read the original stuff because they thought they knew better.

Episode 646 - FIGHT! Drawing and references

Jul 31, 2023

3 likes, 0 comments

Drawing fight scenes is damn hard! One of the best ways to deal with this is to use references, but that's hard too because it's a pain to find the ones you need! So today we're talking about making your own reference pics for fighting because that's what I just finished for Tantz- I stripped shirtless and wielded some of my many antique swords in fight poses for Tantz to use in her new fantasy webcomic.

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