Episode 538 - Fashion and Trends in Webcomics

Jul 4, 2021

We chat about the styles and trends in webcomics and what causes them, whether it's people copying stuff they like, working with the limitations of the technology they're using or other reasons.

Topics and Show Notes

In the early days of webcomics a few early birds got very popular simply because they were they were there first: 8 Bit Fantasy, Sluggy Freelance, PVP, Penny Arcade etc. They garnered imitators and so webcomic fashions and styles were born. We had a huge wave of sprite comics, slacker gamer comics, and slice of life comics. The “2 friends sitting on a couch playing video games and being dicks to each other while not understanding girls” was probably the most popular trend for years!

Webcomics have had a few explosions of popularity and trends diversified over the years. A significant one has been the so-called “webtoon format”, which is actually the Scott McCloud infinite canvas idea that was developed years before. That site encourages creators to use it because they prefer it for their mobile site and app. But it's created a larger trend of people making their comics in that way regardless of host.

Tapas and webtoon only promote certain styles of webcomics on their front page which in turn creates another style: manga influenced work with large eyes, flattish, muted colours, digital 2D art only etc with only a limited range of story types. People see that and start to imitate it, thinking that's how webcomics should be, or if they do work like that they can be popular, or just because they like it, or don't know any better…

The limitations of technology create styles when people use premade models in popular 3D programs. This happened in the early days of 3D with all the Counterstrike comics and people using 3DMax and poser models. It happens with in digital 2D art with an overuse of standard brushes in Photoshop, Gimp and now Procreate and Infinite painter. These things are influenced by limitations of the tech, which creates a new style and that gains imitators.

What popular tends and styles have you noticed in webcomics? And what casued them?

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Patchwork and Lace - Darkness abounds, walking into a dark tomb, past shadows and demon parasites, into mysteries beyond light and human understanding. Deep underground where humans were never meant to venture, learning horrific truths about the universe and what lies beyond… The distorted bass line takes you down… deep down.

Topics and shownotes

Featured comic:
24Hour Cake - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/jun/29/featured-comic-24hour-cake/

Featured Music:
Patchwork and Lace - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Patchwork_and_Lace/ - by Itsasooz, rated T

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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Episode 254 - Sexism in your OWN work?k

Jan 18, 2016

2 likes, 0 comments

OMFG you sexist PIG! Heh… today we talk about trying to recognise sexism in your OWN work, what to do about it, and WHY. It turns out it can be very hard to do, and if you DO acknowledged it the instinct is to rationalise it away, justify it, or just try and brazen it out in some kind of old fashioned, largely embarrassing, display. I frequently do all three. How do we spot it? Well the Bechdel test isn't that useful, that's better for looking at broad trends not giving specific works a pass/fail - sexy outfits is one thing, if females are dressed minimally or in tight gear in CONTRAST to the males or vice versa - females ONLY having old stereotype roles (maiden/mother/whore archetypes, secretary, nurse, victim, maid etc), though this is context sensitive, i.e. it's more forgiveable if you're doing a historical story or something stylised like a fairytale or a noire story - Gender balance is another thing, it's context sensitive because certain stories will naturally have more of one gender (WW2 submarine crew, Girl's school, a prison story etc), and you don't have to have an exact balance anyway but it's definitely something to THINK about because there is no reason most stories should feature a majority of male characters and a minority of females. WHY should you think about it? Why should you care? Well the audience for almost ALL types of stories, be they action adventure, romance, Scifi, fantasy, historical, even porn, is getting close to 50/50 between men and women these days (maybe it always was?), it really doesn't make sense to alienate or belittle half your audience just because you like to cling to older ways of doing stuff. Gunwallace's theme this week reminds me of a cross between the Knightrider theme and Gunship- it's VERY retro-future. It's the theme to DDSR, a comic with cool custom “sprites”, AKA pixel-art.


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