Episode 494 - No antagonist is the best antagonist?

Aug 31, 2020

Does a story always need an antagonist embodied in the form of an active character? I don't think they do! We chat about examples of stories without antagonistic characters that work just as well, if not better than the reverse! This is based on Bane's newspost from last Thursday (link in the notes). Tantz and I have a long argument about what the main antagonist in Wall-E was! I think that a lot of the better Pixar movies don't have their main antagonising force embodied in characters- Inside Out, Moana, Coco, Wall-E etc, and we they do they're not quite as strong or as touching. Even in Up the villain in that only plays the main antagonist for a short time. What d you think?

Topics and Show Notes

The musical feature this week that Gunwallace has given us is theme to The Second Crimean war - Heavy, grey winter skies, pregnant with snow and sadness. Cold snaps the brittle air, crystal daggers hang in the forest, a whistling breeze sings of desolation and loneliness. A thaw will be long in coming to this blighted world of war and suffering… Synth violins and cellos set the scene beautifully, touches of quiet bass and piano round out the landscape of the Second Crimean war.


Topics and shownotes

Links

Banes' newspost: No Antagonist, No Arc - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2020/aug/26/no-antagonist-no-arc/

Featured comic:
The History of One Humankind - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2020/aug/25/featured-comic-the-history-of-one-humankind/

The Second Crimean war - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/The_Second_Crimean_War/, by the Doodler, rated T.

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/
kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/

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Episode 475 - Tropeagedden! overuse of fashionable tropes...

Apr 20, 2020

4 likes, 3 comments

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!

Episode 448 - King of franchises: Star Wars!

Oct 14, 2019

5 likes, 1 comment

Continuing on our focus on movie franchises for the month of October, THIS time we focus on the king of them all: STAR WARS! This was a genre defining series, not only for movies but for space opera, “SciFi”, and science fantasy on all media! The original trilogy was quite a milestone. Predictably further instalments weren't quite as well received but it still remains popular even so! Currently it's having a resurgence in popularity once more.

Episode 417 - Can we be better?

Mar 11, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

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.

Episode 357 - Power, baddies, and sexiness

Jan 15, 2018

3 likes, 3 comments

Sexy badguys: power vs confidence vs sexiness. That's what we chat about here. Why do we have sexy bad guys? Are all bad guys and girls sexy? What makes them sexy? Is power truly sexy in fiction or is it confidence? There are so many aspects to this and so many totally unexamined assumptions, misconceptions, and cilches. We try our best to examine all these aspects because we all love a sexy villain and we loved talking about them even better. This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to Really? It's ultra poppy Daft Punk-like, bouncing with joy and enthusiasm, this one wants you to get up and go and it wants you to do it now! Really!

Episode 349 - Bad Gods

Nov 20, 2017

3 likes, 4 comments

This is the Quackcast where I get things wrong! Haha, I DO love to imagine that I know everything but fortunately Tantz and Pit are there to correct me! For this Quackcast I was thinking about the way we assign villains when there's a religious theme or anything influenced by mythology really. You know the way Hel in Thor Ragnarok and Hades in the Disney movie Hercules are cast as villains just because they're in charge of death, even though in the mythology they're not supposed to be bad guys at all. Perhaps it's our modern Christian influenced culture that makes us wrongly associate death with the bad guys…? Our topic meanders a little but it's mainly about how our interpretation of mythology and legend in modern pop-culture is influenced by our modern ways of thinking, which causes things to be quite drastically changed. This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to Puppets and strings - a sepulchral, hollow, sombre theme, yet also grand and portentous! Stirring, melancholic, epic.

Episode 307 - The jerks

Jan 23, 2017

3 likes, 0 comments

Jerky, jerk, jerks! Let's talk about this type of character… This topic is based on Banes' newspost from Thursday, he based it on characters like Reggie from the Archie comics. Jerks can be pretty good characters in their own right. They can be villains, heroes, antagonists or protagonists, they can even be unintentional jerks like Scrappy do from Scooby Do, Alf from Alf, or Jar Jar Binks from that horrible movie he was in. My favourite jerks are Flashman from the Flashman novels by George MacDonald (you should read them!), Blackadder (particularly the second season), and Zaphod Beeblebrox who I'm cosplaying in the cover pic. Who are your fave and least fave jerks? Gunwallace's musical theme was for The Epic of Blitzov. It's Riff based hard rock, driving beat, heavy, distorted guitars layered over and over with a thunderous yet lyrical lead floating over the top. Orange and black sound.

Episode 304 - eeeeeevil!

Jan 2, 2017

5 likes, 1 comment

What defines evil in fiction? I say the simplest one is bad guys are selfish, good guys are selfless. That is massively over simplistic but it's a good easy template for basic hero's and villains. Basic ones I was just doing a quick thought experiment to work out an easy way to define “good” and “evil” characters in fiction. The more selfless someone is the more “good” they are: the more they think of others, want to help people, put the needs of the masses first, the more willing they are to reach across to their enemies etc. The more selfish a person is the more “evil” they are: if they don't consider the needs or feelings of others, help out their own small group and let others suffer, help themselves first. Of course there are many other more advanced aspects, especially if you consider the relative nature of these things: the idea that everyone thinks they're the good guy from their own perspective, being cruel to be kind, being too authoritarian and heavy handed in the use of power, NOT using power when you should, helping in a way that only SEEMS destructive and selfish, trying to help but causing destruction and chaos in the process, which brings us to the dreaded “unintended consequences”. BUT, the selfless/selfish equation is a nice simple starting point to build from. In the Quackcast we discuss these aspects as well as more advanced notions about what makes a good evil character, what makes a bad one, humanising evil, and weakening you evil character by humanising them too much. Gunwallace's musical theme was for The Cull: Dark, haunting, and compelling- Eastern European Jewish, country and rock, reminds me of Tracy Bonham’s later work.


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