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.
Topics and Show Notes
Stan Lee was instrumental in creating a unified fantasy universe populated by a pantheon of godlike superheroes with very human thoughts and failings. Not only that but he helped elevate comics as a medium to the mainstream. No longer are comics seen as something just for children. Cartoons, fantasy, Scifi, and comics have been rightfully elevated to the mainstream where they belong as valid forms of artistic expression. People no longer have to apologise for or feel ashamed of liking them either. You're free to consume or create the media of your choice and Stan Lee was a massive part of that.
This is why the remarks by Mr Maher about Stan Lee are problematic and ill-judged. He said that the veneration shown for a creator of comics, which are “only meant for children”, shows how the US has been dumbed down and why someone like Donald Trump could have been elected.
I'd contend that the reason for “Trump” and people's idea of politics being dumbed down is that we now get most of our political commentary through comedians. They have helped turn complex subjects into simplistic black and white caricatures because that's how comedy works. It's great for breaking down ideas and giving you a simple primer to understand them, but when comedians and partisan talking heads are your main sources then things are going very, very wrong. Bill Maher IS the problem, not people liking comics. If anything, Stan Lee worked to do the opposite; his characters weren't simple 2D cut-outs (like Maher's version of political figures), they were complicated and human. These were A-political characters who strived to do what was right outside of mere party affiliations.
Then we transition into my idea of the “new puritans”.
There's a slow tide of people coming out against sexuality in art. It comes from both the left and right so there's no real political platform. I feel it's very much related to the same point of view that Bill Maher has about comics: this is media for children and we must protect them from anything grown up. When in reality all we end up doing is insulting and infantilising adults when we attack sexuality in media, whether in games, cartoons, books, comics or movies.
This is no more clearly shown than in the word these people use most often: “Sexualise”
They claim that characters are “sexualised”. You cannot sexualise an adult or teen. By biological, physical definition we are ALL sexual past puberty. That doesn't mean we have or even want sex, it means we have sexual traits and that's all it means. You can “sexualise” a non-sexual thing like a toaster or a car but it's impossible to do that to a teen or adult. Sexual traits in adult characters are healthy and normal. I contend that the need to remove them is a perversion.
This is NOT to say that sexual traits in characters should be over-emphasised. What these people really mean when they focus on sexuality is “EROTICISM”, and that is a very important distinction. It has little to do with sexuality though so it's NOT a mistake that should be overlooked. There is a time and place for eroticism and we should never foist erotic depictions where they don't belong or onto audiences that should not be exposed to them. But we should also guard against hyper-vigilance or start attacking any depiction that shows sexual traits.
Ask yourself: Is the character sexual? If yes, then is the depiction erotic? Then is eroticism appropriate for the context of the work, its audience and where it is sold? Those are the questions to ask, not weather or not a male has a bulge or a girl has prominent breasts.
This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Quixote Coyote… Let’s get a little chaotic with this quixotic jazz jam for Quixote Coyote! Let the organs fill your body (no, not those sorts of organs), let the drums be your heartbeat, and the trumpet will chase the electric, eclectic thoughts in your brain.
Topics and shownotes
Only for Patrons who donate $5 or more, here:
Belle Starr - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2018/nov/12/featured-comic-belle-starr/
Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Quixote Coyote - - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Quixote_Coyote/, by cjoe1377, rated E.
Nov 12, 2018
In this Quackcast DD members tell us about their history with us as well as the pros and cons of webcomicing. This is the 400th episode of the Quackcast! That means we've been doing these for over 8 years now. That's quite a milestone for a podcast. We have JustNoPoint over to help us out, he's a Patron at the $20 “Royal” level so he gets a few perks. JustNoPoint has been with us since 2006 with his comic The Devon Legacy. He managed the awards for many years and was crucial to us getting the site back online when we had our hard crash in August of 2013 that destroyed the site so thoroughly that it had to be rebuilt, a job which took us all TWO months!
Nov 4, 2018
How many characters is too many? Ensemble casts can be fun and the interaction between characters can be more interesting than the actual plot of a story! But keeping track of characters from the audience point of view or even from the creator's perspective can be hard when you have a lot. Characters can copy each other and just become bad clones or you can forget what some are meant to be doing and create plot holes, audiences can stop caring about some of them or just become really confused. So how do you keep track? I think breaking them into small groups can be one good way to do it… What are some others?
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!
Aug 15, 2018
In this Quackcast we discuss the artistic coding used to represent males and females in comic art in a simple, minimal way. Pitface joins us, along with Banes and Tantz Aerine! Much like an expert physicist is able to simplify enormously complex equations into something seemingly simple like E=MC2 a good comic artist simplifies the essence of what they're drawing into something that's immediately recognisable without a lot of complexity. We're mainly talking here in terms of drawing men and women. It sounds like the most basic, silly thing, but even pros with years of experience have trouble with it. Some of the art for the new She-Ra cartoon is a great example of that.
Aug 14, 2018
What makes bad guy intimidating? Tantz Aerine made a great newspost about the question, carefully outlining various key bad-guy properties like confidence, composure, efficiency, and amorality. Banes, Pitface, Tantz and I stomp ALL over that, traipsing about like drunken, muddy rugby players, as we blather on about our opinions of the idea and finish up with no idea what we're talking about...
Jun 18, 2018
ALL the tropes!!!! Based on Emma Clare's newspost, tropes are damn useful but they can also be your undoing if you handle them badly. Tropes are shortcuts to meanings, scenes, procedures or jokes that take too long to set up in their own right. You can use them like prefabricated parts to build your story, Lego if you will. You really should know how to use them correctly though. If it's for jokes, then work on them and expand on them, if it's for more serious stuff then you should know WHERE those tropes come from so you use them correctly. We chat about tropes, boob-slips, Doki Doki, Baka and Test, Kung Fury, Satan Ninja 198X, and Vaporwave among other things. Gunwallace gave us a lovely theme to Yasu no Monogatari this week: Floating out on a blue river of dreams into an echoing crystal cave illuminated by thousands of refracted glittering lights, traveling on your way further underground, deeper and deeper to more exciting and mysterious sites.
May 21, 2018
In this Quackcast we chat about the categorisation of work by specific genres and how it makes it easier to promote your work to people, while for fans it makes it easier to find what you're into, but it can also be a bad thing when people categorise too specifically and narrow their audience to nothing or just pointlessly confuse the crap out of people. I came to this topic because I saw a post on Facebook which was very badly explaining “Steampunk” and “Dieselpunk” while introducing the two utterly superfluous sub-genre names of “Ray-punk” and Atom-punk“.