Episode 556 - That's What She Said!

Nov 8, 2021

The other day Tantz Aerine wrote a newspost about an article critical of Squid Game. The crux of things was that the Squid Game creator had said their message was anti-capitalist, while this critic was saying that the author's message with the Squid Game was an anti communist critique and not a very good one at that. The issue here is that isn't how you do criticism. At all. You can give an interesting reading of something and tell us why YOU think it's anti-Communist, or tell us how it looks through the lens of post-colonialism or new wave feminism etc, but you can't say that is what the author is saying or what the work means, especially if the author explicitly says WHAT they are saying. This may seem like a small distinction but it's actually very, very important. Bad criticism often tells us what the creator is saying. Don't do that. Don't be that person.

Topics and Show Notes

When you have a creative work to look at, you can't tell us what it means or what the author means, only the creator can do that. You CAN tell us what it means to you though. You can tell us about the commonly agreed meanings of various tropes and symbols too as well as their meanings within different cultural frameworks and contexts, but not why the creator used them, that's up to the creator.

The Squid Game is based on the deathmatch trope from anime and manga using all the clichés from that form including poor ordinary people caught up in something dangerous that they don't fully understand, a callous attitude to life, normally innocuous games turned deadly, twists and turns with who's really behind the whole thing, betrayal and so on. We can say that for a certainty because it's provably true. Why did the author co-opt the deathmatch trope? We can't say, but we can theorise they used it because it's popular in Korea and Japan. We can also talk about the history of the deathmatch trope, different examples of it like Running Man, Deathrace 2000, Gantz, Btooom, Danganronpa, Deadman Wonderland, Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor, and many more which all follow the same pattern. We can use those examples to talk about why the elements of those tropes exist but we can NOT talk about their use in Squid Game in isolation. That would be like talking about the use of the word “and” in the English language without talking about the use of similar words in other languages and the origins of the word in German.

It's important to remember that things do not exist in a vacuum but also that intent is up to the creator to define, not the critic.

This week Gunwallace ha given us the theme to Secrets Of Uncrom - Secrets, hidden knowledge, secret cult meetings in guttering candlelight, murder most foul, and plots thickening! This atmospheric electronic tune has layer upon layer of interesting and disparate sounds, suggesting mystery, darkness and hidden things.

Topics and shownotes

Links

Tantz's newspost on conflicting with the author intentions - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/oct/22/flipping-off-the-author/

Featured comic:
Sapling - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/nov/02/featured-comic-sapling/

Featured music:
Secrets Of Uncrom - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Secrets_of_Uncrom_The_Balance_of_Life_and_Death_/ - by Secretsofuncrom, rated M.

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

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Episode 525 - Sexual Tension

Apr 5, 2021

5 likes, 0 comments

Sexual tension between characters is a great way to augment the conflict that drives a story. The audience really wants that to resolve into a relationship or at least an assignation of some sort… The longer it goes on though, the bigger they want the coming together to be, which can be dangerous for the creator because it's so easy to disappoint. it's usually better to resolve the tension earlier than later, OR keep it going forever but keep it interesting and don't ever sour it or make it turn stale.

Episode 517 - money in Scifi Utopia

Feb 8, 2021

3 likes, 3 comments

Weird one this week! A monneyless system in a working Scifi utopia. This was based on an idea Banes came up with talking about Star Trek and how the federation has “evolved beyond money”, We discuss if this is possible, why it is and how it is. That means no need for money substitutes like credit or barter either. It's a really interesting topic and a brave choice for a world setting. The most common type of scifi world by FAR is a dystopia so the fact that Star Trek is a working utopia (at least in the original and 1990s series) is a very brave and unique choice and the idea that it functions without money is even more clever and interesting.

Episode 271 - Pitface’s tales of ribaldry

May 15, 2016

6 likes, 0 comments

What makes the “meat” of a story? What makes you fall in love with it, keep coming back for more watches or reads or whatever? I contend it has nothing to do with conflict or culminations or climaxes, those are merely generic structural plottings that are pretty much the same format no matter what story you read- you know they're coming and you know what form they'll take and once they're over it's not really that significant anymore; “re-playability” is low, they're just too tied in with the story structure to have much life away from it in your mind. What keeps me coming back to a story and fall in love with it are the Characters, exploring the world in which they exist, and the development that occurs during the story. Gunwallace provides us a theme to CTV Revamped, the new version of Charby the Vampirate! Good and creepy techno for Charbs!

Episode 228 - Conflicting conflicts conflict

Jul 19, 2015

4 likes, 0 comments

This time we're talking about conflict in webcomic writing, and any writing in general really. Conflict is one of the main drivers of a story, so you pretty much have to have it in there somewhere! But how do you approach it? Do you set it up really carefully or just put a bunch of volatile characters together and see what happens? I think for a lot of us we don't think too much about the science of our conflicts, rather we approach it artistically and develop things by feel and instinct because conflict is such an intrinsic trait. But understanding how you use it can be very useful when you're writing satisfying resolutions and climaxes. A good understanding of the types of conflict in your story is also pretty essential when you're writing a good comedy (it's a great source of humour!), and also when you're explaining or selling your work to the public: It's all very well to chat about your clever setting and your funky characters, but conflict is the reason they're IN a story to begin with and that's really what will get people wanting to read out it. I hope you enjoy Gunwallace's great porn style music type theme for Tales of Two Tiny Titty bars!

Episode 226 - The Power of Contrast

Jul 5, 2015

5 likes, 6 comments

In this Quackcast I interrogated Mr Banes on the subject of his first newspost: Contrasts. It's a subject near and dear to him, even his comic "Typical Strange“ has its name based on the concept, i.e. two words with the opposite meanings put together to create an effect. In imagery contrast is used to make darker shapes appear darker and lighter shapes lighter and to create a tension where those areas meet at the penumbra. In writing and comics it's much the same, ”laughter and tears“, ”good and evil", a sad scene contrasting with a joyous one etc. Contrasting makes both contrasted elements appear far greater than they really are, as well as serving as a source of tension, conflict, or humour. Banes and I talk about this in a rambling fashion. Gunwallace has a special treat for us today with a brilliant theme for Dead Leon! You'll want to ask him for a copy of his one ;)


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