Dec 20, 2021
Merry Christmas and whatever you celebrate :) Interesting topic from Banes! It's his idea that sometimes the literal elements of a story (the plot etc.) are simply too weak to properly support the theme. He gives the example of The Truman show, where the idea is that a person is living a fake life under constant surveillance as the star of one of the most popular real life TV shows ever and he doesn't know anything about it… The themes are the power of the media, commercialism, the American dream, obsession with reality TV etc. Banes felt that although these themes were very strong the practical setup of the world and story weren't quite strong enough to support it.
Topics and Show Notes
I remember feeling that way as well when I originally saw it. The universal obsession with the show and the practical challenges of setting up and maintaining that fraud for so long with all those people were all nonsensical. Good theme but they didn't think hard enough about the setting. This is an aspect we don't always think about!
That's distinct from stories with a more symbolic setting like The 7th Seal, or Mullholland Drive because we know they are are not meant to be literal, there are more than enough cues! But when the literal aspects of the story are key to conveying the theme then they need to work. It's a very simple but powerful idea and helps you realise whey a lot of stories with big themes just don't quite gel or sit right: it's not you, it's them.
This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to c h h t - Seriousness, sadness, blue strobes, faded scenes, isolation, concrete and plain facades. The lights are dim as twilight approaches. Night closes in and streetlights bloom with golden halos. Two strangers meet in the a circle of light glittering on the wet road.
Topics and shownotes
Banes' newspost on themes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/dec/15/above-and-below-the-surface/
Tiger Tea - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/dec/14/featured-comic-tiger-tea/
c h h t - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/c_h_h_t/ - by Princefishie Lover, 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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Nov 29, 2021
Today we're chatting about the NEW news feature that we're doing every Friday: The DD Fashion Spotlight. This is a new way to promote comics without all the restrictions of the featured comic system. To be eligible for a normal Wednesday feature a comic has to have at least 15 pages, be currently updating, not in the top ten, have good writing and artwork, not be adult rated, and not have been featured before. That cuts down the playing field quite a lot but it's what we have to do to make it worth a feature.
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.
Nov 1, 2021
This week we're talking about group shots and how cool they can be! I love drawing them, having all your characters together in the frame is so cool and fun- you can hint at character relationships, have them doing some sort of fantasy activity or just being awesome and posing together. We also chat about some of our fave group shots in film like the beginning of Reservoir Dogs, and the most prolific source of group images ever: album art!
Oct 25, 2021
This year for Halloween we've decided to do another commentary! It's of the 1980s Zombie movie “Return of the Living Dead”. It's extremely 1980s in style. There are zombies, punks, yuppies, electronic music, toxic waste… It's quite an entertaining, quite comedic, nihilistic cold war zombie film with very good effects for the time that really hold up today. Even the gore is tasteful. I am NOT a fan of horror in any way, Banes and Pit lobbied hard for this movie… but even so it was not a bad film. The zombies are animated by a man made chemical contaminant, which is quite an 80s theme in of itself. They're not contagious like modern zombies, there's no infection or outbreak to contain. The problem here is that they're virtually indestructible because of the chemical that animates their flesh, they're also fully intelligent and fast moving, this makes the zombies far more menacing and scary than any modern shambling brainless decaying infected version.
Oct 18, 2021
I was reading an article the other day about the comedy of Sacha Baron Cohen and how that style of comedy is now out of date, along with The Hangover and Hot Tub Time Machine. The idea is that the day for this sort of masculine, bawdy, sleazy humour has been and gone and that we're more advanced, sophisticated and enlightened now. Personally I took issue with this, I think this style of comedy is extremely relatable and eternal because of it. You can see examples of it going back thousands of years across all cultures because many factors of it are universal to the human cultural experience.
Oct 11, 2021
Last time we covered tropes we hated! This time we're talking about clichés we actually like. It's quite a bit trickier because clichés are clichés for a reason (overuse) so it's not easy to like them, except in some cases… For me it's Isekai. That's a Japanese word for “another world”. This is a very old genre, it's basically a story where a person from our normal world goes to a magical world, we see this in ancient fairy stories, Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and many others. until the mid 20th century it was the default way of writing any fantasy story. It has always been around, the Japanese were just the first to come up with a popular name for it.
Sep 27, 2021
We decided to chat about games. Video game and computer games. They're now a huge part of pop-culture entertainment and they've influenced us in many ways creatively throughout our lives. There are many different kinds of games out there, but one of the really cool things about them is that they're able to deliver a kind of interactive narrative experience that takes things further than Film or comics can easily do. Games were also instrumental in the early days of the first big popular wave of webcomics with gamer comics (PVP, Ctrl Alt Dlt, and Penny Arcade) and sprite comics (8 bit fantasy), being some of the most popular.