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 552 - Tropes we like

Oct 11, 2021

2 likes, 0 comments

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.

Episode 537 - Historicity

Jun 28, 2021

4 likes, 0 comments

We have a chat about historicity in this Quackcast. What IS historicity? It's historical authenticity basically but a nicer way of saying it! It's pretty important for a lot of reasons to make the best effort you can with historical authenticity- it increases immersion of the audience, gives you a better understanding of the story and the world you're looking at (because things will make sense), and leads you to better understanding of your own history and where we came from. BUT, that doesn't mean you always have to be strict. As long as you as a creator properly understand historical context then you've got a lot more leeway to play without creating something stupid. Playing fast and loose with history is ok as long as you know what you're doing, not just being a moron and faking it (hey, many of us are guilty of that). Historical fantasy, myth, classics, fiction, biography etc are all different classes of story where it's more or less forgiveable to mess around.

Episode 497 - It's just kid's stuff

Sep 21, 2020

4 likes, 5 comments

Today we're talking about the idea that entertainment aimed at kids can only be enjoyed by kids and the reason that adults often don't like kids things is because adults just don't “get” them. I contend that everyone, of all ages should be able to enjoy General or kid rated media and the true reason we don't is not because it “isn't meant for us”, it's because it's simply badly written - specifically, it's not the content that's annoying, it's the structure.

Episode 496 - titular titularity!

Sep 14, 2020

4 likes, 0 comments

Titles are surprisingly important for your comic! We don't often realise that when we first start them, but a title is one of the very first ways people come across your work. You have to sell it to them and give them an idea of what to expect in only a very few words. You can take a lot of different approaches to that, like teasing and intriguing them with a title that suggests something interesting or mysterious, character names are great for that. You can be completely literal and obvious. You can use a pun… you can take an existing popular title and alter it in a slight way… There are so many things you can do!

Episode 460 - Enough trope to hang yourself with

Jan 5, 2020

2 likes, 2 comments

Happy 2020 all you lovely people who listen to us! What we're talking about today are tropes in fiction that bother us because they don't exist in reality: they ONLY exist in fiction pretty much. In the cover pic we have an image from The Witcher: he has two big longswords on his back. In fantasy people always carry longswords on their backs. This is a trope that only exists in fiction because you can't draw a sword longer than about 60cm from your back. So people just didn't carry swords like this. Even if it was only to transport them (although ta transport only option makes a sort of sense). This was only even rarely done with Asian swords. We'd LOVE to hear about more of these that other people have noticed!

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 440 - Character tropes VS characterisation

Aug 19, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

Today we compare and contrast two ways of making characters: starting with a pure archetype and building it with tropes, or creating a character organically through circumstance and interaction with other characters.


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