Episode 537 - Historicity

Jun 28, 2021

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.

Topics and Show Notes

Asterix is a great example of a series made by creators who know their stuff. They've set it in a real historical period, used real historical figures and events. But it's fiction and silly comedy and because they know the subject so well they can screw with it, compress history, put Vikings in a time period hundreds of years before they existed, and tell modern satirical stories using a historical stetting. The musical Hamilton is another example of creators who know their subject intimately, so they re-frame the story of a US founding father with a cast of black Americans and create a work of intelligent social commentary that still has historical veracity.

Bad examples typically have an a-historical character who for no reasons at all has fully modern attitudes despite their historical setting- often typified by a lady character who chafes at her “constrictive” corset - this has become a cliché and now a meme for people who are bad at history.

An interesting example to me is the British horror series Penny Dreadful where they did an excellent job of creating a convincing historical setting and environment. They had characters with more “modern” ideas but they had very good reasons to have them in that setting, they had a more modern demographic to the cast and also made that fit perfectly as well: history is often “whitewashed”, especially 19th century London, but they worked around that beautifully and gave us a realistically diverse cast. And yet despite all the effort they'd done to make things fit and work across several seasons, they really undermined it by introducing a kick-arse kungfu-fighting lady doctor in lovely tailored suits in the final few episodes when they knew they were cancelled and couldn't finish the season. The character sort of trod on and peed all over the work the others had done to set themselves up and round themselves off.

Though, as I've said: historical fantasy, myth, classics, fiction, biography etc all have different amounts of leeway for what they are. In the case of Penny Dreadful it's a horror fantasy with a historical setting so it had a LOT of leeway. The trouble was that they set a solid precedent by creating their own style with excellent historicity, even though they didn't have to, which was why it hurt when they broke it. It was a betrayal of the other characters, especially Eva Green's character Vanessa Ives, a woman who struggled for her place in the world and built her strength from within, brick by brick, only to be shown up by an unimaginative standard trope Buffy the Vampire Slayer type character.

This wouldn't be complete of course without a mention of Blackadder: a brilliant historical comedy that knows its stuff enough to break it beautifully! What are your fave “historical” things to enjoy and what are your least fave?

This week Gunwallace has given us a theme to Chatterbox - Starting off down home, country bluegrass, playing the mouthorgan as you cruise around the back roads on your whumptruck… developing into a rollicking, rolling, joyous, fun roadhouse concert, complete with trumpets, piano, bass guitar, lead, old style electric organs, the whole deal! Get up and dance!

Topics and shownotes

Links

Featured comic:
Patchwork and Lace - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/jun/22/featured-comic-patchwork-and-lace/

Featured music:
Chatterbox - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Chatterbox/ - by Banes, 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
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes

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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.

Episode 358 - Damaged Characters

Jan 22, 2018

4 likes, 2 comments

This week we mine Banes's ideas about damaged protagonists. Does having physiologically damaged protagonists (as opposed to merely flawed), make them more realistic or relatable? I think we came to the conclusion that this isn't necessarily the case at all, in fact it can mean the opposite sometimes. Where that sort of “damage” can come in useful it making your character more interesting, in that they can make unusual choices that serve the story nicely and stop it being too predictable. Where “damaged” characters were used badly was in popular mainstream comics where the idea became something of a fad and therefore a cliche, and so uninteresting and trite. This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to Doc2DWho. It has the apprehensive feel of oldschool Doctor Who, entering the darkness and unknown, this music is spatial and atmospheric. THANKS AGAIN TO ALL WHO DONATED TO OUR INDIEGOGO!

Episode 332 - The trouble with immortality

Jul 17, 2017

3 likes, 2 comments

In this Quast we talk about immortality, which is a common trope in literature. Who seeks immortality in stories? It's usually bad guys, and it usually has some sort of extreme price,catch or dark side, so much so that people actually believe that if immortality WAS real that it would somehow be an evil thing. The fact is that most of the possible downsides are cultural constructions or justifications for our own mortality, if immortality WAS a real thing we don't really know what the down sides would be… But this means that the trope of immortality is not as limited as we've come to believe; it's wide open to be re-written and redefined. And a not, the story mentioned in the Quackcast was The Trouble With Lichen and it was by John Wyndham, not Roald Dahl. Gunwallace's theme for the week was for The Beard. This one is creepy and magical, just the type of music you’d associate with alien hair follicles, it brings to mind strange activity on a microscopic level inside the skin… unsettling!


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