Episode 423 - Fave weapons in fiction?

Apr 22, 2019

What's your favourite weapon in fiction? Mine are ridiculously giant swords, huge anti-tank rifles, and mecha. There are a lot of complex reasons for weapon choices in fiction, a Kalashnikov assault rifles for example signals certain things about the person carrying it: They're usually a bad guy for a start. This originated during the cold war, with certain types of bad guys using AKs. First it was Soviet Bloc soldiers, then it was Viet Con and rebels from South East Asia, then it became the “terrorist” weapon. The sub machine gun is the weapon of the bad guy. Terrorists used to use Uzis (before they turned to AKs), bank robbers used to use Mac 10s, now it's the HK MP5. Good guys carry an M-16 or AR-15 rifle. In historical fiction traditionally the bad guys carries curved swords while the good guys had straight swords, this came from crusades. Minor characters carry spears and heroes carry swords. Women, weaker characters and rebels carry bows. Giant swords and guns are often given to smaller characters in anime (usually female), as an obvious contrast with their small size. It's meant to emphasis the fact they're sort of a “mighty mouse”.

Topics and Show Notes

Weapons technology can also be used to signal things about the society using them. In fiction the Nazis are highly mechanised, with their huge Tiger tanks, sleek half-tracks, and fighter panes. It shows a ruthlessly efficient fascist state with the power of high technology on their side. The Empire in Star Wars was directly influenced by them. In reality the Nazi forces were largely horse drawn, their air-force was limited and they had very, very few tiger tanks. But they lent us the “empire” trope where the bad guys have better weapons and the goodies have to beat them with pluck and improvised tactics, as in Avatar.

So what are your fave weapons in fiction and why do you think they're used in stories?

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Bottomless Waitress. This is such a happy sounding, Southern, joyful track, filled with banjo and layers of guitar, twanging away… bringing notes of sunshine, natural wood, the light glinting softly through tree leaves and making dappled shadows on the ground… Perfect for an advertising jingle!:
Slip into a comfy booth, get your butt comfortable on our soft cushions, and enjoy a plate of down-home cook’n in this fine establishment, filled with a cast of friendly ladies. Try a plate of our famous bottomless fries, a cup of our delicious bottomless coffee, and the sight of our lovely bottomless waitresses!

Topics and shownotes

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Featured comic:
Operation Boom - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/apr/15/featured-comic-operation-boom/

Featured music:
Bottomless Waitress - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Bottomless_Waitress/, by Ozoneocean and Banes, rated M.

Links:
Your fave weapons in fiction thread - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/forum/topic/178137/

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes
PitFace - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean

Episode 404 - Strong characters

Dec 10, 2018

3 likes, 0 comments

We mined Tantz's Saturday newspost for our discussion topic: Strong characters and how to write GOOD ones! What is a strong character? Well it has nothing to do with physical ability, power, command, or anything so obvious and trite. Strong characters are well rounded and well realised, they're often active and opposed to reactive, they make things happen, the story hinges on them. Failed attempts at “strong” characters or obvious and often result in Mary Sues, whether male or female. People hand them traits that they THINK will make the character strong: make them a general, make them a great fighter, make them royalty etc. The problem comes when none of that is ever logically backed up in the story. You can't just title a character something or have other characters talk about how great they are without having them demonstrate a reason for it, or else all you have is a pathetic paper tiger and a really shizzy failed part of your story.

Episode 395 - Fighting ladies

Oct 8, 2018

2 likes, 0 comments

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!

Episode 392 - Outside hobbies

Aug 19, 2018

2 likes, 0 comments

In this Quackcast we chat about what interests we have outside of webcomics and we want to know what YOU do as well. What are your hobbies and interests? Our interests and hobbies really inform what we do as comic creators in all sorts of ways, it can be fascinating to learn about what drives a person and what led them to be where they are now. For Banes it was music, keyboards, drums, magic and ventriloquism. For Tantz it's writing and a fascination with surgery. For Pit it's archaeology, heavy metal, and art. For me it's making, art, costume and sewing. What about you?

Episode 388 - Coding for Men and women

Aug 15, 2018

2 likes, 0 comments

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.

Episode 381 - site upgrades and messing with creators

Jul 2, 2018

4 likes, 4 comments

We talk about all the new upgrades that DD has just gotten: the new comment notification and reply features (a huge thank you to all who donated and helped out with that!!!), our new notification icons, getting HTTPS on the site, moving to the new ad system after the fall of Project wonderful, maybe starting a Patreon for DD, and Tantz's Sunday Twitter features. We also chat about Tantz's latest newspost and Mks Monster's thread that it was based on: basically the idea of forcing creators into boxes. The idea that women should create certain kinds of work and men should create others. Gunwallace gave us a lovely theme to Sky Commander. This is a very futuristic sounding track, at first glance it’s a little modern for the 1940s set comic but I like to think of it as the flight theme of the Sky Commander as he zooms through the clouds in his shiny metal Streamline Moderne gear, producing an expanding vapour trail behind him, crisp and white against the eggshell blue sky.

Episode 341 - Objectification and porn

Sep 25, 2017

5 likes, 6 comments

In this Quackcast we chat about how objectification can rob the humanity from a character and turn them into a meaningless object which can in turn alienate your audience by making your work less relatable, but with things like porn where character is less important than the on screen action objectification is more acceptable. We chat about the development of porn and why it became so objectified, from the early beginnings where story, setting and character were always a factor, till the days of home video and the internet and how that changed the balance due to various factors, and the way higher production values, better acting and story is actually making its way back in some instances. We also chat a bit about the differences between porn aimed at women and that aimed at men. “Sexposition” in mainstream entertainment like Game of thrones is possibly an interesting outgrowth of the acceptability of pornography and the idea of mixing story and onscreen (simulated) sexuality. The theme Gunwallace has given us this week was for Tomb Busters! It's compelling, regal, atmospheric, steel guitar country rock, this is a triumphant epic that will swallow you whole and leave you gasping for air. This is my new fave!

Episode 254 - Sexism in your OWN work?k

Jan 18, 2016

2 likes, 0 comments

OMFG you sexist PIG! Heh… today we talk about trying to recognise sexism in your OWN work, what to do about it, and WHY. It turns out it can be very hard to do, and if you DO acknowledged it the instinct is to rationalise it away, justify it, or just try and brazen it out in some kind of old fashioned, largely embarrassing, display. I frequently do all three. How do we spot it? Well the Bechdel test isn't that useful, that's better for looking at broad trends not giving specific works a pass/fail - sexy outfits is one thing, if females are dressed minimally or in tight gear in CONTRAST to the males or vice versa - females ONLY having old stereotype roles (maiden/mother/whore archetypes, secretary, nurse, victim, maid etc), though this is context sensitive, i.e. it's more forgiveable if you're doing a historical story or something stylised like a fairytale or a noire story - Gender balance is another thing, it's context sensitive because certain stories will naturally have more of one gender (WW2 submarine crew, Girl's school, a prison story etc), and you don't have to have an exact balance anyway but it's definitely something to THINK about because there is no reason most stories should feature a majority of male characters and a minority of females. WHY should you think about it? Why should you care? Well the audience for almost ALL types of stories, be they action adventure, romance, Scifi, fantasy, historical, even porn, is getting close to 50/50 between men and women these days (maybe it always was?), it really doesn't make sense to alienate or belittle half your audience just because you like to cling to older ways of doing stuff. Gunwallace's theme this week reminds me of a cross between the Knightrider theme and Gunship- it's VERY retro-future. It's the theme to DDSR, a comic with cool custom “sprites”, AKA pixel-art.


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