Episode 583 - Why is it bad?

May 16, 2022

Spoiler- we don't actually talk much about Yu-Gi-Oh! But I feel it's a good example of a pretty bad a so-bad-it's-good story, but bad nevertheless. The idea we're talking about here is that it's useful to look at bad stories and stick with them because they can really help you write better. They're a lot more useful than good stories because you'd rather just enjoy those and it's a bit harder to examine them for technical details, but with “bad” stories the faults stand out strongly. Instead of simply dismissing a bad story or making fun of it, it's more useful and valuable to try and “fix” it: try and work out why it seems bad and think about what would be needed to make it better, then think about how that applies to your own work. Maybe you're actually making many of the same mistakes?

Topics and Show Notes

Yu-Gi-Oh! is a little too much work to use as an example, but something like the Marvel movie Eternals is good because it only had a few flaws. Big ones, but also very good parts as well:

- Lots of telling rather than showing. A text dump at the beginning was just the start of that. It wasn't stylistic choice like in Star Wars, but rather something we need to understand what is happening. All through the film characters tell us about things rather than the story properly depicting them.

- Revealing the solution to mysteries too early and so it undercuts built up tension. Mysteries are really interesting and intriguing to the audience, even when they think they've solved them, it still feels very rewarding to have them revealed nearer to the end of the story. Revealing them far too early feels like you're being cheated and wastes a valuable resource. Eternals does this twice with very significant mysteries about halfway through.

- Having generic, cannon-fodder bad guys. This is true of many action stories especially from Marvel films, but it's particularly bad here. Saying any more would be a spoiler. But this is something that Yu-Gi-Oh! does far better.

- Leaving out information that would better make sense of story elements. We have the character Icarus refereed to frequently as “the Pilot” by another character who's never met him before, but we have no idea why. A deleted scene reveals why, but without that it makes no sense, you're just left to feel it's a pointless joke about the Icarus myth, which it's not.

- Not solving logic errors. The characters are supposed to be the basis for mythical figures in earth cultures but most are of different ethnicities to the cultures that worship them. This could have been easily solved in two ways: 1. the character “Sprite” could have been shown to have created illusions around them to make them seem like the characters of myth. 2. The character Druig could have been shown to manipulate people's minds to think they were seeing the mythical characters. The story does neither.

Despite all this and more there are many good points to this story and it would be possible to fix it through re-editing. I found it more rewarding and interesting to work out what exactly made this not such a good film and it helped to better highlight the good parts for me. It also helps me see what to avoid in my own writing and what I'm doing wrong. Try it yourself? Maybe you can tackle Yu-Gi-Oh! and let us know how that could be fixed?
I'm not brave enough.


This week Gunwallace has given us a theme to - Malefic Demonic Apocalypse - A creepy red garden filled with writhing demonic monstrosities and horror! This electronic piece grinds and roars, sounding like an acidic, burning harpsichord spewing fury and vitriol in a crimson torrent.


Topics and shownotes

Links

Our movie critique thread does this somewhat - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/forum/topic/177412/?page=36

Featured comic:
Oni Streamer Builds a Mech - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2022/may/10/featured-comic-oni-streamer-builds-a-mech/

Featured music:
Malefic Demonic Apocalypse - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Malefic_Demonic_Apocalypse/ - by Genejoke, 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/

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Episode 578 - Punching toys in the boobs

Apr 11, 2022

5 likes, 5 comments

BANES RETURNS! …to talk about boobs with the rest of us. The topic of the discussion this week was brought to us by Tantz's newspost on the 2nd of April about bosoms and how their shape and size doesn't matter. In the crusade against “sexualisation” in comics people tend to focus too much on big or “unnaturally shaped” boobs, but the truth is that any type of boobs can be fetishized and by reacting against one type you just cause a new form of exclusion.

Episode 576 - Retro Adventure heroes

Mar 28, 2022

3 likes, 0 comments

Retro adventure heroes are an interesting and unique sort of hero. The trope was revived and crystallised by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg with Indiana Jones, but it had existed long before then and continues to persist now in many forms. They're not without their problems But I like these characters. I love their outfits, their competency, intelligence, self sufficiency, and their penchant for exploration and discovery.

Episode 553 - Out of date humour?

Oct 18, 2021

3 likes, 0 comments

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.

Episode 549 - Love stories

Sep 20, 2021

3 likes, 0 comments

In today's cast we're chatting about LOVE stories! This isn't a subject we get into much but it's a huge genre so we thought we'd tackle it. We thought none of us even WORK in that genre till I belatedly realised that Banes and I sort of DO with Bottomless Waitress hahaha! There's all sorts of love in there… Sorry for the sound quality with this one I've no idea what went wrong.

Episode 532 - Fixing art to make it less sexy?

May 23, 2021

4 likes, 0 comments

Tantz made a great newspost about this little trend of “fixing” people's art to make it less sexy, as if there was something wrong with sexy art. I think worst about it though is the implied moral superiority of the “fixer”. They're judging the art as non-realistic and “bad” (because it's sexy), and they set about “fixing” it to gain some sort of social kudos, slimming busts, increasing the girth of the figure, making their pose less provocative etc… I think the exercise would be perfectly fine if the context and the attitude wasn't one of “I judge this art to be BAD because it's sexy, I am fixing it to make it non-sexy and that will make it better! And you will all agree that the original was shit and I have improved it!”.

Episode 526 A return to Mary Sue!

Apr 12, 2021

5 likes, 3 comments

Mary Sues are always a fun topic! There are some misconceptions about them though… Mary Sues aren't all female, they can be any gender. Being super powerful or super popular or super pretty etc doesn't equal a Mary Sue, not even if your character super stands out next to all the others, those things ONLY indicate they might possibly be one. What equals a Mary Sue is a character that doesn't have to struggle very hard for anything, a character that is almost universally admired, and or loved (even by the enemy), a character that masters hard skills with ease and ends up teaching the teachers and beating the masters, a character that's destined to succeed and does in spite of internal story logic… All these things and more can add up to make a Mary Sue.

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.


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