Episode 640 - Aliens

Jun 19, 2023

We base our images of aliens in comics on aliens in TV shows and movies mostly, because those are the ones we all know. But movie aliens have been generally based on humans because it's less expensive, easier to come up with a costume and makeup for an actor, and it's also easier to make those aliens relatable. “Aliens” even THINK the same as we do, have the same motivations, wants, needs, prejudices, opinions… Almost 100% of the time aliens in media are US, just a weird version of us: distorted reflection.

Topics and Show Notes

As comic makers we're not restricted by makeup budgets, prosthetics, CG issues, or actor comfort levels. We have a HUGE advantage. We can actually explore TRULY alien creatures in a way that is only really done in novels.
Consider- all the assumptions that we have for aliens in TV and movies are wrong:

1. scale- There's no reason at all that aliens should be our size or even slightly taller or slightly smaller. They could be MUCH tinier or MUCH bigger (as large as a house or a building or a planet)

2. Bilateral symmetry is an earth based genetic thing that evolved specifically only to animal life on this planet and not even all animals have it. Plants, fungi, viruses, bacteria and all other forms of life (which are all related to us) don't have it.

3. Four limbs, one head, and a few main sensory organs ON the head is something that only certain forms of earth animal life has, the rest evolved differently in various ways. So it's pretty much absolutely impossible that any alien life will ever have that structure.

4. All forms of life on earth are related and all developed from the same DNA, a process that took 100's of millions of years of weird false starts, accidents, specific adaptations to all sorts of different strange circumstances, and all those things were just added up on top of each other to create the life that's here. Without all of those things being exactly the same there's no possible way that any alien life will ever resemble any earth creature in any way, be it human, insect, cephalopod, pine tree, sea slug, or slime-mold. Even “convergent evolution” which produces the same features in unrelated things isn't as unrelated as it often seems since those creatures often share earlier precursors to develop the same thing: like eyes in cephalopods and eyes in other creatures.

5. Why would aliens think like us or even think to talk to us? To a truly alien creature there wouldn't be much difference between us and a housecat, to them we're both earthlings Even a tree and us would be much the same to them in a lot of ways. We have everything in common with a cat or a dog in the way we think VS what an alien would think about.

6. Alien motivations could not be the same as ours, They'd have to be based on the aliens themselves and how you chose to structure them. But they couldn't be anything resembling our needs unless it was very basic and elemental- the need for sustenance, survival, fuel, supplies etc. Things like lust, love, hate, ambition, competition, religion shouldn't really factor in because they're too human-centric.

It's a complex and interesting topic! If you want to continue to make human type aliens though go ahead.It's more fun to do and the audience will have less trouble relating to them that a truly alien creature like The Thing. Special mention to one of the most truly alien aliens: the planet in Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem. Special mention to the least aliens ever: the native American blue cat-humans from Avatar. What are your fave aliens?

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to THE SQUIRREL MACHINE - Slow to develop, creepy, atmospheric, and unsettling… This will keep you on edge, uneven and unbalanced. Dark, hideous monsters wait just around the corner, lurking at the edges of your vision, ready to drag you deep into a dirty, shadow filled, earthy crevice.

Topics and shownotes


Featured comic:
Drunk Duck Awards 2023 - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2023/jun/13/featured-comic-drunk-duck-awards-2023/

Featured music:
THE SQUIRREL MACHINE - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/THE_SQUIRREL_MACHINE/ - by Hansrickheit, rated M.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/

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