Episode 372 - Marvel heroes and an infinity war against greyness

Apr 30, 2018

In this Quackcast we use the movie Avengers: Infinity War as an excuse to chat about grey characters and how that applies in the Marvel universe. In truth we don't touch much on that movie but we do chat about a few of the other marvel superhero movies and “grey” characters in general, Tantz is of the opinion that “grey” characters are rarely truly grey.. My favourite quote from Tantz was “It's hard to punch the bad-guy while you're punching yourself”. Do the Marvel movies follow the comics or do the comics follow the movies? We'd love to know! This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Alienated: This is as if Joni Mitchell wrote a classical adventure anthem. This tune urges you on into the vastness and glory of nature. You are Caspar David Friedrich, A Wanderer Over A sea Of Fog, with the world in all its awesomeness spread out far below you.

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Episode 314 - The failure of heroes

Mar 13, 2017

5 likes, 3 comments

When heroes fail… Hey, why would you ever want a hero to fail? Well there are a lot of reasons and listening to this Quackcast will tell you why, but the quick version is that you don't want your hero to be a perfect Mary-Sue sort of character. Having your hero fail in their goals means you have somewhere interesting to go with your story. Having your hero fail emotionally means you can give them character development and make them more interesting. If you want to learn more then either listen to us or have a look at Tantz's newspost where I took the idea from! Our music this week from our resident composer Gunwallace is a theme to The World Outside of Time. It evokes a cold, echoing club scene, bleak and icy, with the promise of brief companionship, but not the reality.

Episode 307 - The jerks

Jan 23, 2017

3 likes, 0 comments

Jerky, jerk, jerks! Let's talk about this type of character… This topic is based on Banes' newspost from Thursday, he based it on characters like Reggie from the Archie comics. Jerks can be pretty good characters in their own right. They can be villains, heroes, antagonists or protagonists, they can even be unintentional jerks like Scrappy do from Scooby Do, Alf from Alf, or Jar Jar Binks from that horrible movie he was in. My favourite jerks are Flashman from the Flashman novels by George MacDonald (you should read them!), Blackadder (particularly the second season), and Zaphod Beeblebrox who I'm cosplaying in the cover pic. Who are your fave and least fave jerks? Gunwallace's musical theme was for The Epic of Blitzov. It's Riff based hard rock, driving beat, heavy, distorted guitars layered over and over with a thunderous yet lyrical lead floating over the top. Orange and black sound.

Episode 285 - Ride the wave of the Anti-heroes

Aug 22, 2016

3 likes, 5 comments

Comedy anti-heroes are a great deal of fun. My faves are characters like Tankgirl and Flashman; they can be selfish, greedy, violent, lustful, out for their own needs first but they still manage to do the “right” thing and vanquish the bad guy along the way regardless, or a character like George Costanza from Seinfeld who's jealous, pathetic, cowardly and greedy but we still love him anyway because identify with him and root for him against the unloving forces of the universe. To be a GOOD comedy anti-hero you have to keep the audience on their side though and that can be a tricky balancing act, you have to surf a number of factors (especially in a long running project), since to actually BE an anti-hero they need to have things about them that an audience would normally despise, these need to be counteracted by things like sympathy and pathos, traits we strongly identify with, intelligence, luck, charm, humour, sexiness, coolness, allowing them to win sometimes, or even redeeming some of their anti-hero behaviours occasionally. Get that balance wrong and they can so easily completely lose audience favour and sour the rest of the story/show/film. Pitface, Tantz, and Banes weigh in on this with me. And there are more opinions in the forum thread from which this evolved. Gunwallace's musical theme this week was for Pestilent. It's thoughtful, haunting, reminds me a little of a classic horror film soundtrack. Pretty scary!

Episode 279 - Meet the Mutants!

Jul 11, 2016

4 likes, 4 comments

Our very own heavily mutated Pitface put up a guest post about her fellow mutants, filling in for HippieVan while Hippy is away fighting the mutants in Japan wearing a tie-dyed sailor suit and riding a Volkswagen battle mecha, as you do in Japan… anyway, as a member of the anti-mutant police force, I had to drag in Pit for questioning! And that's what we did for this Quackcast. Banes and I interrogate Pit on the subject of mutants! Mutants are a forgotten race at the moment: Mutants are the zombies of SciFi in a way; a mob of anonymous monstrous minions who exist to menace the heroes and be gunned down in their thousands. But they're also so much more… Unlike zombies, mutants have a lot more personality and humanity, they can also be far more demonic and revolting than any zombie, they can be any shape, size of configuration. Mutants are so much scarier and adaptable than mere zombies, because unlike zombies they're not always degrading and falling apart, no, mutants are evolving constantly, they can get larger, gorier and more terrifying, i.e. The Thing. For mutant pathos witness the Mars mutants in the original Total Recall: There's a man with a baby in his chest and we feel for him and respect him. We have superhero mutants too in the form of the X-men. Can't forget them! But remember also that “mutants” are also a very real thing in this world, unlike zombies, in fact we are ALL mutants in one way or another, not just those special people with a conjoined twin or extra nipples or genitals or whatever, all of us have our own exciting DNA variation! I have a big nose, crooked lower teeth and pasty white skin myself, I'm practically a Morlock. So what is YOUR “mutation”?

Episode 205 - What about bodyshape?

Feb 9, 2015

6 likes, 6 comments

This week Banes and I were inspired to talk about body shape in the depiction of figures in comics, inspired by some famous images from photographer Howard Schatz's 2002 book, Athlete. In it there are photos of many athletes who're at the peak of their sports and yet their bodyshapes are vastly different, subverting the idea of an "ideal" bodyshape or what it means to be a top athlete or even fit. too often bodyshapes in comics follow a very narrow range, not getting much past what we think of as the current popculture ideal. We all know that idealised model shape is a problem and yet we all still perpetuate it, most of the time you can only tell most "realistic" characters apart by their hairstyle or costume, especially in superhero comics. And that invents a second problem: the myth of the "normal" shaped body as opposed to the ideal- there IS no such thing as normal, and even the ideal is always changing throughout the ages. There's even a lot more to body shape than the famous categories: Mesomorph, Ectomorph, and Endomorph, or Skinny, Pear, Athletic, Hourglass and Apple. We also have a beif mention of how stylised characters (Sponge Bob, Calvin and Hobbes etc) are exaggerations of these shapes and differences.

Episode 191 - The Halloweencast part 2

Nov 3, 2014

5 likes, 9 comments

We find our heroes STILL stuck far beneath the soaring spires of the Drunk Duck Gothic palace of doom, down deep in the dank, dark, dusty catacombs, their way lit by the guttering orange light of stinking flaming torches... As the quaking Banes and Ozoneocean explore the bone strewn crypts of the abandoned webcomic ossuary they're frequently visited by the terrifying spectres of those very webcomics, eager to commune with living souls once more in the hope of experiencing the joys of an active audience again. Our many contributors helped introduce us to these abandoned webcomics and we hope you'll give them another look too!

Episode 167 - Anatomy of a Villain

May 19, 2014

5 likes, 7 comments

Today we talk about villians! Kawaiidaigakusei made a newspost about villains that generated quite a bit of interest so Banes and I had her on to chat about them and read out some of the things our community members had to say. Kawaii can introduce the topic in her own words: I used to take the side of the cheerful, positive, and heroic protagonist in films and comics when I was much younger. As I got older, I wised up to the idea that being a protagonist is relative to biases of the storyteller. Now I rewatch those same films with a renewed perspective of what constitutes “good” and “bad”. Lately, I have been finding that more and more, I am a fan of villains. I believe the reason we are seasoned to differentiate heroes and villains at a young age is to train our super-ego about rules and societal expectations. It teaches every Goffus that they should aspire to be more like Gallant. But living a hero's lifestyle by-the-book can be as boring as vanilla. For the record, I love vanilla, it is GOOD, but it does not make it any less boring. Emulating the characteristics of a supervillain feeds our id. It just feels good to break the rules. Give villains a chance. Afterall, without a villain, there would be no need for a hero.


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