OTW Fannews: Building on the Past

Building on the past text with hourglass image

  • Although many an article speculated about the future of Mad Men‘s characters, it was The Washington Post who looked into what would happen to the the fandom’s RPG twitter accounts. “[A]t least one Roger Sterling (@RogerSterlingNY) has no intention of quitting: ‘Yeah, I’ve got tons of thoughts. Writing Roger has been a big part of my life for years now. He’ll go on, spouting wisdom and snark.’ Sterling — who also tweets as one of the more active Peggy accounts (@PeggyOlsonMCWW) — plans to continue in character, noting the stellar tweets of @WillMcAvoyACN, a spot-on Twitter account based on the Jeff Daniels character from Aaron Sorkin’s HBO show, ‘The Newsroom,’ who regularly engages in political Twitter debates. One is tempted to believe that it’s actually the work of Sorkin himself.”
  • The Guardian looked at the evolution of fanzines. “’It’s a very pop thing, a fanzine that’s just about one artist – not to make it for any other reason than that it expresses a deep interest and focus on one person,’ says Chris Heath, the award-winning journalist who has written every issue of Literally. ‘While you could argue that it becomes more irrelevant in the internet era, I think it also becomes maybe of more worth, because one of the great things – and great problems – about the internet is that it’s boundless. And there’s something great in opposition to that about seven inches by five inches. It’s a pure, perfect little package of one particular part of pop culture.’”
  • The World aired a piece on the constant reinvention of Sherlock Holmes, with attention to the role of fanworks. “[W]e also have an entirely different genre of Sherlock being produced almost by the minute — one created entirely by fans. ‘Fan fiction is fascinating because it’s being written in almost every language,’ says Dundas. ‘There’s this incredible, sort of prismatic view of character provided by fan fiction that is something that we’ve never really seen before and I think is an intriguing new direction for how a character could evolve through popular culture.'”(No transcript available)
  • The Daily Mail featured the Finnish fans behind Fangirl Quest, a global sceneframes project. Various images were included of their iPads aligned with backdrops featuring famous characters from famous TV and movie canons. Clearly the Daily Mail lacked any fans of its own working on the article, however, as they captioned a photo of Kirk and Spock walking near the Golden Gate bridge as a “Star Wars scene in San Francisco.”

What parts of fandom seem eternal to you? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a Fannews post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

Transformative Works and Cultures Releases Issue No. 18

Banner by Alice of a book/eReader with an OTW bookmark and a USB plug going into the spine

Transformative Works and Cultures, issue number 18, “Performance and Performativity in Fandom,” guest edited by Lucy Bennett (Cardiff University) and Paul J. Booth (DePaul University), has been released. This special issue focuses on performance as it relates to fandom and comprises scholarly research articles, personal essays, interviews, and book reviews.

As the editors write in their editorial, “We want to problematize this notion of fandom as a particular behavior and instead note the characteristics of being that permeate a fannish identity” (1.3). Accordingly, the contributions focus on fannish artworks and contributions as a form of performance, including an analysis of a Facebook group of fans of 19th-century British literature who post images of fictional constructions in the act of reading (Dawn Opel); a study of identity via fannish tattoos, with this sort of performance linked to sacred experience (Bethan Jones); and a discussion of Harry Potter slash disseminated within LiveJournal communities as a form of performance (Darlene Rose Hampton).

Other articles address performativity through topics including language learners and Na’vi (Christine Schreyer), Doctor Who–themed weddings (Jessica Elizabeth Johnston), horror film audience reaction movie trailers (Alexander Swanson), and Sims fandom on Tumblr (Ruth A. Deller). Abigail De Kosnik links performance studies to new media studies, with a particular focus on fandom.

Cosplay, an overt form of performativity, is directly addressed in several contributions: Ellen Kirkpatrick addresses cosplay and the superhero genre, Nicolle Lamerichs writes about cosplay music videos, and Shelby Fawn, in a personal essay, relates cosplay to her personal growth. Relatedly, Brendan Riley writes about zombie walks.

Interviews are with Kurt Lancaster, an early scholar of performance in fan studies, and Joy DeLyria and Kris Hambrick, the cofounders of Hello Earth Productions, a theater company that produces outdoor (re)performances of classic Star Trek episodes.


Transformative Works and Cultures, is part of the Organization for Transformative Works, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We exist entirely due to the generosity of our donors. If you would like our work to continue, please consider donating today.

International Fanworks Day is Here!

Banner by Ania of various fanworks including cosplay, text, and visual art

It’s now February 15th in our earliest timezones, which means International Fanworks Day is here! Today is the first annual day to celebrate fanwork of all kinds. Below we have a few things listed that the OTW is sponsoring or connected to but we’d like you to let us know, in comments, about other events and activities you’re aware of so that we can signal boost them.

  1. We’re hosting a short fanworks challenge, #IFDrabble. Get out your tablet, your laptop, or your phone and write up to 100 words to celebrate fanworks! (Why 100 words?)

    What does your favorite character—or your favorite pairing—get fannish over?

    • Does Tony Stark secretly watch—and love—Transformers fan films?
    • Does Athos ship Aramis/Porthos?
    • Do the members of Shinee cosplay as Final Fantasy characters?

    But our challenge isn’t for writing alone — submit a drawble, a short vid, an audio work or other format for the challenge as well. Just post it today as part of the day of celebration.

    Help us find and share it — tag it #IFDrabble on tumblr, Facebook, Dreamwidth, or wherever you fan. (And if you post it on Archive of Our Own, tag it with the International Fanworks Day 2015 tag.)

    Keep it safe-for-work, and we may give you a signal boost!

  2. Feedback Fest: Everyone who creates and shares fanworks loves hearing from the people who enjoyed it, so we’re hosting a Feedback Fest to celebrate the works that we love. Participate by leaving a comment here with a link to fanworks you’ve left feedback on. This way, you can share what you love about fanworks while encouraging others to leave feedback, too.
  3. On 8 February, we held a live chat on “Why Fanworks Should Be Celebrated”, with authors Cecilia Tan, Tara Sue Me, and Racheline Maltese. All of these authors started out writing fanfiction and have gone on to be published professionally—and they still participate in fanworks. Along with moderator Francesca Coppa, the panelists discussed the value and importance of all kinds of fanworks. If you missed it, you can still read the transcript.
  4. Other folks have been talking about International Fanworks Day. Here are some places to read and hear about it:

We also know about the following fan celebrations:

Tell us about more places where International Fanworks Day is being celebrated!