OTW Fannews: Creating & Remembering Fans

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  • Slate wrote about the University of Iowa’s Hevelin Collection of fanzines, quoting the OTW’s Karen Hellekson who wrote “fanzines were typically self-published pamphlets, made from ‘stapled-together pieces of ordinary-sized letter paper, sometimes folded in half.’ Fans would exchange these documents through the mail, often after discovering one another through the letters pages of magazines such as Amazing Stories…According to Hellekson, in those pre-photocopying days authors of zines would reproduce their work via carbon paper, mimeograph, or other similarly primitive means.”
  • Texas A&M University now hosts The Sandy Hereld Memorial Digitized Media Fanzine Collection in remembrance of the OTW supporter Sandy Herrold. “Sandy’s legacy of work includes the founding of Virgule-L, the first Internet slash mailing list, hosting numerous other mailing lists and fan sites, and helping to create the annual ‘Vid Review’ panel at the Escapade convention (the longest-running slash fan convention), which became the model for serious conversations about vidding as an art form.”
  • The Mary Sue discussed the difficulties in passing on fandom. “Sailor Moon was something we were really looking forward to sharing with our son. I knew that Usagi’s outfits, transformations, and quirky sensibilities would be right up his alley!…Within 3 episodes, I was horrified and questioning everything I ever knew about my love of the series. When all was said and done, we made it only 6 episodes in before I tragically put an end to it, completely taken aback. These girls were so vain, and her superpowers were triggered by a magical makeup mirror? I was right about my son, though: He was hooked.”
  • Netflix released a study exploring when people became fans of a TV show. “While around the world the hooked episode was relatively consistent, slight geographic differences did present themselves. The Dutch, for instance, tend to fall in love with series the fastest, getting hooked one episode ahead of most countries irrespective of the show. Germans showed early fandom for Arrow whereas France fell first for How I Met Your Mother. In Better Call Saul, Jimmy McGill won Brazilians over one episode quicker than Mexicans. And Down Under, viewers prove to hold out longer across the board, with members in Australia and New Zealand getting hooked one to two episodes later than the rest of the world on almost every show.”
  • WBUR had a segment where a couple tried to see if they could become baseball fans. “A change had come over Susie. Over the course of a few hours, she’d become a Cubs fan for life. In those same few hours, Kris Bryant had singlehandedly undermined our relationship. Just kidding. But as we headed home, even I, the longtime sports cynic, had to admit — that was incredible. It’s hard not to get caught up in the thrill of a dramatic win at home. But at the same time, I wondered if I should resent the Cubs for winning? Because I didn’t. And maybe that made me less of a Sox fan?”

What fans do you want remembered for their contributions to fandom? Start a page for 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.

OTW Fannews: Building on the Past

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  • 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.

OTW Fannews: Commercial Weirdness

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  • A post at Wired featured images from a new book on science fiction zines of the 1940s through 1960s. “Despite being produced with a limited tool set, and existing in a vastly different milieu, these hacked-together pamphlets laid the groundwork for modern day fandoms. ‘The most surprising thing I noticed about the zines was how closely the format—editorials, letters, essays, reviews—paralleled the format of blogs,’ says co-author Jack Womack. ‘All this stuff is proto-blog, proto-Instagram, proto-snark, proto-troll, and naturally, also an active exchange of ideas that motivated some very weird people to do great things in their life,’ adds co-author Johan Kugelberg.”
  • The word “weird” seems to be perpetually attached to fanworks, as an article in Yahoo! Movies UK made apparent. The word seems to go missing though when discussing commercial contests, even when they are pitched at underage fans and propose improbable sources. “Mondelez will pick 10 finalists for Wattpad’s community to vote on. The company will then turn the winner’s story into an animated digital film and promote it on Sour Patch Kids’ social platforms. ‘We’re really just continuing to further build out our relationship with influencers…We know that these are the new celebrities for teens, and they have a much more authentic voice, so we’re really putting our brand in their hands and allowing them to create on our behalf.'”
  • Efforts to enroll fans as company pitchmen seem to be booming. A post at Good E Reader spoke uncritically about Skrawl’s business model, also directed at kids. It “is already in place in more than 20,000 schools in 60 countries and has been responsible for more than 2 million writing contests, allows story collaboration based on engagement and a points system. One user will post a story, then others will add their own sections to it.” Skrawl’s CEO stated “[A]s publishers hunger for popular content while cutting promotional budgets, such ready-formed, literate and eBook submissions are likely to become a great place to find talent.”
  • Perhaps some of the term’s use comes from anxiety. In discussing romance fandom, The Washington Post said, “Fan relations are enormous in the romance world, and romance readers come in all shapes and sizes, from all backgrounds. But they’re almost never male. ‘The last thing popular romance needs is a man in a suit ‘mansplaining’ what belongs in the canon,’ said DePaul University professor Eric Selinger, the rare man at the conference who actually adores romance fiction…’There are not a lot of us who read these books,’ he admitted. ‘There’s this thinking that men are not interested in love, which doesn’t make a lot of sense when you look at popular music. For many of the men, they find the books tremendously intimidating.'”

What terms are you tired of seeing connected to fandom? 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.