Links roundup for 20 April 2012

Here’s a roundup of fandom controversy stories that might be of interest to fans:

  • Kotaku recently hosted a post questioning common wisdom about why fan fiction gets created. “[A]ccording to Novelist Lev Grossman, Fan Fiction is…a response from an audience eager to engage in some sort of dialogue with the media it adores…But those definitions don’t really apply to ParadiseAvenger. “I started writing Fan Fiction for Kingdom Hearts before I’d even played the game.” Instead her “work is ‘Alternate Universe’ — writing that doesn’t expand the original in any canonical, traditional way, but exists in and of itself. Her goal is to raise awareness of issues we usually don’t want to confront: child abuse, drug addiction.” While exploring her story’s popularity the article quotes Christian McCrea, Games Program Director at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. “‘Many people write Fan Fiction because the fandom is for writing itself,’ says Christian. ‘Writing has a relatively low threshold of entry and we’re all told how to do it at some level in our education. It’s about the power of writing.'”
  • Also a focus of debate is whether print or digital is a better comics medium, not for readers but for creators concerned about piracy. An Iowa Press Citizen article reports, “When comic book illustrator Steve Lieber heard that his recently released graphic novel, “Underground,” was being pirated on an online forum, he decided to take action…he got on the forum and talked with them. ‘I went from annoyance to fascination to sympathy,’ Lieber said. ‘I’ve got the fanboy gene like anyone else, and I know what it feels like to love a work so much you just want to evangelize for it.’ The forum discussion caused a spike in book sales and Lieber now plans to incorporate free digital downloads into the marketing of his future work.”
  • Manga reader and fan artist Ryan Matheson detailed his experience of being accused of transporting obscene material into Canada. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund supported him, but he “served jail time, wracked [sic] up $75,000 in legal fees, and finally copped a plea to a “non-regulatory offense” in order to avoid a trial” despite no evidence of any such content on his laptop. The MarySue focused on similar cases in a related article and concluded that fans need to become informed of local laws but also that “more fans need to vocalize that manga and queer-themed fiction are valid forms of literature.”

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