Links Roundup for 4 June 2012

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

  • Sherlock Holmes fans recently got an opportunity to write fic as part of a fundraiser for the former home of Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle. There were restrictions however, not only in terms of content but in character use. “While the Sherlock Holmes canon characters are out of copyright, which means they no longer legally belong to anyone, characters not found in the canon but in recent adaptations such as Molly Hooper from BBC ‘Sherlock’ television series or Lord Blackwood from Guy Richie’s ‘Sherlock Holmes’ movie for example, do belong to the creators of the productions. Unfortunately therefore we can only include original canon characters.” Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch had no such restrictions when first reading fanfic through Tumblr. “‘I suppose my bodily proportions are quite flattering. I’m ripped, doing something I wouldn’t normally do with my body, or having done to it, involving Watson,’ he said cheekily. ‘So that’s as far as I’ll hit about that one, but it’s all there on the Web if you want to find it. I was amazed at the level of artistry; people have spent hours doing it.'”
  • Tumblr was also the location of another fanfic phenomenon, as discussed on The Mary Sue. Starting as a critique of the dichotomy of female representation in fandom discussions, two women were depicted as polar opposites — meaning they were soon shipped by viewers. “Quickly taking the form of endless shoujo manga tropes, Other-Girl-San/Normal-chan spread like wildfire across Tumblr yesterday, the initial post growing to 25,000 likes and reblogs as Sunglasses & Snowflake (Sunny and Snow) crossed the internet cultural divide, making meta and making out.”
  • While the speed of such fandom developments is impressive, a post at Robot 6 reminded readers that there was fandom before the internet. Citing the fanon origin story of a character in the 1920s newspaper comic strip Gasoline Alley, blogger Brigid Alverson called it “fan folklore that might have even started with someone’s fan fiction and somehow went viral. It’s a reminder that in their heyday, newspaper strips had the same kind of interactivity as webcomics do now, with readers sending in comments and suggestions via the old-fashioned mail and the creators commenting in articles like this one. It all just moved slower.”
  • The Internet certainly does make it simpler for fans to publicize local projects however, as in the case of the fangirl calendar developed by a couple in Charleston, South Carolina. “‘Being a geek girl, I go to a lot of cons, I read a lot of blogs, I see a lot of geek girl culture things out there,’ Laura says. ‘And personally I feel that there’s not a lot of materials out there that represent that aspect of fandom. Some of the things that exist out there are more related toward geek males, and I don’t think they give the best representation of real women, real fandom, the way that real girls celebrate it.'” Some funds from the calendar will be earmarked for the Wayne Foundation, which benefits domestic trafficking victims.

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