Welcome back to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s new fannish roundup series! We’re still catching up on all of 2016’s fandom news, so Volume 2 includes items from earlier in the month as well as developments from this past week. If you’ve got a tip about events or trends in your fandom, or if you’d like us to promote your event (including relevant calls for papers and even requests for fannish research participants), send us a message.
Every fandom debates the merit and morality of sexualised fanworks, but the furry community in particular has been plagued with issues of internal censorship and sex shaming in the struggle to be seen as more than a fetish group. Allegations that Disney marketed the recently released Zootopia specifically to furries has some members of the community hoping that this is an opportunity to improve or expand furries’ reputation. Reddit and other fan spaces have been filled with furries celebrating Zootopia, but mainstream discussion of the the film’s possible ties has predictably presented furries as innately sordid. Buzzfeed’s coverage of the controversy endorsed a tweet reminding furries not to ‘be gross in public/around children,’ a sentiment that led commenters to ask why the outlet thinks that furries in particular—as opposed to the myriad other fandoms that attend the cinema in costume or create erotica about their favourite films—need a reminder not to get sexual in front of kids. A distressing petition (link is to an article about the petition, not the petition itself) shared (possibly in jest) by a self-proclaimed furry on change.org, attempts to improve public perception of the fandom by asking that they ‘put an end to Zootopia porn’.
Hamilton fans got a treat last week, when the hit Broadway musical’s writer and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, freestyled with U.S. president Barack Obama. Hamilton tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, a Founding Father of the United States. The work has sparked an enormous (and adorable!) fanbase both in and outside of the U.S.
In LA, Comic Con International’s Wondercon took place 25–27 March and featured a variety of panels and events as well as some excellent cosplay. DC Comics used the con to reveal details about their recently announced ‘Rebirth’, a reboot of their comic universe that will launch 25 May. Twitter reaction seemed mostly positive, with several people celebrating the end of Supergirl’s New 52 uniform, which looks a bit like she forgot to put on her trousers. The announcement that a number of women would be working on the new lineup also earned some happy tweets, though some users were disappointed at the lack of women writers working on Wonder Woman and Supergirl.
DC’s nascent cinematic universe also had a good weekend, as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice broke box office records in the U.S. after opening on the 25th. The film was released in almost 30 countries this past Friday and in several others over the month. As you’ve surely heard, BvS did not do well with critics, so many are predicting a steep audience drop-off by next weekend. Some social media users love the film (you may have seen a particularly condescending macro floating around Facebook, claiming that the film is for comic book readers, not the general audience that Marvel’s Avenger films attract), but one Twitter user has another theory about its success. (And while we’re talking about BvS on Twitter, how cool is that custom Superman symbol/Bat symbol emoji?)
Finally, the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies (CJDS) has extended the deadline for submissions to their upcoming issue on ‘disability and/in/through fanfiction’ to 30 April 2016. We first announced this call for papers in December. The CJDS would like to clarify that the call is for completed submissions, not abstracts, and that they are looking for submissions discussing the perspectives of disabled fans and fanwork creators and consumers as well as submissions that critically engage with disability and/in/through fanfic. The journal accepts academic texts, blog and vlog posts, and creative pieces like reflections, fanfic, writing guides, podfic, or even poetry.
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