Welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things which are happening! Before we start, have you checked out everyone’s old head shots? Have you shared your own? Whose is your favourite?
Another quick bit of news: Avengers: Infinity War had the biggest opening weekend ever, according to Vox, pulling in over US$630 million worldwide. But don’t forget, not everyone has gotten a chance to see it yet, and spoilers make Bucky Barnes sad.
There was an upset in the convention world this week, followed by an impressive recovery. Universal FanCon, which was to be held in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, from April 27-29, 2018, was abruptly postponed just one week before it was set to be held. According to Polygon, the convention was initially funded via Kickstarter and raised more than double its goal, but in a statement released on the convention’s website, organizers explained that “the support [they] were anticipating in terms of ticket sales and sponsorships did not materialize,” leading the event to be insufficiently funded, even after scaling back. “If [it] were to have moved forward, the event would have been significantly diminished,” organizers said in their statement.
Fans were understandably upset by this. BuzzFeed News posted an article explaining various reasons why, including non-refundable travel expenses, poor communication by the organizers, an initial lack of refunds promised, and no new convention dates being announced.
However, resourceful and enthusiastic fans weren’t willing to let the weekend go by without some sort of fannish gathering. Two groups of people were able to put together single-day conventions. Wicomicon was a one-day in-person convention held on Saturday, April 28th, and Famcom was a one-day livestreamed convention held on Sunday, April 29th. Both events were well received by attendees, and it’s worth a look at the #Wicomicon and #FamCon hashtags on Twitter to check out some of what went on.
To say that this process has been an exhausting grind is an understatement. But I wouldn't trade the past 7 days for the world. It's been an honor to work with this team, building #WICOMICON from a flash of inspiration to a full-fledged con. What a labor of love! #ConTogether pic.twitter.com/TEjOMcUeOM
— 𝗕𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝗛𝗲𝗿𝗼𝗲𝘀 𝗠𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿® (@BHMatter) April 28, 2018
There’s a new Young Adult novel being released that centres around fandom. Ship It by Britta Lundin follows Claire, a queer fangirl who discovers herself through fandom and her efforts to see her OTP become canon. Forbes did an interview with Lundin recently to talk about the book, and she gave some interesting insight.
While Claire’s story is entirely fictional, there are certainly pieces of me in her. I grew up with fandom. I became interested in The X-Files in middle school, and when I found an online community of people talking about the show and writing stories about the characters and putting them online, I felt like I had found My People. Shipping and fandom became an escape from the stresses of middle school, and a place where I could go and feel seen and feel like I could be part of something. But I specifically remember the first time I stumbled across slash fanfic. When I discovered that not everyone shipped Mulder and Scully… some people ship Mulder and the evil male agent Alex Krycek. It was sort of a turning point for me.
Are you going to read Ship It? Have you already got your copy? Let us know what you think of it in the comments!
To round things out, this week we also have an academic survey to tell you about. Donna Barth, a graduate student in Anthropology and Public Health at the University of South Florida, is conducting research exploring whether and how explicit sexual material in fanfiction contributes to young adults’ knowledge of and attitudes toward sex. She is looking for people between the ages of 18 and 25 who are readers and/or writers of fanfiction to complete her survey. The survey can be accessed by clicking this link.
Donna can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and the University of South Florida’s Institutional Review Board can be reached at RSCH-IRB@usf.edu
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