Fandom Portrayals In Media

By | Thursday, December 27, 2012 Leave a Comment
I'd like to start off this post with a short piece that Christopher Wanamaker posted on Facebook a few days ago. Wanamaker, if you don't recall, won the title last year of "America's Greatest Otaku" in 2011.
I am all for Geek pryde but I feel that some of the shows could be done better. Says the guy who was on a reality TV Show. :p King of the Nerds, Geek Love, SuperFans. How about spotlighting the folks who are actually doing things in the fandom community from costumers who don't just cosplay and compete in contest but cosplayers who visit hospitals and charity events to put smiles on childrens faces knowing there fav heroes are looking out for them. Podcasters and writers to inform fellow geeks about what is taking place in the fandom industry to even fans who ACTUALLY became professtionals in the field. I am not trying to knock ANY of the above mentioned shows. I just feel that if your going to show geeks on television than why in a more favorable light where the myth that those into fandom are fat nerds living in there mom's basement who live life like everyday people. Not saying these shows are doing that just saying they could be handle better.
Wanamaker's point is well-taken, and I lodged a similar complaint back in November. In response to his note, I pointed out that a serious study of fandom is relatively new. The earliest books on it really dates only to the 1970s, and the number of authors who've looked at -- particularly those looking at comic or sci-fi fandom -- are few and far between. In fact, it's easy to scour Amazon to come up with dozens of books ABOUT Superman or Spider-Man, but a search on comic fandom turns up relatively few books actually about the subject. Most of the results are pretty tangential.

I think a lot of people -- geeks included -- never look beyond the superficial aspects of geekdom. Cosplay is about making more and more elaborate costumes. Comics is about getting more comics. And so on. Part of the reason for that, I suspect, is that studying fandom in any meaningful sense is fairly new, and still relatively unknown. I think it will take another decade or two before people really begin to understand what fandom really is about.

I've never met Wanamaker, but I feel a sort of kinship with him as "Comics' #1 Fan". I'd like to think we're both doing what we can to expand what people think of fandom, and what it means. And hopefully, in another couple decades, we'll have a more folks going around with more of a conscious understanding of what it means to be a Superman fan, rather than just knowing a lot about the man of steel or having a lot of S-logo memorabilia.
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