shivver13 (shivver13) wrote,

Snowflake Challenge 2020, Day 2

It's day 3 of 2020, so here's day 2.

Challenge #2

In your own space, talk about your fannish history. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

The timing of this challenge is extremely interesting, as I was just wondering the other day what it really means to have a fandom. At what point does liking something turn into being a fan of it, and does being a fan of something equate to having that as a fandom? Know what I mean? I watched The Umbrella Academy, and while I loved it, I'm not sure I would call myself a fan. Maybe it's because there's only been one season and it's not enough to establish a consistent enough universe to hold me, but then Heroes grabbed my heart from the first episode. But would I list Heroes as one of my fandoms? No. Somehow being one of my fandoms implies some amount of invasion of my life, as well as an enduring effect, and the first season of Heroes wasn't enough... but the single season of Firefly lives with me to this day, even though I haven't rewatched any of the episodes in years.

My husband and I discussed this, and we came to some definition of fandom, at least for ourselves. For us, a fandom is a property (movie, tv show, IP universe, book, author, performer, band, whatever) that we embrace to the point that we make it a part of our lives. We incorporate references into conversation, we buy merchandise, we discuss themes and philosophies (or at least think about them, for those fandoms we don't share) - and it must have some lasting power.

So, now that I have a definition to work with, I can actually talk about this.

I'm old enough to remember a time when being a fan of something wasn't a common occurrence, at least not where I grew up (Hawaii). Sports fandom was expected, but not media fandom. My parents were huge fans of the local university's sports, but they never understood why I followed The Greatest American Hero with such reverence, plastering my room with posters of William Katt and Robert Culp and running to the drugstore every month for the latest Starlog issue. Though it was pretty well known at school (especially in band, which was my life in high school) that I loved GAH, I don't remember having anyone to share it with. No one else cared about it, or any other property that I can remember. This was only a few years after Star Wars came out, but very few people at school advertised their love of it.

It was very difficult to find anyone that shared my interests. I only found out decades later that these people did exist and I had no idea. I found only after grad school that my cousin had been a dedicated RPG player all his life - something I'd always wanted to do - and then only after reconnecting with my high school boyfriend on Facebook did I find out he'd always played D&D with his siblings while he was growing up. It just wasn't something you disclosed to people, a dirty little secret. They'd no idea about me, either. Similarly, I didn't know until about ten years ago that one of my aunts was a huge Star Trek fan. While visiting her house, I found she had a curio cabinet full of starship models, something she'd never felt comfortable displaying before fandom became commonplace.

But fandom runs deep in my soul. The earliest I can remember are the tokusatsu shows my cousin introduced me to when we were about six or seven, of which Kikaider (キカイダー), Rainbowman (愛の戦士レインボーマン), Kamen Rider V-3 (仮面ライダーV), and Goranger (秘密戦隊ゴレンジャー) were the most important to me. We played out the shows in the backyard, listened to the soundtracks on my dad's turntable, and went to the theater for the special showings. I think this fueled my love of science fiction and fantasy, and when I was a bit older, Battlestar Galactica took their place. That lasted years, through the latter part of elementary school and into middle school. I had a group of friends who played BG with me, but as I look back, to most of them, it was just a game. There was only one person who was a true fan, who alone understood why my biggest dream was to get an actual Viper pilot jacket to dress up with. He was Boomer to my Starbuck, and probably not unsurprisingly, a military kid, not a local kid. I just really don't think that the culture in Hawaii grokked fandom, not back then.

The Greatest American Hero was my high school obsession, but about then, I also became a fan of a fantasy author named Nancy Springer. Her novel The Silver Sun, about two young men who, while each running from oppressive lives, meet and become best friends and blood brothers as they realize they both must fight back against their oppressors, captured my imagination more than any other book had - beyond The Lord of the Rings, which I also read at the time - and I devoured all of her books. Anne McCaffrey's Pern came to me around the same time, and that fandom lasted through grad school, but while I later read her books and found them to be trope-y and poorly written, Nancy Springer still speaks to me, though perhaps nowhere near as loudly as before.

There's really a big difference between what you find compelling as a teenager and what grabs you as an adult, and so my enduring fandoms all came from after graduating from high school. (Though, I recently rewatched the first season of The Greatest American Hero, and it's surprisingly powerful, dealing with rather serious issues for an 80s superhero comedy-drama. At the time, the network forced Stephen J. Cannell to produce formulaic episodes for the second season and that's why it declined. I believe if he'd been left to develop the show he'd originally created, it would have left a lasting mark.) Star Trek: The Next Generation is really the first lasting fandom that I claim. We just rewatched all seven seasons, actually. Perhaps I get different things out of it now than I did when it was first on the air, but it still holds a place in my heart.

There's the Ultima series of computer games - well, through Ultima VII but not later and certainly not the MMO - and its exploration of morality and heroism. We spent thirteen years playing the MMO Asheron's Call, fascinated not only by the gameplay but also by the history and lore. Firefly came and went, but never truly left. We were introduced to the Harry Potter universe through the first movie by a friend who thought it was perfect for us, and boy was she right. We devoured all the (currently published) books, pounced on the movies when they came out, and waited with baited breath for the rest of the books to come out. It's still an important influence in our household, but the fizzle of the seventh book and the wholly inconsistent world that has come to light after multiple re-readings of the series has soured us quite a bit.

Then there's the MCU. Both my husband and I had been Marvel fans for years. I think I was in sixth grade when I started buying Spider-Man comics every month. (Boy, did my parents not understand that. A girl reading comic books? But at least it got me reading, something I still do not do.) I read the X-Men when I could, but otherwise couldn't afford to expand to other IPs. As an adult with more pocket money to spend, I enjoyed some of the more modern stuff like the Ultimates and Marvel 1602. I love comics, but I really can't say I was a true fan until the movies, simply because they came in a much easier to digest form.

But while I'm talking about comic books, I have to mention Sandman. My husband, who at the time was my boyfriend, started me reading "The Season of Mists", and there I learned that comic books could be as deep and meaningful as any other medium. More so, as Neil Gaiman wove an intricate mythology within the DC universe and explored human existence through the eyes of a god-creature who truly understands only dreams. I've read the series multiple times and still notice new things every reading. From there, I started reading more of Gaiman's work (including Good Omens), and love it.

However, after all of this, I think my true introduction to fandom was Doctor Who. I am a relative newcomer to the show, having seen my first full episode in 2013, but this was the first, and truly only, thing that has ever taken over my life, to be a true fandom in my definition. Seven years later (and surviving three seasons that nearly killed my love for it), I still do not pass a day in which I don't do something related to that show. It inspired me to start writing fanfiction, and for a while I did a bit of cosplay (though that's dropped off as crafting costumes is really not my thing). If I'm not watching, listening, reading, or rewatching stories, I'm talking about them with my husband. And I've met a number of people online who are now good friends, through my interest in this show. Nothing compares, to me.

Since then, Good Omens is the only thing that has come close, and I admit that the only reason why it doesn't reach the level of DW in my mind is that it's a finite story in a limited universe, whereas DW is almost limitless. Everything else is number three or lower. (Mystery Men reference there...)

And there's my fannish history. I'm sure there are a few other things that I've forgotten for the moment, but I think this was plenty to go with. More than you ever really wanted to know.
Tags: meme
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