Friday, 1 August 2014

The Superpowers of Fandom

So, recently a little event known as San Diego International Comic-Con ended with a bang of a lot of swag, tired fans, and brilliant fires of passion on the internet.

In short, it's basically the mecca of fandom and since I missed out on it this year since I am doing a little thing called moving to England in a to weeks, well, that sort of trumps even the largest fan convention in the world. I also wanted to chat about it a little because as I eagerly checked out the youtube recordings of my favourite panels, and eyeballed the reams of pictures of cosplay and every tidbit of new information about upcoming shows and movies, I surprisingly wasn't sad about missing out on that. Instead, I was said about something else.

Come on in! All are welcome!
I was sad about not getting to hang out with the friends I made in past years and the friends I might have made this year or the chats I might have had with authors, artists, actors and other role-models and inspirational persons. 

In short, I was missing the face-to-face relationships this great gather fosters. Not that the internet can't eventually lead to face-to-face relationships, it's just that Comic-con and other such conventions are easy, pre-organized and guarateed places of meeting for fans of all sorts. 

I attended Comic-Con back in 2012 when a good geek friend of mine who really helped to make me openly proud of being one myself, asked if I wanted to go with her. I went because I thought it would be cool, and I am all for experiencing as much as possible. Ironically that sort of gets shot in a corner when I am living at home in Vernon. I expect that is because I grew up here and any exploratory things have long been done or are just not cool because I am around it every day. Recently I realised that made my perspective on the importance of experiencing as many things as possible a bit hypocritical when my mom all but dragged me down to the lake which is situated literally a 5 minute walk down a hill from our home, in the interest of taking pictures for her blog (which mine inspired her to start) as well as my own.

Down the center of Kalamalka Lake, from the edge of the dock. I realised I live in a place people from all over the world visit.
Regardless, I initially went to Comic-Con for the experience of being among a world I had long hidden in my head, long hidden just secretly away on internet browsing and long hidden in general.

In the word of Arthur Shappey of Cabin Pressure fame, since honestly his word is all-encompassingly...heh, brilliant...

San Diego Comic-Con was brilliant. So why?

There were a lot of reasons, the chance to meet your idols and role-models, the chance to show off your creative spirit through cosplay, the chance to get insider information about your fandoms creation and continuation, including celebrating them in general and lastly and most importantly...

You get to meet people just like you.

(And people who are tentative and scared of being casual fans, and people who are full blown otakus, violent debaters against whether the Sindarin or Noldorin elves are better, Star Trek versus Star Wars etc...and people who are so creative you feel inadequate). 
Fem!10th Doctor. Entirely self-made. One of my fav's from 2013.

I have made so many friends over the years, all because of the jumping off point of the same passion for a particular (or multiple) fandoms.

And that, dear readers, is the point and purpose of Comic-con in a nutshell.

It's not about getting into the Sherlock panel, or Doctor Who, or dare I even try The Hobbit or Marvel panels...ha, nor is it about literally running into your favourite actors and actresses at 2am when they are leaving parties or visiting those of us devoted enough to camp out in the Hall H line in hopes of getting into some of the aforesaid popular panels.

It's about huddling under shared blankets and sleeping bags that someone with a car, was able to bring, it is about sneaking into the ritzy hotels to snoop for famous faces and generally feel like secret agents or mauling piles of sushi at 8pm at night after a whole day of forgetting to eat because you were all too busy walking around with jaws dropped and eyes wide, trying to eat everything with everything but the sense of taste. It is about shouting, "hey, Loki! I love your costume!" or "hey, how did you make that awesome steampunk dress?" or, chatting up a small-time graphic artist about their characters and always gorgeous artwork. It's about discovering random treasure hunt games or off-convention gatherings and talks, like Nerd HQ, which don't even require you to have a Comic-con pass.

As per usual, this is a world about relationships and though it has certainly become more mainstream thanks to the internet and Tumblr (yes, Tumblr, as frightening a wormhole pit that is, it is a starting point), it still seems to be misunderstood as a niche full of crazy people who are obsessive consumerists.

Far from it. And yes, like with all areas of life, you will always find the stereotypes exist, otherwise, those stereotypes would not be stereotypes. But on the other hand, there is so much creativity, so much sharing and connection, I feel this brilliant quote by JRR Tolkien, though said with his own works in mind, truly, aptly fits the true purpose behind all of the fandom world:

"I would draw some of the great tales in fullness, and leave many only placed in the scheme, and sketched. The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama."
 ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien

I have written before about what getting into fandoms did for me, see: Death by Bookshelf Part 2 of 3 and The Connectivity Revolution which go into more personal details so all I will say here is that fandom is what has inspired me to travel, to see different countries, to live in different countries and most of all, to get out into the world, and have lots of experiences I can then bring into my own creative works.

The creativity is the other brilliant side to fandom, it leads people who were once fans of something to create or help create something great and they don't even have to be hugely in the spotlight. Recently one of my favourite sites:, published a lengthy interview with Mark Ordesky who was the executive producer on The Lord of the Rings and through reading the interview I discovered he had been a huge D&D fan in his youth. I really should have known. Even people on the business side of fandoms seem to often have been huge fans of the same genres in their youths too. 

You get to learn so many things by being a fan, so here are some of my favourite areas:
Anything off Geek and Sundry, like my favourite mythology vlogger Dael Kingsmill. After all, a large portion of all those backstories, those cultures and worlds that fantasy and sci-fi are based in and upon, that's world mythology for you.

The Piano Guys and Lindsey Stirling are the top two best spots for musical renditions of your favourite fandoms and popular songs, from a mash-up of Vivaldi's "Winter" and Frozen's "Let it Go" to a medley of "Skyrim" music they do also branch out into original music. In short, fandoms opened the door to fantastic talent to get heard.

Then there amazing fan-creations like the Doctor Puppet series, a puppet version of fan-made Doctor Who episodes or Born of Hope, a well-done fan-made movie that follows the story of Arathorn and Gilraen, the parents of Aragorn, many years before the start of The Lord of the Rings.

And to balance the silly out, there are genius people like John Green, who I have mentioned before, who started a vlog just to keep in contact with his brother and now they have a huge organization known as the Nerdfighters which is all about empowering others who are less fortunate through sharing knowledge and wisdom and they are often the forerunners of many volunteering campaigns.

So to leave off my ramble about how powerful fandoms are in terms of creating connections with other people and connecting random ideas into new forms of art and creation in general, here is a short video from the PBS Idea Channel on "The Future of Fandoms."

If so many fans are the minds behind the current fandoms today, what is to say, you, and your ideas won't be the next?

What is to say that JRR Tolkien's vision of many minds contributing to a grand mythology, won't come true? Perhaps it already has? After all, what were ancient myths but the stories told orally from person to person, passed down through generations, each with the signature of the storyteller, tagged on somewhere. Will the fandoms of today become the myths of tomorrow?

Dreaming big and always a fan,

1 comment:

  1. Comic-con's loss was our gain this year and dearest Moony, if it helps at have a big fan in me.

    Blessings from Hope