Here, have a nice video. I'm going to say some harsh things about fandom, & thus most likely about you. So I'll start with something positive, and it makes a good soundtrack.
(thanks to Yamino
I long ago got sick of the sort of fan (consistently male) whose fandom conversation substantially exists of proclamations of how badass his particular favored character is. "Hulk is the strongest one there is!" "No, Thor!"
There is another sort of fan (consistently female) who is functionally the distaff counterpart. Her fannishness is pretty much filtered through "shipping"--sometimes in really contrary-to-the-text ways.
After a decade in online fandom, I can tell you that conventional-wisdom gender stereotypes hold. Boys make everything into professional wrestling, girls make everything into a romance novel. And because comic-books are low art, popular art, they draw a lot of people who fall back on the conventional thinking about character & story. (I should be reading more classic Russian lit or something, right? Get a better class of fiction in my brain.)
And then I guess there are people like me. I find both those tropes a bit silly for the most part, occasionally disturbing in their singlemindedness, & ultimately, after ten years of competing visions of the best badass or the best ship, I find them tedious as all get out.
And then there are the fans that I like to read: people who are actually writing about something else.
I'm not immune to feats of awesome power. Let's be clear. I am a Doctor Zero fan for a reason.
Supes, Magneto, Ultragirl, I do actually like some ridiculous, over-the-top, stride-over-the-world (alien messiah-hood optional) characters. Sometimes I get annoyed at those who want to jack up a favored character's power level further than I would, or favor a character from a series I find annoying. But if I can be irked at Batman fanboys or Barry Allen loyalists, well, I hope I'm self-aware enough to realize that Supes, Magneto, Ultragirl, & Doctor Zero are silly characters too. Sometimes it's best to back off and not have other characters job to your guy. (I long wanted Ultragirl to paste Gladiator, but on reflection I doubt it's in character for her even if she somehow can.)
And when it gets to the less high-powered characters, well, part of the appeal is how they work with what they've got. I don't need my character to be able to simply and automatically whup anybody, & a story that read that way would be less satisfying than one where the hero had to work at it. (There's a really good example contrasting a Pérez/Andru Wonder Woman story with a Jimenez Wonder Woman story, that I think I have neglected to post for years. And Wondy is not really low-powered even!)
I think it was in Tree and Leaf
I read the passage where the writer says that for him the question about heroes of story was, "Are they good? Are they evil?" I think I'm closer to that instinct of interpretation. Power is about what you do with it.
As for romance: I'm not against romance. I actually like romantic stories with characters who are written/designed to be together. But I rarely have non-canon ships as a rule, & I don't naturally seek them.(I joke that I ship Koiwai and Asagi, but it's not a serious thing. I kind of want Jumbo to win, actually. I don't have, I'm not naïve enough, I'm too flipping old to have deep FEELINGS about it either way. All I can do is wait on Azuma to write what he will write.)
I could say, "I don't ship. I'm a guy." That's true enough. But more than that, I'm not really all that much into character-transformative fic for the sake of teh romance. Once you've turned a character into a different character, it's not quite the same character.
This may be alien thinking to some of comixfandom, as comix seem to think that a character is a name and a costume. But character, that's about who a character is, how they think, what their ethos is--and sometimes who you love, how you love, whether you love is part of that.
Now, some transformation is objective improvement. To get a character to stop being self-destructive, to be happier, to be less of an insulting caricature (1940's comix' portrayal of Orientals pretty much demanded reimaginings)--a fanfic can try to fix it, & sometimes a fan-turned-pro can invent new canon. But sometimes a character is designed to be imperfect. I'm not a great believer in "death of the author." Authors for me are always there, voice inescapably coming off the page. A later author may repurpose the characters, but that's another author using the same tags.
Still, I'm not completely against the transformation of character, not even where it ties into sex & relationships. (I got into Wondy fandom because I wanted to reinvent the franchise, people!)
I find it completely understandable if some het person fantasizes about turning Northstar straight. That makes sense
to me on some level--the character, just "improved" to be more like a certain ideal. It doesn't even have to be a girl fantasizing that he's her (or her proxy character's) boyfriend. It can just be a matter of trying to tie a character you like to something in your personal identity or ideals. Reimagining Wonder Woman as a Christian? Sure, I can see where that comes from.
So by analogy I understand someone using fic to turn a character gay.
Someday I may understand what's up with Judd Winick changing the ethnicities of characters who already had sharply defined and unusual ethnic backgrounds. Doesn't mean I'll agree with it.
And that's sort of how I feel about insisting that Kyle Rayner and Connor Hawke need to be a couple, or that Batman can beat everyone with prep time. I can understand it, I just reject the assumption.
Superhero comix fandom & the superhero comix industry are so intertwined, so incestuous, so inbred, that a lot of what we get is a totally earnest version of Stan Lee's hoary old captions, where he'd say stuff to the effect of, "And now we get to the fighting! Which is what you really care about!" I miss Ann Nocenti, who didn't come out of comix fandom, & who wrote stuff from a really different place. Now I think of it, I may even miss Steve Gallacci's dry, political anthropomorphs, in their chapters with no big fight, no payoff, living lives of desperation in a world that could go to hell on a scale far larger than themselves.
What I'm saying is that tonight I'm officially sick of it. The novelty has worn off. Most shippers aren't good enough writers to get me to care. In this shippy fans are like writers of ultimate showdowns & other wrasslin'-esque stories.(blue is a dazzling exception, though nobody's dazzling enough to get me to even read Addison/Meredith fic. That said, I think Harrierverse works in the same sense that revisionist Arthuriana works. Whatever the characters are named, they are in blue's stories who she means them to be. And they're well-written. I just feel sad that she identifies her characters with corporately owned characters that can never really be hers.)
So I really appreciate Aaron Diaz, who is not a ficcer (uses his own characters) is not boring (creates clever scenarios) and when he's writing meta (see blog
) is this wonderfully dorky (if vaguely self-righteous) enthusiast for drawing
and visual design.
, who is a terrible little snarkblossom.
But ah, you say, these are creators, & not stupid, stunted-brain work-for-hire fanboys hacking out commercial pap about characters someone else owns! Also, their output is really freakin' slow. They are closer to Los Bros. Hernandez than some Big Name Fan like espanolbot or bluefall.
Right. But satirist commentators (or humorist critics) like espanolbot
, or even finer, auggie18/magickmaker/freerangenerdity
, succeed by tweaking the creators. (And frankly it's that kind of humor helped turn me on to Shinga.)
Am I this kind of smart, cool fan? Nah. I don't write that much, I'm not funny, & sometimes my blog is just links & memes. I hate to say it, but I fit in too well in the tumblr dynamic of just repeating other people's images. :(
I'm not even as crazy clever-prolific as odditycollector,
who would I think insist that's she's just a fan doing memes & jokes--but her memes take more work than most.
On a good day (once a year) I might be comparable to thehefner
, or at least he makes sense to me. Reminds me of a smart guy I know in real life.
Doctor Zero could paste all the superheroes, too bad he's near-sociopath on the interpersonal relationship development scale. I just can't write a shipfic about him.
And I don't care. But there is pretty fan art and pretty fan music and funny fan jokes, & I still like internet fandom.