Mindy Clegg has posted a wonderful essay covering the "social and political conflicts over fandom", and how even though such discussions are appearing in the modern communities surrounding recent films such as Captain Marvel and The Joker (previously), the reality is that such political and social issues have surrounded both the discussion of, and indeed the very core beliefs of some of our most well-known Sci-Fi franchises for decades:
Roddenberry consciously created a multiracial crew on the Starship Enterprise. The show sought to promote the concept of racial tolerance among its viewers by showing a peaceful and egalitarian multiracial crew of humans. Many saw it as doing just that. Actor Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed Lt. Nyota Uhuru, the accomplished and talented communications officer, was told by Dr. Martin Luther King at an NAACP meeting that her depiction of Uhuru was making a difference in the lives of young black women. This was a time when black women rarely had prominent roles on TV, much less in such powerful positions. When she told him that she was planning on leaving the show due to ingrained racism and sexism on the set, he told her that she couldn’t do that, given the positive role model she was for young black women. She even inspired the first black woman to go into space, Mae Jemison. Jemison would later go full circle, and appeared on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. George Takai, who portrayed Lt. Hikaru Sulu, eventually also parlayed his acting work into activism. Read the rest
Last weekend, Jeanette Ng won the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer at the 2019 Hugo Awards at the Dublin Worldcon; Ng's acceptance speech calls Campbell, one of the field's most influential editors, a "fascist" and expresses solidarity with the Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters.
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If you're a Disney-o-phile, say goodbye to the next few hours of your productivity, as you scroll through the thread and then share with your kids or your Disney fandom friends. Read the rest
John Frost writes, "Travis, a railroad engineer, recreated iconic buildings from Disneyland's Fantasyland in his spare time. The result is an incredibly detailed and faithful recreation of facades to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Snow White's Scary Adventures and more."
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John Wiswell's story "Tank!" tells the sweet, sad story of a fannish tank that wants to attend a comic-con and is confounded by their nonbinary gender, their social awkwardness, and the fact that no one will believe that their main gun has been peace-bonded. (via Super Punch)
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Stranger Things is a huge pop culture phenomenon, no matter how you look at it. Case in point, Newsweek is reporting that thousands of the show's fans crashed the Science Museum of Minnesota's website on Tuesday morning trying to score a purple Brontosaurus hoodie. The sweatshirt, a replica of a retired one the museum sold in the 1980s, was worn in the first episode of Season 2 by one of the main characters, Dustin Henderson.
...The St. Paul-based museum noticed the costume choice right away, calling attention to the sweatshirt on its Facebook page: "Stranger Things fans: Check out what Dustin is wearing in Season 2, episode 1! Yes, we want one too. Working on it!"
The hoodie finally went on sale Tuesday morning on the museum's website. But museum staffers underestimated demand: It wasn't long before the influx of web traffic crashed the website, leaving disappointed fans shut out.
But the site's back up and more than 80,000 purple hoodies have already been sold, at $36.95 a pop.
In addition to the hoodie, tee-shirts and sweatshirts with the "Thunder Lizard" art are now also available.
The museum stated in a Facebook post that proceeds from the sales of the line will support their educational outreach programs. Read the rest
Wendy Pini is most famous for Elfquest (above), but her artistic career spans fifty years of pop culture history, from weird lowbrow surrealism to yaoi pastiche. Line of Beauty isn't just a stunning art book covering decades in and beyond epic fantasy, but a powerful yet curiously tentative biography, drawing together threads from a childhood in the Californian sticks to the poisoned promises of Hollywood.
That it's so mysterious and unjudgmental (of her, at least) is most remarkable for the fact it was written by her husband, Richard Pini. His book is a crafty invitation to the worlds implied by her work, a mythos that seems misty and intangible even as its details take shape.
Born 1951, Wendy was a talent from early childhood, and we learn of the tensions and inspirations that flowed through her to emerge as a personal Elfame: adoptive parents whose emotional abuses hover on the margins of trauma; childhood obsessions and contrasts; and encounters with what were then rare oddities in rural America—manga, weird cartoons, the deeper magics of European and Japanese folklore—which she consumed voraciously.
Richard's access to private artwork and private fact far exceeds what a researcher might get to, but flags his story right off as both authorized and intimate. But while uncritical, the narrative stops short of hagiography: there's much evidence of unexpected turns and some evidence of friction in its creation. The focus is on Wendy's deep fascination with Hogarthian serpentine structures and sequential art (hence the title), and her artistic motivation and development. Read the rest
I’ve been in fandom for over thirty years, and in that time, I’ve had only one hard-won rule about it: Never, ever meet the wizard.
Actors are always shorter than you think; writers don’t always understand why their villains are your heroes; and the deep, meaningful conversations you’ve rehearsed in your head a thousand times tend not to go as planned. All too often, meeting the wizard is about learning to live with the awkward humanity of your heroes – and of yourself. Hanging out with your friends and writing fanfiction is usually a lot more fun. Read the rest
Writing for New Republic, cultural critic Angelica Jade Bastién explains:
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I have been reading comics obsessively since I was about ten years old. I can probably quote from John Ostrander’s original Suicide Squad run in my sleep, I’ve watched all of the Star Trek series more times than I can count, and I often whip out Klingon when I’m nervous. But I’ve found that the love and knowledge I have on these subjects never seems to be good enough for the people who grow furious at a black woman writing about these properties. White male fans often don’t want to face how their beloved properties often have troubling racial and gender politics. (Just peruse the comments on my review of X-Men: Apocalypse for RogerEbert.com: “The author feels like the X-Men series in general has failed its female characters—ignoring the fact that Mystique is elevated to a leadership and relevance level well above the source material.” Many didn’t want to face a critique coming from a woman, and a fan, who knows them better than they do.) You can only delete emails and block people on Twitter for so long until you feel burnt out. The reason why we don’t see more black women writing about these subjects with such visibility isn’t because we haven’t been interested in them, it’s that publications rarely give us the opportunity, and when we do write, we often find ourselves facing personal scrutiny that has little to do with the actual writing. At times, I’ve been left to wonder, why do I love these stories so much when they rarely care about people who look like me?
Star Trek celebrated its 50th anniversary last week and one of the sci-fi series' biggest legacies is shaping our modern concept of “fandom." The original 1960s series inspired everything from conventions to fan magazines to fanfiction. And as Victoria McNally writes for Revelist, “Unlike the classic male nerd archetype that most people tend to picture in their heads, the quintessential Star Trek fan is a woman.” Read the rest
San Diego Comic-Con International has concluded for 2016, but these amazing photos of dedicated cosplayers at the event will live on.
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These images prove what we've long known here at Boing Boing: Dedication and true fandom trump how much you have in your bank account to spend on cosplaying your favorite comics, sci fi, or anime characters. Follow LowCostCosplay on Facebook or Instagram.
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Forrest J Ackerman -- editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland, collector, agent, writer, and superfan -- died in 2008. Read the rest
14-year-old Naomi Horn says the heroine of JK Rowling's Harry Potter series remains a depressingly rare example of a fictional female respected for her education and intelligence. In Hermione’s world, being smart is what makes her important.
Boing Boing reader Miguel Jaramillo sends word of a crowdfunding campaign with which I am fully on board: A Breaking Bad fan-fest. Read the rest
Rachel Edidin asks: "Publishers Are Warming to Fan Fiction, But Can It Go Mainstream?"
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Literary publishing’s uneasy relationship with fan fiction has been complicated by the realization that fandom is a huge potential market—one stocked with both prolific authors and enthusiastic readers. But tapping that market is a dilemma few publishers seem quite prepared to engage.