Age of the Geek? Age of the Fan.

I’ve been reading some things online that are all swirling around that all seem to indicate something to me about fandom, and fannish power, and fannish creators. I don’t have an actual thesis here, just some thoughts.

1. Creators of properties have frequently been fans of the genre before attempting to create in it, whichever genre “it” may be. But there’s been this new thing in the last twenty years, this internet fandom. And today’s creators are people who have grown up in internet fandom.

2. The BBC article about Jim C. Hines’ cover poses also mentions the Prismatic Art Collection and The Hawkeye Initiative. The Hawkeye Initiative is entirely a fannish thing. It’s people with no connection to creating comics trying to bring about awareness of something stupid in comics. And now it’s in a BBC article.

3. There’s a whole group of creators, in comics and in SF/F, who insist on feminism and gender equality in their work by the simple fact of putting it in their work. These are people around my age or a bit younger. Who grew up being fans of the same things I am a fan of. People who read the life-changing, awesome, and problematic books and comics of my childhood. The people making my comics now are the people who remember Tony Stark’s alcoholic crash, who remember Storm’s punk transformation, who remember Rusty and Skids and Cameron Hodge. The people writing my SF/F are people who read Seaward, The Stand, and Dragonflight. Who read The Cage and Dealing With Dragons and Alanna: The First Adventure. War for the Oaks and The Dragon Waiting and Barrayar. These creators, they put women in their work because women have always been a part of comics and SF/F. A minority part, sure, but often the best, most interesting part.

Brian Wood said, in his interview for Wired magazine, “The female X-Men are amazing characters, they always have been, everyone knows that. They’ve been the best thing about the franchise.”

This is who is writing my comics these days. People who think this.

4. The writers and creators, they are talkative. They tweet and tumbl and blog and do interviews and podcasts. This is how the world is now, yes. But a lot of them, however introverted they may be, they grew up being able to talk to the creators they loved. On message boards, on LiveJournal, at conventions, on The Well, in zines. There’s this idea that communication is a two-way thing.

None of those thoughts are really coherent. I don’t have a thesis. But I like it. I like Kieron Gillen’s Tumblr posts of music and lyrics and images and words, all trying to explain something heartfelt about characters he is gleefully privileged to write. I like Jim Hines’ send-ups of cover art and his commitment to not replicate those problems in his own work. I like that Kelly Sue DeConnick posts knitting pattern fanart of Captain Marvel to her Tumblr. I love the idea that there’s a We, here, of people who genuinely love this stuff. Who love it enough to fight for it, to be angry at it, to gently correct it. Who love it enough to celebrate it, to share it, to laud it.

I’m pleased that my people are now making the things I love.


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