In this series, we’ve looked at the varying ways people get involved in and express their fandom. This issue, we’re thinking about a few of the things we’ve missed out.
Wanderers, I hate to admit it, but we can’t do everything. Here at HQ, there are certain limits to our powers. For example, we cannot get you a new season of Firefly, no matter how many birthday candles we wish on. We can’t make fandom merchandise as freely available as fanfiction. And, though we’ve tried to cover the big ones we know most about, we can’t talk about every form of fandom out there. This is partly because, having reached part eight of this series and set a new record for ourselves, we feel it’s time to move onto something else. But it’s partly because there are just so many ways fans – fans like you, fans like us – are getting involved.
I mean, there are the meta discussions. We probably should have devoted a whole segment to that, but you know what? It’ll probably come up in more detail another time. You’ve definitely seen it out there though – blogs and forums devoted to discussing the media you’re a fan of, what its wider impact on the world is, and what might have happened around the sidelines of what we actually saw, heard, or read. Whether it’s under-representation or stereotypical characters, fans involved in this way will look at what a show, book, or whatever says about the society in which it was made and what its effect is on its audience. These are the philosophers of fandom, and should not be underestimated.
There are the gif-makers. We’ve more or less covered this form of fandom in our fanart and fanvid articles, but which category fits gifs best? They perhaps most resemble the paintings in Harry Potter – moving pictures, but limited to a few frames in a way fanvids aren’t. Good gifs are certainly an underrated art form, in my opinion, and I have great admiration for those who make them well. At its highest form, it takes technical skill, creativity, and a keen eye – no easy task! And on some sites, like Tumblr, gifs more or less make the world go round.
Then there’s jewellery. Everyone loves shiny things, right? Fandom-inspired jewellery ranges from detailed replicas of costume accessories from films to abstract pieces designed to represent entire TV shows. There are charm bracelets carrying innocuous symbols – an apple, handcuffs, a crown, a gun – which, when combined under the watchful eye of the right Sherlock fan, could mean nothing more clearly than ‘Moriarty’. There are Gallifreyan fob watches. There are MJN Air earrings. The internet is full of beautiful, shimmering fandom jewellery hand-crafted with love.
Then there are the fabric-based crafters – the knitters, the plushie-makers. From scarves to sock puppets to glove puppets to little cuddly versions of beloved characters, there’s no limit to what these fans can make out of wool and cloth.
There are the foodies – making enticing new recipes to sum up characters and episodes. There are the fandom tea-blenders – no, I had no idea how that worked at first, either, but oh boy do I want to try it now. Imagine capturing the essence of a character… in tea. I have no idea how you people do it but I’m glad you do!
There are the fashionistas – as well as cosplayers, there are tons of people who put loads of thought into designing, for example, Captain America nail-art, or Avatar handbags. Even entire character-themed outfits – not quite cosplay – have begun to appear all over the internet thanks to the rise of sites like Pinterest and Polyvore.
I’m sure I’m missing out a ton of awesome things here – but that really only goes to prove the point I’m about to make. The creativity of fans knows no bounds, and that spills out into some great things – from fanfic to fingerpainting, gifs to giggle-inducing one-liners, biscuits to bracelets. Even if your contribution to your fandom isn’t a masterpiece in oil on canvas – even if the most involved in fandom you’ve ever got is seeing someone wearing a Harry Potter hoodie and telling them it’s awesome – you’re part of something huge and special. The fact that you’re part of it, dear Wanderer? That just makes it even more special. And every single person in that fandom you’re so fond of is part of this amazing, awe-inspiring world where stories and songs and pictures and recipes are freely traded and appreciated by millions.
If you wish you were a little more involved in your fandom, well, there’s no time like the present! Why not check out the previous installments of this series and see if there’s anything there that you want to do. Maybe you want to do something we haven’t thought of. Maybe you want to create something nobody’s thought of. Nothing (barring copyright laws; do try to be sensible around those, Wanderers) stands between you and a more involved fandom existence.
This concludes our series ‘Forms of Fandom‘ – our next series will be something different. We just don’t know what, yet. Watch this space, Wanderers…