According to Wikipedia, “A fan, aficionado, or supporter is someone who has an intense, occasionally overwhelming liking and enthusiasm for a sporting club, person (usually a celebrity), group of persons, company, product, work of art, idea, or trend. Fans of a particular thing or person constitute its fanbase or fandom.”
I’ll admit that when I find something in pop culture that I like, I glom onto it and try to learn all about it I can. Back in the day when I was a teenager and got some new celebrity crush, I caught them on TV when I could and once in awhile could procure a copy of something like Tiger Beat. I remember clipping photos and putting them on my bedroom wall. And back in those days way before TiVo or even a video recorder in our house, to miss an episode of a favorite show like The Young Riders was a tragedy beyond compare!
Now I have the wonder of TiVo, the Internet, YouTube, TV shows on DVD and Netflix to feed my fan cravings.
I read and enjoy a great many books, but there are some for which I watch the calendar for releases dates. In the past few years, I’ve done this for Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Colleen Gleason’s Gardella Vampire Chronicles series and Libba Bray’s YA trilogy that started with A Great and Terrible Beauty. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.
In the summer of 2006, I became a late but rabid fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. I seriously would watch eight episodes a day because I HAD to know what happened next. I was only able to get some work done when I’d gotten through all seven seasons of Buffy and all five of Angel. Soon thereafter came Roswell and Supernatural.
Speaking of Supernatural, I’m such a huge fan of the show that I and four other writer friends, who are also fangirls of the show, recently started a blog called Supernatural Sisters. We blog about various aspects of the show five days a week, including a recap and observations about each week’s episode on Fridays, the day after it airs.
After watching the movie House of Flying Daggers, for a time I became kind of obsessed with Asian actor Takeshi Kaneshiro. I bought a couple of his other movies – one good, one not so good. But, honey, he sure is pretty to look at. :) Sorry if that’s objectifying, but it’s true!
One of the biggest fandoms out there is that for Harry Potter. Though I’m not active on the boards, I really enjoy The Leaky Cauldron’s Web site (which is PACKED with all things Harry related) and listen to the affiliated weekly podcast, PotterCast. I totally geek out over how dedicated the Leaky and PotterCast crews are to this fandom in all its glorious minutiae. Melissa Anneli, PotterCast’s original host and still one of the four hosts, even wrote a nonfiction book called Harry, A History about the Harry Potter fandom. I have the book and plan to read it when I get through my impending deadlines. And I have to admit that it’s an intoxicating thought to a writer to think that it’s possible for something like this to spring up to celebrate your work. It’s extra cool because J.K. Rowling is such a wonderful, kind person and one who got a whole new generation of kids interested in reading books. Not to mention a gazillion adults.
And if you want to see passionate fandoms of all kinds, just go to a conference like Dragon*Con or ComicCon. Imagine tens of thousands of people who are so dedicated to things like Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly, anime, steampunk, Battlestar Galactica and basically every sci-fi or fantasy offering out there that they will attend events dressed as their favorite characters and stand in line for hours to hear panels given by their favorite actors or creators. I attended Dragon*Con for the first time last September, and I had a ball! I’m going back this year, and I plan to take a couple of costumes. I’m still mulling what I want to be, though I have some ideas. That's me at the left with two Star Wars fans. I'm wearing one of my Buffy the Vampire Slayer shirts.
People who are passionate about their favorites often delve into writing fan fiction, and there’s an amazing amount of it online – some good, some bad, some amazing. Others put their video editing abilities to use and create fan vids and post them on YouTube. You can find videos dedicated to favorite fictional couples, odes to period dramas, and clips of a show’s best or funniest moments. Trust me, one can spend hours and hours (did I mention hours?) on YouTube watching these.
So, I’m curious, have any of you ever found yourself totally engrossed in a fandom to the point that you were looking up every scrap of information you could about it? Have you ever peeked at a fan board or site and looked up hours later? Tell us about your fandoms. Really, I’m curious.