by Darryl Ayo
(c) Samir M. Barrett
Thanks to Kel McDonald for pointing me at this cartoon.
Kel Says: “I was pitching my book to a girl at anime central. She told me she doesn’t read comics with girls in them, because girls get in the way of the shipping”
“Shipping,” if you’re not into the slang, is the term that fans sometimes use to indicate discussions about romantic pairings that they would like to root for. Often shipping is a driving force behind fan fiction.
Here is the gist of my response:
I’m very intrigued by this style of experiencing literature (movies, tv shows, comics, prose novels) where the actual TEXT (what is literally in the story) is used as a jumping-off point by the reader (or viewer) to explore fantasies based on said text. In which the text serves as a passive background for the reader’s active imagination.
(C) Marvel Entertainment; art by Magnolia Porter
I feel that I had a bit of that impulse when I was young and reading X-Men, imagining entire alternate storylines or what I wished would happen. Perhaps it appears more magnified in today’s pop culture because these thoughts are no longer fleeting and are instead immortalized in blogs and fan-fiction rings and so on.
(C) Marvel Entertainment; art by Corey Lewis
It seems that for many people who are seriously involved in “fandom,” the literal text is of no greater importance than a common bar where you’d meet up with your friends; the text serves as a foundation upon which to build and create and interact. In this way, things like fan art and fan fiction and “head canon” become more important to some people involved in fandoms. The original textual material is like a natural resource which is mined; the fan-creations become the artistic expression for fans. Source material takes on an otherworldly detached, yet ever-present quality, akin to religion.
What fandom a person is a part of may as well be that person’s religious order.
As a writer and artist, I give a great deal of thought to what it means to be the creator of a thing. And of course I am a reader and viewer of art as well. Until recently, I haven’t given too much thought to the idea of interplay between creator, creation and audience and how that stream can flow in different directions. Very interested in how these cultures of fandom work and what they mean.