The relationship between fans and the object of the affection hasn’t always been the easiest. Just ask Mark Waid.
Fan created content has always been a touchy topic, and perceptions run the gamut of responses, hostile to accepting, which I informally call the Lucas-Rowling scale (Lucas generally responding poorly, and Rowling historically giving her blessing to fanfiction. Except the weird stuff).
Lucas is a good example of misunderstanding the fans. His attitude and responses in regards to releasing recuts of the original Star Wars trilogy is a good example.
“Well, it’s not a religious event. I hate to tell people that. It’s a movie, just a movie.”
Uh, George, Mr. Lucas, if I may venture an opinion? You’re wrong. Way off the mark, actually. Star Wars is some people’s entire raison d’etre. I don’t know if you noticed, but people are actually putting Jedi down on the census.
But I can see his hesitance to accept fan creations. Despite the fact that much of fan fiction/creation is to reaffirm an affection for a fan object, it’s hard for people-creators-to shake ideas of traditional producer-consumer relationships. To some, allowing fans to create or recreate using canon material is a little too close to giving up control. And fandoms mean beacoup dollars to their owners, which is why corporations throw cease and desists at tumblr pages.
(This story ends on a happy note). However, equating fan labor with get-rich-quick schemes is short-sighted. The wikipeda entry for fan labor notes that most fans hesitate charging a fee for their creations, in fear of upsetting fan to fan interaction.
Maybe fandom, fan creations, aren’t for the creators at all. Online author Renay, in an article called “Community, You Got Your Industry in My Fanwork,” says that one of the golden rules of fanfiction in the 90s was “don’t talk about fanwork with creators.” Fan creations in fan spaces is for fans, and an area in which the creators are almost encouraged to avoid engaging in.
Fan activity gets a bad rap. But even the weird stuff; the slash fiction and multi-page argument threads about costume design, is the product of people heavily invested in a fan object.
Chances are none of these companies know about this British couple. They are nothing to DC, Marvel, Pixar, or Disney. But to Sharon and Neil Vaughn, these characters are a huge part of their lives. And they are celebrating that. And that’s the core of what fandom/ fan activity is: the celebration of the fan object by fans. Fan activity’s change in who produces content is not an assertion of dominance. It is a display of affection.
Han shot first t-shirt from horrorshirts.com
Written with StackEdit.